| Travel, Andermatt,

Asia meets the Alps

Beatrice Lessi

Dramatic Beauty

If Turandot were composed today, Giacomo Puccini would probably have her gazing o at the stars from her (warm) room at The Chedi Andermatt,  and Prince Calaf would be singing her Nessun Dorma! wrapped in the iconic, fluffy beige bathrobe or his spa guests.

Yes, because not only is the spectacular design or this hotel worthy of a beautiful princess of China in fairy tale times, but it is also a highly original blend of traditonal Alpine elegance and surprisingly minimalist Oriental grace. An unexpected mix that can be found in the lines, colors, food, and extreme attention to well-being typical of the East. In short, Europe meets Asia in one of the world’s most famous
hotels.

I visited it one weekend to see if it really lived up to expectations, and to treat myself to the luxury of a snow training in a great location, as I was preparing for my very special project, Antarctica Marathon.

Where it is located

Andermatt is located a ittle more than an hours drive from Zurich., in the Orsera Vallev, at an altitude of 440 meters. The area is first or all known as a ski resort, with scenic and challenging descents. Its black ones are famous. The Gemsstock is a mountain facing north and therefore always well covered with snow and also suitable for off-piste skiers.

But personally I knew Andermatt because I had been there several times in the summer, to visit the wonderful golf course just minutes away from the Chedi, or to take nice runs and walks among gorges, waterfalls and clear alpine lakes. Being so close to Zurich, where I live, I had always gone there from morning to night, and this is probably one of the positive effects of the Chedi: it made the area more attractive and full of amenities, so people stay longer. The Chedi Andermatt gave and a touch or glamour to what used to be a small, traditional Swiss village.

Atmosphere

Arriving at the destination. Here is the famous Asian Alpine style: the facade of the Chedi, made of wood and glass, is decidedly modern but cozy. The atmosphere, upon entering, is intimate and enveloping despite the 5-meter ceilings and huge spaces.

Buy Now or Cry Later

says a neon sign in the store next to the reception desk, and I crack a smile. Fire crackles in the fireplaces, also protected by glass. An endless array of small crystal cubes descends from the ceiling amid white orchids. The glass behind the reception desk reveals the blue of the Olympic-size pool surrounded by snow-the iconic spa. I resolve to return soon to photograph some details, because I almost don’t know where to look anymore, so many details I want to copy or fix in my memory. After checking in – accompanied, of course, by tea and warm towels, I enter my room.

Rooms

Every room here has a view, and is practically a suite. I look at the huge grey stone shower and, without reading glasses, I can barely see the ceiling – because it’s too high!The wooden panels are decorated with elegant recessed lights, and a mini-table is placed in front of the bed, oriental style. A fireplace and terrace with a view complete the elegant feeling.

Spa

The next morning at 7 am I decide to go for the Chedi’s iconic swimming pool.

Nessun dorma!

Sang the Prince in Turandot, but I can guarantee that at 7 o’clock, many people do sleep, at Chedi Andermatt, because It’s very quiet indeed.
Two more pools offer the possibility of thermal training, which will was very useful for running in Antarctica later.

Dinner

It’s time for dinner and I choose, from the various culinary options, the main restaurant. I confess: I do it because I like it aesthetically. The wine and
cheese tower, in the center, cool and very tall, is a feast of tastings decorated with fruits, breads, nuts, jams, and mustards. The walls, made of glass, hold bottles of wine. All around, the four open kitchens offer a spectacle within the spectacle, of course I find some Italian chef and start laughing and chatting. The large room filled with wooden chandeliers and crystal, and huge vases of orchids repeated as far as the eye can see complete the restaurant. I choose the Asian menu shared with my husband, almost without reading what it is. It is a selection of the Chedi Andermatt classic and iconic dishes,
l am told. Indeed, from the very first hors-d’oeuvre, the experience is sensory.

Herbs, colors, scents, different temperatures and textures, a generous amount of ingredients and portions make us get to the dessert without fully appreciate it. Here, perhaps is the only flaw of the menu: a little too much!

Staff

I personally love it when vou don’t see any of the staff, but they magically appear when you need them. That’s how it is at Chedi: no one bothers, but if you ask for something you realise they know exactly who you are and where you are staying. The chefs who work and produce their craft in the
beautiful open kitchens are never bothered by guests and offer tastings and smiles. It is true that the hotel is large and so many
faces change when the staff changes shifts, but everyone is knowledgeable, helpful and in good spirits. A pleasant mix of ages, types and ethnicities makes for a light and relaxed atmosphere.

Who to recommend it to

To anvone on a high budget, of course, and looking for luxury, excellence and something really special for a special occasion. At dawn I shall win Turandot’s Prince in love concluded. Who knows, after this weekend of training and relaxation, I might be able to win too, in my own small way, by finishing the marathon in Antarctica. I think it’s great to pursue one’s dreams with passion. Having the privilege of doing it, for two days, at Chedi, recharging yourself completely, is a luxury that makes one grateful, a suave moment.

I will win!

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