The Haller Family tests Zermatt
The entire family in Zermatt for one weekend… And this as the winners with the most creative photograph that was submitted. This was what the contest required. The winners were the Haller family from Hürth, Germany. They scrutinised the Zermatt – Matterhorn destination from March 30st to April 2nd, 2017 and then wrote a report about their experiences.
Zermatt – a Family Destination? We tested it!
We were completely blown away when Lara from Zermatt Tourism let us know that we had won the photo challenge. Marius has known the village since his childhood. He was in Zermatt for the first time in 1993 when he was six years old. But his most recent visit was quite some time ago. And now, he had a very different perspective of the area and what it offered as the father of a two and a half year old daughter.
Day 1: Arrival by train
We began our journey by train in Cologne, Germany. Changing trains at three stations was somewhat stressful, but the last part of the trip from Visp to Zermatt with the Matterhorn Gotthard Bahn and its large panorama windows more than made up for that. Lenia had a lot of fun counting the cows, birds and also the donkeys as we passed by.
Once we arrived in the village, we enjoyed a very friendly and warm welcome by Lara and Corinne from Zermatt Tourism. They gave us three ski passes for the weekend along with the vouchers we could use to test the various sights, attractions and activities. We were free to decide what we wanted to do and when. Lenia paid little attention to that arrangement. She was far more interested in having her mum photograph her with her big new friend, Wolli.
We set off for the Hotel La Ginabelle from the train station. Our first impression was already very good. Lenia was welcomed with a balloon, something we have never experienced in any other hotel. How well they were set up for children was something we would later learn about first hand. They had reserved a very beautiful room with a great view of the Matterhorn for us, and they had already prepared a childbed for Lenia. There was also a small children’s bathrobe for her. And they had even thought about placing a bottle warmer for her baby food in the room ahead of time.
Mountains, snow and sledges
The first thing we did was using the ski passes we were given to travel all the way up to Gornergrat with the Gornergrat Bahn. The view of the glacier from up there is amazing! With the next train, we travelled down to Rotenboden, where we rented two sledges – one with a child’s seat and one without – using a voucher. However, since it was still very early in the day and the sledge run had just been prepared, the sledges were all the way up to speed after just a few metres. In the steeper sections, the ride was too fast for little Lenia and she was afraid. We all would have felt more comfortable if there had also been a fence or net along the edge of the sledge run. And so we ended our run after about 500 m and set off on a sledge hike back to the station instead. Then we took the Gornergrat Bahn down to Riffelberg, and from there continued with the gondola up to Trockener Steg. After lunch in the restaurant there, we took the large cable car up to the Klein Matterhorn. We wanted to go to the viewing platform and we were not disappointed by the breath-taking view.
The Hotel La Ginabelle – Paradise for Families
We set off for our hotel after our return to the village. In the spa and wellness area we relaxed in the Whirlpool, swam and splashed in the outdoor pool and enjoyed the quiet of the steam bath. And then we had dinner. We noticed again how well the hotel is set up for families with children. Lenia had her own children’s cutlery, there were tools for painting and drawing, and she had her own three-course children’s menu. The food in the hotel is very rich in variety and delicious. However, dinner was somewhat long. Mainly because of the six-course menu for us adults. Therefore, we would have liked to have the evening meal begin already at 7 pm.
Day 2: Skiing for the entire family
On the next day and after our nutritious and generous breakfast, Lenia had the opportunity to play in the hotel’s own kids club – naturally under the supervision of a childcare counsellor – while we parents used the time to take off for the ski areas at Sunnegga, Blauherd and Rothorn for some skiing. The equipment was provided by Flexrent just across from the Sunnegga lift. Their service was quick and uncomplicated. After a windy but always sunny morning on the pistes, we spoiled ourselves at Chez Vrony at Findeln with an amazing view, great food and wonderful service.
Afterwards, we set off on our return journey to the village. When we arrived at the hotel, Lenia was still taking her afternoon nap. Apparently, playing and painting in the kids club was very tiring. Certainly, it was good that she had some time to “recharge her batteries”. In the afternoon we went back to Flexrent and then with the Sunnegga underground railway up to the ski area again. This time, Lenia was our skier. Zermatt Tourism had booked a ski teacher to help her with her very first time on skis. Lenia was very enthusiastic about Wolli Park, an area for young and old beginners on skis. The gentle slopes and easy lifts for a return to the “top” made it possible for Lenia to practice her skiing under supervision but by herself. Roman, her ski instructor from the Stoked Ski and Snowboard School, was a sensitive and very good teacher. Besides the fun and games, Lenia also demonstrated that she is a very talented beginner skier, which Roman also confirmed. We parents were very proud of her and danced around the two of them with three cameras for two hours.
There is much to experience in the village as well!
When we arrived back in Zermatt, it was wonderfully warm and the sun was shining. During our walk through the village, we came to the playground “Obere Matten”. Lenia tried out the seesaw, the slide and the climbing frame for more than an hour. During that time, we observed that the best days of the playground were long past and that the time had come to renovate both the benches and the playground itself. Unfortunately, Lenia stumbled over one of the flagstones. And the fence with its two entrances along the street was certainly a candidate for a better solution so that children could not leave the area without being supervised.
The time before dinner was spent in the spa and wellness area of the hotel again. Evgenija used a voucher for a full-body massage. The offered treatments were very comprehensive and the staff member was nice and skilled. We spent the rest of this day relaxing while having dinner together.
Day 3: Our departure approaches
On the day of our departure, we used the time after breakfast to purchase souvenirs for friends and family. Then we spent our last hours in Zermatt enjoying a delicious lunch in the Chalet Hotel Schönegg. That also gave us time to enjoy the wonderful view over the village and of the Matterhorn. Afterwards, we went to the train station, where we said goodbye to our friends of Zermatt Tourism and of course to Wolli as well.
We had spent a few beautiful days in Zermatt. Even though we were only able to ski for a few hours, there were also many other activities to pass the time together as a family. This showed us clearly that in Zermatt itself there are plenty of things for guests to enjoy even during the ski season. Even if they cannot ski the pistes from early in the morning until late in the afternoon. For us, it is very clear: Zermatt is a wonderful family destination and we will certainly come again!