Andermatt: Switzerland’s Hidden Gem Ski Resort
Switzerland's most exciting ski resort
by Maria Boyle
Andermatt is one of Switzerland’s oldest and most picturesque villages, surrounded by the naturally stunning, year-round beauty of the Swiss Alps, says Maria Boyle
Andermatt on the ascent – Switzerland’s hidden gem
Over the years, Andermatt has found itself in the spotlight, with notable visitors including Arthur Conan Doyle, Charles Dickens, Queen Victoria and even 007 himself; Sean Connery stayed here in 1964 and filmed Alpine scenes for Goldfinger.
But the charming mountain village, with its gingerbread looking houses and River Reuss running through it, has had a low profile until recently. Once used as a training base for the Swiss Army, it has been transformed into a year-round resort on a scale never seen before in the Alps by an Egyptian businessman in 2005. It now stands as the largest ski resort development in the Alps and the most exciting destination to visit in Switzerland.
Swisstainable: How Switzerland is Leading the Way in Sustainability
The resort has been rewarded for its approach to sustainability. in September 2021 Andermatt Swiss Alps received a Swisstainable Award from Swiss Tourism for its approach to sustainability. Its buildings have been built according to the low-energy standards; the resort runs wholly on renewable energy; heating is predominantly climate-neutral using wood chips from the local area, while the lifts and snowmaking systems of the mountain railways in Andermatt and Sedrun use renewable energy. Most of the water for snowmaking is obtained from the streams and lakes naturally present on the mountain – and flows there again after the winter season. The resort also re-uses snow and covers one hectare of the glacier in fleece each year to prevent it melting in the summer, has a car-free satellite village, offers free e-bus shuttles and is doing away with single-use plastics.
Andermatt has an excellent selection of quality accommodation for visitors.
The newly built Andermatt Apartments boasts a range of accommodation, from studio apartments to 4-bedroom penthouses. Each category of accommodation boasts a well-designed Alpine feel with with an open-planned kitchen, dining area and cosy living space, making them the perfect choice for family and friends alike. Located in the village centre, which is a car-free zone, they’re also ideally situated to take advantage of the nearby restaurants, bars and shops.
If money is no object, the five star deluxe Chedi hotel is where to stay. Located on Andermatt’s main street, it has 123 rooms and suites, each with its own fireplace and balcony, It’s an east-west fusion of design, with impressive lounges, bars, restaurants and spas, offering double-height ceilings and impressive views.
Alternatively, the newly built four star Raddison Blu Reussen offers 180 rooms and suites, a fitness and wellness centre, restaurant and bar and a 25 metre swimming pool with views of the surrounding mountains.
Andermatt has an excellent and diverse food scene. There’s traditional Swiss inns, mountain bars and family restaurants, as well as two Michelin star eateries. Quite impressive for a village with just 1500 residents.
Top of the culinary stakes is Gütsch by Markus Neff. The Michelin-starred restaurant, located at 2344m on the summit of the Gutsch ski area, is regarded as the best mountain restaurant in Switzerland. With its modern Alpine and stylish interior, Neff’s innovative menu changes by season and will be a highlight of any visit to Andermatt. Just remember to book in advance and save room for Le Chocolat dessert.
For those who fancy sushi on the slopes or in the village, Michelin-starred The Japanese by The Chedi offers Asian contemporary dishes including shidashi bento, omakase, kaiseke, sushi and tempura.
Restaurant Biselli at Piazza Gottardo is another great choice, offering a mix of Swiss and Italian dishes, perfect for family and friends dining after a day on the slopes. It also offers a takeaway menu, great for those staying at the Andermatt Apartments who fancy a night in without cooking. It’s also a bakery, bar and chocolate shop – so it’s also perfect for those just looking for a snack or drink.
No trip to the mountains can be complete without fondue and Restaurant Ochsen is where the locals go to. Portions are plentiful and the fondue (a top-secret recipe) is a taste sensation.
The family-run Restaurant Toutoune serves wonderful Mediterranean dishes including falafel, various tarte flambée, fresh pastas and salads. Perfect for large groups who all want something different to eat, as well as fussy children.
Adding some extra celebrity sparkle, the owners of Verbier’s La Vache restaurant (singer James Blunt, rugby player Lawrence Dallaglio and motorbike racer Carl Fogarty) have opened The Pot Luck Club in the village. Head there for some Tapas, it’s worth a visit.
In the heart of the Alps, Andermatt has arguably the best snow in Europe. There’s a brilliant range of activities to take advantage of.
Ski: Andermatt offers 180km of piste suitable for beginners right through to expert skiers and snowboarders who want to go off-piste on the Gemsstock mountain, where there are snow-sure runs of around 1500m vertical drop at 2961m high. It has recently added new ski lifts that include links to additional ski areas of Sedrun and Disentis.
Take the ski train: the Matterhorn Gotthard Railway offers the most magical, panoramic views, passing magnificent 3,000-metre peaks and glittering winter forests. Running hourly from Andermatt via the Oberalp Pass to Disentis, this is an experience not to be missed and appeals to both skiers and non-skiers.
Walking tour: Local guide Bänz Simmen offers a range of tours for visitors to take advantage of. A wonderful character, he is a walking encyclopaedia on the local flora and fauna, history and events and myths and legends of Andermatt.
Sledging: Unlike other ski resorts in Italy, France and Austria, Andermatt has even created a range of dedicated sledging runs for the whole family to enjoy while surrounded by breathtaking views of Andermatt. These range from the gentle to the adrenalin. Sleds can be rented in most shops and also in the Sportshop Gleis just by the main cable car.
Ice-skating: The ice rink at Andermatt is centrally located and makes a perfect activity for those who do not want to ski.
Spa: After a long day skiing, the Raddison Blu’s Uela Spa with its saunas, 25 metre pool and treatment rooms is worth a restorative visit. Signature treatments are inspired by the surroundings and its sublime Queen of the Alps massage (190 CHF for 60 minutes) is the only one of its kind available in Switzerland. This involves Swiss stone pine that is known for lowering the heart rate, reducing stress, stabilising circulation and preventing sleep disorders. Deeply relaxing, the massage is highly recommended.
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Après ski: Although its après ski scene isn’t as lively as some of Switzerland’s other skiing destinations, there are a good selection of bars to entertain. Cocktails in The Chedi bar with its leather sofas, high ceilings and resident DJ are a must. Vinothek 1620 is a great little wine bar and is located in one of the oldest houses in the village, dating back to 1620.
Just 90 minutes’ drive from Zurich and two hours from Milan, it’s easily accessible.
British Airways flies London Heathrow to Zurich, from £82 return (baggage not included), from £102 return (baggage included)
Andermatt Apartments, prices start from £150 per night during the ski season, andermatt-swissalps.ch
Andermatt Alpine Apartments is offering “Stay 5 Nights, Pay 4 Nights”. To book this, guests should write the code “UKLateski2022” in the email to reception, [email protected]
With fabulous hotels, a wide selection of affordable apartments, private chalets, a golf course, new ski lifts and an expanded ski area spanning 180 kms, plus a great choice of restaurants and bars, Andermatt offers the perfect Swisstainable destination to visit all year round.
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