How about having your own ski butler in the heart of the Swiss Alps? The quaint and traditional village of Andermatt – with a population of only 1,300 – is being transformed and, as a guest of the Andermatt Swiss Alps Company, I took a trip to the Gotthard region, in the heart of the Swiss Alps, to find out why.
This charming village has been quietly forgotten since its heyday in the 20s and 30s, when its clientele included local aristocrats and European royalty. Queen Victoria and Prince Albert chose it as their alpine hideaway and The Grand Bellevue Hotel was once the only place to be seen.
When World War II broke out, the Swiss Army chose Andermatt as its headquarters, and the picturesque village became the highly secretive base for the High Command of the Swiss Federal Army. Since the Army’s departure in 2000, locals have welcomed hardened skiers who enjoy the mountain passes and glaciers in the winter, and outdoor enthusiasts who climb, bike and explore the unspoilt Alpine landscape in the summer.
However, change is on the way as Orascom Development Holdings and The Andermatt Swiss Alps Company are transforming this small village into a hotspot to suit every visitor’s needs. Andermatt is to become a five star destination with new deluxe hotels, residential properties, sport and leisure facilities, as well as a conference and concert hall.
In order to rejuvenate Andermatt, sustainability is key to ensuring this visionary project is successful. The plans include developing the current infrastructure, as well as to launch six five star hotels and a complex of luxury apartments and villas. The innovative project will modernise an entire mountain area whilst maintaining a natural exterior, to compliment its environment. This will link the neighboring ski areas to create one single ski range of 135 kilometres of piste in the Winter, whilst in the Summer, the new 18-hole golf course, with 1.3 million sq metres, will satisfy the amateur golfers who like to take in the fresh mountain air. It is an impressive project which will place Andermatt on the map as a destination equal to some of the top ski resorts in Europe, such as St. Moritz, Verbier and Zermatt.
Clearly, for ambitious as well as family skiers, this will be a dream. Just a short car journey from Zurich Airport, the resort will provide everything from the tall slopes of the Gemsstock Glacier at 3,000 metres for the advanced winter sport fanatics, to the lower sunny slopes of the Nätschen which will suit all holiday needs. For the city dweller who prefers the après ski life (like myself), I was keen to discover the lifestyle element of the development. Building works on Europe’s first Chedi Hotel and Residence are nearing completion. With 50 bedrooms and a collection of 119 apartments and penthouses, this historical venue promises to be a first class hotel. On a guided tour around the building site of The Chedi Andermatt, it was clear that luxury, space and comfort were in mind, with fine dining gourmet restaurants serving the best of Asian cuisine, wine and cigar libraries and various themed lounges. The extensive spa, indoor and outdoor pools and a uniquely designed ice rink and stylish après ski bars, appealed immediately to me. Based on projected designs, my first impression was very good.
Whether the new Andermatt will retain the quaintness of an “old mountain village” is yet to be determined, but with support from the locals and a carefully planned luxurious expansion, it promises to be a top destination for winter 2013.
Apartments are valued at approximately CHF 1.8m and offer state-of-the-art facilities, including a wellness oasis and a sophisticated fitness centre, and with the option of your very own personal butler, it seems to tick all the boxes.
Andermatt Swiss Alps AG
Telephone: +41 41 874 17 17
Sara Collins: firstname.lastname@example.org
One bedroom apartments in the Gemse building at Andermatt Swiss Alps start at CHF 14,800 per sqm, and apartments at The Chedi Andermatt start at 1.8 million CHF.