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Peak perfection: where to ski-and-stay in the Swiss Alps

A 10-day snow-filled itinerary across Switzerland’s swishest ski resorts

Switzerland has ski country written all over it. Scenic snowscapes dotted with pretty alpine villages, colour-popping glacier-view gondolas, and Wes Anderson-style chalets welcoming mountaineers in from the cold with hot chocolate and fondue. Whether you tackle our full 10-day itinerary hopping from one stylish resort to the next, or pick and choose your favourite slopes for a long weekend break, our Travel Advisors are on hand to help put everything in place.

Gstaad

AT A GLANCE

  • 10-day independent itinerary through the Swiss Alps, based on flying in and out of Geneva airport.
  • Carve up the pistes of Grindelwald, Zermatt, Verbier, Crans-Montana, and Gstaad – staying in specially selected SLH chalets and luxury lodges.
  • Highlights include sleeping at the foot of the mighty Matterhorn, tobogganing down the longest sledge run in Europe, and climbing aboard the Panoramic-Express for a train journey like no other.

START IN STYLE: GRINDELWALD

Grindelwald

This tucked-away alpine village is well worth the two-and-a-half hour drive from Geneva (which is a scenic experience in itself), where you’ll be following in the footsteps (or ski tracks) of James Bond. Grindelwald oozes old-world charm, and yet a handful of modern cableways bring this heritage ski resort firmly up to date. This part of the world-famous Jungfrau region suits everyone from seasoned pros to first-timers, with long blues and gentle reds criss-crossing the mountains above the village – best reached by the super speedy, state-of-the-art Eiger Express.

UNPACK YOUR SUITCASE

Bergwelt Grindelwald

Alpine adventures, big and small, begin at Bergwelt Grindelwald – Alpine Design Resort. With a dramatic snow-capped backdrop, many of the Swiss wood-crafted suites overlook the north face of the Eiger – best enjoyed from your balcony with bottled water drawn from the glacier to drink. For peak privacy, up to five bedrooms can be combined into spacious residences, whilst the serenely styled (and dog friendly!) apartments match up to the mountains in size and beauty – all just a snowball’s throw from the ski-run entrance to Jungfrau.

Bergwelt Grindelwald

After whizzing down over 10km of sledge runs from the sunny terrace of Bussalp, or testing your legs on the hardcore Lauberhorn World Cup downhill piste, regain your strength in the hotel’s Fire & Ice Spa, which draws on the raw power of nature from steam baths and frosted fountains to roaring fires and relaxing pools. Adventurers can satisfy their appetites in The Pinte, Bergwelt Grindelwald’s traditional restaurant which has been serving freshly-prepared Swiss fare since 1843. Suggested stay 2 nights minimum.

THE ADVENTURE CONTINUES: ZERMATT

Zermatt

Following another two-and-a-half-hour drive, you’ll reach Europe’s highest altitude ski resort – home to the iconic Matterhorn (you know, the mountain on the Toblerone bar) and over 360km of blue, red, black and yellow runs for snowsports enthusiasts of all abilities. Make the most of the modern lifts and cable cars, including the Matterhorn glacier ride, where freestyle skiers and boarders can throw some shapes at The Snowpark Zermatt. Budding alpinists should make the 4,000 metre ascent up Breithorn, which is one of the easiest hikes in the Alps and requires no previous climbing experience.

Good to snow: Zermatt is a car-free zone, which means you’ll need to leave your car at one of the parking facilities in Täsch. From there, Zermatt is 12 minutes away by train.

DECISIONS, DECISIONS…

Zermatt

With two trendy options overlooked by the majestic Matterhorn, you’ll be spoilt for choice when deciding where to relax after a day on the slopes. Hotel Schweizerhof has an authentic Swiss chalet air about it (not to mention an indoor pool and jacuzzi), welcoming the ski-weary into its warm wooden interiors. With an in-house ski expert and all manner of modern sports gear to hire, everything has already been thought of when it comes to enjoying the great outdoors. Kick your boots off and dance the afternoon away to après tunes with Schweizerhof’s live DJ, then sit back in the Swiss fondue restaurant downstairs for a cosy, cheese-filled evening. Meanwhile, the family-owned, all-suite Hotel Firefly is surrounded by stunning views of the soaring peaks of the Valais Alps. Suggested stay 2 nights minimum.

ONWARDS & UPWARDS: VERBIER

Verbier

Just under two hours’ drive from Zermatt, Verbier forms part of Switzerland’s largest ski area and stands as the gateway to the famous 4 Vallées, with 410km of powder-perfect pistes. On bluebird days, the sunshine reflects off the slate-roofed chalets and pretty café tables made for après-ski dancing as much as guzzling raclette. The resort’s main network of pistes is served by the Médran gondola, located directly above Verbier – and whilst there are slopes to suit all levels, some of the Alps’ best lift-served off piste can be enjoyed by more advanced skiers and snowboarders.

YOUR SPORTY CHIC RETREAT

Cordee des Alpes

A warm welcome awaits every guest at Cordée des Alpes Hotel, a stylish wooden ski lodge which has been thoughtfully designed to integrate with the surrounding alpine architecture. Step inside the chalet-inspired reception to a crackling fireplace, decorated with vintage skis. Rooms are cool yet cosy, with timber balconies and light-filled window seats which make the perfect post-ski reading nooks.

Cordee des Alpes

Relax slope-sore muscles in the soothing spa with a dip in the 15 metre swimming pool or a hot stone massage. To dine under the stars, book a table at the hotel’s sister restaurant, La Marlénaz, where you’ll be taken up by snow taxi and provided with sledges to make your way down! Suggested stay 2 nights minimum.

THE PENULTIMATE PEAK: CRANS-MONTANA

Crans-Montana

Set high on a plateau above the Rhone Valley, Crans-Montana is a centre for outdoor adventure all year round – and is just over an hour’s drive from Verbier. Together, these twin-resorts form a modern mountain town where you’ll find rustic inns and fine dining restaurants, designer boutiques and down-to-earth folk traditions – all surrounded by panoramic views across the Valais Alps. Offering some of the sunniest slopes in Switzerland, and with an extensive area of nursery runs, Crans-Montana is a great option for families and beginners.

SLEEP BY THE SLOPES…

Crans Ambassador

With sublime mountain views at every turn, Crans Ambassador is a contemporary chalet which immerses guests in the surrounding natural beauty. Floor-to-ceiling windows flood every space with snow-sprinkled scenery, so you feel as though you’re staying amongst the clouds. Terrasse Valaisanne is the hub of this mountain hideaway, with Nordic-style blankets thrown over seats around an open fire where you can enjoy Swiss lunch and dinner dishes overlooking the Valais Alps.

Crans Ambassador

When the slopes beckon, pick up snow-sport supplies at the on-site ski shop and stroll to the nearby lift to burn off the Japanese-Peruvian fusion food from La Muna, one of the hotel’s three gourmet restaurants and traditional wine cellar. Suggested stay 2 nights minimum.

LAST BUT NOT LEAST: GSTAAD

Gstaad

For flawlessly groomed slopes and glitzy boutiques, the picturesque village of Gstaad has style as well as substance when it comes to ski holidays. Step away from the high-end shops on The Promenade and you’ll find a different side to this fashionable mountain retreat – with 220km of pistes, there’s a run to suit every taste and every level of experience. When you’re not celeb-spotting on the slopes, head up Glacier 3000 for breath-taking panoramic views of the Alps.

Gstaad Golden Line

Good to snow: Instead of driving all the way from Crans-Montana to Gstaad, park your car in Montreux and take the Golden Pass train for panoramic views across the frozen landscape.

SETTLE IN FOR THE NIGHT…

Le Grand Bellevue

Enjoying a central location on The Promenade, Le Grand Bellevue benefits from all the local amenities of Gstaad town. With a fine dining restaurant, Art Deco bar, and 3,000 square-metre spa with 17 different experience zones, there are plenty of reasons to stay inside at this early 20th-century grand dame as much as enjoy the great outdoors. Le Grand Bellevue has succeeded in creating a light-hearted, relaxed atmosphere for fun-loving guests, from giant board games in the afternoon tea lounge, to specially designed sofas in the underground bar made from a carpet-like material to encourage dancing on the furniture (yes, really). Suggested stay 2 nights minimum.

TRAVEL TIPS

Seeing the most of Switzerland is best done driving (when you’re not on skis, that is!), which makes a car the essential method of transport. If you’re in need of a rental or transport between hotels, SLH INVITED Members can get behind the wheel with SIXT and enjoy up to 15% off car rental worldwide. For lift passes and equipment hire, as always, ask our Voice Reservation Team for further details.

BOOK YOUR BOUTIQUE HOTELS

Crans Ambassador

To book the hotels on this independent itinerary, get in touch with our Voice Reservation Team on 0800 0482 314 (UK) 1-877-234-7033 (US). You can find a full list of our dedicated toll-free numbers here. We’re ready and waiting to plan luxury adventures 24 hours a day, seven days a week. So whenever inspiration strikes, just get in touch.