High-octane glamour or peaceful tranquillity? Switzerland’s Engadine offers both

Travellers are reacting differently to the last 18 months – some want to get out and celebrate after months of being cooped up, others want to retreat to a place of blissful tranquillity. Luckily, Switzerland’s Engadine valley can accommodate both. While the glitzy resort of St. Moritz will be staging a winter season of full-on, high-octane glamour once again, its low-key neighbour Pontresina will be welcoming visitors yearning for a quieter pace of life.

Snow Polo World Cup; Audi FIS Ski World Cup © Alessandro della Bella: Engadin St. Moritz Tourismus

In St. Moritz, the season starts with a bang with the Audi FIS Ski World Cup (11 & 12 December), followed in the New Year by two of the resort’s most popular events the Snow Polo World Cup and the St. Moritz Gourmet Festival, which both launch on 28 January, with White Turf following fast on their heels with race dates on 6, 13 and 20 February.

An addition to the resort’s winter offering is “Amusements on the Lake” in the months of January and February, when frozen Lake St. Moritz will become a hub of activity for the whole family, providing the chance to ice skate, curl, ski-jore, cross-country ski and/or play a little winter golf, in between hot chocolate stops and bites to eat.

Mauro Colagreco in the K © Thomas Buchwalder_GaultMillau; Lobby at Kulm Hotel St. Moritz

At the Kulm Hotel St. Moritz, many guests will have a first chance to sample the delights of the superstar chef Mauro Colagreco, who opened his first venture in the Alps in the property’s gourmet restaurant the K in December 2020 and six weeks later won a Michelin star in record time.

Rates at the Kulm Hotel St. Moritz start from CHF885 for two people sharing a double room on a half-board basis. The property is also offering a Ski Special package that includes half-board accommodation, a ski pass for the duration of the stay and complimentary ski transfers to the Corviglia base station; a minimum three-night stay starts from CHF3,110, additional nights are bookable on request. Reservations can be made online at www.kulm.com or via phone on +41 81 836 8000.

Those who prefer to get away from the crowds in search of peace and quiet will want to head to the enchanting resort of Pontresina, which is less than a 10-minute drive from St. Moritz, offering the possibility to dip in and out of the glitzy lifestyle as and when the desire strikes.

A traditional mountain village lined with historic buildings and beautiful old homes adorned with sgraffito (sculptured decoration), Pontresina lies in a sunny, sheltered side valley of the Engadine. Local festivals, the sing-song tones of Romansch in the streets and the stunning natural environment (within touching distance of wild Swiss stone pine and larch forests, with wonderful views of the magnificent Roseg glacier) further set it apart.

Cross-country skiing © Filip Zuan: Engadin St. Moritz Tourismus; Sta. Maria Church in Pontresina among the woods © Patric Huber: Pontresina Tourismus

There are no downhill ski pistes here (aside from a kids’ slope), so cross-country skiing enthusiasts prefer to base themselves in Pontresina, along with nature lovers (ibex winter observation walks take place in February and March), and those who simply want to wallow in the warm waters of winter wellness.

Grand Hotel Kronenhof’s extensive 2000 square metre spa with its floor to ceiling wraparound windows allows guests to relax and rejuvenate while gazing out at the beauty of the Engadine valley. Whether it’s a treatment to pamper, a PT session in the gym to kickstart a new fitness regime or simply time in the hydro-spa pool for quiet reflection, the Kronenhof Spa has something – and space – for everyone.

Additionally, once a month in the winter season, a Yoga Summit takes place that includes both hatha and yin yoga classes, as well as meditation sessions, meaning guests can improve their flexibility and achieve greater relaxation through conscious breathing; it’s the perfect chance to “come up (to the mountains) to slow down” over the course of a long weekend.

Grand Hotel Kronenhof; Kronenhof Spa

Rates at Grand Hotel Kronenhof start from CHF565 for two people sharing a double room on a half-board basis. The cost of the Yoga Summit package, which is in addition to the accommodation charge, starts from CHF45 for a single class rising to CHF200 for all the classes held over three days. Reservations can be made online at www.kronenhof.com or via phone on +41 81 830 3030.

Kulm Hotel St. Moritz will open on 3 December 2021, while Grand Hotel Kronenhof will open on 10 December 2021; both properties close on 3 April 2022.

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