Most everyone here in Zermatt has one thing in common: a passion for the mountains. And so, from the moment we get off the train at the terminal station in Zermatt, we can feel a special buzz in the air.
There is a level of excitement that connects us all, be it the group of Japanese hikers with their mountaineering equipment, the Irish family hauling their skiing equipment or the American photographer with his massive camera bag and tripod. All of us are here to witness the mountain of all mountains, the majestic Matterhorn.
A few steps to the Hotel Schweizerhof Zermatt
It is a crisp Friday evening and we are elated to be spending a weekend in Zermatt. The prospect of soaking in the sun, carving down powder slopes and enjoying the after parties had us talking for weeks.
But first, we are checking into the newly renovated Hotel Schweizerhof Zermatt for a good night’s sleep. I am slightly embarrassed to say that I have never noticed this hotel before - despite the central location just steps from the train station. But this is the past, because in the present, the new Schweizerhof is a happening place that simply cannot be missed!
Across the red carpet and through the heavy front doors awaits a vibrant lobby packed with crowds having a good time. The colorful bar is occupied to the last stool. A live DJ is providing a sound carpet featuring 90’s hip hop anthems and current Latin hits. And at the restaurant reception, a line has formed with hungry patrons aiming for a table at the Schweizerhof show kitchen.
The four-legged check-in desk for hotel guests stands near the elevators – quite literally. (The feet are just one of many details we will be discovering, ranging from a porcelain bear holding a lamp shade to a ceiling painted with Japanese koi fish.)
We feel torn: to join the crowds in this buzzing lobby/lounge/bar/restaurant? Or to check out our room first? We opt for the latter.
Chalet charms and unexpected luxuries
In 2018, the aging Schweizerhof with its legendary “Moby Dick” discotheque was hollowed out entirely and rebuilt in record time. The term "facelift" would be an understatement. We are told that at the reopening, many Zermatt locals and loyal patrons had barely recognized the property anymore...
Apart from the redesign of the lobby, the 71 rooms and 24 suites were adorned with beautiful oak walls. In addition, our double room features many more textures such as leather, fleece, soft rugs and white marble. It is a contemporary, alpine interior design that feels very soothing and warm.
After two nights, we will have a hard time separating with room 216. It would become our sanctuary amid the alpine peaks surrounding Zermatt.
Adding to the charm of this room is a sort of playful "hanging theme" introduced by the French design and architecture firm, Kristian Gavoille and Valérie Garcia. Basically, they opted to hang everything - from a cowbell to a shoehorn and even the LED TV - from the walls.
I am surprised to find luxury toiletry products, a Dyson hair dryer, a Marshall speaker and even an iPad for room controls and entertainment. (Netflix and Spotify apps allow for seamless playback of content on the TV and speaker – how ingenious?) Lo and behold, there will soon be a robot delivering amenities to the rooms.
Without a doubt, these are the type of amenities I would typically expect in a five-star hotel. The Schweizerhof Zermatt is exceeding our expectations. And have we mentioned the Matterhorn views from the balcony?
Japan meets Peru at Restaurant La Muña
Or in other words: sashimi goes ceviche! The concept of the in-house Restaurant La Muña is really quite ingenious. And it is a perfect fit for a destination like Zermatt. Because after a day’s skiing or hiking, what nourishment could be better than protein rich fish and refreshingly hot ceviche?
The restaurant features all kinds of table arrangements, from lounge tables to large tables for families and friends. Our reservation is for a couple’s table – what a perfect date night! The menu is such a teaser! Where to start?
My strategy is to feel the pulse of La Muña through an appetizer of hamachi carpaccio with wakame salad on a ponzu dressing. It is a good and a bad choice at the same time. And do I feel that pulse...
It is a good choice because the hamachi amberjack is the best I have ever tasted in my life. The only drawback is that I decide to skip the main dish in lieu of another serving of hamachi... Fortunately, Mamiko orders the pulpo ahumado, a half-smoked and grilled octopus with sesame oil and sweet peppers. I get scraps.
Here is a highly recommendable quinoa salad with pomegranate and avocado:
The next morning, we grab some nice shots of the hotel interior such as the bar and lounge:
The designers have reinterpreted the meaning of "infinity pool" by using a mirror:
Oh, and we did our fair share of skiing, too. This time, we headed straight for the slopes of Sunegga and the Rothorn - and we literally never once looked back!
(For the purpose of this review, the Hotel Schweizerhof Zermatt has extended a complimentary stay for two nights, including dinners and a one-day ski pass.)
Hotel Schweizerhof Zermatt
Phone +41 27 966 00 00