Zermatt is the village at the foot of the Matterhorn. With the skyline dominated by this hulk of weathered rock you’re sure to enjoy some awe-inspiring scenery. But let’s look beyond this world famous alpine icon and find out what it really has to offer to those with unlimited budget.
With year round glacier skiing and the highest skiing in the Alps, Zermatt is blessed with guaranteed snow. You’ll probably be able to work on your panda eyes as wel,l as Zermatt is said to be bathed in sunshine for three hundred days of the year.
With over 360km of pistes in the winter, Zermatt is a vast skiing area and even gives you the option of skiing in 2 different countries on the same day. The run down into Cervinia, Italy, is as charming as the rest of the resort and can be accessed on the whole area lift pass.
Zermatt has almost endless, fantastic piste skiing with the 13km run from the Klein-Matterhorn, descending 2200m to Zermatt perhaps the most spectacular. The more experienced skier won’t be disappointed either as the yellow itinerary routes on offer present some challenging and engaging skiing. If the budget stretches, the opportunities for heli-skiing are magnificent.
WHAT NOT TO MISS
* Obviously the skiing or snowboarding!
* If snow sports aren’t your bag, have no fear: Zermatt offers plenty more besides. From shopping or the cinema in the winter orparagliding to golf in the summer.
* Take a trip on the Gornergrat Railway on a sunny day. From the top you can see an astonishing twenty nine 4000 metre peaks! Simply awesome.
* In summer months hike the 5-Seenweg (five lakes walk). It’s just under 10km in lenght, but the views and scenery are spectacular.
* Zermatt also has a number of galleries and museums to visit for those looking for culture.
* The superb food. The Gault-Millau guide rates Zermatt as the most concentrated area of gourmet restaurants in Europe and many visitors come back for the quality of the restaurants alone. There is no end to the choice available, from experimental cooking to the most traditional of local recipes.
Zermatt has an extensive range of hotels, and really falls deep into the luxury bracket,
Below, we have singled out the choicest pickings of the best places to stay in Zermatt.
FOR THE BEST VIEWS
* The Omnia overlooks Zermatt and has stunning views of the Matterhorn. The cuisine is gourmet, the library cosy, the bar elegant and the spa has a plunge pool and Turkish bath. Suites have log fires and jacuzzis.
* The Hotel Europe is a luxurious mountain lodge with stunning views. Close to the Zermatt-Furi lift and you’ll have access to their heavenly wellness centre and chic restaurant.
* Impeccably designed, the Hotel Matterhorn Focus is beautiful both inside and out. It has 30 rooms and a stylish spa. Great in summer for the hiking as well as winter for the skiing.
* The Matterhorn Lodge is a beautifully designed mountain lodge with 17 gorgeous rooms mixing traditional materials with contemporary design and fantastic views. There’s a lively bar and an open fire in the lounge.
* At the foot of the Matterhorn the Hotel Firefly has 15 suites themed around the elements. Modern with an alpine feel, the decor is heavy on leather and open fires. Suites have kitchens and astonishing views.
For strictly luxury
* The Mont Cervin Palace is a five star hotel with great views of the Matterhorn and 150 elegant, cosy rooms. There’s a choice of fine dining in any one of the four restaurant and a soothing spa.
* The Grand Hotel Zermatterhof has been welcoming guests to its 77 rooms since 1879. You can see that they certainly know how to deliver five star service. The spa is perfect and the restaurant has won 14 points from Gault Millau.
* Riffelalp is Europe’s highest 5-star resort. Far away from the main town you’re unlikely to worry about too many worldly cares. The opulence at such altitude should help to distract you.
* The Cervo Mountain Boutique Resort is a luxurious boutique ski resort with ski-in access available to some chalets which can be rented by the room or as a whole ‘house’. Each chalet has a wellness centre with sauna, jacuzzi and massage room.
* The Hotel Matthiol is a classic chalet hotel in the foothills of the Matterhorn less than a mile from the slopes and surrounded by hiking and biking trail
* The Unique Hotel Post is a superb modern hotel with 29 rooms in the heart of Zermatt. Sleek and comfortable, the hotel has open fires, luxurious bathrooms and an unmissable spa.
* The Hotel Julen is a family-run hotel with loads of personality. There are 32 large rooms and suites with romantic details and plenty of wood, sheepskins and antlers. With a lovely restaurant and bar, three storey spa, pool and gym.