BadruttsAll grand hotels are supremely adept at selling their customers a slice of fantasy. Some of them have done it for so long and so well, they have acquired a legendary status.

Badrutt’s is unquestionably one of the few hotels in the world to have such a status, having been for decades and decades, the scene of memorable high society jinks.

Because of its position, history and reputation, it holds a special place as a hub in this tiny but ultra-affluent ski resort.

Most of our readers would already be familiar with it and indeed, this writer has spent countless happy days either as a hotel guest or just a day visitor there.

Badrutt’s has long managed to combined tradition and glitz to achieve that enviable but so elusive je ne sais quoi most hotels are justly envious of.

To begin with, there is the lobby. Sitting opposite a massive cathedral window, framing the mountain peaks to perfection and overlooking the frozen lake that hosts every manner of esoteric sporting events, I couldn’t help feeling privileged to simply be there.

The resident pianist-cum-DJ entertains residents and visitors alike most of the day, while the harpist presides over the very grand main restaurant room at breakfast.


The Wiedemanns

Mr Wiedemann, Managing Director and Delegate of the Board, is a familiar figure around the lobby.  You can see him on a day, chatting with regular guests, meeting press or simply walking around the ‘great hall’.

I met him one afternoon for an informal conversation about the hotel he is inheriting from the Badrutt family.

A career hotelier, he is charm personified and bien dans sa peau.

His conversation is peppered with frequent humorous asides.

Wiedemann is credited with capturing the Russian clientele early on, with offering them the opportunity to celebrate Russian Christmas and New Year in the iconic hotel – something that has proved to be an irresistible lure to them and a resounding success story for the hotel.

The regular hotel Badrutt clientele, however, remains staunchly international (Russians represent a mere 11 percent of the total).

What is its secret in drawing top drawer visitors year after year?

Mr Wiedemann talks about the famously well trained staff (mostly Italian) with whom regulars are well acquainted as well as the lure of the ‘grand hall’.

I often think of it as the ‘power hall’. During busy periods, there is a discreet power play in securing prime seats there. In addition to observing the good and great, deals are made, friendships cemented, new clients secured and romances started or rekindled.

Badrutt’s Palace had two of its best months ever last December and January. It is a testimony to its unassailable place in the world of iconic hotels and that of ski resorts.

The best news we heard? Badrutt’s management is looking to acquire a summer hotel to manage on the Mediteranean – in order to keep its 500-string staff employed all the year round and, of course, keep its loyal clientele happy. We can’t wait!

Mrs Wiedemann manages the Badrutt’s Palace spa.

An implausibly youthful looking woman of Indian origin, she is quite simply inspirational.

In addition to designing a lot of the spa’s treatments, she is often asked to suggest ayruvedic treatments for guests’ ailments.

I ask her what the secret is of her beautifully unlined face, baby smooth skin and bright-eyed vitality.

She tells me of her 7 day detox regime – unlike any other I have ever heard of – and elaborates on her philosophy of living.

The main thing about Martha Wiedemann is that she is not trying to sell you anything – in fact, she keeps reminding her listener that each of us is our own best healer. She advocates self-administered massage (which she teaches and practices), the use of plant and herbal remedies, oils and meditation.

And if you think you’ve heard it all before, just wait until you start reading her written contributions – you’ll find them to be a revelation.


The Spa

The Badrutt’s spa is legendary. Over the years it has kept step with new technologies and stayed on top of its game, difficult as that may be in a world of super-spas.Grotte

The pool is a very large oval shape and simply beautiful; the cavernous winding waterways leading to a whirlpool and the outside hot water pool that is itself large enough to swim in.

Being there on an early evening, with snow falling as if in a fairy tale, and breathing the Swiss mountain air, surrounded by bubbles of steaming hot water, is a pleasure that cannot be described adequately with words.

Treatments we had:

  1. Standard Pedicure, very professionally done, great atmosphere, very relaxing
  2. Body scrub and polish, the best body treatment I’ve ever had without a doubt, consisting of half-rub/scrub/half-massage with an exfoliating product. Shower, followed by cream massage and then oil massage. Hugely indulgent, intensely pleasurable (the scrub part) and left skin glowing and soft for days. Number 1 treatment on my weekly wish list.

Food and Events

For those who haven’t visited Badrutt’s in a while, there is now a Nobu restaurant there.

It is very popular with guests and because it is smaller and less formal than the main restaurant, it has a cosier atmosphere.

Chesa Veglia
Chesa Veglia is part of Badrutt’s Palace but situated above it, up a steep hill, some 3-4 min. walk.

It has always been THE informal eaterie of St Moritz, both for lunch and dinner. The pizzeria is on the second floor, while the European cuisine is on the first.

chesa-veglia-pizzeria-st-moritzBoth floors get quite packed with guests not just from Badrutt’s but all hotels in the vicinity.

We had dinner there on a number of occasions, perhaps the most indulgent being the one hosted by WineChap Tom Harrow who was visiting for the Gourmet Festival.

Pink Champagne and locally produced Chardonnay accompanied our first course: warm artichoke salad with truffles, tuna carpaccio and tartare.

The artichoke salad had melted Swiss chese on the plate and delicious white truffle shavings. It was almost a meal in its richness. Carpaccio e tartare de thon – only an Italian influence, and, arguably, the Swiss tradition could perfect this dish without too much flavour overpowering the dish. Lightly seasoned, and tantalisingly juicy (with a perfect accompaniment of Swiss wine) and a lightly refreshing carrot salad to prolong the flavour, a more welcome appetizer to commence the evening could not be desired. The tuna – red and raw – with a hint of lime was lean and fulfilling but not filling. One is not left wanting the seas, although maybe an encore.

This was followed by a simple tomato and mozzarella salad for me and Poulet de Bresse for the WineChap and the Tastemaker.

The salad held no surprises, but the roast chicken, which I tried also, was succulent and beautifully flavoured with fresh rosemary, served with steamed spinach.

None of us had room for dessert but the petit fours tempted us once again with their rich chocolatey glory.



Nobu is a perennially reliable choice when going for a Japanese meal.

The variations are down to the individual chef and location.


  1. Mushroom salad
  2. Lobster and spinach salad
  3. Sashimi (tuna, prawn, crab, eel, Japanese omelette)
  4. Edamame beans
  5. Black cod
  6. Whisky cappuccino

Sancerre resized_650x365_origimage_492429

Main Restaurant

On our last evening at Badrutt’s, we chose to dine at the main restaurant. In terms of grandeur, food quality (simply superb!) and service, this would be hard to match anywhere in the world.

CIMG6350The live band, playing a fairly sedate mix of lounge music, provided some atmosphere but we could have done without it equally well.

With ample space between the tables, it’s a great spot to dine and observe the good, the great and the famous indulge with total discretion.
Our menu for the night included:
Crab roll and caviar
Cooked gratinated oysters with Champagne
Lobster and millefeulle with lentils
Pot au feu with salmon and bone marrow
Cerised and peache flambees
All washed down with a bottle of Swiss Ticino rose



Bar and Cigar
The bar at the Palace is quite simply legendary.

The writer met her future husband there a number of years ago and so has a soft spot for it, in any case, but that aside, its intimacy (tables are quite close together and there is a nice fireplace), relaxed attitude to smoking, and club-like atmosphere make it a very special place to be. The bar has an extensive cigar collection and the best time to people-watch is either before or after dinner.


We like:
–         The atmosphere

–         The spa and the pool, in particular the outside pool, which is just the right temperature

–         The views and the proximity of the lake

–         The unrivalled service

–         The sense of belonging to a special club

–         Breakfast Buffet rating: muesli 9/10, great atmo (walk in with slippers, harp player), fantastic Hanselmann selection of breads, smoked fish, abundance of smoked fish and variety of meats (including cold roast veal), omelette cook at hand to customise your omelette.

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