In the last decade of the nineteenth century, Johannes Badrutt was able to persuade the British upper class to travel to St. Moritz in winter. The British were reluctant to spend the winter months in a place that was even colder than England, but Badrutt convinced them, assuring them that in St. Moritz, even with everything full of snow, they could be wearing short sleeves when the sun was shining. If that proved not to be true, the hotelier promised to pay for the cost of their stay. And that was how Badrutt invented winter tourism in the Alps while making his hotel, the Palace, an icon. Marlene Dietrich, Audrey Hepburn, and Alfred Hitchcock are on the list of countless celebrities who have spent their winters here, turning the icon into a legend. Parties at the Palace are already mythical and the extravagant desires of its guests are complied with without question, leaving curious anecdotes etched in history like when they brought an elephant to the hotel to deliver a birthday gift to a guest, or how they filled the hotel’s swimming pool with sea lions to liven up a party.
Today, Badrutt’s Palace continues to be top-notch in terms of elegance, classicism, and good service without forgetting the extravagance by which it has always been characterized. Year after year, the hotel has undergone updates and expanded its domain, reaching 520 dedicated employees, 157 rooms and suites, 8 restaurants, 3 bars, tennis courts, basketball courts, an ice skating rink, and a wellness center with a gym, pools, a spa, a hair salon, a barber shop, and rooms for yoga. The hotel’s facilities even include nearby buildings, like the restaurant Chesa Veglia, which is a historic estate that was turned into the hotel’s restaurant in 1936 and which offers traditional food in a unique atmosphere and with impeccable service that even prepares and plates the lobsters in front of the diners. Another of the buildings that has recently been built opposite the hotel is a shopping gallery which features respected shops like Bottega Veneta, Giorgio Armani, Gucci, Bulgari and, of course, the Hauser & Wirth Gallery.
In both summer and winter, St. Moritz offers the chance to do many activities: boating on the lake, windsurfing, skiing, taking a helicopter ride or paragliding, snowboarding, playing golf, taking a horse-led carriage ride in the snow, tobogganing, and gambling at the casino until the wee hours. And Bradrutt’s Palace is, to a large extent, the reason why St. Moritz has become such a lively, interesting, and luxurious destination. How else could this village with 5,000 inhabitants have its own airport solely for private jets?
In addition, St. Moritz is where one of the most important sightseeing trains of Europe departs from: the Glacier Express, which goes to Zermatt, another Alpine destination par excellence. In 2019, the Glacier Express added a new, luxurious car to the train –Excellence Class– with its own bar, Wi-Fi, and a concierge. For the 8 hours that the journey lasts, passengers can enjoy a five-course meal while taking in the Swiss mountain scenery.