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  Age on Sunday   05 Mar 2017  On top of the world

On top of the world

THE ASIAN AGE. | SOPHIE CHOUDRY
Published : Mar 5, 2017, 5:51 am IST
Updated : Mar 5, 2017, 6:53 am IST

Switzerland’s original winter wonderland, St Moritz has been luring royals and celebrities since 1864.

St Moritz (Photos: stmoritz.ch)
 St Moritz (Photos: stmoritz.ch)

The magic at St Moritz starts with the drive from the airport itself. The town is just a couple of hours away from the Zurich airport and takes you through snow-capped mountains offering a spectacular view.

The Badrutt’s Palace, which was my haven for the holiday, is in a palatial 1896 lakeshore building, across the road from Lake St Moritz. The grand hotel has a beautiful amphitheatre that has seen some magical performances by artists from around the world. My room was gifted with a surreal view of the mountains — something that I can never forget.

In an attempt to fulfil my typical Bollywood fantasy set in Switzerland, I ran in slow motion on a frozen lake — full filmi style. It was freezing of course, but I find something alluring about the cold — the winter fashion. Adorned with stores of some of the most prominent fashion houses of the world, St Moritz is truly a fashionable place, especially the luxury street, Via Serlas. The place has all the designer stores that one can think of and lots of beautiful little unique boutiques. However, what I remember most fondly is the chocolate shop, Laderbach, that sells chocolates by slabs! It’s a heaven for all chocoholics.

Speaking of food, the food options feel a tad heavy, but comforting too, owing to the weather. Their staple diet offers lots of cheese, bread, steaks and perhaps one of the best truffle pasta I have had the opportunity to indulge in.

Being a London girl, I’m used to the cold weather, but the snow in St Moritz was something else. The weather is crisp and cold, but you can make up for it by making the best of winter fashion.

My trip was far too short for me to go up further into the mountains to ski — something that I would have loved to experience in the Alps. Nonetheless, during our short stay there, we covered quite a bit with the added bonus of watching the magnificent Andrea Bocceli sing live for a select audience. That, along with the view from every possible angle, made this a trip unlike any other.

TT

If you only have one day in St Moritz, I would suggest making the most of it by arranging a guided hike the night before to get enchanted by the best of the mountains that surround the tiny ski village. Get up early, put on your hiking boots and get to the train station by around 9.30 am. From there, you can take the cable car that goes all the way up to the Diavolezza summit station. With an experienced guide, you can discover the magnificent Pers and Bernina Glaciers and experience what it feels like to be on top of some 5 billion tons of ice — it’s a must thing to do.

After being out in the fresh mountain air, get ready for a hearty meal. Stop by the Diavolezza Hotel, and enjoy a four-course meal. Try their local specialty — gooey, rich fondue. Reserve the afternoon for browsing the many luxury shops found in the village (you’ll find outposts of Gucci, Prada, Bottega Veneta and more), or if you are not that much into shopping then plan a visit to the Palace Spa at Badrutt’s Palace and soak in the heated indoor pool with views of the lake, or lounge in the steam baths and Finnish sauna. A dinner at Chesa Veglia, a rustic farmhouse that houses three restaurants in one, will be an ideal way to end the day. The pizzeria is cosy and warm, and serves some of the best wood-fired pizzas and Italian wines.

Places to eat
Ecco On Snow: It is the pinnacle of St. Moritz’s dining scene. Two-Michelin-starred Ecco On Snow is where chef Rolf Fliegauf gives flight to culinary fantasy when the flakes fall in winter.

Chesa Veglia: This is a slate-roofed, chalk-white chalet restaurant that dates back to1658. The softly lit interior has warm pine and creaking wood floors, while the terrace offers lake and mountain views. Opt for a pizza or one of their regional specials.

Laudinella: Pizza lovers rave about the thin-crust Neapolitan numbers that fly out of the wood-oven at Hotel Laudinella’s pizzeria, which range from a simple Margherita to the gourmet Domenico with truffles and beef.

Trivia
The town was a favourite spot of celebrities like Charlie Chaplin, Greta Garbo, Brigitte Bardot, the Shah of Iran, Alfred Hitchcock, Liz Taylor and even communist revolutionary Lenin

Getting there
Nearest airport: Engadin, Samedan, 10 minutes (7 km) or Zurich, three hours (200 km). Nearest station: St Moritz.

Sophie Choudry is an actress-singer and former VJ.

Tags: switzerland, st moritz, badrutt’s palace