St Moritz resort guide - a general overviewguide
St Moritz is situated in the heart of the Engadine valley, on the southern side of the Alps near the Italian border and is probably one of the best-known resorts in the world. Its sparkling dry climate is famous and not only is St Moritz known as the birthplace of winter tourism and modern Alpine sports, it is also the only town in Switzerland to have hosted the Winter Olympics. As well as the skiing, St Moritz offers a wide variety of attractions including horse racing on the frozen lake, many restaurants, nightclubs, cafes, clubs, cinemas, concerts, a casino and of course the famous Crest Run.
The main resort town is St Moritz Dorf and this is where the main hotels, shops and bars are situated. This is situated on an elevated position above the lake and gives great South facing views from some of the hotels across this frozen playing field. The shopping in St Moritz Dorf is indisputably ritzy, glitzy and expensive but it's fun to stroll about the pedestrian areas window shopping. This main resort gives immediate access to the Corviglia ski area which has plenty of easy and sun catching cruising runs and wonderful lake views.
St Moritz Bad which is set a little lower in altitude is at lake level but there is less going on here in terms of apres ski and nightlife etc. Five kilomtres away from St Moritz Bad and Dorf is the main lift to the Corvatsch Mountain which is mostly North facing. This is the area best for the good skiers as a) the snow is of better quality, b) the runs are generally a bit tougher, and c) there is some great off-piste terrain.
Despite the upper-class, wealthy client image that St Moritz has it's surprisingly enjoyable for us lesser mortals. The ski area is large, high and varied (although split into 3 separate unlinked areas). The fantastic mountain views are free and there to be enjoyed by all. The atmosphere of the resort is really great and the on-mountain dining really good - even at modest budget levels. We thoroughly recommend ski holidays in St Moritz for those looking for something just a little different. Apart from the Cresta Run, which is a 'must' if at all possible, there are two other fantastic toboggan runs which can be tackled on a pitch up and ride basis.
1,770m - 3,300m
Level of skiing
- Snow sure
- Ski area
- Charm factor
- Resort layout
- Fine dinning
- Short transfer
- Resort value
- Wonderful panoramic scenery
- This is THE "winter resort" and the off slope entertainment is second to none
- Lots of good intermediate ski terrain on high, sunny and snow sure slopes
- Great apres ski for all tastes
- Painless (if quite long) rail link from Zurich
- Although the centre of St Moritz Dorf is attractive there are some ugly block style hotels
- The town is quite large and lacks a little "village atmosphere"
- Some unlinked mountains on the lift pass that are not that easy to access
- Runs on the main mountain are all pretty easy
St Moritz Resort Restaurants
The following is a report from a client who knows St Moritz very well. Many thanks to Rosie for her suggestions. "La Baracca, cash only, situated at the end of the car park by St Moritz Bad cable car base station. Simple but delicious food and the place is hopping. We always order the mixed salad to start - they say it has 24 vegetables in it. We follow with the fillet of beef (it is called something like a hot carpaccio of beef and it's magic) with mashed potatoes which have a large blob of pesto in the middle. The mash comes in a large bowl for you to share. Then we order the mojito sorbets. It is always packed - everyone squashed in on long tables and some lucky people on tables of their own. The music is great once the guests have eaten and then it usually takes off with people standing on their chairs dancing and having fun. Always ask the cost of the wine! There is no wine list but they have the wine in a corner and you can go and have a look at it but at the end of the day we are never any wiser and we are regularly with Italian friends who know their wines - we generally spend about 69 francs for each bottle so not cheap but worth it. You do need to book this place! On a different scale is the Veltinerkeller - a very old family run restaurant - thoroughly swiss restaurant where all the meat is cooked on an open fire. They do the best pizzoccheri - buckwheat pasta with vegetables and cheese and garlic - we have it as a starter - it is the local dish and they do it the best. It is a good place to go on a Sunday night as it is not the place for great atmosphere but it is certainly excellent for food. They have a lot of animals on the walls including a moose in the main restaurant. Chasellas is a lovely restaurant for lunch at the base station of the chair lift at Suvretta. Excellent lunch food, some of their food comes from the Suvretta Hotel kitchen or alternatively at the top of the chair lift of Suvretta is Restaurant Trutz, also part of the Suvretta Hotel - great for food and the most wonderful view - book a table in the restaurant rather than the serviced area it is worth it for not many more francs. We always book. Very friendly and fun and a great place to ski to. Hotel Laudinella - This restaurant will also be off the radar of the Cresta Crew - it is a great pizza restaurant in St Moritz Bad - the hotel has a couple of restaurants, pizza, thai, Japanese etc. The pizza one is really great where they also do swiss and Italian food. If you decide to ski on the Corvatsch the restaurant at the very top is very good food and the view is amazing. Also on the mountain is the Alpetta Hut - one of our favourites - you can only ski to this restaurant on your way down from the middle station. The alcoholic Alpetta coffee is excellent - we always drink too many. They cook a vat of polenta outside - you walk by it on your way into the hut, good also are the dried meats and fois gras."
St Moritz Mountain Restaurants
Mountain restaurants are plentiful and some of the most glamorous in Europe. Some are lovely, but some leave a lot to be desired. One of the favourites is the El Paradiso secluded at the extreme end of Corviglia, which has beautiful views, trendy, great service and top notch food. Worth knowing about is that there are several restaurants under the name of Mathis Food Affairs, and they serve constantly good food and are all recommended. The rustic Alpetta has been particularly recommended. The Sils Maria cow barn in the Corvatsch ski area is unique and a little bit crazy just like the host Freddie. During the day he dishes up delicious and simple dishes and in the evening exquisite and creative gourmet menus as well as party sounds.
St Moritz Apres Ski
There is a huge variety of apres-ski available in St Mortiz. At tea time Hanselmanns offeres fabolous tea and strudels though the place is a bit dull. The Roo bar outside the hotel Hauser is a great apres ski spot with a terrace (blankets are on offer if needed). Bobby's pub attracts a young crowd as does the loud music of the stubli, one of the three bars in the great hotel Schweizerhof offers amazing cocktails, the others are the Mulibar, with a country and westerm theme and the chic Piano Bar.
St Moritz Nightlife
The two most popular discos are Vivai at the Steffani (it is very expensive however) and the King's at the Badrutt's Palace (even more expensive) and if they don't part you from enough of your cash, try the casino.