The Suvretta House

Genuine hospitality Palace style

20150903-7567

We had just driven one of the most beautiful high alpine roads in Europe- the Julier Pass to St. Moritz. This certainly is a mountain pass that one should experience in one’s lifetime. Once in the  Engadin Valley, we turned off the main road to make our way up the private road to the Suvretta House, one of St. Moritz’s famous palace hotels. Built in 1912 on the wooded slopes of Mount Suvretta the Suvretta House is a haven of peace and quiet just 2km outside St. Mortiz. The views across the lake towards the Corvatsch ski area are spectacular especially as the sun sinks down at the end of the day and turns the mountains gold or on Friday nights when the mountain is lit up for night skiing.

We drove straight up to the front door where the porters were ready and waiting to look after our car and belongings whilst we were beckoned straight into the bustling hotel. We were given a warm welcome by Esther and Peter Egli the General Managers since 2014 and shortly after we were given a guided tour of the palatial hotel. The hotel has a general feeling of space from the corridors to the communal areas. The main Hotel Hall is quite extravagant with high ceilings, two open fireplaces and huge windows that looking out across to Corvatsch and the upper Engadine landscape. This is where family and friends have been gathering for the the last 100 years and I am sure that it has seen generation after generation return for tea and cakes in the afternoon or aperitifs in the evening. Our Suite did not lack space either, from the size of the room to the size of the storage the Architect Karl Koller made sure that the guests would never struggle for space in the 181 luxury rooms of the Suvretta House.

k-1-Wohnzimmer
SONY DSC

Once we had made ourselves at home in our spacious suite, we changed for dinner into our formal attire because Gentlemen must wear a dark suit with a tie; we then made our way down to the Grand Restaurant. It really is a very traditional setting with large oak pillars, ornate wooden ceiling and walls. All the guests looked exceptionally smart, dressed up to the nines whilst a legion of dapper looking waiters coming and going about their business made for a timeless scene that could have been from the grand early days of the 20th Century. The Grand Restaurant is under head chef Fabrizio Zanetti who has 14 Gault Millau points and this comes across clearly in his cuisine, which features French and seasonal specialities from across the region. No sooner had we made ourselves comfortable in the beautiful surroundings, we were offered some of their house pour Laurent Perrier, now this is my kind of place. We looked through the fabulous menu and both decided to start with the gluten free pappardelle with crab, broccoli and tomatoes which was super delicious.

SONY DSC

For main course neither of us could resist the Venison served with cabbage, chestnut and potato cake and rightly so, for the Venison was so tender and juicy with its delightful jus. We were glad that the main course was of a sensible size because the first course had been quite large, but mostly because we wanted to keep plenty of room for the Cheese that was about to come our way. The Cheese trolley arrived in front of our table and we were ready for let the cheese fest begin; with such delights as Swiss Tomme Fleurette, Compte, Gruyère and French Langres and Mont d;Or. There is something magical about the cheesing hour, Cheeky and I enjoy all sections of the meal for various reasons but Cheese O’clock seems to be a very special moment where we find our zen and the Grand Restaurant did not disappoint. After the Cheese the chef had prepared something special for us, it was time for gluten free Crepe Suzette served with ice cream and crushed Pistachios. This was quite the theatre piece as our waiter cooked and prepared the whole ensemble right in front of us, with secret ingredients and four foot flames completing the experience. On this occasion we just kept drinking the Laurent Perrier all the way through the meal, just because we could.

SONY DSC
Suvretta-Stube

The next evening Cheeky and I experienced the Suvretta Stube which is a more laid back restaurant with classic Swiss specialities and traditional dishes from the local Canton of Graubunden. The Stube may be a little more laid back but the food is still of the same high quality, as we both found out with our starters of Winter Cod Ceviche and the largest table prepared Tuna Tartare that I have experienced yet, both were fantastic. Once we had devoured these delightful starters we opted for the Fondue Chinoise with Veal and beef with Asparagus, vegetables, rice and rosti to die for; I just wish that my stomach was bigger because I could have continued to eat this all night long! Once we had filled our bellies Cheeky finished the meal with a very smooth Creme Brulee and I cleansing my palate with a Scorpino which is a fine blend of Lemon sorbet and prosecco, the perfect way to finish a meal.

Whilst we visiting The Suvretta House we had the very hard task of skiing the resort of  St.Moritz and the Suvretta House is well set up, with a very grand and spacious Ski room with 380 heated store cupboards. It really is quite a spectacular space, with a Ski shop where one can hire or buy ski equipment and the Suvretta’s own ski lift just 100 metres from the entrance leads up to the Corviglia ski slopes. The Suvretta House also runs a Vintage bus from the town centre which is certainly worth the experience.

The Suvretta House has around 300 staff and if you look closely some wear a set of stars on their uniform to demonstrate loyalty to the hotel, apparently one star means that they have served 10 completed seasons and it is quite noticeable that there are many staff with more than one star. So it seems that it is not only a fantastic place to visit but also a fantastic place to work, and this comes across in the service which is second to none. One can feel the history and sense the atmosphere of the classic Palace Hotel and the early days of Alpine tourism, It is like travelling back in time and I absolutely love this. Long may the Suvretta House stand and long may generation after generation of families visit time and time again.

Suvretta House
Via Chasellas 1,
7500 St. Moritz,
Switzerland

k-Hotelford-winter

BLACK BOOK QUARTERLY