I knew Zermatt was going to be one hell of a ski trip following this conversation with my best friend Tammy: “Did you know our chalet offers a private heliport?”.
T: “What? What does that mean?”
“Guests of Mountain Exposure can fly into Zermatt on a private jet or helicopter, so you don’t have to bother with the three hour train ride from the airport.”
T: “Oh my god. It’s going to be immense isn’t it?
And it really was.
Obviously we didn’t get a private jet (I mean, come on, that’s just for the rich ‘n famous) but we did get 5-star treatment from the moment we were greeted with a placard at Zermatt train station.
Zermatt has that spark, you know, that indefinable thing that makes celebrities glisten. The streets are lined with elegant restaurants and grand hotels, adorned with twinkling lights, surround you. The picturesque village is postcard perfect, rich in Swiss culture and authenticity. Yet somehow flashy million-dollar hotels sit perfectly side-by-side next to humble, wooden chalets.
The dramatic snow-caked mountains and impressive views of The Matterhorn (Europe’s most iconic peak) were an early indication that we (my husband, four friends and I) were about to have a ski trip of a lifetime.
Friends in the know had already told me Zermatt’s a world-class destination and we were quickly finding this to be true. Initially, my thoughts included how peaceful and laid-back it seemed. The strict no car rule meant we were surrounded by horse-drawn sleighs and electric taxis, adding extra depth to Zermatt’s whimsical charm. It’s one of the world’s biggest ski regions with a staggering 227 miles of runs. You can even cross over the boarder of Switzerland to ski in Italy via a six-seater chairlift – a very unique way to enter another country!
Where to stay:
There’s only one way to experience Zermatt – in a stunning, luxury Mountain Exposure chalet. The lodges look incredible on their website, but be prepared for a serious ‘wow’ as you walk in. Our spectacular designer lodge, Gemini, was nestled into the hillside providing a breathtaking, aerial view over the entire village on one side and stunning views of snow-caked mountains on the other. Our home for the week had been given a full designer 5-star, interior makeover but it still felt cozy, layered in that traditional, chalet-chic charm you expect when staying in a ski lodge.
It had two spectacular double balconies, an outdoor hot tub overlooking the snow-topped village and pistes, in-house sauna, roaring log burner, flatscreen satellite TV, wifi, and Jacuzzi baths in all master bedrooms.
The Mountain Exposure team catered to our every whim, answering all our touristy questions, filling the fridge with wine and beer, putting chocolates on our pillows, giving us the low down on the best après ski places, suggesting bars and restaurants for evenings out. Owner Donald even organized a private chef to cook a five-course gourmet dinner in our chalet on final last night. What an amazing surprise that was! We arrived home after a long day on the slopes and jumped straight into the outdoor hot tub to soothe our bruised/ battered bones (we fell over a lot thinking we were seasoned enough to test out a few jumps. Turns out we’re not).
At 7pm we were served champagne and homemade canapés (one including an whole, perfectly poached egg yolk) in front of a roaring fire while our Michelin-trained chef dressed the table and served a fine-dinning feast by candle light. Cameras and mobiles were switched off so we could really relax and live in the moment. It was a fantastic end to an amazing trip. (The homemade Limoncello was a great final touch).
The Blue Lounge at Blueherd lift is a must see. The mountains views from the outdoor terrace, which creates an incredible sunbath, are superb. The majestic peak of the almighty Matterhorn can be seen in all it’s splendor glowing, boldly in the distance. The views, the food, the atmosphere – all responsible for another wow moment. We sunbathed on huge sofas scattered with cushions while drinking beer and sharing pizzas and nachos. A definitely highlight for lunch mid-mountain in the sun.
For a typical European style après ski bar complete with ski-in, huge beers and gluhwein check out Hennu Stall – at the foot of the last run back into to the village from Furi. There’s a live band and DJ on most days resulting in indoor and outdoor dancing. Don’t forget after a concoction of shots you still have to put your skis on for the last run home.
We loved Gees a little bar right in the centre of the village. Sophisticated but cozy with live music every night. The singers were actually really good, not your typical dodgy karaoke bands. The bar has a chilled vibe so dress however you want, great cocktail list too.
Downstairs is The Cuckcoo Club if you wanna dance ‘til dawn.
The Broken Bar Disco at the Hotel Post is said to be one of the most legendary nightclubs in Zermatt. Apparently you haven’t truly enjoyed Zermatt until you’ve dance on the barrel in the wee hours. Luckily, we can go home in the knowledge that we did. The iconic bar is in the cellar, in a vault under the hotel.
Things to know:
– You can’t make any noise outside your chalet after 10pm…we learnt the hard way with a 300CHF fine and a telling off from the police. Who, incidentally, carry guns…not want you need when you’re semi naked and drunk in a hot tub at 1.30am.
– The train ride from Geneva to Zermatt might be 3 ½ hours but the trains are impeccable and the scenery with hillside waterfalls and tranquil lakes, is amazing.
– Buy your return Swizz rail tickets online in the UK before you go, it works out much cheaper
– Wear sunscream on your lips. After three days in the scorching sunshine up a mountain I was rivalling Lesley Ash on the trout pout front.
I went to Zermatt on a travel trip for Wedding Ideas magazine. See the article below: