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Overlooking the town’s renowned Alpine lake, 1,800 metres above sea level, this five-star hotel spa offers the ultimate rejuvenating wellbeing programme, aptly named Moving Mountains. With hot and cold wellness therapies and luxury facilities, all with a snow-topped mountain view, expect to feel truly revitalised after tailored treatments, activities and culinary delights.
No question about it, the location of Carlton Hotel, St. Moritz is exceptional. Built in 1913, via a total renovation in 2007, the hotel building combines classic Swiss architecture with a modern grandeur that never loses its inviting feel. That’s probably because it’s one of the smallest five-star hotels in St. Moritz, with just 60 rooms. Yet that exclusivity is accompanied by a spaciousness that abounds across the suites, spa and dining areas.
Best of all, you’re guaranteed breath-taking views of the mountains and frozen lake wherever you are within the hotel, due to it’s elevated position. Whether you’re lazing in the pools, experiencing the sauna or enjoying breakfast indoors or out, you can’t help but marvel at the wintry, Alpine landscape that envelops you.
In fact, the Carlton takes every opportunity to showcase the best of St. Moritz, which is renowned as the birthplace of winter tourism. Like many in the area, the hotel is only open for the winter season – from the beginning of December to the end of March – and as such makes the most of the winter wonderland around it. But, while you’ll never get tired of the sun’s rays peeking out from behind the slopes, the Carlton caters for much more than those seeking exceptional ski runs. In fact, over 50% of visitors don’t go to St. Moritz to ski at all.
That’s where Carlton’s latest Moving Mountains programme, comes in. Designed as a “holistic vacation program to promote vitality, experience nature in a new way and celebrate joy and fun”, its key pillars, Sleep, Nourish, Move and Play, are integrated seamlessly into the mainstay of the hotel’s offering. That means you can interact with the programme as little or as much as you wish. But, if you do indulge, mountain-based wellbeing of the highest order is at your fingertips.
The Carlton, St. Moritz spa is testament to how transformative and harmonising the art of embracing contrasts can be for your physical and mental wellbeing. In the three-storey spa space that covers 1,200 square metres, this starts with the new Moving Mountain concept. It’s tailored around nature’s healing power and focusses on hot-cold wellness therapy.
Hot-cold therapy – which involves going from extreme cold to hot temperatures in a repeated pattern – has been a component of Swiss practice for generations. In fact, you can glimpse experienced ice-bathing locals skinny-dipping in the icy waters of Zurich frequently, and long sessions in classic saunas and steam rooms are a mainstay in Swiss spas. Now, it’s on the precipice of worldwide appreciation and at Carlton you can experience it with a truly authentic air.
With a breathtaking mountain backdrop, the indoor-outdoor pool is the perfect way for beginners to embrace the concept. Through the transition pool, you can slowly feel the bath-water warmth of the indoor pool area give way to the wintry freshness of the outdoors (while still enjoying a warm massage from the jacuzzi jets as you take in the outstanding view).
Or, if you are feeling brave enough, try spending a little time reclining on the outdoor loungers (with or without a soft blanket cover) and even lying back in the snow for an exhilarating rush of cold that makes the warm embrace of the second indoor pool even more inviting.
Then, on the highest level of the spa, there are six treatment rooms across from a small but well-equipped gym. Here you’ll find treatments inspired by the healing effects of the natural environment and remedies using ingredients such as wild, freshly-harvested herbs, sourced from the Swiss alpine environment.
Again hot-cold therapy can be experienced with a tension-relieving Moving Mountains Massage. The outstanding 60-minute treatment involves piping-hot lavender oil being worked into your back with traditional Swiss massage techniques, while warm and ice-dipped stones are pressed along your spine and legs to ease knots and boost energy. Or, try the Swiss Mountain Herbs Stamp Massage to restore a sense of calm. The mountain herbs are arranged into poultices which your practitioner uses to nourish the skin with gentle, circular movements. It makes for a truly transformative wellness experience.
Finally, on the lowest floor, still perched high above the lake and still with those beautiful views, you’ll find the comprehensive sauna world, complete with steam bath, caldarium, Finnish sauna and private ladies sauna to bring the “heat”. As for the “cold”, you’ll find an ice fountain, experiential showers and a Kneipp path in the snow – a 19th Century-inspired therapy that involves walking barefoot in the cold to boost the immune and circulatory systems.
So comprehensive is this space downstairs, that guests will quite easily find themselves spending more than an hour experiencing the benefits of interchanging between each hot and cold station (getting braver with each approach, we promise). And, as part of the Moving Mountains programme, you can even complete the experience with ice-bathing out in one of the lakes. The unique experience causes your blood vessels to dilate, circulation to improve and it is one of the best endorphin rushes you’ll ever experience.
Due to a clever redesign in 2007, every single room at The Carlton, St. Moritz faces the Swiss mountains and lake, meaning you are guaranteed to wake up to some of Switzerland’s most spectacular views. To make the most of this unique feature, choose a suite with a balcony so that you can enjoy your morning coffee and a treat from the fully complementary in-room mini bar, alongside an invigorating breath of fresh mountain air. (The oversized Carlton dressing gown and sturdy slippers will keep you feeling cosy).
Back inside the rooms, each suite is spacious and comfortable, with furnishings by Swiss interior designer Carlo Rampazzi and organic toiletries by Swiss brand Nooii. There’s a charm to every interior detail, although a highlight is the colourful bathroom mirror tiles sourced from the old French metro. Much like the historic fireplaces in the lobby, you don’t have to look far for touches of the elegance of times-gone-by. Moreover, while the hotel’s rooms have long been renowned for their colourful and somewhat bold ambience – part of its enduring charm – new renovations on the first and fifth floors allow guests to enjoy more muted colourways if that’s more to their liking.
The Moving Mountains programme’s Sleep pillar means you don’t even have to rely solely on your room’s ever-so-cosy bed to drift off either. In association with the Sleep Institute, you can have your very own sleep butler to ensure every detail makes sleep come easy – from a warm bubble bath and fragrant sleep sprays, to a pillow concierge to help you find the perfect firmness on which to rest your head. The result: rest and rejuvenation aplenty.
There’s a theme to The Carlton, St. Moritz – everywhere you go there’s an incredible view and that’s definitely true for your dining experiences. Snag a table by the window in the Ramonoff restaurant to wake up with fresh eggs and a juice as the sun slowly rises from behind the mountains. Then, make room to enjoy a classic afternoon tea with unobstructed panoramic views on the now-famous Carlton sun terrace – an Instagram hot-spot.
As part of the Moving Mountain Nourish programme, you can not only eat incredible food but learn from the experience, too. The plant-based tasting menu has been designed in partnership with nutritionists to boost physical and mental wellbeing. It also aims to use only seasonal ingredients, sourced as locally as possible, for both freshness and environmental protection. It’s testament to its deliciousness that despite there being options for meat-eaters to add a little extra to their plates, the majority of individuals fall in love with the flavours and experience of the meat-free version.
Other culinary highlights include the delicious 2-Star Michelin restaurant, Davittorio Ristorante, where you can sample the Italian side of St. Moritz, and the Carlton Bar & Lobby has been voted as one of the best bars in the world. The Moving Mountains cocktail is a particularly popular pre-dinner recommendation.
You can’t go to Switzerland without experiencing fondu, and the Carlton gondolas at the front of the hotel make for a unique, memory-making moment for your stay. Our recommendation: try the truffle and champagne fondu with a glass of champagne to match. Because, every trip needs a little bit of indulgence after all.
There’s so much to see and do in St. Moritz that you’ll never be bored – including exploring, shopping and partying in the town, and, of course, skiing if you wish to hit the slopes. (The Carlton can help organise your ski excursions should you need them to). Completing the Moving Mountains experience, yoga is also available Tuesday through Saturday, and the dynamic flow sessions offer a special experience where you can complete your sun salutations as rays appear from behind the slopes.
Yet, the true highlight of the wealth of activities on offer at Carlton Hotel St. Moritz’s Moving Mountains programme is the ‘Play’ pillar. Designed to ensure there is always something new and exciting for guests to try, the hotel has even hired special “outdoor butlers”.
These experts in Alpine activities are specifically trained to help organise tailored once-in-a-lifetime experiences and every wintry activity you can imagine can be organised. That includes adventure-filled tours of the local glacier caves, family-friendly tobogganing, energy-boosting torchlight hikes with real wax candlesticks and horse-and-carriage rides to open-air natural ice rinks. Even more obscure experiences are accounted for too, such as ice sculpture caving and fresh water tasting for an authentic St. Moritz experience. You can even rent a mountain piste all to yourself, perfect for an exhilarating wellness or romantic moment to really round-off your holiday.
Sustainable travel is one of 2023’s biggest trends and since 2022, the Carlton Hotel (as part of the Tschuggen Collection) holds the Green Globe certification, reflecting the hotel’s commitments to a climate-neutral approach. The hotel uses 100% green energy, complete carbon-offsetting, eco-certified products and is making strides towards becoming plastic-free.
You can reach St. Moritz in around 3 and a half hours by train or car from Zurich airport, and the Carlton is a stone’s throw from the station. In fact, the winding tracks up the mountain feel part of your holiday experience; the Glacier Express is a beautiful train ride and part of UNESCO World Heritage.
Switzerland Tourism: For more information on Switzerland, visit MySwitzerland.com
Getting Around: The Swiss Travel System covers roughly 29,000km of extensive public transport network in Switzerland (rail, bus and boat), and provides a range of exclusive travel passes and tickets for visitors, including the Swiss Travel Pass, which offers unlimited travel on consecutive days across the network. Tickets also cover panoramic routes (plus seat reservation fees). For more information, visit mystsnet.com