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Kulm Hotel: The Real Reason Visitors Flock to St. Moritz in the Winter

Kulm Hotel

Photo Credit: Kulm Hotel

The elegant five-star Kulm Hotel stands proudly in the center of St. Moritz, enveloped between breathtaking views of Engadine lake and snowy Alpine mountains. The landscape is that of a real winter wonderland.

 

Kulm Hotel
Photo Credit: Kulm Hotel

Kulm is a German derivation of the Latin word ‘culmen,’ meaning hill or crest, and is the oldest hotel in St. Moritz, having been established in 1855. Antique décor, chandeliers, grand pianos and neoclassical pillars and arches all around the hotel point to a rich and romantic history.

Kulm Hotel
Photo Credit: Hanna Sillitoe

It may surprise you to learn that historically, during the winter season in St. Moritz, hotels used to close; it was considered to be too cold and dangerous for visitors. This all changed in the autumn of 1864, when Kulm Hotel owner Johannes Badnutt made what became a historic bet with a group of English summer guests. Badnutt convinced them to come back at his expense for the entire winter, even offering to pay their way home. They ended up staying until Easter and winter tourism was launched. In the 1890s, various enterprising winter guests were keen to develop new sports using ice tracks. So skibobbing, skeleton bobsled, and cresta emerged. Soon, competitions for all these sports were held in the vast Kulm Park. The Winter Olympic Games of 1928 and 1948 were opened here. And true to tradition, the Kulm Hotel is today still home to the historic St. Moritz Tobogganing Club and Cresta Club; the hotel hosts the Olympia Bob Run St. Moritz-Celerina annually.

Kulm Hotel
Photo Credit: Hanna Sillitoe

Visiting today, we enjoyed a beautiful and newly refurbished suite located in the wing of the property known as the Neukulm. The neutral-colored décor and cozy furnishings have been overseen by award-winning French interior designer Pierre-Yves Rochon, who has previously worked with other luxury brands such as Four Seasons and The Peninsula Hotels.

Other features include floor to ceiling lacquered wall units (which are very characteristic of Pierre-Yves Rochon’s design), natural black stone tiles in the bathrooms and beige or light blue color ways. The end result is newly-created rooms that provide the perfect synergy between grand hotel style and modern Alpine living. It’s incredibly peaceful, almost silent, and the still mountains and ever changing colors of the sky create a multitude of photo-worthy moments. As does the spa, with an equally breathtaking fairy tale setting.

Kulm Hotel
Photo Credit: Cheryl Anne Slater

The spa is a state of the art wellness and fitness dream. Based on its pioneering wellness concept of the three pillars: relaxation, detoxification and regeneration. At over 2,000 square meters, it’s one of the best and certainly the biggest spas I’ve been to. The facilities are exceptional: steam baths, whirlpool, salt water grotto, Finnish sauna, bio sauna, infrared cabin, keneipp footpath and plenty of heated water beds to relax on. You can’t beat going for an energizing swim in the morning then catching the sunrise from the stunning outdoor pool. There’s something rather magical about being outside in freezing temperatures but feeling warm to the bone and watching the mist rise and float off the water against the pine forests and mountains in the background.

This is a spa where you could easily spend a full day relaxing or taking yoga or fitness classes. The surroundings alone have a very meditative and calming effect body and mind. Having heard excellent feedback on their therapists and treatments, I went for my first experience of shiatsu.  It’s physically painful as my therapist works very deeply and intuitively to release emotions and muscle tension, at times it becomes almost too much, but I breathe through it and feel amazing afterwards; she has definitely shifted something.

Kulm Hotel
Photo Credit: Hanna Sillitoe

We had the pleasure of going to the visit the sister hotel of the Kulm, the Grand Hotel Kronenhof in Pontresina for an impressive six-course vegetarian gourmet meal. Culinary highlights from the menu included a cauliflower soup with ricotta cheese and an incredible box of petit fours and homemade chocolates, served in a two-level box with chocolate soil.

After spending only two nights at the Kulm, the old world Swiss charm of the hotel, its superb staff (and of course the views), had certainly left a long standing impression. The winter was beautiful, but I’d love to go back in the summer months for a different view of the lake, after the ice has melted and the Alps adopt their alternative guises with the donning of their summer suits.

Cheryl Slater

Cheryl is a travel writer and blogger specialising in health and wellness travel. She travels the globe to seeks out the best retreats and resorts. Visit her site Soul Seed Travel for tips and recommendations on wellness travel and inspiration www.soulseedmedia.com ...(Read More)

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