Whenever I thought of Switzerland, I imagined mountains, valleys, clear water rivers and picturesque houses. I blame the Sound of Music for painting this picture in my head, but ever since I was a little girl, I dreamt of seeing this…When I boarded my flight to Zurich with The Leading Hotels of The World, as part of our collaboration to seek the remarkably uncommon side of travel, I felt as if I was a little girl on her way to Disneyland for the first time. My mother has always told me these stories about Switzerland, how it was her favourite country when she came to Europe in the 70’s, that there was something so special, she has never been able to find anywhere else. I have traveled a lot and I have seen such incredible places, so I wanted to keep realistic expectations about it.
I guess that train ride from the airport to our first location at The Chedi Andermatt Hotel went a little beyond my expectations. I am not sure if you followed my journey on Snapchat and Instagram, but going across the Alps, those clear blue lakes, deep green forests and snowy mountains kept me up my seat the entire way. I wasn’t sure if I should document it of just enjoy it, but I couldn’t help but to do both.
When we got to the hotel, I was completely blown away. I knew that you had to be a pretty spectacular hotel to become a member of The Leading Hotels of The World, but I guess the moment I stepped foot in the door, I realised why this incredible hotel was one of their members. Picture a tiny town in a valley, at the heart of the Swiss Alps. This Luxury ski resort was exquisite, beautifully decorated, wooden panelled walls and fireplaces everywhere, the cosiest most beautiful thing. -I could really pictured myself coming back here after a full day of skiing, sitting by the fireplace on the entrance and having some tea and cake.-
As soon as I dropped my stuff in one of the best rooms I have ever stayed at, I wanted to explore the hotel a little more so I went on a small adventure by myself, trying to find the gym for my morning workout and bumped into the Spa area. After getting lost around all those beautiful wooden corridors, I arrived to a space with 4 indoor pools, all in different warm temperatures and discovered not 1 but 2 different steam rooms and saunas, which is one of the first things I seek for when I am searching for a hotel. The space was so calm and zen, with beautiful Asian inspired architecture, perfect place to relax. I knew I had to get up extremely early the next morning just so I could fit in a workout and time at the hot pools and steam room.
After a very much needed massage at the Spa, I got back to my room wrapped in a cosy robe, opened the door to the balcony and stared at the snowy mountains for a while, took a few photos and all of a sudden, I started hearing bells up on the mountains; “-Oh my god! Are those the Swiss cows with the bells on their necks!” Such a beautiful cliche!… I remember many stories about these Swiss cows, most of them told by my Mum when I was a little girl, constantly curious about her trip to Europe in the 70’s. Hearing those cows was such a special moment for me, because of the memories it represents and because I finally saw them myself, I made that memory for myself :). That night ended with an incredible Asian fusion dinner, exactly the type of food I love and the perfect way to close our first night there!
One of the most special and definitely uncommon moments of the whole trip was taking that hike up the Alps with Camille, Lucy and Jessie. I couldn’t even imagine how I would feel being able to finally see my “Dream Switzerland” from one of those small trails, surrounded by mountains. Its was so peaceful up there, like we were the only people for miles, everything seemed so pure, greener, more vibrant!. We had a guide showing us all the different herbs we were finding on the trail, he told us stories about the Alps, about the history of Andermatt, it was so priceless! Once we started to make our way down the mountain, we found a wooden table set up for what is arguably the most picturesque picnic I have ever experienced! The Hotel manager at The Chedi had planned a picnic for us right in the middle of the trail, with a delicious barbecue, wine, assorted cheese and countless sauces. You can probably get an idea from the photos above but sitting there in the middle of the Alps, wearing big chunky blankets, having a picnic, sipping some wine and sharing some stories was such a special moment, one which I will probably never forget.
This short but intense stay at The Chedi Hotel has made me fall in love with Switzerland hard, harder than I ever thought possible but its far from over, we still have another The Leading Hotels of the World location to go to…