Stylist’s Amy Adams heads to the small Swiss ski town of Arosa and finds an architectural icon among the slopes
Even for confirmed snow-lovers, there are times when a ski holiday feels like a chore, schlepping your skis from your hotel to the slopes via a packed shuttle bus, and doing it all again several hours later. But at the Tschuggen Grand Hotel, these moments disappear. Their entire ethos is about making a ski holiday more of a, well, holiday.
Open since 1929, the Tschuggen bagsied the prettiest south-facing spot in Arosa, so the patio is populated with smiling, satisfied skiers basking in the sunshine. Arosa is one of Switzerland’s smaller, lesser-known resorts, but two years ago a new lift linked it to the 225km of pistes on the Grisons Mountains, and so this ski-in, ski-out hotel is fast gaining a reputation among in-the- know skiers. The pretty Alpine town is also a great bet for groups or couples with non-skiers in tow; 60km of new walking trails were created last winter, skirting the slopes and linking to mountain restaurants so you can meet your party for lunch.
As well as its prime position, the other jewel in Tschuggen’s crown is the Bergoase spa by the Swiss architect Mario Botta, who designed San Francisco’s Moma. Built into the mountain, its arched windows jut from the rock like sails. At night they glow different colours, creating an Aurora Borealis effect against the peaks. Inside it’s all maple ceilings and granite walls, cream leather beds and cerise towels. The best way to loosen up after a day on the slopes is to swim through to the heated outdoor pool to watch the steam rise off the water, as skiers criss-cross nearby slopes.
For après ski (or après spa) we head to the sumptuous bar, decorated with Hermès chairs, Swarovski lamps and enough original art to rival a gallery. We sip a local sparkling pinot noir before moving to the Michelin-starred La Vetta for a six-course tasting menu of tiny, exquisite plates including poached monkfish in ash and black salsify with hazelnuts and manchego. On top of the five hotel restaurants, this winter the Tschuggen has built four igloos where you can feast on truffle fondue with champagne while wrapped in fur blankets. Like I said, a skiing holiday needn’t be an endurance test.
Doubles at Tschuggen Grand Hotel (tschuggen.ch) start at £380, including breakfast and use of the spa
Save your pennies: Arosa Vetter Hotel
Get a taste of Arosa for less
This charming, rustic Alpine lodge is simply decorated with pine floors and white-washed walls, but outside is the star of the show anyway. Pick a Bel-Etage room for a stunning view of the nearby lake and peaks. In the relaxed restaurant, ingredients are locally sourced, from the cheese and meat to the porcini mushrooms. Just a minute’s walk from the main gondola, the Arosa Vetter also boasts its own après ski haunt, the Strumpf Bar, cutting the time you need to slither about in ski boots to a minimum.