In the institutional Hardens restaurant guides, the ratings are broken down into three separate categories: Food, Service and Atmosphere. Three vital ingredients to any successful recipe in the world of hospitality. As the Three Musketeers do, they rely on each other for that perfect storm. One lagging could pull down the enjoyment of the other two. These three components equate to something quite special at The Grands Hotel des Bains Kempinski, for together they deliver the ultimate alpine VIP experience in St Moritz.
At 1800m, located beyond the south-western point of Lake St Moritz and the start of the ascent up to the Corviglia ski area, The Grand Hotel des Bains Kempinski appears as a white and blue winter palace. The vast structure – straight out of a fantasy novel – contributes to St Moritz’s reputation as one of the most iconic Alpine resorts in the world. The hotel was intentionally built on top of a natural spring and originally opened in 1864 as a health sanctuary where many would go to nurture and rejuvenate their minds and bodies, in a location where nature thrives.
Inside the Grands des Bains Kempinski is a mix of classic elegance and modern chic, with plush furnishings and some notable pieces of art which wouldn’t look out of place in a museum, eg. The Vintage Porsche in the entrance hall turns more than a few heads. The recently refurbished lobby and bar have elements both luxurious and tactile whilst aesthetically pleasing. Grand chandeliers twinkle and tall white columns fill the air with the scent of fresh paint; beautifully selected stone choices for the bar and tables are alongside enticingly comfortable fabrics. It’s the place to cosy up to someone with an aperitif in hand, whilst listening to the live jazz musicians after a long day on the slopes.
Beginning with Food, there are five places providing sustenance at the Kempinski St Moritz, delivered in a variety of ways. The less formal choices are the bar and lobby area with the more typical hotel dining options or a buffet dinner with a vast selection of international offerings in Les Saisons, for something more substantial. Further afield between the main hotel and the piste is Sunnestubli, THE top spot for sundowners.
For those more serious about dining, no one takes it more seriously than Adriano the Maître D at Da Adriano. The well-dressed restauranteur is the frontman of 50sq meters of Italy in St Moritz and is the key ingredient to the restaurant’s success. After decades of loyal service he was honored with the restaurant being re-named after him. He has an unusual command of the floorspace, exuding warmth and is an extension of the Kempinski’s bottom-less pit of hospitality. The head chef hails from Turin, influencing a menu of northern dishes with a handful from the south, where Adriano is from. The delicacy of the fresh pasta, cooked to perfection, and the sumptuous beef fillet with truffles are worthy of a Count.
For haute cuisine, look no further than Ca D’Oro. Meaning ‘House of Gold’. Located in a baronial hall hidden away behind the main restaurant is like stumbling across a treasure chest. Large chandeliers hover over an elegantly decorated room with tall gold-framed mirrors and ceremonial objets all paying homage to the Swiss epoch in which it was created. In complete contrast to Ca D’Oro’s setting, head chef Leopold Ott is a youthful disruptor of his trade.
The overture to his modern European tasting menu consists of some intricately detailed canapés including shrimp on a seaweed cracker with jalapeno foam and avocado; zander ceviche tart with black pudding and apple on a loudly, crispy base, and a veal cheek lollipop. His duck consommé with duck leg ravioli and herb oil is a dense umami hit and his foie gras versus beetroot three ways is an exciting evolution of a fine dining opener. The dessert evolves around the flavor of mandarins with many forms of polenta and the chocolate ballotine with raspberry and horseradish petit four breaks down rules you thought your palette had. Leo Ott’s menu craves for, as much as it deserves, a Michelin star.
Next, Service. One of the hallmarks of the Kempinski St Moritz is its exceptional service. The staff are attentive and courteous and from the moment you step inside, it’s never in doubt that they will go to any lengths to make you feel like royalty. The staff ratio heavily outweighs the number of guests where an astounding attitude of nothing is too much trouble pumps through the vein of every staff member. Needs are anticipated and requests are fulfilled above and beyond what is asked: even General Manager, Konstantin Zeuke personally takes guests for a morning ski as a weekly ritual.
The 228 rooms are simple and classic in design; cosy and comfortable. They boast generously sized bathrooms and will be serviced at least three times a day. In contrast, the 44 ‘residences’ have all been updated in a modern chalet style with sanded pine and lavish, wintery fabrics. The kitchenettes and bountiful living space are ideal if you are looking to make St Moritz for the season, which many guests here, do.
Finally, Atmosphere. The genus of the hotel stems from health and wellness, so no wonder the spa is so enormous it could pass as a hotel in itself. Swim lengths in a large indoor pool heated to a toasty temperature whilst watching the snowfall outside through the conservatory-style glass walls. There is a Finnish sauna large enough to house at least 30 people, a bio sauna, a steam room and an aroma room where large crystals spawn a dimly lit, room fragrant with mountain herbs, allowing guests to float somewhere blissfully between awake and rest. All of this is possible in a women-only zone too. Crushed ice is available on demand to mitigate the sauna sessions, or better still there is access to an adjoining garden sanctuary snowy garden where you can see the steam rise from your skin as you roll in the snow during the Winter months.
The Kempinski St Moritz is equipped with its own hairdresser and countless treatment rooms where expert practitioners will tend to your beauty and wellness needs with an infinite list of therapies, both traditional and progressive. In fact, The Kempinski St Moritz also boasts of being the only place in St Moritz offering cryotherapy – a treatment which extreme cold temperatures of around -120C to reduce joint inflammation and aid good sleep, amongst other benefits; so ideal after a demanding day on the mountain.
An ideal hub for winter sports, the Grand Hotel des Bains Kempinski St Moritz is equipped to make activities as seamless as possible. The five-minute walking proximity to over 155km of ski slope and the Ski Service rental shop and locker room located on the bottom floor of the hotel, eliminates the effortful ski-faff. There is a rota of shuttle buses going to and from town for those on their day off.
The atmosphere at The Grand Hotel des Bains Kempinski is like a vortex where wellness, luxury, fun and indulgence meet and as the Three Musketeers would say, “It’s All for One and One for All!”. This perfect equation offers a combination that makes a stay at the Kempinski St Moritz unrivaled by its counterparts. There is a soft whisper coming from the walls, saying to guests: “We’ll take care of you” and rest assured they will make you more comfortable than you would be in your own home. There is a buzz… of vindication: that the great efforts to get to St Moritz were more than worthwhile. And for the livelier guests, there is always apres… and plenty of it.
Article written by Juliette Taylor Foster