In perfect view of the staggering and iconic ‘Toblerone mountain’, the Matterhorn, Zermatt is a luxury Swiss ski resort at an altitude of 1,600m that provides an unforgettable location for a special ski holiday. With its name – originally ‘Zur Matte’ – meaning ‘at the meadow’, it benefits from not only excellent winter snow, but also lush summer greenery, making it a beautiful location year-round – for winter sports as well as hiking and biking. Uniquely, Zermatt is a car-free zone, with only e-busses, e-taxis or horse drawn carriages on the roads. A haven for super clean, fresh air and reduced noise pollution; it provides a welcome break from city life.
Today, we are speaking to Harriet, our brilliant Zermatt resort manager, who knows it inside-out. “I’ve worked across the French & Swiss Alps for the last 10 years, calling Zermatt home since 2018 when I started working for Bramble Ski. I’m originally from Cheltenham in Gloucestershire.”
We asked Harriet what makes Zermatt special for her. “The Matterhorn is a pretty special mountain in itself, have you seen it?” We agree, the unique pyramid shape of the Matterhorn gives it an almost mythical quality, the type of mountain you imagine in your mind’s eye when asked to conjure up the image of one. From almost all of our luxury chalets in Zermatt, the snowy peak is visible, ensuring you never forget where you are. Admire it from the south-facing balcony or the master bedroom in the sleek yet decadent Haus Leytron, if you’re not too busy soaking in the hot tub that is.
Harriet continues; “it’s also the best gastronomic resort in The Alps if you ask me”, and she might be right. The range of culinary delights on offer are expansive, from homely fondue nights every Wednesday at Blatten, to fresh and eclectic Mediterranean and Asian inspired cuisine at Aroleid Kollectiv, accessible by ski and open daily until 17:00. However, when asked to pick her favourite lunch on the slopes Harriet went traditional – “veal fillet, morels, fondant potato and the apple fritter for pudding” at Chez Vrony, a family-run restaurant with Alpine recipes handed down through the generations for over 100 years, made using all-local ingredients. With two lunchtime seatings at 12:00 and 14:00, it is located at Findeln and accessible either by foot or skis, so you can take a break from an active day to rest weary legs on the suntrap terrace.
Zermatt boasts the highest ski area in Switzerland, comprising 360km of pristine pistes with incredible views; what more could you ask for? Thanks to its shared border with Italy, it is a buzzing, international hub for snow lovers, and Harriet suggests making the most of this proximity. “Take a day to ski over to Cervinia, drink real Italian Prosecco and eat authentic Italian truffle pasta! It’s a nice break from the traditional Swiss”. When asked what her favourite piste in the resort was, Harriet replied “good question, they’re all numbered not named…any one that goes towards a good restaurant!” In that department, visitors to Zermatt are certainly spoiled for choice.
After a good day’s skiing, many will choose to grab a vin chaud (or three) for aprés. Harriet says there is something for everyone. “It depends on what you’re looking for, if you want crazy, electronic euro style aprés then Hennu Stall, but if you are wanting something a little more classy with DJ’s then Cervo.” If you’re after a slightly tamer option, she recommends dinner and drinks at The Schweizerhof Kitchen, open 12:00 – 14:00 for lunch and 18:00 – 22:00 for dinner, describing it as “a funky bar serving great cocktails together with super tasty food, resulting in a fabulous atmosphere for the evening”. We wanted to know where the best cocktail in town was for an after-dinner tipple, and Harriet insists that the whiskey sour from Club Mamacita – open daily from 16:00 until 02:00 – can’t be beaten. With South American influences and an atmosphere to match, find live music here every night, and take to the dance floor until the early hours.
Our self-catered properties are a great choice if you plan on making the most of the resort’s restaurant scene. The plush, modern Christiania Apartment 3 sleeps six over three stylish bedrooms, ideal for groups of friends. It also benefits from use of the exclusive building’s shared gym and treatment room, where you can indulge in a post-ski massage.
If, instead of venturing out, you would rather return home from skiing for some R&R, our catered luxury ski chalets are the option for you. Greeted with an aperitif, you can then expect a sensational meal laid out for you, along with carefully selected wine pairings, so that all you have to do is enjoy quality time and conversation around the table. The stunningly stylish Chalet Mckinley creates a perfect backdrop for such evenings. Watch your private chef create a dinner perfectly tailored to you and your group from the dining table, which seats ten in beautiful wishbone chairs. Soothing ambiance is created by the statement fireplace in the centre of the room as you cradle your after-dinner digestif. The whole space is framed by floor to ceiling windows, which mimic the shape of the vaulted ceiling and immerse you in the surrounding mountains.
Many of our properties in Zermatt also have spa facilities, Chalet Mckinley boasting a soothing hot tub, hammam, sauna, plunge pool, spa and treatment room, and Chalet Shalimar with it’s own spa and swimming pool, so you need not venture out to experience a transformative pamper day. Ideal for large groups, Chalet Shalimar is also available fully catered and with several different configurations, so that it can be adapted to your needs.
With the end of the year approaching, Zermatt has some exciting festive events coming up, including the spectacular annual Christmas tree opening ceremony on the 28th of November beginning at 16:30. Enjoy festive music, delicious food and drinks with loved ones, and with anticipation hanging in the air, join in with the countdown before the tree is illuminated. After the Christmas festivities, the build up to New Years Eve celebrations begin. Many restaurants will have a special NYE menu, and of course bars will host their own celebrations. We asked Harriet where she will be watching the clock strike midnight, and she told us that “the church square with friends” is the place to be.
Finally, we wanted to know about the one thing that shouldn’t be missed on a trip to Zermatt. Harriet recommends, without doubt, a “helicopter tour around the top of the Matterhorn” – which sounds pretty spectacular to us. This mountain, a beacon of sorts for the resort, has a rich, sometimes tragic, but nevertheless impressive history. After admiring it from afar, seize the opportunity to witness its immense beauty up close. It is sure to be an unforgettable experience.
A big thank you to Harriet for sharing her local knowledge with us. We hope that after having this insight into wonderful Zermatt, we will see you there soon. Why not browse our range of luxury accommodation in Zermatt to find your perfect home for this Winter.
We set up our sister company Haute Montagne to cater to the exacting demands of our clients looking for the ultimate chalet holiday experience, expecting the finest luxury properties accompanied by the very best of service levels.
It is not by accident that the Haute Montagne experience has come to be known as superyachts in the snow.
Haute Montagne chalets are among the finest properties available to rent in the ski industry. They are the best properties in resort and are all stand-alone mega-chalets with beautiful furnishings and decadent spa facilities.
You will be looked after by a team of highly trained professionals, each selected for excellence in their field, attention to detail, and discretion.