I took six years of Latin in high school and not once felt that it is a dead language. That's because we are surrounded by Latin terms and expressions - despite our modern lives. But if there is only one word you should remember, mark these letters: omnia.
This term is the ultimate adverb, meaning no less than "everything," "in all respects" or "all encompassing". Omnia sure sets the bar high and so I was very intrigued when I first heard about the five-star superior THE OMNIA Mountain Lodge in Zermatt.
Can there ever be a hotel that truly has it all?
And what would the ultimate hotel look like, anyway? For my taste, it would come with luxury suites, killer views and memorable fine dining experiences. Not to mention courteous and collegial staff, micro moments to write home about and everything it takes for a sound sleep.
Does THE OMNIA deliver on all these accounts? We are about to find out! So on a warm autumn weekend, we follow the invitation of Christian Eckert, the dynamic hotel director who has left his marks on THE OMNIA for nearly four years.
For one, we never grow tired of spending time in Zermatt. There is simply too much to do in this resort town - during all seasons! My favorite time of the year is autumn when the views are clear, the hiking paths are still open and the southern sun rays emit a comfy heat.
THE OMNIA Mountain Lodge sits on a rock above Zermatt
With Zermatt being car-free, THE OMNIA sends for us with their electric van. "Shotgun!" I shout, taking a seat next to the driver while fulfilling a boyhood dream. Just a few minutes into the ride, we merge onto the popular main street near the church and our driver takes a sudden turn into a smaller alley.
All I can see in front of us is a massive rock face! But lo and behold, a sliding door magically opens and we zip inside the very mountainside. This truly feels like a scene out of a James Bond movie!
At the end of a tunnel is Zermatt's longest elevator which whisks us to the hotel lobby some 48 meters above. That's also the approximate height of the church tower, bringing us up to par with the large bells.
Up here on the rock, we have undoubtedly removed ourselves from the souvenir shops and fondue restaurants of the main street. And this quiet and exclusive location allows us to discover an entirely new vantage point of Zermatt.
The lobby lounge with its extensive library of books, sleek designer sofas and stylish fireplace sets the scene for the suites in the floors above. Given the leather, felt, fur and wood textures, THE OMNIA has the feel of a mountain lodge. But yet, the upscale USM modular furniture, photography by Balthasar Burkhard and modern chandeliers add a contemporary touch. Note to self: THE OMNIA has style!
But wait until you see our suite! (It is out of this world.)
In my time as a blogger, I have stayed in more than a few quote unquote "suites", as well as some truly luxurious suites. Without hesitation, I am placing our living quarters at THE OMNIA at the top of the "suite" scale: at 90 square meters, OMNIA II is vast and has smart divisions among living, eating and sleeping spaces.
Not least important are two separate baths with actual doors that can be shut. (Many suites feature open space designs nowadays, but who wants to fall asleep to the sound of an electric toothbrush, anyway?)
My favorite part of the OMNIA suite is the rounded living room with its telescope pointed at the Matterhorn:
Mamiko looks like she won't be giving up the couch anytime soon...
In a house with an all-encompassing name like THE OMNIA, every detail matters.
And so we find a granite fireplace with wood chopped to size, Bose surround sound speakers throughout, a built-in bar with adult beverages to spare, and memory foam mattresses that made it near impossible to get out of bed. (FYI: the bottle of Bourbon is on the house, but we did not end up touching it.)
The views extend to the spa with its indoor/outdoor pool, various saunas, steam baths and my ultimate favorite: a jacuzzi with unobstructed views of the Matterhorn. The modern balcony stretches along the entire length of our suite. Unfortunately, one weekend is too short for us to spend much time there - so we are sure to return.
Killer views and micro-moments to write home about? Check!
Fine alpine dining at THE OMNIA Restaurant
The in-house restaurant for up to 60 lucky diners has been awarded 1 Michelin star. The interior is lofty and spacious, with the seating and furniture reduced to the max. In times when space and distance are valued more than ever, we feel safe and protected in this restaurant.
On the sofa by the fireplace, we are welcomed with a glass of champagne and a refreshing amuse-bouche. What an unhurried way to start this experience! In the menu, we come across the Mountain Lodge Experience, a four-course surprise menu.
Chef's choice, it is! We have researched the executive chef, Hauke Pohl, and we know that his cuisine places a lot of importance on honest flavors, seasonal choices, and local products. In an effort to reduce food waste and maintain top quality, Pohl practices "nose-to-tail" and sources his ingredients from local suppliers. The surprise menu is Pohl's chance to showcase his skills and his passion for the alpine region, which served as inspiration for the restaurant concept.
At the core, each dish is vegetarian. It can be enjoyed as a delicious stand-alone course, or it may be enhanced with meat or seafood. Whether part of the surprise menu or individually selected from the menu, each dish, therefore, has three variants that are equally harmonious. This flexible menu allows THE OMNIA Restaurant to claim the title of being the only vegetarian restaurant in Zermatt.
Some of our favorites on Chef Pohl's menu are the mixed greens with "Berner Rose" tomatoes and mushrooms, the ceviche, and the glazed duck. All the dishes have one thing in common: they are ultimate eye-candy!
The dessert concoction of stone fruits with burnt cream and alpine thyme looks like a piece of art. To all the foodies and wine aficionados out there, THE OMNIA Restaurant should be on your radar...
At the end of the night, Chef Hauke Pohl takes more than a moment of his precious time to explain his culinary philosophy.
"We have seen that many diners want to maintain a healthy lifestyle, even while traveling. Our new concept goes back to the initial idea of THE OMNIA: we never wanted to be a gourmet restaurant but offer an alpine dining experience like nowhere else."
At THE OMNIA Mountain Lodge in Zermatt, casual luxury, killer views and fine dining sure are omnipresent (no pun intented!)
One thing that literally sets this hotel apart from all others is the elevated location. Whether on the outdoor patio, in the spa, in the tower suite or at the restaurant, I could not help but feeling above the rest - if only for a weekend!
THE OMNIA Mountain Lodge
Auf dem Fels
Phone +41 27 966 71 71
(As part of this research trip, THE OMNIA has generously invited us for two nights, including dinner.)