We live in the kind of place that as a child you would dream about as you gleefully shook your snow globe. Snowy mountains, chalets, roasted chestnuts, steaming cups of Glühwein and rosy cheeks - ahhhhh!
Relax, leave the driving to Swiss Rail and check out my favorite soul soothing Alpine hotels in Switzerland's winter wonderland:
The Alpina, Gstaad
I love boutique hotels and was happy to find The Alpina which opened in December 2012 and is nothing short of chic and delicious. My suite had sweeping views of the mountains, a fireplace, a generous balcony, a lux bathroom and amenities and designer details like Swiss farmhouse style cupboards, glass cow bell bedside lights and cashmere throws.
After a day in the mountains, you can easily stroll down the hill to the boutiques shops in the quaint town of Gstaad.
Then, to finish off the night, I highly recommend the "Tree of Life" treatment at The Alpina's Six Senses Spa. Unique features of the spa include a Himalayan salt room, a spacious relaxation lounge with great books and warming ginger tea, and a large, heated indoor and outdoor pool with jacuzzi. I know what I want for Christmas!
Le Crans, Crans-Montana
Located at the top of the ski-resort, the ski-in, ski-out boutique hotel Le Crans oozes Swiss charm. With eight luxurious suites and seven rooms, each room is named after and inspired by a mountain region from around the world. It was difficult to leave my Kilimanjaro room with a tele at the foot of the jacuzzi tub (don't have one at home!), but the soul-southing treatments from Cinq Mondes at LeSpa made it easier.
Be daring and feel the blood pumping through every cell of your body as you dash from the heat of the sauna steam bath and plunge into the snowy banked outdoor heated pool. Divine. I truly enjoyed the delectable breakfast at Le Mont Blanc restaurant, where spectacular views of the Alps awoke from the rim of my café macchiato...
Arosa Kulm Hotel, Arosa
In the canton of Graubünden, Arosa is a beautiful town that could be overlooked by its neighbor Davos - but you would be missing out on a gem! In fact, Arosa is an excellent destination for families. The town has an activity card called the Arosa Card which provides free (or hugely discounted) access to local attractions.
Although I was there in the summer and autumn, I cannot wait to return to Arosa to partake its winter activities: Snowboarding, down-hill and cross-country skiing, tobogganing, winter hiking, snowshoeing, and ice sports.
The Arosa Kulm Hotel is a 5-star contender that will thrill your kids as much as you. There are many activities for children including a Kids Club and Kids Ski School beside the hotel. The Taverne restaurant specializes in pizza and pasta and has its very own bowling alley!
While the kids have their fun, you get to relax in the adult only AlpinSpa sauna area with steam baths, bio and Finnish saunas, a sound and scent grotto, relaxation rooms and much more. We all need a digital detox, so celebrate this is a smartphone free zone...
Kronenhof Hotel, Pontresina
Steeped in tradition, the spectacular Kronenhof Hotel is a place of fairy tale proportions in Engadine. I love the proximity to St Moritz (just 10 km) for when you want the glitz, shopping and action, but Pontresina is pure perfect nature with a sweet little town. The service is unparalleled and you will think you have died and gone to heaven eating breakfast under angelic frescos - in what is still the grandest ballroom in Switzerland.
There are many surprises in this historic hotel, such as an antique bowling alley which is still in use! I learned that it is a place you can easily fall in love with, with guests returning generation after generation. Despite its grandeur, this is also a place for families who like a bit of pamper and luxury.
I was tempted to join the kids in the Children’s Restaurant (I love mac n'cheese) and Krönchen Club (3 years+) where games, crafts and activities are enjoyed under the supervision of a kindergarten teacher. Lucky for the kids, I was lured to my favorite place in a hotel - the Kronenhof Spa. It features a panaramic pool and an über-cool floatation room with sound and ceiling holographics. Utter bliss.
Teaser: The Bürgenstock
On the far side of Lake Lucerne, a new luxury resort is being built: The Bürgenstock. In a world obsessed with immediate gratification, the Bürgenstock is something that we will have to patiently anticipate.
From its breathtaking mountain setting, the car-free resort will be home to three hotels: A 5-star, a 4-star and a medical wellness hotel. Not to me missed will be the gigantic Alpine spa featuring 15 treatment rooms, three private spa suites and three pools including an infinity pool overlooking Lake Lucerne.
The construction of this beauty is costing some 485 million francs, so it might take a few years to complete. But it will surely be worth waiting for...