Destination: Andermatt, Switzerland
As far as Swiss ski resorts go, Andermatt is a bit off the radar. In summer, it’s a cyclist’s paradise, offering easy access to some of the most acclaimed climbs in the Alps—namely the Furka, Grimsel, and Gotthard, which features 24 cobbled switchbacks. Come December, however, Andermatt was long a ghost town, frequented only by the Swiss military and no-frills big mountain skiers, who flocked here for the plentiful powder.
That all changed in 2013 when the five-star 169-room Chedi opened its doors. Part of a $1 billion plan to resuscitate the ailing ski resort, the Chedi now forms a focal point to the little village without ever feeling intrusive. The property’s peaked roofs mirror the surrounding mountains, while inside sleek stone and timber abound, fires flicker, a 6,000-bottle wine cellar ensures après-ski festivities remain lively (unless, of course, you’d prefer to bliss out in the 2,400 square meter spa), and the Michelin-starred Japanese restaurant (try the 10-course kaiseki menu) offers a welcome break from all the fondue you’ve no doubt been noshing. The surrounding ski resort has followed suit, upgrading lifts, restaurants, and trails, while also connecting over the Oberalp Pass (another bragging-rights climb worth notching on your bike) to nearby Sedrun and Disentis, thus transforming once sleepy Andermatt into the stuff of skiers’ dreams.
Want something a bit more boutiquey and affordable? We love The River House in the town’s old section, a rustic and hip hotel with an excellent whisky bar.
If summer is still more your season, you can test yourself on the area’s most arduous mountain passes (where the suffering is alleviated by the magical views) on our Switzerland Journey Bike Tour.