Carlton Hotel in St. Moritz ***** Hotel Review
The Carlton Hotel is ideally located in the heart of St. Moritz at an altitude of 1856 meters, in the Swiss Canton of Graubünden in the Upper Engadine region. The historic Carlton Hotel has a panoramic view of the Swiss Alps and overlooks Lake St. Moritz. In January the exclusive Polo World Cup takes place on the frozen lake, and in February it gives way to the prestigious White Turf, an international horse race event dating back to 1907.
The town of St. Moritz has hosted the Olympic games twice, countless World Cup ski races, home to a Bobsleigh and Skeleton run that is renowned for being the only natural track in the world relying solely on sheer manpower, snow, and water – Bobsleighs can reach speeds of 130km per hour, and it’s all over just under 75 seconds!
Two James Bond films have been shot here, Jet-setters flock in on private jets to enjoy 350km of pristine ski slopes, Micheline star restaurants, and an extravigent nightlife.
In My opinion there really is only one way to travel to St. Moritz and that is by train…at least for those of us who don’t have a private jet ( yes we did see quite a few fly in!). From Zurich, a 3-hour train ride will take you through the winding Swiss Alps, over heritage sites and spectacular scenic views. The Bernina Express is the highest railway in the Swiss Alps reaching a maximum height of 2253 meters over sea level, crossing 196 bridges and taking you through 55 tunnels.
We arrived early afternoon and were greeted at the train station by the hotel’s chauffeur. A quick and easy check-in, with key in hand, we were shown to our room – a 65 square meter suite with balcony, a walk-in closet, bathrobes, an inclusive minibar and butler service- which, on one occasion we did have to make use of:)
The Carlton has 60 luxurious Suites ranging from 35-160 sq. Meters. Each room faces the lake and most are available with either a balcony or Terrasse.
The Carlton Penthouse located on the top floor is an alpine dream come true. With a total of 386 sq meters of space, the penthouse offers three bedrooms with marble en-suite bathrooms, an open fireplace, living room, dining area and a kitchen. Five terraces and balconies ensure a 360-degree view.
The Carlton has a long history. Opening it’s doors for the first time in 1913, the hotel experienced immediate success in its first season but was forced to close it’s doors only one year later in 1914 when the first World War broke out. Guests fleed St. Moritz and only a few hotels were able to survive these troubled times. During the war, the hotel was able to capture a bit of attention because the Greek Royal Family sought refuge at the Carlton Hotel and lived in exile there for the duration of the war.
In the 1930’s the hotel was once again on top of its game, hosting celebrity guests at Afternoon Tea, with articles published about them in the “Engadin Express & Alpine Post” – a who’s who newsletter of sort, who actually publish the name of posh guest staying at five star resorts in St. Moritz. Unfortunately once again the hotel was plagued by a new war and again had to close its doors in September 1939.
After the second wold war the Carlton re-opened and had another successful season, only to close again due to insufficient financial resources.
The Hotel changed hands a few more times until finally in 1987 the Carlton found its current owner who refurbished the traditional hotel making it once again one of the most sought-after five-star hotels in St. Moritz.
The heart of the hotel is its “Bel Etage,” and it is found one floor up from the main entrance. As its name suggests, this stunning and inviting space with high ceilings, opulent drapes, two massive historical fireplaces, and comfortable seating makes this the place to unwind after a long day skiing or exploring. A sun terrasse overlooking the lake makes having a quick lunch and a glass of champagne hard to resist.
Afternoon tea is served as of three o’clock accompanied by live music.
The next day we awoke early to meet up with our Out Door Butler, Urs Wiederkehr, who has lived in St. Moritz for over 30 years – he knows the Engadine region like no other and is always happy to give guests of the Carlton tips for an excursion or even organize one for you. Together we took a train to nearby Pontresina, a small town only 7km from St. Moritz. Upon our arrival horse carriages were ready to whisk us away into a winter wonderland. Through snow covered pine trees and mountains dotted with Ibex’ (wild mountain goats), Urs pointed out many of the native animals along the way. We made our way to the Roseg Gletscher Restaurant for a delicious cheese fondue. A Perfect choice after an hour’s sleigh ride.
After lunch it was time to get back to the Carlton Hotel for a quick spa treatment. The full-service spa offers its guests all the amenities you could wish for. Spread over 1200 square meters, you will find In and Outdoor pools, Sauna, Lounges, Private Spa Suites, Beauty Suites, training rooms and hairdressing services.
MICHELIN STAR RESTAURANT DA VITTORIO at the Carlton Hotel
In 2010 the brothers Enrico and Roberto Cerea were awarded 3 Michelin stars for their restaurant DaVittorio located outside the Italian town of Brusaporto near Bergamo. Their father Vittorio Cerea opened the restaurant 50 years ago with his wife, Bruna. Specializing in Fish, which was not so popular on menus during that time, Vittorio took a risk. Fortunately the risk payed off and the news spread quickly- Da Vittorio became the place to visit for haute cuisine. Today the restaurant is still family run, with mother Bruna Cerea at the helm along with her five children.
During the winter season, the brothers Cerea delight the guests at the Carlton Hotel with their culinary master class. If you’d like to see what we had for dinner – 5 course menu – click here!
St. Moritz is a rather small town and can easily be walked at a leisurely pace from end to end in about 20-30 minutes.
Via Serlas is the infamous shopping mile of St. Moritz, international luxury brands such as Gucci, Hermès, Chanel, Rolex and so on…. ( you get the picture) are all represented in a very condensed area. It is said to be one of the most expensive streets in the world besides Bahnhofstrasse in Zurich.
In the winter the charm of this little haute couture town can not be overlooked with beautifully decoratated shops and street lights. By the way,… it’s only a 10 minute walk from the Carlton Hotel!!
A QUICK DRINK
It goes without saying that St. Moritz is not only famous for its winter sports but also for its nightlife. With so many options to choose from we ended up at the informal Baracca. During the early evenings, a simple restaurant serving tasty food in a shed like atmosphere. Ever so slowly transforming itself into a full-fledged party with customers inevitably dancing on the tables with air guitars in hand singing TNT….
We must admit – we did enjoy ourselves into the wee hours of the night (or early morning) And how nice was it to have Carlton’s chauffer pick us up and bring us back? It was very very nice!
The night lamp at the hotel was still on, and we knew we were home. Up to our beautiful suite and to sleep we went!
Thank you Carlton St. Moritz for hosting us – we enjoyed every single minute!
Visit The Carlton St. Moritz website
Disclosure: We were guests at the Hotel Carlton in St. Moritz for the purpose of this review, however, all opinions, thoughts, and views are my own.