The Swiss Alps are renowned worldwide for their high-altitude, snow-sure pistes and charming resort towns. But they’re also synonymous with luxury and style, attracting celebrities, royals, and high society from across the globe.
Swiss ski resorts are brimming with elegance. The streets are lined with designer boutiques, chic bars, and gourmet restaurants. The luxury chalets are the perfect blend of traditional charm and modern refinement. And the fashionable crowds flock there for the champagne and caviar lifestyle as much as the well-groomed pistes.
So which resort is the right one for you? From the glamorous St Moritz with luxury chalet apartments to trendy Verbier with its vibrant nightlife to the postcard-pretty, car-free streets of Zermatt, we’ve pitted the top resorts against one another so you can find your perfect match.
One of Europe’s original ski towns, St Moritz, is nestled at the foot of Piz Nair in the Engadin Valley. The resort boasts over 300 kilometres of wide, well-groomed pistes spread across nine mountains, which have twice been host to the Winter Olympics. The picturesque town is dotted with Michelin-star restaurants, designer stores and fine Swiss chocolatiers, and it is home to a sophisticated and discreet après ski and nightlife scene.
The resort’s focal point is Lake St. Moritz, whose crystal-clear waters reflect the surrounding peaks, creating a breathtaking scene. When the lake freezes over, it is host to the annual Snow Polo World Cup, where riders adorned in Casablanca jerseys compete in front of crowds of fur-clad spectators on the sidelines, champagne glass in hand.
This exclusive resort oozes old-school glamour and counts the likes of Audrey Hepburn, Brigitte Bardot and Kate Moss among past revellers. They all head for the Grand Hotel des Bains Kempinski, a fairy tale-worthy 19th-Century building set near the famous mineral springs. The hotel boasts modern luxury apartments, including two four-bedroom tower suites – Corvatsch Tower and Corviglia Tower, whose sleek interiors match the elegance of St Moritz, ideal for a luxury ski break.
VERBIERThe chic alpine village of Verbier is the gateway to the Four Valleys – the largest ski area in Switzerland. Over 400 kilometres of groomed runs await skiers, though the resort is also famed for its powder skiing with challenging off-piste routes. The highest peak reaches 3,330 metres, making it a relatively snow-sure resort, ideal for early-season or spring skiing breaks.
Verbier is known as much for its vibrant après ski and nightlife as it is for its world-class slopes, so it tends to draw a younger crowd than St Moritz. However, the picture-postcard resort is dotted with chocolate box chalets and stylish eateries, securing its place as a favourite amongst socialites, celebrities, and European royalty.
From Richard Branson’s famous ski-in chalet, The Lodge, to the ultra-luxurious Chalet Spa Verbier, which – as the name suggests – is home to extensive private spa facilities – you’re spoilt for choice with luxury chalet options in this upmarket resort.
ZERMATTSet beneath the imposing form of the Matterhorn – formerly of Toblerone fame – Zermatt is Europe’s highest ski resort. It offers over 200 kilometres of high-altitude piste, with plenty of long, cruisy red runs that can take you from the top of the Matterhorn Glacier at 3883 m all the way down to the village. Zermatt joins up with the slopes of neighbouring Italian resort, Cervinia, providing an extra 160 kilometres of piste for keen skiers and riders to explore.
Zermatt is a picturesque resort town with narrow, cobbled streets lined with traditional wooden chalets. These streets are car-free, graced instead by majestic horse-drawn carriages and cute electric taxis to whisk skiers from their chalet to the slopes or the many gourmet restaurants serving Swiss delicacies, including local game dishes.
When it comes to luxury accommodation, Chalet Peak is hard to beat; its prime position offers spectacular views of the Matterhorn from the sprawling terrace and glass-walled living room. However, with its rooftop Jacuzzi and glass ceilings, the ultra-modern Backstage Luxury Chalet gives it a run for its money!