The Chedi Andermatt
The first word that comes to mind when wandering around the Chedi Andermatt is spacious: spacious rooms and bathrooms, spacious hallways, a spacious restaurant with spacious kitchens. All that room can be disorienting, but mostly it feels cozy since the modern-Swiss decor is paired with Asian flair and plenty of soothing colours and wood accents – not to mention a fireplace in every room.
Known to most Swiss as an army town (and filming location for the James Bond classic Goldfinger), Andermatt is 90 minutes by car or two hours by train from Zurich on the renowned Glacier Express train line. The town has seen its military base shrunk and sold off land to developers – the Chedi is just the first step in an ambitious multiyear plan that's slated to include multiple hotels, a renovated train station, upgraded lifts and a new connection to link nearby ski areas. The hotel, positioned right in the centre of town, manages to feel like a getaway while remaining just a quick walk (or chauffeured drop-off) to everything you need.
Whom you'll meet
About half of visitors are Switzerland-based weekenders with a taste for the area's reliable snow, uncrowded slopes and (mostly) down-to-earth scene. At the bar you might be sitting between well-heeled Asians en route to Zermatt and local ski instructors willing to pay a little extra for their drinks in exchange for time spent in the warm, stylish, low-key space.
The ski butler service, included in the room rate, makes going to and from the hill a breeze. Just leave them your gear (or get fitted for rentals) and they'll keep it clean and dry and bring it to you in the morning as you sit back on the sofa in the ski lounge and flip through coffee-table books of the Alps. (A back door to the chair lift means no need to clomp through the lobby in ski boots, and they'll shuttle you to farther slopes in suitably chic vehicles.)
Eat in or eat out?
The main restaurant offers an eclectic range of well-executed dishes from an Asian and a European kitchen, the hotel stocks 5,000 bottles of wine (you'll see them throughout the main floor), and the grandiose breakfast buffet runs till 11 a.m., perfect for night owls and jet-lagged North Americans. But the real standout here is the tucked-away 40-seat Japanese Restaurant, with both à la carte and tasting-meal options and fish shipped in from France, Vietnam and Japan. (The beef is local.) The stellar seven-course vegetarian meal the chef put together for me with zero notice, served with the smoothest of sakes, was the perfect antidote to too much rosti and fondue. (Yes, there is such a thing.)
If I could change one thing
Understated is fine, but the massive main floor and its neutral-toned decor made wayfinding a challenge: Even after 48 hours and a hotel tour, I still found myself getting lost and having to ask for directions. Some subtle signage or at least easy-to-distinguish art pieces (turn left at the ski sculpture, right at the painting of a fondue pot, perhaps) might help make guests feel more at home.
The Chedi Andermatt, Gotthardstrasse 4, Andermatt, Switzerland, chediandermatt.com, 104 rooms and suites from $813 (650 Swiss francs), including breakfast.
The writer was a guest of the hotel.