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In the heart of St Moritz - famously the luxiest of luxury ski resorts - is Badrutt’s Palace Hotel, where the most glittering echelons of high society have been gracing the halls since the hotel first opened as the Palace Hotel in 1896. Alfred Hitchcock was said to have his best brain waves in the hotel, and Greta Garbo came here to be left alone.
Calling the quirky family run Badrutt's Palace, which has 120 rooms and 37 suites, 'luxury' would be dramatically understating its charm, elegance and attention to detail. The spacious rooms and suites - some of which are bigger than the average London flat! - retain many of the original features from the Victorian building, with all the modern creature comforts guests could desire. Classic furniture; cozy beds, perfect for a long day on the slopes followed by a thorough exploration of St Moritz's apres-ski offerings; and chic bathrooms lend an Old World elegance, while the thoroughly modern spa follows Badrutt's Palace's tradition of being at the cutting edge of modernity - the hotel was home to the first indoor tennis court in continental Europe. Most rooms look across the lake, giving guests excellent views of the annual polo competition on the frozen lake and the fur-wrapped spectators, or across the mountains. Suites have extra sitting areas and other amenities, including studies and libraries, though we aren't sure how much guests use these so close to the slopes! Our favourite, suite 501 (now called the Hitchcock Suite) is said to be where the legendary auteur dreamt up The Birds.
During your stay, tuck into delicious meals at the hotel's King's Social House, a stylish restaurant which transforms into an after-dinner disco in the late evening. For a nightcap, you have a choice of three bars: one at the hotel - Renaissance Bar - and two more at the neighbouring property, Chesa Veglia. When you're not relaxing with a glass of wine in hand, head to the spa. It has been designed to lift the spirits and put wellness - and, if we're honest, soothing poste-piste aches and strains - at the forefront of guests' experiences, setting the benchmark for all alpine resorts. Ahead of the curve where treatments are concerned, the spa therapists are trained in ancient and modern practices from around the globe to tailor make the best facials and massages to suit guests needs.
As for little skiers, unlike most luxury hotels of its kind, Badrutt's Palace's Kids' Club is excellent. Little snow bunnies can learn to cook alongside hotel chefs and enjoy wonderful yoga classes. Everything has been approved by the hotel's Junior General Manager, with the help of an expert panel of children, making sure that not one detail has been overlooked, gaining Original Travel's approval in the process.
In a very Swiss twist, Badrutt's Palace Hotel's old library, while hosting many an interesting read, is also home to what they say is the original for Raphael's Sistine Madonna - which hangs in the Dresden Old Master's Gallery.
Tom, Original Traveller