Be prepared to be swept away! When you enter The Chedi Andermatt it is like stepping into a different world. It takes a moment to take it all in. There is the grandeur, the sheer size of the building, in particular its height and on the other hand the dark colour scheme and the subdued lighting creating a sense of magic. The stresses of the outside world seemed to fade away as we made our way to the reception – a 35 m long solid stone counter with 143 crystal pendants above – where we were greeted with a smile, a hot towel and a spiced cup of tea.
The Chedi Andermatt is a multi award winning property, member of The Leading Hotels of the World and Swiss Deluxe Hotels and part of GHM Hotels, a small collection of deluxe boutique hotels. Their philosophy is to create authentic experiences for their guests within a luxurious and intimate environment. Chedi is Thai and literally translates to ‘temple’.
Home to this extravagant temple in the Swiss Alps is the sleepy, yet historically interesting village of Andermatt in the canton of Uri. At 1437 meters above sea level the high Alpine Ursern valley is surrounded by archaic mountain peaks, accessible from all cardinal directions via Alpine passes, tunnels and the infamous Devil’s Bridge.
Archeological finds date all the way back to 4000 BC. Andermatt (originally named ‘An der Matte’) has been home to Helvetic and Alemannic tribes as well as a Benedictine monastery. The region has also welcomed several famous guests including Goethe and Queen Victoria in past centuries and in 1885 the Swiss Federal Army decided to establish a base in this rugged mountain area.
The opening of the Gotthard Pass in the 19th century turned Andermatt into a popular transient tourism destination and the Grand Hotels of the Belle Epoque started to emerge. With the opening of the Gotthard Tunnel in 1882 however, transient tourism rapidly declined, severe avalanches challenged the region and the growing army presence especially during the two world wars further tainted the image of Andermatt as a tourism destination. In consequence, the hotels became neglected. Tourism fell into decay, experiencing more downs than ups all the way until the turn of yet another century.
The withdrawal of the military settlement encouraged Andermatt once again to focus on tourism. As luck had it, a wealthy Egyptian businessman visited the region and was charmed by its rough natural beauty. It was love at first sight and the rest is history as they say. The opening of The Chedi Andermatt in 2013 marked the beginning of Samih Sawiris’ massive expansion plans. His investment plan includes luxury hotels, villas and apartments as well as the refurbishment and extension of the skiing lifts.
The Skiarena Andermatt-Sedrun combines Andermatt (UR) with Sedrun (GR) and offers more than 120 km of skiing slopes and 20 ski lifts serving up to 21’200 people per hour. The region however, also caters to many other outdoor activities, such as snowshoe walks, cross-country skiing, sledding, skating, climbing and of course hiking in summer and winter. During the summer month you can also swing your golf clubs at The Chedi Andermatt’s own 18-hole golf club or explore the region by mountain bike. For those looking for some romance a horse drawn carriage ride may do the trick!
Hence, sports and outdoor enthusiasts will not be disappointed nor will those seeking relaxation. After some extensive physical activity, there’s nothing better than soaking those (soon to be) sore muscles in the spa. The Asian inspired Spa at the Chedi will not fail to delight even the most discerning traveler!
2400 m2 of pure bliss: indoor and outdoor pools, hot tubs, steam baths and saunas and a state of the art fitness center. Natural materials, such as wood and stone dominate this haven of relaxation and the lighting creates an enchanting ambiance.
Despite its impressive size, The Chedi Andermatt only disposes of 123 rooms and suites, starting at 52 m2 in size. Each room is finished in luxurious materials, has its own ethanol fireplace operated via iPad, a generous bathroom with walk-in rain shower and a freestanding bathtub. The suites, which measure up to 330 m2, are equipped with their very own wine refrigerator in addition to the regular mini bar and stocked with the arriving guest’s favourite bottles…
The overall design of The Chedi Andermatt could be described as East meets West or Swiss Alpine chic with a touch of Asia. The use of authentic natural materials and elements from both sides of the world create a sense of wellbeing. The contemporary, yet locally inspired wooden façade is made of red pine, whereas the interiors feature predominantly oak, teak, metal and Belgian Blue Stone in a variety of grey shades. The earthy and neutral colour scheme of the interiors is very soothing to the eye and thus encourages you to unwind. The many fireplaces throughout the entire resort – 202 in total – create a very welcoming and cosy atmosphere with several nooks and corners to withdraw to.
The Restaurant, which serves a phenomenal breakfast buffet and à la carte lunch, turns into a fine dining restaurant with a contemporary European and Asian section at dinnertime. The focal point of the restaurant is the 5 m tall cheese tower. The glass encasement houses a huge range of regional cheeses available at breakfast and dinner. Another unique feature are the 6000 wine bottles, which are kept in temperature controlled glass casings that also serve as partitions and thus become part of the interior design. For a change of scenery you can also dine at the authentic and very intimate Japanese restaurant or the rustic Fondue Chalet by the ice rink.
As you’d expect in a luxury hotel, your every need is taken care of, but without the stuffiness you might find at other 5 star establishments. The experts call it understated luxury. My personal favourite is the ski and sports butler service. The Chedi Andermatt is the only hotel in Switzerland offering this service. It includes the rental and preparation of skis and other sports equipment, whilst you are sipping on a hot chocolate and getting ready to hit the slopes.
The Chedi Andermatt truly lives up to its slogan ‘A style to remember’. As for me I surely have some very fond memories of my stay there!
P.S. Having experienced the Chedi Muscat in Oman several years ago, whilst living in Dubai and now the Chedi Andermatt in Switzerland, I can confidently say, that I’d also love to explore their properties in Bali, Vietnam and India in future 🙂
Posted by Simone Aïda Baur: I’m a multi-lingual, multi-cultural and multi-passionate award winning international interior designer, award winning blogger and ex-hotelier. I have turned my life upside down more than once. Feel free to learn more about my story and connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram and YouTube.
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