Zermatt ski paradise: hotels and chalets alongside the pistes
Ski-in – ski-out, magical words for ski afficionados who love their snowy adventure to begin the second they leave the door. Those looking for the piste right on their doorstep need look no further than Zermatt which has a range of hotels offering ski-in ski-out.
For genuine ski fans, partying at night followed by a bit of skiing the next day is not what it’s all about. They want ski-in ski-out: “Our guests appreciate good food in the evening, the peace and quiet, the romantic atmosphere”, says Evi Imboden-Biner of the Silvana Hotel on Furi (1,867 m). The hotel has a ski room, an indoor swimming pool and an excellent cuisine – and its front doors open right onto the pistes. At Schwarzsee (2,583 m), after descending from altitudes of over 3,800 m, guests staying at the Hotel Silvana can even choose between the famous “Weisse Perle” piste via Stafelalp and the black piste through Furggloch to return to the hotel. The following morning, it’s up bright and early, straight onto the pistes or catching a Matterhorn Express gondola to whisk them away to the peaks.
At an altitude of 2,222 m, the five-star Riffelalp Resort, which affords a magnificent view of the Matterhorn, is located right at the centre of the Gornergrat ski area. “Our guests tend to be ski fans who prefer peace and quiet, appreciate a bit of luxury and enjoy our hospitality. The whole deal, like what you’d expect on a cruise ship”, says Hans-Jörg Walther, the hotel manager, whose business card refers to him as “Chalet Warden 2,222”. Skiing guests drop in during the day to enjoy the resort’s excellent cuisine which has recently been awarded 13 points in the prestigious 2014 GaultMillau restaurant guide.
Front-row seat in Alpine panorama spectacle
At 3,100 m, the Kulmhotel Gornergrat is the highest altitude hotel in Europe. Its rooms with a view of the Matterhorn offer what is possibly the most spectacular vista of the famed mountain, particularly during sunrise and sunset when it is bathed in luminous colours. After a good sleep at maximum altitude followed by a delicious breakfast, skiers step directly into the Matterhorn ski paradise, setting off for a day of adventure on the 360 km of pistes.
Peaceful ambience at the end of the day
In wintertime, the Mountain Boutique Hotel Cervo changes atmosphere like a chameleon. During the day, it is ‘the place to be’ for ski fans. At the open-air bar, spirits are high, there are cool drinks and music, not to mention flirting in ski goggles and clunky boots. Between the Matterhorn and the mulled wine, sore muscles and sunburn are quickly forgotten. When evening falls, the place changes colour and atmosphere. This is the moment gourmets arrive to enjoy the excellent “Cervo” cuisine which has been awarded 14 GaultMillau points.
Slowly but surely, the hotel guests start emerging from their spas after having enjoyed the twilight hour in peace. Following a splendid dinner, some head off to smoke a cigar in the fumoir. The next morning, well-rested guests step directly into the glass elevator taking them to the subterranean funicular tunnel. Before they know it, they are on Sunnegga (2,288 m) heading in the direction of the Rothorn ski area.
A hint of Hollywood
Aside from a 13 GaultMillau-point cuisine, direct access to the pistes and extensive spa facilities (also open to external guests), the four-star superior Matthiol Hotel in Zermatt’s Winkelmatten quarter also offers its guests an insight into the world of Hollywood. The walls feature pictures of films made by the Swiss film director Marc Foster. There are also numerous portrait photos which show him at work on different film sets. From time to time, the former James Bond director also graces the hotel with his presence. The hotel restaurant has 13 GaultMillau points and is open to hotel guests, visitors and locals alike.
Far removed from the world below
Aside from the hotels already mentioned, Zermatt has a number of other ski-in ski-out hotels and huts catering for guests who like to stay overnight up in the mountains. Among them is the Riffelberg Hotel, located at an altitude of 2,582 m at the heart of the Gornergrat ski area. The hotel offers excellent food, a breath-taking view of the Matterhorn and a place to relax for a few hours between the skiing adventure and dinnertime.
Aside from that, there is the Schwarzsee Hotel (2,583 m) offering unpretentious rooms and a hearty cuisine suitable for those wishing to be the first on the freshly-prepared pistes in the morning.
Insiders can look forward to a wonderful winter experience at Berghaus Grünsee. With the piste descending to Gant, located centrally between the Rothorn and Gornergrat ski areas and close to the Höhtälli and Stockhorn freeride pistes, right on its doorstep, this pleasantly traditional hotel is ideal for fans of pure winter sport fun. Those who prefer their accommodation to be on the modest and rustic side may stay at the Gandegg mountain hut. Located at an altitude of 3,030 m directly on the piste, the chalet offers a spectacular view of the Monte Rosa Massive. Valais specialities are served in the stove-heated dining room. Bedrooms are on the chilly side and showers are best left until guests have returned to the valley.
The Lodge at the Matterhorn glacier paradise (3,883 m) is one for high-altitude lovers. Close to the Italian border, this area has a unique climate: while the air is thin, the night sky, featuring a vibrant Milky Way, is exceptionally clear. In springtime, guests use the Lodge as a starting point for ski tours, for instance to the Monte Rosa or the Breithorn.
Winter sport fun everywhere
The hotels and chalets along the ski pistes have more to offer than ski-in ski-out. Peaceful oases at the heart of the highest altitude ski region in the Alps, they are often located alongside winter hiking paths and snowshoe trails. Tobogganing is also possible on Gornergrat. Some of the hoteliers at the ski-in ski-out hotels who also double as mountain guides and ski instructors take great pleasure in introducing their guests to the magical Alpine world of Zermatt.