Andermatt’s Ascent: A Luxurious Time at the Chedi Andermatt in Switzerland

Gina Baksa experiences luxurious facilities and hospitality at the iconic Chedi Andermatt spa hotel in the Swiss Alps

It’s hard to believe that Andermatt – the Swiss Alpine valley resort at 1,447m near the Italian border – was a town in decline ten years ago.

A former army base, its simple infrastructure (skiing and hotels) appealed only to hardcore enthusiasts who didn’t need luxury accommodation, just access to the copious powder snow and challenging runs in and around the Gemsstock. Today, thanks to the investment and business acumen of Egyptian billionaire developer Samih Sawiris, CEO of Orascom Development, Andermatt is a resort on the ascendant.

Sawiris’s ten-year vision is to transform Andermatt into a year-round luxury resort destination with huge potential for investors. His five-star spa hotel The Chedi Andermatt (designed by French-Belgian architect Jean-Michel Gathy) was opened in 2013 to great and consistent acclaim. The Chedi is Gault Millau’s Hotel of the Year 2017.

The development will include six four and five-star hotels, 42 apartment buildings and 25 exclusive villas. New commercial and sports centres are planned, as well as concert and event facilities, and a car-free shopping zone with restaurants. The superb 18-hole championship golf course and Clubhouse is already built and popular with visitors and locals.

Investors can already buy into the Chedi Residences (50 hotel rooms and 119 residences) as well as the nearby Gotthard Residences, thanks to an exemption to the Lex Koller Act that gives foreigners the right to buy residential property without restrictions. The new Radisson Blu Hotel is projected to open in spring 2019.

Andermatt’s ideal location, just 90-minute drive from Zurich and two hours from Milan, means international air connections are easy. I’ve arrived in the resort by train from Gstaad – a fabulous trip (thank you SBB) across the mountains via Spiez and Brig. The Chedi Andermatt is conveniently located near the railway station and only half a mile from the Gemsstockbahn cable car station.

Sawiris’s plan is to elevate Andermatt to its former status as a luxury ski resort of excellence, providing refined accommodations and facilities. And he’s certainly on course with The Chedi. This is my first visit to the resort and the hotel, and I’m impressed by the high level of service. A warm welcome from the front desk (thank you concierges Natschali, Carlo and Andras) and fortified with a shot of warming tea, I’m guided through the exquisite Gathy interiors for a tour, before ascending to my 110m² Deluxe Suite on the fourth floor of the main house.

The Chedi’s public spaces are expansive, yet warm and inviting. Alpine chic and subtle Asian influences reign supreme here: a sensual and indulgent combination of textures, colours and fabrics. Pine, wool, metals; the lobby area has large wooden pieces from Bali, and inviting fireplaces with capacious sofas in which to lounge, sip a cocktail and enjoy lunch or dinner. We move into the bar and living room with their comfortable lounge seating (enjoy the faux-fur and leather) with high ceilings and even more fireplaces (68 in total) – perfect for an aperitif or après-ski cocktail in winter. It’s a seductive ambiance.

There are also wine and cigar libraries to explore and relax in, an après-ski bar, and a pop-up Chalet in the winter. Flames flickering, I am served by smart waiters, whose discreet yet attentive service is very welcome. There’s also a ski room on the ground floor. Replete with a dedicated ski butler, its walls are adorned with the skis of former Swiss champions.

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