Ski season is just around the corner, which means it’s time to start planning a trip to the slopes. And when it comes to glamorous mountain destinations, it’s hard to beat the Swiss Alps—in particular, the chic ski town that is St. Moritz.
Located about three hours from Zurich, St. Moritz is known for its glitzy ski (and àpres) scene—and as the birthplace of winter tourism. The narrative goes that while the Swiss Alps had long been popular as a summer getaway for European aristocrats thanks to the fresh air and climate, Johannes Badrutt, the owner of the Kulm Hotel, wanted to develop a winter clientele, too. While hosting English guests over the summer, he reportedly bet them that they wouldn’t enjoy it as much in the winter. They arrived that winter season, and very much appreciated their time there—and with that, say hello to winter tourism.
Johannes Badrutt’s son, Caspar Badrutt, eventually decided he wanted to open his own property in the glitzy mountain town, and debuted the chalet-inspired Badrutt’s Palace in 1896. Over 125 years later, the historic hotel remains the place to be in St. Moritz, thanks to its tasteful, refined opulence and superb service. Here’s everything to know about Badrutt’s Palace.
What’s the atmosphere like here?
Badrutt’s Palace, a member of Leading Hotels of the World, aims to impress upon arrival, and it doesn’t disappoint—from the moment you step foot into the wood-paneled (and very aptly named) Le Grand Hall in the lobby, the unapologetically lavish decor makes it clear you’ve arrived somewhere special. Chairs and couches, plushly upholstered in rich ruby and ochre hues, are strategically placed throughout, with archways leading to oversized windows with views of the lake and landscape outside. For a cozier, yet still equally grand, lounging experience, head to Renaissance Bar or the Polo Bar.
Tell us about the rooms.
Badrutt’s Palace is composed of 155 rooms, including 43 suites. The accommodations, which are all uniquely furnished and designed, are fittingly lavish and have the feel of cozying up in your own luxurious Swiss alpine abode. The rooms are largely outfitted in a warm, neutral palette, though some of the more spacious suites have pops of color and other bold touches. While all the rooms are there’s no denying that the larger suites definitely add a special touch to the experience, especially if you book one with a view of Lake St. Moritz—it’s nothing short of magical.
Certain rooms do manage to stand out, though, such as the 3,412-square-foot Tower Suite, with four bedrooms, four bathrooms and two private terraces spread out over three stories. It was occupied by the same full-time guest for three decades; they finally vacated last year.
Film buffs will surely gravitate towards the one-bedroom Hitchcock Suite. Named in honor of Alfred Hitchcock, the spacious abode, with a balcony looking out at Lake St. Moritz, is where the famed director (a repeat guest) reportedly came up with the idea for The Birds. He was just one of many famous faces who have checked into Badrutt’s over the years; pasts guests include Audrey Hepburn, Marlene Dietrich, George Clooney and John Lennon.
How’s the spa?
Whether you’re looking to ease those sore muscles after a day on the slopes or if you want to skip the skiing and go straight to the après portion of the trip, head on over to Palace Wellness spa. The indoor infinity pool is surrounded by plenty of lounge chairs, and it leads to an outdoor pool if you’re interested in braving the cool temperatures.
You could go with a classic massage or facial…or, you could really indulge and try one of the spa’s signature treatments, like the exfoliating Gommage aux Cristaux des Prairies by Alpeor or the detoxifying and refreshing Detox and Body Shaping by Biologique Recherche. You can also grab a healthy bite at the spa restaurant, La Diala, which is a great dining option when you’d prefer something a bit lighter after all that fondue and chocolate.
What about the skiing?
While Badrutt’s Palace doesn’t have direct ski-in, ski-out access, the hotel makes getting to the slopes a seamless experience, thanks to a complimentary shuttle that takes guests to and from the cable cars to the mountains, just a few minutes away. And don’t fret if you need to get gear, as you can get fully outfitted at the hotel’s on-site ski shop—not only will the experts equip you with the proper skis, snowboards and so on, but you can also peruse the chic ski apparel. That said, we also highly recommend heading into the town to stop in the boutiques and take in that quintessential St. Moritz ambiance.
While skiing is definitely the highlight here when it comes to winter activities, there is still plenty to do for those less interested in flying down the mountains, including ice skating and snow snowshoeing. Those who prefer indoor activities can partake in hot yoga or perhaps a cooking class, and of course, that après-ski life. No matter what, make sure to stop at El Paradiso—but more on that later.
Last but not least—let’s talk food.
While St. Moritz isn’t exactly lacking in food options, Badrutt’s Palace happens to be home to no less than 10 restaurants, including the Michelin-starred fine dining spot Jordnær, Nobu offshoot La Coupole, the classic Le Restaurant and the more formal Le Relais. In addition, the hotel manages Chesa Veglia, located less than a five-minute walk from the main property, which houses three different restaurants inside, including a classic fondue eatery and a casual pizzeria.
This is St. Moritz we’re talking about here, so we’d be remiss not to acknowledge the all-important après-ski scene, including the famed El Paradiso. The members-only mountainside hot spot, which Badrutt’s has managed since 2021, is accessible only via ski lift, and is perfect for those looking to treat themselves to an indulgent bite and a glass of champagne or two after spending hours on the slopes. It’s truly the quintessential St. Moritz après-ski spot. If you want to keep the party going later that evening, head to King’s Social House—it’s the oldest nightclub in Switzerland, and is situated on-property at Badrutt’s Palace.