In April I was lucky enough to be invited out to stay in one of Switzerland’s premium ski resorts, Zermatt. It is a place I have always wanted to go for many reasons; the standard of unique design chalets in Zermatt is extremely high, the amazing ski area is legendary and of course, the infamous […]
Having just experienced my first ever work trip to Zermatt I believe the question shouldn’t be why Zermatt, but why anywhere else? Let me talk you through my first experience and why I completely and utterly fell hook line and sinker for the charming ski resort of Zermatt.
When your director requests a word after 6 weeks of working for the company, I can safely say I didn’t think he was going to say “I know it’s short notice but how do you feel about heading to Zermatt for a 5 day work trip?” I was absolutely stoked and as you can imagine completely and utterly flabbergasted, just about making out the words “Wow, yes please” and most certainly not why Zermatt?
First port of call was obviously getting there. This to be honest would have been the only part I would have ever questioned over why Zermatt? It seemed like it was going to be a quick flight from London Heathrow to Zurich, which it was, but then a faff regarding trains. However, it couldn’t have been further from the truth, with a quick walk from one building to another, then down the escalator to the platform, where there is a two tier spacious and comfortable train waiting. With some quite wonderful views along the way, a restaurant for when you get peckish and a charming and incredibly friendly Swiss guard, you find the two and a bit hours surprisingly delightful and are over before you know it. Then after a quick and efficient change in Visp you start to feel the excitement building as you begin your final climb through the mountains to Zermatt.
It took me minutes to fall in love with Zermatt and I couldn’t even see the Matterhorn when I first arrived. I stepped out of the train station and was thrilled to see no cars, as they aren’t allowed in the centre, but instead these fabulous electric taxis and a beautiful horse and carriage waiting for passengers heading to the Mont Cervin Palace Hotel. The main street is absolutely charming and surrounded by gorgeous traditional buildings where bursts of red from the beautiful flowers hanging from the balconies enhances the beauty of this wonderland even further. The streets are filled with tourists and locals strolling along, admiring the beautiful buildings, popping into the delightful shops for some delicious chocolate, cheese, baked goods or whatever else takes their fancy. Add the domineering and majestic Matterhorn into the mix, which might I add definitely makes its presence known when it finally chooses to show itself, the stunning church which you must pop into even if just to see the ceiling alone, the pretty stream adding even more charm by running through the middle of the village and the endearing Swiss charm, you will most definitely understand “Why Zermatt?”
My first night in Zermatt I was one hundred percent spoilt as I was treated to my first ever Aperol Spritz at Edwards Bar; a must try and a combination of Aperol with prosecco along with a slice of orange. The slice of orange a must. I believe it would be like having Pimms without all the fruit, which quite frankly would be sacrilege. I was then lucky enough to be treated to my second first, which was a Swiss fondue. If you like cheese then this is an absolute dream. My mouth is watering at the thought of dipping a piece of bread or potato along with a piece of cured meat into that beautiful bowl of melted light Swiss cheese. Zermatt is renowned for its world class restaurants and to be honest good luck choosing. With a choice of 50 up the mountain along with a further 100 in the resort it is difficult to know where to start and which to choose. Not only that but you also have the fabulous opportunity of being able to ski over to Italy for some lunch in the sunshine.
I was also very fortunate as I was taken to the exquisite Zum See restaurant, which is located on the piste near the Furi lift. This gorgeous restaurant within a stunning setting offered me the best tasting venison with pastry and chanterelles I have ever had, along with the best white wine I’ve ever had, but please keep that to yourselves as I’ve just returned from New Zealand where I promised my friends that they have the best wine in the world. Just make sure so not to be disappointed that you book before you go, either the first sitting around midday or the second at 2pm, where you can settle in, take time to enjoy those spectacular views and make the most of starting your apres-ski a wee bit early.
I must just add that it’s not just the restaurants, which offer spectacular food, as I enjoyed a delicious 7 course gourmet meal at the stunning Chalet Les Anges, where I was staying. This is why Zermatt is such a fabulous resort because not only are there hundreds of fabulous eateries up the mountain and in the resort itself to choose from, but the luxurious and ultimate chalets also offer exquisite food, which is every bit as good as the restaurants and served by highly qualified chefs within your own intimate environment. It is so difficult to know where to start and which to choose, but boy what a wonderful choice to have.
For some spectacular views head up to the top of the Matterhorn Express where at 3,883m you will become speechless at the sheer sight before your eyes. With a vista ranging from Mont Blanc, Matterhorn, Breithorn and of Zermatt, you will quite simply be in complete awe. Then to see that people were hiking and skiing on the glacier (in the summer) is quite remarkable. I, however, rushed straight to the snow tubing, where I must say I felt like a giddy kid again. The best part about being an adult though is that you can still act like a kid but enjoy the delicious rum hot chocolate afterwards. Make sure while you are still warm from the rum hot chocolate you head over to the ice palace to see some incredible sculptures and to feel like a king or queen on your very own throne.
Zermatt offers so many wonderful activities, including paragliding, hiking the Matterhorn, curling and snow shoeing to name but a few, but I would like to concentrate on my experience of clay pigeon shooting by the Furi lift. I have to say believing myself to be fairly sporty I was very excited about giving this a go and thought I might pick it up fairly well. So, there I was after some tuition posed and ready to take on this pink clay (don’t panic there is no ammunition). All prepared with my gun in the air, one eye looking down the barrel, stance perfected, beating heart and waiting for the critical word “pull”. BANG BANG echoes around the site. Damn I missed. All good though, I tell myself, as only my first go. So, I quickly brushed it off reloaded and went again. This time remembering to aim slightly in front and below I think I must surely hit it. BANG BANG! “Oh dammit” are the words echoing in my head again. It unfortunately went on like this for the next half an hour. As you can imagine when I finally hit one I was absolutely thrilled but could I for the life of me get another one? Nope!
So to sum up you must head to Clay Shoot Zermatt with your friends, colleagues or family in the summer or winter for much laughter, wine and great fun. Whether you are like me or actually good it’s absolutely thrilling, a total must and you will become competitive whether you like it or not as well as being hooked from the moment you pick up the gun. Just don’t say I didn’t warn you.
There you have it. I’m sure that with beautiful views around every corner, the iconic Matterhorn, Swiss food and wine, Swiss hospitality, Italy for lunch, so many activities to choose from and a beautiful and charming resort to admire, the question is not why Zermatt but when can I book?
Please send us an email or give us a call on +44 1202 203653 as I would be thrilled to talk about Zermatt and our luxury chalets with you, to help book your perfect holiday. All the team at Ultimate Luxury Chalets would be thrilled to help make your first trip to Zermatt as spectacular as mine.