St. Moritz, the town of 5,000 inhabitants with a private jet airport
Johannes Badrutt persuaded the English upper class to visit St. Moritz during winter in the last decade of the nineteenth century. The English were hesitant to spend the winter months in a country even colder than England, but Badrutt persuaded them by promising them that even if it was snowed in, they could wear short sleeves in St. Moritz when the sun shone. If they did not, the hotelier agreed to cover the cost of their stay.
As a result, Badrutt pioneered alpine winter tourism while also establishing his hotel, the Palace, as a landmark. Countless celebrities, including Marlene Dietrich, Audrey Hepburn, and Alfred Hitchcock, have spent their winters here, turning the icon into a legend. The Palace’s parties are already legendary, and its guests’ extravagant wishes are met without complaint, leaving behind odd anecdotes like when an elephant was brought to the hotel to deliver a birthday gift to a guest, or when they filled the hotel’s swimming pool with sea lions to liven up a party.
Badrutt’s Palace is still the best in the world when it comes to elegance, classicism, and superb service, without sacrificing the luxury that has always defined it. The hotel has been updating and expanding its domain year after year, to the point where it now has 520 dedicated employees, 157 rooms and suites, 8 restaurants, 3 bars, tennis courts, basketball courts, an ice skating rink, and a wellness center with gym, swimming pools, spa, hairdresser, barbershop, and yoga rooms.
The hotel’s facilities also include neighboring structures, such as the Chesa Veglia restaurant, a historic farmhouse converted into the hotel’s restaurant in 1936, which serves traditional food in a unique atmosphere with impeccable service, including the preparation and plating of lobsters in front of guests. A shopping arcade, which features such prestigious tenants as Bottega Veneta, Giorgio Armani, Gucci, Bulgari, and, of course, the Hauser & Wirth gallery, has recently been created in front of the hotel.
St. Moritz provides a variety of sports in the summer and winter, including lake sailing, windsurfing, skiing, helicopter or paragliding, snowboarding, golfing, horse-drawn carriage rides in the snow, sledding, and gambling till late at night at the casino. And it is partly due to Bradrutt’s Palace that St. Moritz has become such a vibrant, intriguing, and opulent resort – how else would this town of 5,000 people have its own airport allocated solely for private jets?
The Glacier Express, one of Europe’s most important scenic trains, departs from St. Moritz and travels to Zermatt, another excellent Alpine resort. The Glacier Express introduced a new luxury Excellence Class carriage in 2019, equipped with its own bar, Wi-Fi, and concierge. Passengers can sample a 5-course dinner while taking in the majestic Swiss countryside during the 8-hour trek.