Apres Ski in St Moritz
St. Moritz consists of upmarket ‘Dorf’ (village), with its five-star hotels and plush restaurants, and only slightly less glamorous ‘Bad’ (spa), by the lake.
St Moritz – The Town
At 1,856m, St. Moritz is one of the highest resorts in the Alps. Set on the shores of the lake of the same name, it lacks anything approaching conventional alpine charm beyond the cobbled central square. Nondescript architecture from the mid 1900’s is the order of the day with street level facades dominated by high-end boutiques such as Prada, Gianni Versace, Dolce & Gabbana and Louis Vuitton. When you come to a ski shop or bar, it tends to be in the same flavour, making the streets less than cosy after dark.
The town of St. Moritz consists of ‘Dorf’ (village) and ‘Bad’ (spa). Upmarket Dorf, with its five-star hotels and plush restaurants, is on the hill above the lake while a short walk away is Bad, set on the flat ground by the lakeside. It might not have the cachet of Dorf, but it still has the impressive Kempinski Grand, with its casino. There’s not much in it for slope access. Walking to the cable car from Bad is easy on the flat and anywhere central in Dorf is close to the funicular, though the hill is steep, while for the other ski areas there are bus stops within range of most accommodation; for nightlife, Dorf is the prime location.
Apres-Ski Bars & Nightlife in St Moritz
Apres-ski on the mountain in St. Moritz is of the one-last-drink variety, rather than dancing on tables, while St. Moritz restaurants have reputations, and prices, to match top London and Paris establishments and the bars are equally upmarket.
All the bars and restaurants on the mountain are open until 4pm, but the on-mountain après-ski is of the one-last-drink variety, rather than dancing on tables. Back in town there are bars and tea rooms – try cakes and hot chocolate at Hanselmann Tea room on the Via Maistra, near the Hotel Albana, whose main bar is also a good place to go for a relaxed drink.
St Moritz bars – 27 of them when last counted – tend to be upmarket. The Vivai has live acts with ‘dance animation’ and DJ. The Stübli is the place for draught beer and also serves food in the traditional interior under the Schweizerhof. The Devil’s Place claims the world’s largest selection of whiskies – 2500 – which you are guaranteed never to work your way through. The King’s Club is the disco and bar at the Badrutt’s Palace Hotel, so it’s jacket and tie. Much lower key is the Enoteca la Vigna, with regional and Mediterranean specialities and a wide selection of international wines.
Restaurants in St Moritz
With over 70 restaurants in resort there’s a big range of cuisine in St. Moritz. You shouldn’t go hungry, but be ready for pricey eating. The best places include: Jöhri’s Talvo, a Relais & Chateaux restaurant with cuisine based on fresh produce, traditional Grisons dishes, lobster, fish, and an international selection of wines. It’s reputation, and prices, match top restaurants in London and Paris.
Le Relais at Badrutt’s Palace Hotel, is ‘new concept’ so be prepared for a surprise (not just when they bring the bill). The Palace also owns the Chesa Veglia, an ancient farmhouse with a choice of rustic dining areas – the Patrizier Stuben does traditional Swiss food, while the Pizzeria has pizza and Italian classics. In the Hotel Laudinella are several restaurants: the Stüva – a big buffet, a Thai restaurant, Pizzeria Caruso, and Le Carnozet, for cheese dishes such as fondue & raclette.
For cheaper restaurant options, the Veltlinerkeller has homemade pasta and a charcoal grill; another pasta place, the Bellaval, has countless variations on this theme – over 20 different sauces – and a BBQ grill. The only true bargains are a restaurant (with limited opening hours) at the Co-op and the railway station buffet. Out of town, you can ride up to Muottas Muragl on the funicular which runs until 11pm. The hotel at 2,450m is good for lunch, followed by tobogganing back to the valley floor. The views are sensational, so book a window table.
Other Activities in St Moritz
Unique non-ski activities in St. Moritz include horse and greyhound races, polo, cricket and curling tournaments on the frozen lake and the newest sport, kitesailing.
St. Moritz doesn’t just score five stars for its hotels: unlikely non-ski activities include horse and greyhound races, polo, cricket and curling tournaments on the frozen lake, the Engadin cross-country ski marathon with over 12,000 participants and the world’s first bobsleigh run, the Cresta.
More relevant to most visitors is the tobogganing run on Muottas Muragl as well as extensive crosscountry ski and winter hiking trails – 150km of winter walking paths in the upper Engadin and 180km of cross country skiing tracks in the main valley; there are also floodlit tracks in St. Moritz and Pontresina. The frozen lake at Silvaplana is the venue for the newest sport, kitesailing, where participants are towed at high speed on boards or skis by huge kites – either excessive lengths to avoid paying for ski lifts or the most exciting way to ride the snow and ice, depending on your disposition.