Glitz, glamour, and sparkling surfaces – there are so many commonalities between the Swiss mountain town of St. Moritz and Geneva-based jewelry company de Grisogono. The brand’s owner, jeweler Fawaz Gruosi, clearly thought so too when he decided to publish a travel guide to the charming town. And so the Black Book St. Mortiz was born, with over 100 pages of insider tips, hidden gems, recipes, gorgeous jewels, and interviews with the likes of Moncler designer Remo Ruffini. In other words, this book is a Gatsby-meets-Wes-Anderson look at one of the most glamorous ski destinations in the world.
Over a spectacularly cold weekend early in January, I made my way from Dubai to Zurich to St. Moritz for a 36-hour taster of the high life à la de Grisogono. Follow my journey in the gallery below, then click here to download the Black Book St. Moritz.
Touchdown in Zurich after a seven-hour flight from Dubai. The drive to St. Moritz takes about four hours because of the snow blizzard outside. The view is totally worth it though.
We check in to the world-renowned Badrutt’s Palace. This historical property, which is over 120 years old, has housed royals and Hollywood celebrities over the years, hosted some of the ski town’s most illustrious parties, and radiates old-world charm. I would consider myself a pretty seasoned traveler, and yet I’ve never been anywhere quite like it before.
First up on the agenda is a horse drawn-carriage ride through town. It’s well below -15°C outside and I have to pep-talk myself out of the hotel and onto the carriage. The five layers of blankets provided do help – as does the view.
We pass by old wooden cottages, modern art galleries, and an unforgettable structure called Chesa Futura. Built by Norman Foster, the futuristic wooden building stands out in stark contrast to anything around it, not unlike the way we currently stand out from the locals in our “fashion-girl-gone-skiing” looks.
After a visit to the Vito Schnabel gallery, one of the swankiest spaces in town where the works of American artist Jeff Elrod are on display, we make our way one town over to Zuoz’s Dorta Restaurant. A traditional wooden chalet-type building, it’s warm, welcoming, and bizarrely proportioned (we have to duck to make it under the doorway and into the smaller room where our dinner is being served).
Typical dishes from the region with a side of de Grisogono black diamonds.
As I step into my room later that night, I’m greeted by a hot-water bottle and a note from the hotel that reads, “If nobody keeps you warm tonight, let it be me.” A very nice touch – and one greatly appreciated considering the weather outside.
The next morning, I wake up to fresh snow on my balcony and another (quite decadent) surprise courtesy of the Badrutt’s Palace team: a chocolate box filled with – what else – dozens of Swiss chocolates. It’s true what they say; the Swiss really do make the absolute best chocolates.
The best thing about skiing is arguably the après-skiing, and few places around are as popular as El Paradiso. After a half day on the slopes, we stop here for a well-deserved late lunch. Fondue, anyone?
A quick change of clothes and a couple of hot drinks later, we’re back outside on the ice rink of Badrutt’s Palace. On the agenda are ice skating and curling (a legit sport that involves ridiculously heavy stone weights and a lot of sweeping with a broom). Fun fact: Correctly playing this game is so strategic that it’s often referred to as “chess on ice”. Needless to say, we didn’t get that far in our understanding of curling.
Later that evening, we reconvene in the hotel’s elegant Madonna Room (the Virgin, not the pop star), for canapés and a closer look at some gorgeous jewelry. The Badrutt’s Palace hotel is also home to a de Grisogono boutique, which houses some of the brand’s most beautiful one-of-a-kind pieces.
Ready for dinner, wearing de Grisogono’s three-in-one ‘Gypsy’ earrings.
Dinner tonight is held at the hotel’s IGNIV restaurant. Conceptualized by three Michelin-starred chef Andreas Caminada and led by another Michelin-starred chef, Silvio Germann, its name translates to “nest” in Rhaeto-Romanic. If you’ve ever associated Michelin stars with small portions, IGNIV will shatter your preconceptions with more food than you could possibly stomach – and yet somehow manage to because no one in their right mind would turn away something that good.
On our last morning in Switzerland, we convene in the pastry kitchen of the Badrutt’s Palace hotel (officially my favorite part of the establishment) for a mini cooking masterclass. On the menu is the Nusstorte, a caramelized walnut-filled tart that the Engadin valley, where St. Moritz is located, is known for. Top tip from the chef: When you think you’ve definitely put enough butter, you’ve probably only put half as much as you should…
Eager to burn off some of the tart’s innumerable calories, we opt for a walk through town before lunch. Key stores to add to your must-visit list are: Cashmere House Lamm for an incredible selection of cashmere sweaters in every color of the rainbow; Confiserie Hanselmann for a huge selection of traditional chocolates, marzipans, and more; and the Four Emotions Concept Store (pictured here), which can only be described as the number one place you would visit if you were furnishing an impossibly chic log cabin.
Chesa Veglia Club is another address that deserves to be added to your list. Situated right opposite Badrutt’s Palace, this massive chalet houses two bars and three restaurants, including a pizzeria and an eatery serving more traditional Swiss fare. While the setting is very casual, the crocodile ‘Birkins’ discretely tucked underneath tables and the lineup of fur coats in the cloak room tell a different story.
The last helicopter out of St. Moritz departs just before the sun begins to set, which means I have just enough time to squeeze in a massage at the hotel’s award-winning Palace Spa before rushing to the heliport.
In awe of this view, but also a little bit petrified, hanging on to my seatbelt for dear life – white knuckles and all – and thinking that there definitely must be more conventional ways to get to the airport. But again, nothing about this perfect weekend has been conventional.