By Charmaine Hibbert
Following an early departure from London Heathrow we find ourselves boarding the train from Zurich airport and heading south east to St Moritz. The design of the airport means just a couple of escalators down and I am standing on the train platform and after a short journey into one of Zurich’s main train stations our train to St Moritz is waiting for us on the adjourning platform.
My intention was to catch up on some well-deserved and long-awaited sleep but 5-minutes after our departure Lake Zurich appears to our left, the water sparkling like jewels as the sun dances across its surface. The fine weather ensured the lake was littered with people taking advantage, sailing in boats, water skiers, jet skiers, kite gliders, wind surfers. Those not indulging in the water sports lined the lake side with picnics and BBQ’s. On the other side of the lake the mountain reaches up to the skies with its snow-capped peaks breaking the clouds. I had to hit the imaginary snooze button on my sleep as James and I dance between windows to capture the best views.
By the time we pull into St Moritz I am a little disappointed that the train journey has come to an end and that few hours seems to pass so quickly, I have never experienced a train journey like it. I have seen photos of Switzerland and can see its beauty, but travelling through this magnificent country by train and experiencing it, I know it’s a memory and feeling that will stay with me for the rest of my life.
Our hotel is a short 10-minute drive away; not wanting to miss any of the sights I have my face pressed against the window just soaking up these incredible views. As we pull up outside The Albana Hotel it looks very traditional Swiss in style but once you get inside you can see it has all been updated and for me the contrast works perfectly.
James has a room on the first floor but I head up to the third floor and straight to my balcony; a little fist pump as I step out to uninterrupted views of the mountains and lake, I could sit here all day and soak up those views but my hunger will not abate and we are all meeting downstairs for drinks and then dinner.
The bed is so big and as you readers will know I have to submit the bed to my ultimate test and have a quick dive face down into the crisp white linens before I shower. I am welcomed into the bar with a glass of a beautiful Italian white wine named Le Vele, Verdicchio die Castelli di Jesi which is light and crisp, once everyone is gathered we head into the restaurant where you can watch the Thai chefs preparing our meal, yes, it is Thai food tonight and the guys certainly have done a fantastic job with sample plates of all their dishes.
It has been a long day and after a consuming quite a few glasses of wine as my head hits the pillow I am out like a light. Breakfast is served in the same restaurant as last night’s meal and I am certainly not spoilt for choice, I always start with fruit and there is a nice fresh bowl of fruit salad, with a variety of yogurts to accompany it. There is also a selection of cold meats cheeses, freshly baked bread, jams, marmalades and of course the hot food includes, eggs, bacon and sausages.
Having feasted like a queen I head down to the Spa, which has a sauna and a steam room with a plunge pool for the brave, there are also a couple of showers for those like myself who’s hearts cannot take that plunge into the cold pool. After about 40-minutes in the steam room and a shower I head to the large Jacuzzi pool angling my body to allow the jets power into my back – the treatments may not be running at the moment but I know these jets will be effective at massaging my lower back. After a while I decide to let me feet
float and look up into the dome that sits above the pool, to my joy I see they have tiny lights twinkling away like stars. I feel like I have had a work out despite not actually using the small gym, I believe the feeling counts as much as the action and so I head to the relaxation area. Unsurprisingly I find myself waking up an hour or so later, the steam room and jacuzzi had certainly made me feel relaxed.
Hotel Restaurant Central Remo Canova
Tonight, we are eating in the centre of St Moritz and after a few drinks in reception we head to a long table in a private room in the beautifully renovated aptly named Restaurant Central. Tonight, we are eating from their 125th anniversary menu and the starter is Ravioli Valtellina - White Raviolis with a beef filling & a potato/cheese/garlic/vegetable filling and oh my is it a ravioli to die for and I could have quite happily had another plate. This was followed by Burrata with rocket & tomatoes and then Pork filet steak with an artichoke sauce served with potato gratin, cauliflower, broccoli.
After the dishes are cleared away the chef and staff walk in with an extra-large golf ball with two huge sparklers that were lighting up the room, it turned out the golf ball was in fact Cassata with fruits of the forest & white chocolate, I have to admit it was so divine I had a second portion just to make sure!!
Two wonderful local swiss wines are being served throughout the night, the white was a Riesling Silvaner from Toni Bardellini of Flaesch and the red is a Sforzato di Valtellina “Millesassi” from Pietro Triacca of Campascio Switzerland.
Serving food and wine this good I am sure the Restaurant Central will still be going strong in 2143 when it celebrates its quarter of a century.
It’s our final night and we are on our way to the Gondolezza restaurant in St Moritz where an old gondola has been restored and converted into a dining room and I am quite surprised how large it is once I make my way inside. Tonight, is the Swiss speciality Fondue. Now I like cheese but not that much cheese so I have decided to go for the Roebuck steak, which turns out to be a fantastic choice on my part and cooked to perfection.
Like previous nights the wine is flowing, the selections are a mix of Italian and Swiss the sparkling wine we were drinking before entering was WALTHER-Franciacorta, Plozza from Italy and now we have a choice of white Riesling Silvaner, Andrea Lauber, Malans – from Switzerland and the red is Sommarovina Valtellina Superiore, Mamete Prevostini again from Italy and of course James is sampling a few local beers.
The restaurant has a wonderful ambience and the staff are very attentive, helping everyone with their fondue, it is a fun night and a wonderful atmosphere and I would certainly recommend you put both restaurants on your places to eat list.
Time to depart
After breakfast and check out we make our way back to St Moritz train station, I have never been so excited about a train journey, believe me you shouldn’t miss this part of the trip even if you can afford your own private jet to land in St Moritz, you would be missing out on a wonderful experience that has perfectly topped and tailed what has been a wonderful trip.
Via vers Mulin 5
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