All Images Credit Giordano Hotels

St. Moritz's Poshest Place to Play and Stay: The Hotel Giardino Mountain

Mar. 31st, 2022

St Moritz is considered the epitome of Europe’s luxe ski resorts. And it should be. Celebs, the well-to-do, and legions of bon vivants have been gracing the slopes there for over 120 years. This town offers the best of everything from its idyllic slopes to its apres-ski respites for the beau monde. One of its chicest hotels is as glamorous as St. Moritz itself; the Hotel Giardino Mountain.

All Images Credit Giardino Hotels

St Moritz has a well-deserved reputation for being the swankiest of Europe’s ski resorts. What also makes it quite unusual is that oftentimes during the ski season, it is surprisingly quite warm and sunny so you’ll see skiers zipping down the slopes sans bulky winter garb. And as beautiful as the weather is in St. Moritz, it is clearly not just another pretty face. The skiing is world-class provided by nine ski resorts with high altitudes, excellent snow quality, and an endless variety of runs for skiers of all levels. The season is a short one though and pretty much ends in April. Those who love to ski know that the season runs for just four delicious months so plan their holidays there well in advance.

After the ski day is done, there are plenty of places for apres-ski from sophisticated hot spots like Balthazar or more casual spots for an apertivo before dinner. And not every day has to be spent on the piste. Visitors will want to take a day away from the slopes and spend time around town.  There are plenty of things to do from the Rodeo Drive level shopping at the top designer brand shops or perhaps a spa day. Outdoor lovers will opt for other winter sports from cross country skiing, long walks in the beautiful Engadin valley, or ice skating in the heart of town, the frozen Lake St. Moritz. For the thrill-seeker, there‘s even a bobsleigh course to get the blood going.    

Winter is the social season for the well-to-do in St. Moritz and every week there’s something exciting happening from Winter Polo to the White Turf and countless high society events on the lake. During the winter season, St. Moritz is the hands-down place to be.

The Giardino Mountain Hotel is located on the outskirts of St Moritz in Champfer, a hamlet that feels more like a Swiss village than the privileged playground of glitzy town. The lodge is located 2000 meters above sea level between Corvatsch and Corviglia mountains and is surrounded by the dramatic Alpine scenery of the forests and lakes of the Engadine valley.    

The Hotel Giardino Mountain is a delightfully different five-star mountain resort.  From the outside, you’ll immediately appreciate the stunning façade steeped in history as a former girls’ boarding school dating back to the 1800s. The authentic exteriors are typical for this area of Switzerland so you won’t find the wooden chalets of the central region. The design of the region includes concrete and stone buildings with gorgeous artistic designs known as sgraffito, etched into the surface.   

The hotel opened in 2011 after being repurposed and renovated into something truly spectacular. The seven buildings are connected via tunnels to create one stylish winter retreat with a palpable contemporary flair.  Once inside, you’ll want to prepare yourself for a deliciously executed assault on the senses. Bold and brash yet sophisticated designs are found throughout with dazzling light fixtures, bold colored walls, and ultra-contemporary furnishings. The lounge is the central communal area with a blazing fire in a hearth where the well-heeled gather for cocktails and convo. The space is dramatic with plush furnishings, ceilings with exposed rafters, and a buzzing bar scene.

Throughout the hotel are flamboyant designs elements that surprise the guests such as the wall of covered with bright roses in a staircase, three-foot-tall crystal chandeliers that resemble an icicle designed by Tiffany & Co., or the subterranean tunnel that connects the buildings with a theatrical hanging floral jungle that covers the ceiling. Along the way are copper-colored walls with hand-painted inspirational travel quotes such as: “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” By  Saint Augustine or “Not all those who wander are lost” by J.R.R. Tolkien.

The design is only one of the decadent attributes of the luxury mountain hotel along with three top-notch dining outlets, bars, a sun terrace, spa, and workout facilities.  What pulls it all together is their friendly and polished cracker jack staff, all of whom are switched on and at-the-ready to go beyond the call of duty for their guests, from their Les Cles d'Or concierge who has been with Giardino Hotels for 35 years to the restaurant staff who deliver the highest level of service. 

The haute design does not stop in the lounge and common areas. The accommodations adeptly balance a contemporary aesthetic with the rustic Alpine charm of a chalet.  Natural Swiss pine wood walls and hardwood floors contrast with modern Italian leather furnishings, blingy chandelier lamps, and modern electronics.   

Accommodations vary in size and amenities from rooms to spacious suites. The mountain suites feature a separate living area a white egg-shaped bath for two in the bedroom. This suite features two patios to take in the views of the mountainscapes while having a glass of wine at the end of the ski day.   

Guests will want to want to have a hearty meal before and after a long day on the slopes and the Hotel Giardino Mountain does not disappoint. The mountain retreat offers three exceptional choices including one of the best fine dining restaurants in St. Moritz. Helmed by one of the top chefs in Europe, Executive Chef Rolf Fliegauf,  the Ecco St. Moritz is home to two Michelin stars.

The hotel’s Hide and Seek Restaurant is exceptional as well and crafts an haute cuisine menu from regional products with gourmet techniques. The gastronomic menu is extravagant with dishes such as Wild caught turbot fillet with broad beans, Szechuan pepper, marinated pineapple, or the must-have lamb entrecôte with aubergine puree, miso, Sicilian Panella, and Marsala jus.   

The third option is Stüva. The restaurant is exactly what you’d expect in the high mountains of Switzerland and is a showcase for traditional Swiss food. This décor takes you to another place with rustic Alpine décor, carved wooden paneling, slate stone floors, Tyrolean Swiss Peasant Chairs with sheep wool covers. This is an authentic Engadine dining experience, hearty and casual, with a local Swiss menu featuring their must-have Wiener Schnitzel with lingonberries and rosemary potatoes.

Skiing and sore muscles go hand in hand and the Hotel Giardino Mountain has the ideal solution for weary bodies. The dipiù Spa is a full-service spa featuring a wide range of wellness services from classic and therapeutic massages to Ayurvedic-inspired treatments. The expansive wellness facilities offer a vast sauna zone with steam baths, and whirlpools as well an indoor pool. Workout facilities include gym replete with high-tech equipment with yoga and meditation classes available as well. 

The Giardino hotels are a small group of luxury boutique hotels with properties in Aascona, Locarno, Zurich as well as St. Moritz.  Their brand of hotels is not made for everyone, but they do cater to a sophisticated clientele looking for something unique. The hotel often books out as those who know it, love it and come back season after season and even generation after generation.    

For a unique winter luxury hotel in St Moritz, the Hotel Giardino Mountain offers its brand of subtle elegance to ensure an enjoyable winter holiday, year after year

Glenn Harris

Glenn Harris is an accomplished journalist focusing on international travel, fine dining, and luxury lifestyle events. His wanderlust has taken him to over 105 countries where he is constantly straying off the beaten path uncovering new and exotic finds. He particularly enjoys seeking out lesser known travel gems and places to stay, dine, or experiences to capture. ...(Read More)