Sleeping in a castle on the ski slopes, flying over the Bernina massif in a helicopter or crossing whitewashed woods and frozen lakes with the Red Train. The Engadin offers unforgettable experiences in the winter season. From snowshoeing to moonlight in Pontresina to carriage rides in Val Roseg and sporting events in St Moritz, here’s something not to be missed.
Once upon a time there was an enchanted castle. The story of a holiday in Pontresina could start like this, just 7 kilometers from St Moritz , where the Hotel Schloss Pontresina Family & SPA appears, right at the beginning of the village, like a fairytale manor, located in a privileged position above the valley. All around, whitewashed pine woods, cross-country trails, the enchanting Val Roseg and the imposing frame of the Bernina massif .
A panorama that conquers, especially in winter, on sunny days, when you realize that the light reflected from the snowy slopes of the mountain has something special. The divisionist painter Segantini was convinced of this, and he captured its essence and immortalized it in his paintings on display at the homonymous museum in St Moritz . If you turn for Pontresina on foot, in the company of a guide who will indicate the position, you can also try to see the shelter dedicated to the artist on Mount Schafberg , where Segantini spent the last days of his life painting.
In Pontresina: tailored holiday
For the rest, Pontresina is a continuous and pleasant discovery. Intimate, familiar, sometimes picturesque if you look at the decorated facades and the typical architecture (one above all the old notary’s house overlooking Via Maistra). Among its streets people greet with an “Allegra!”, In Romansh (language spoken in the canton together with Italian and German); there are restaurants, chocolatiers, such as Gianottis, where you can enjoy gourmet shopping buying pralines, artisanal chocolate and the typical Engadin walnut cake, and the Alpine Museum that tells the story of mountain life.
But it is above all nature, which offers continuous ideas for trips and outdoor fun, to have transformed the town from mountain village to a popular tourist destination suitable for families and sports. To fully enjoy it, however, you must know it. And for this reason the Hotel Schloss Pontresina Family & SPA , one of the JSH Collection facilities, has decided to make available to its guests a local coach , a qualified professional figure, able to discover the Canton of Graubünden, advising and creating activities tailored. Not a simple concierge service then. The originality of the proposal lies in the approach: it focuses on the ability to network with the territory, in order to offer authentic, unusual experiences, off the mass tourist circuits. So the holiday becomes discovery and experience to share. Here then is the thrill of a toboggan ride on the Olympia Bob Run , from St Moritz to Celerina, or the magic of a horse-drawn carriage ridealong the Val Roseg , closed to traffic: you proceed in the silence of the larch forest up at the Roseg Gletscher restaurant , overlooking the glacier. There are also special events, such as snowshoeing at night, with a full moon. Alternatively, you can take riding lessons, take part in tastings of typical products in dairies, wine bars and stube; even fly over the Bernina massif in a helicopter, to lose your breath. Those who prefer to keep their feet on the ground can board the Bernina Red Train , which stops at Pontresina Station, a five-minute walk from the hotel. The railway, built at the beginning of the twentieth century, climbs up to 2,253 meters of the Bernina pass, passing by Lake Bianco , the Morteratsch glacier , the Alp Grüm , and descending from one side towards Tirano(429 meters) and the other towards St Moritz (about 1,800 meters).
When you come back, relax in the 900 square meter spa , while the children have fun at the Baby and Mini Club. For dinner, we rely on the skill of Valerio Tafuri , resident chef of the Schloss, who at the Savur restaurant offers a balanced, light cuisine that enhances local products and recipes.
Skiing in high Engadin: the landscapes and the designs near st moritz
From the Schloss, you go out with your skis on, to face the cross-country ski ring that passes right under the hotel and connects you to over 200 kilometers of tracks for Nordic skiing in the Upper Engadin, one of the most striking in Switzerland for variety of itineraries and panoramas. It is no coincidence, then, if Pontresina is renowned among cross-country skiers and becomes a must for the classical technique fans waiting for the Diagonela , the cross-country marathon that will be held here on January 21st and will see the sportsmen challenge each other well 65 kilometers of slopes: a show that involves the whole country.
The little ones take their first steps on the snow at Alp Languard, while breathtaking sunsets can be seen at the top of Muottas Muragl , which can be reached by taking the first funicular ever built in the Engadin, which runs until late evening. Once ascended, the view extends from the St Moritz lakes to the Piz Bernina and Piz Palu; the alternative return to the valley is by toboggan or snowshoes.
For more adrenalinic descents, just take the ski bus and choose one of the three ski areas: Diavolezza , Corvatsch and Corviglia , the mountain of St Moritz , a paradise for snowboarders and skiers, who launch themselves on the slopes made famous by the Alpine Ski World Cup . The ski lifts start from the city center, pass by Chantarella and reach the 3,000 meters of Piz Nair, from where the red Grischa goes down. And at the end of a morning in the snow, we stop to eat on the slopes at the new CheCha , Reto Mathis restaurant, an institution among the habitués of St Moritz, which offers a rather varied fine cuisine: ranging from gourmet pizzas – a sin of throat the one with black truffle – hors d’oeuvres with homemade veal paté, lukewarm lobster and raw fish. A small luxury to indulge in to enjoy the glamor of St Moritz.
Winter events not to be missed in high Engadin
From the terrace of the CheCha, the view extends from the slopes to the lake of St Moritz , which in winter chills and turns first into the playing field of the Snow Polo World Cup St. Moritz (from 26 to 28 January ), an exclusive polo tournament from 1985; then, in a temporary village, frequented by VIPs: tensostructures that turn out to be elegant restaurants, shops for shopping, stages for music and live shows. All this to enjoy the spectacle of the White Turf St. Moritz , an international race of thoroughbred horses on the snow that has been repeated since 1907 (this year on 4-11-18 February ).
The white circus also touches this corner of the Upper Engadin from 1 to 3 February , with Engadinsnow by Dakine , which invites freeriders from all over the world to challenge the immaculate Corvatsch walls; while the gourmet palate teases the St Moritz Gourmet Festiva l, from 12 to 20 January .
Offers to spend christmas, new year and epiphany in Pontresina
To celebrate New Year’s Eve in the Engadin, Hotel Schloss Pontresina Family & SPA offers a package for stays from 26 December to 2 January , prices starting from 308 CHF (about 282 €) per person per day for a stay of at least 7 nights in the room Panoramic double Comfort with half board treatment. Includes, New Year’s dinner, access to the Spa, to the indoor pool and to the Baby and Junior Club; pre-school and adult entertainment.
For the Epiphany , however, for stays from 2 to 7 January , prices start at 456 CHF (about 418 €) per room per day, for a stay of at least 3 nights in double Comfort with half board. The package includes access to the Spa with personalized route in the Hammam world, a massage to choose between Ayurvedic or Anti Stess in the cabin (50 min.) And a 20% discount on all treatments.Between the night of 5 and 6 January, the children will be visited by the Three Wise Men, while the meeting with the Befana in person is at the Camamela Club. The Epiphany will also be an opportunity to discover the traditions of Swiss families, who they are used, as a symbol of good luck, to mark with chalk, on the doors of the houses, the figures of the current year and the initials C + M + B (Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar); during the 6th January instead, a cake is prepared, hidden inside a statuette of one of the Magi.