If you’re exploring the Swiss Alps, you’ll want to do it in style. From the ritzy ski slopes of St Moritz to the chocolate-box village of Zermatt, Switzerland is home to some fantastic boutique hotels – from a 12th-century castle to a mountainside property overlooking Lake Lucerne – all bookable on Culture Trip.
A trip to the Swiss Alps is focused around two things: the mountains and the food. Hike past glacial lakes in the summer or ski through snow-laden trees in winter. To fuel your adventures, you have to try traditional cheese fondue and a rösti (potato fritter), topped with a fried egg, bacon and more cheese. And that’s before you’ve got to the Swiss chocolate.
It’s not every day that you get to sleep in an igloo, with the Matterhorn only a short distance away. But that’s exactly what you can get at the Iglu-Dorf, or “igloo village”, in Zermatt. While the beds are made of ice, you’ll be cosy warm in a thick sleeping bag on top of a warm sheepskin blanket. All the rooms are connected by a series of tunnels that lead to an indoor bar and restaurant. A cheese fondue dinner, guided night snowshoe trek and time to enjoy the hot tub under the stars come as standard.
Villa Honegg is one of those Swiss hotels you have to see to believe. Built in 1905, it stands proudly on the mountainside, high above Lake Lucerne – best viewed from the astonishing outdoor infinity pool. Inside, there are just 23 rooms, decked out with plush bed linen and homely touches, such as fireplaces and fresh flowers. Art lovers will appreciate the onsite gallery with original works, plus the contemporary sculptures dotted around the garden. Other key highlights include a 20-seat cinema, fine dining restaurant and luxurious spa.
Hotel Firefly looks like a traditional alpine lodge from the outside, but the interior design blends contemporary design with the four elements of earth, fire, air and water. Rooms are chic, decked out with marble bathtubs, floor-to-ceiling windows and crisp white sheets. Large groups should book the Skylight Loft (sleeping 12) with its fireplace, private sauna and Matterhorn views. Downstairs, take advantage of the wine cellar and cigar lounge, primed for a night cap.
Another top boutique hotel in Zermatt, the Coeur des Alpes is owned and run by Leni and her husband, Thomas. You’ll be sure to receive a warm welcome. Choose from a comfortable range of rooms — from snug doubles to spacious self-contained apartments. In the summer, you’ll be drawn to the picturesque terrace, decorated with flowers, sofas and candlelit tables. To top it off, there is a fine dining restaurant and a wellness centre to expunge all those aches from tackling the Zermatt’s slopes.
A night at Whitepod might look like camping, but the geodesic domes at this boutique hotel in Monthey are decked out like a luxury hotel room. Despite their miniature appearance, the Whitepods are actually spacious on the inside. Each one features wooden floors, solid double beds and private bathrooms — the Zen pod even includes a circular Japanese bath. There are 25km (16mi) of hiking trails stretching across the mountains from the hotel, plus the slopes of Les Portes du Soleil are just a 35-minute drive away.
Hotel Chesa Stuvi Colani can be found in the beautiful Engadine valley in the Swiss canton of Graubünden. This carefully preserved historic building dates back to the 17th century, with 13 rooms and suites to choose from. After a day exploring the region, kick back in the spa, complete with a sauna, hammam, salt room and jacuzzi. The glam ski resort of St Moritz is also nearby. Don’t leave without sampling the creative cuisine whipped up by chef Paolo Casanova and his wife Stella Guarneri.
Sean Mowbray contributed additional reporting.