As the old saying goes, the journey is the destination. The more challenging and the more unusual the journey, the more we appreciate the destination and the more it will stick in our memory. The Hotel Chetzeron sits high above the clouds in the region of Crans-Montana, Switzerland and certainly enjoys a very privileged position. Far away from the crowds, it is only accessible by the hotel’s own snowcat in winter, the hotel Jeep in summer or by cable cart, followed by downhill skiing or walking. It gives the word arrival an entirely new meaning!
Crans-Montana has been a popular alpine tourism destination since more than 100 years. In 1893 a local named Louis Antille, who was friends with a certain César Ritz, and the hotelier Michel Zufferey opened the first hotel on the high mountain plateau, which could only be reached by mule. 3 years later a Geneva doctor opened the first sanatorium and also built the first road to ease transport for his patients. In the early 20th century an Englishman commissioned the highest 18-hole golf course in the world and thus further enriched the region as an attractive tourism destination. Whether in winter or summer, sports enthusiast of all kinds, will not be disappointed. The natural beauty of the Rhone Valley has attracted many a famous person including royalty and movie stars. The region however, also became nationally and internationally known thanks to the Skiing World Cup, the European Golf Masters and the music festival ‘Caprices’.
The Hotel Chetzeron is a small boutique hotel with 16 rooms and suites. It was built within an abandoned cable car station carrying the same name. The transformation took nearly 6 years. The project was made possible through the passion, determination and patience of hotelier Sami Lamaa and a local architectural firm. Even though the design is very impressive and showcases lots of attention to detail, it is clearly all about the magnificent views. Watching the sun rise and set above the mountain peaks ranging from the Matterhorn to the Mont Blanc is something you will cherish forever.
Natural materials, such as oak, metal, stone, leather and felt dominate the interiors of the hotel. The colour scheme is subtle, featuring predominantly neutral colours and a few splashes of green, orange and orchid. The heart and soul of the building is the old cable car entrance, which is fitted with a massive glass window beautifully framing the breathtaking panorama. Within this area you will find the reception, the bar, the lounge and the restaurant. Despite its massive volume there are plenty of cosy nooks and corners welcoming guests to withdraw and relax.
After my somewhat difficult (partially due to the lack of information provided by the hotel…), yet exciting arrival by funicular, bus, cable car and a walk down the slopes (luckily I was able to leave my luggage at the cable car station at the bottom) I received a warm welcome and was soon after taken to my room overlooking the Rhone Valley. My eyes were immediately drawn towards the bench by the window and I simply couldn’t wait to kick off my snow boots, curl up on that bench, admire the sunset and allow my thoughts to drift… As a matter of fact, you can even admire the view whilst lying in your bed, which surely made waking up a unique and exhilarating experience. I highly recommend booking either a Superior Valley room or Suite for the best views. The rooms are unadorned, featuring clean lines, in order to minimise any distraction from the view. Nonetheless, the use of regional quality materials such as wood and stone, as well as the felt curtains create a cosy ambiance.
There are two restaurants at the Hotel Chetzeron. One of them is the panorama restaurant catering to guests and skiers alike. It was renovated during the first phase of the project, whilst negotiations with the planning department for the construction of the hotel were still ongoing. The other restaurant is located in the main area of the hotel, where a small breakfast buffet and a la carte dinner are served. The latter is also available to outside guests upon reservation and is a delightful culinary experience with fresh seasonal ingredients.
Another highlight of the hotel Chetzeron is the outdoor rooftop pool, offering – you guessed it – spectacular views. Even though the water was far too cold (33° Celsius) for my liking, it was a once in a lifetime kind of experience to walk through the snow in slippers and a bathrobe and jump in a pool surrounded by snow capped mountain peaks and ski slopes, whilst the sun was setting…
To complete your all-round experience at the Hotel Chetzeron, there is also a wellness area featuring a sauna, steam bath and infrared cabin, which is the perfect way to end a day filled with physical activity.
Though the service was friendly, I felt it lacked some thoughtfulness and attention to detail. Nonetheless, the Hotel Chetzeron is certainly worth the journey and an absolutely delightful experience.
P.S. I am happy to share some bonus tips about the region in this post!
Plaine Morte Glacier:
The funitel will take you up to Glacier Plaine Morte at nearly 3000 meters above sea level, offering you stunning views and a fabulous alpine ski experience.
Cry d’Er – Club d’Altitude:
Right next to the summit of the skiing lift Cry d’Er, you will see the newly opened Cry d’Er – Club d’Altitude. Consisting of a self-service restaurant, a fine dining restaurant, a night club (!) and an enormous terrace with a live DJ it’s the new place to be. I highly recommend „La Table“, which serves true fine dining at 2250 m!
The „180° Bar Lounge” at the 5-star Hotel Crans Ambassador, which has recently undergone massive refurbishments, is the ideal spot for some After Ski in an elegant, yet relaxed environment in the village. After a round or two at the bar, I highly recommend a ‘Fondue au Champagne’ in the cosy ‘Carnotzet by Hublot’, which much like its name, reflects typical traditions of a local Valais Carnotzet.
At the bottom of the cable car station which takes you up to Cry d’Er, from where you will walk or ski to the hotel Chetzeron, there is a small subsidiary shop of René Ray (Intersport) Ski Rental. They offer friendly, competent service and great equipment and will arrange for your skis to be picked up and dropped off by the hotel at your convenience.
Photography: courtesy of Hotel Chetzeron unless otherwise indicated
Deutsche Version: Abenteuer und Luxus auf 2112m im L’OFFICIEL SCHWEIZ