The snow in St Moritz may be melting by the day, but the fun over at Badrutt’s Palace never stops. How could it at the place that Gunter Sachs called his spiritual home, and where Alfred Hitchock plotted his wildest capers, and where Elephants were paraded into the ballroom for a 50th birthday wish?
In fact, Sachs’ Jet Set headquarters were a perfect distillation of the spirit of Badrutt’s. His penthouse apartment at the hotel contained a discombobulating curation of modern art — Lichtenstein panels in the bathroom, a kitchen decorated with all ten of Warhol’s ‘Marilyns’, Lalanne sheep on the carpet — not to mention a panel of bulletproof glass, which Sachs would cheerfully stand behind while visitors took shots (Salvador Dalí was a particularly avid marksman.)
Raucous amusement and peerless refinement, set against a backdrop of tinkling glasses and enveloping fur — at Badrutt’s, the more things change, the more they stay the same.
Sat above the famous lake at St Moritz, the Palace — with its eponymous and unmistakable tower – is something of a talisman for the town at large: you know you’ve pulled into the right station, after the achingly beautiful mountain-hugging train journey from Zurich, when you see the geometric Palace Tower looming out from the snow-capped peaks.
The architecture here is a kind of alpine gothic, understated and imposing at once. The original site was remodelled by famed architects Chiodera and Tschudi, and the hotel today is a gold standard for Swiss design and continental hospitality. We’re particularly fond of the iconic emerald green roofs, nestled above the deep red of the Palace’s window frames and timber.
You don’t get the moniker Palace by good intentions alone. Badrutt’s is true to its billing, however, from the enveloping warmth of the mahogany entrance to the lovely idylls of its lakeview suites — all class and refinement, elegance and generosity.
If the deep-set carpets don’t get you, the beds will — perhaps it is the Alpine air or the nightcap of Braulio post-supper, but in the Palace, returning guests tend to sleep like a baby with a particularly secure set of finances.
In a nod to the Palace’s hedonist roots, there are nine restaurants here — an almost literal smorgasbord of cuisines and styles. The main dining room goes by ‘Le Restaurant’ — a winningly on-the-nose name that belies the Palace’s fine-dining history.
It’s a gourmet offering that seems built for candlelit decadence, while the exceptional service is that winning, near-extinct combination of reverence and charm. They don’t build waiters like this anywhere else in the world — unless of course you count at IGNIV by Andreas Caminada, the hotel’s fine dining experience; or La Coupole-Matsuhisa, a peruvian-Japanese affair in the former tennis court; or Patrizier Stuben, a traditional Swiss restaurant located in the oldest farmhouse in St Moritz.
Not every hotel can pull of this kind of variety and exuberance and expertise, of course — but over at Badrutt’s, it lines the walls and fills the air. Charm, excellence and a good dose of fun — over at the Palace, the spirit of Gunter Sachs is alive and well.
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