I knew Riffelalp Resort had a view, and a very special one from its iconic outdoor pool, but I didn’t expect that, when I arrived. I had always seen the symbol of Switzerland – the Matterhorn – from Zermatt or by running, so it was always either a bit hidden by a house, a crane, a sign or something similar, or in between mountains (and I was unable to see it as clearly). In majestic Riffelalp, it’s another story. The place is a sunny, relatively flat spot that allows a lot of light even during short winter days, and, above all, it offers grand, open views of the mountain from every angle.
Red Train or Tram
Riffelalp is 400 mt. above the famous Swiss village of Zermatt, so one needs to get on a typical Swiss red train, the Gornergrat Bahn in this case, to reach the resort. The train features huge glass windows so one can see the Matterhorn and the fresh snow from every seat. People don’t watch their phones here; the view is mesmerising.
Arriving at Riffelalp, the hotel staff puts your luggage on a skidoo, something that looks like a cross between a motorbike and a snowcat. You can either walk to reception or wait for a taxi ride on the fancy bike.
In summer, the highest tram in Europe waits at Riffelalp station to take you on what is probably the shortest tram ride in the world to the Riffelalp Resort.
Due to the current situation, my husband and I booked half board in the restaurant Alexander – the food was delicious and the staff warm and friendly; we really appreciated their efficiency and the feeling of lightness… something not to be found everywhere, considering what is happening.
After enjoying the mountain views and playing in the snow, we decided the following day would be dedicated to fitness.
Spa at 2’222 mt.
Early in the morning, I run with the dog, so a relaxing day at the spa was a real treat I was looking forward to. I wasn’t disappointed, because the spa was actually more impressive than I expected. The outdoor pool is attached to a bigger indoor pool with bubble bath, fireplace and lounge area. Downstairs, a Chriiter Grotto – an almost scary dark cave with waterfalls, stones, ice flakes, pink steam and saline baths – was a great prelude to the warm rooms upstairs: a hot whirlpool, a Finnish sauna, a very comfortable bio sauna at “just” 50 degrees, complete with relaxing classical music, and a relaxation room.
We stayed one night and decided not to ski. However, the Riffelalp Resort is in the middle of the world famous Zermatt ski resort – the ski slopes go directly past the hotel – and is a perfect ski-in, ski-out hotel.
Decor and Overall Feeling
Riffelalp Resort is a traditional, wooden chalet style building with all the comforts of a five stars hotel. It opened in 1884 and quickly became a playground for Europe’s high society. So one can feel its history, its Swissness and how intact it is.
When restaurants are open, Half-board guests can dine in partner restaurants in the village. The hotel’s train brings night owls back to the Riffelalp free of charge until 11.30 pm. But most of them prefer to stay in heaven on earth at 2,222 metres above sea level, and enjoy the distance from the rest of the world.