48 Hours at the Riffelalp Resort 2222m, Zermatt
Switzerland is one of those places that has got some of the world's best luxury hotels when it comes to service, location and overall experience. Yes, this comes with a price tag too but who would not be willing to pay for a hotel that is fully worth its money. Last august, I had the unique opportunity to stay at one of the world's most extraordinary luxury properties. Being situated on an altitude of 2.222 meters, getting to Riffelalp Resort is nothing else than spectacular and easy. Pre-arrival I was informed (two times!) of how to get there and to make sure not to miss the last train up to the hotel. I kind of like to inform myself about hotels I choose, so I already knew how I needed to get to the hotel, however if someone books the Riffelalp out of the blue and has a flight coming in at night, I better don't wanna be that person. Anyways, since the hotel staff wants to be on the really safe site, they call you after 3pm in order to make sure to bring you to the property on time and as you would expect. So when I left Lausanne at 3 pm, I was already talking to the guy at the hotel who gave me last instructions and hereby got my exact time of arrival.
It wouldn't be the most extraordinary hotel stay in Switzerland if the hotel would be located anywhere. So of course we find ourselves in the prettiest town of the Swiss Alps: Zermatt - and yes, it's also only accessible by train or taxi. So basically I arrived in Täsch (the town where the main national road ends and the parking garages are situated) at around 5 pm - 2 hours after I left Lausanne. After having got the information to park at the Welcome Parking, I looked out for the place and indeed was welcomed and taken care of my luggage. A taxi driver was waiting for me as well. In rapid pace he was settled and I soon found myself on a windy road (that is closed to public) on the way to Zermatt centre. The other option to get into town is the public train from Täsch. Once the taxi approached Zermatt, it had to stop in a garage, since the town itself is only available to electric mini cars. From the garage I was chauffeured to the valley station of the famous Gornergrat cable car - of course in a chic electric mini cab. The Gornergrat train has a time schedule and if you miss the last train, there is no other option than to stay in town - and that is serious! Luckily I got the last public train at 7 pm something, however there is another train at 9 pm something and again at 11 pm back to Riffelalp in order to offer hotel guests to dine in the town - plus to bring guests arriving very late.
Once I finally reached the station Riffelalp, I was welcomed by a friendly porter who immediately took care of the bags and showed me the way to the next mean of transportation. It was the highest tram in Europe, which brought me all the way to to the main entrance of the resort. In general the entire process from parking my car until entering the main lobby of the hotel took me exactly an hour, which has been the most sumptuous arrival I have ever had at any luxury hotel. That arrival might only be topped by the Miavana Resort in Madagascar. Let's be honest, arriving by water taxi at the Maldives is so cliché :)... So if we could get back into the Alps, I would continue how friendly I was welcomed by the front desk staff who immediately showed me to my Junior Suite which was situated on the top floor in an Attic. I love extraordinary rooms, out of the usual so I was very happy with the allocated room AND it was still bright outside so I could even see the highlight of this property: The most magnificent view of the Matterhorn, aka Toblerone. Cozy as if a room couldn't be any cosier, wood ceilings and walls plus new fabrics that have been installed during the refurbishment in spring. The entire hotel has been renovated a year ago and looks very fresh and new although Riffelalp Resort been an institution for ages. I can clearly say that this facelift was well deserved and it looks absolutely stunning, not harming a bit of the surrounding. In contrary to chain hotels, when waking up at Riffelalp, you don't even need to think a second where you just woke up. Latest when the automatic curtains open, you can be sure: the Matterhorn is still here so you are most likely still in Switzerland ... if not in heaven already thanks to the super comfy pillows and blankets.
For my personal taste, the mattress could have been slightly softer, tough was absolutely fine since the thin mountain air will bring you to an early sleep. Generally, the layout of the room was very nice with a balcony that had two chairs outside and being on such an altitude I was surprised to be able to sit outside during night as it was not that cold. There was a spacious writing desk with a comfy chair as well as a minibar with plenty of Nespresso capsules along a machine of course. Free bottled water was provided and sparkling (still can be taken from the tap) as well as some fruits and welcome gift in form of the famous Riffelalp tram. Thanks to the recent refurbishment, the hotel smelled super new and fresh. Let's proceed with the bathroom: I have to admit that's what I call an alpine bathroom dream. Not just the stone fits perfectly, also the faucets and wooden details let this bath look stunning itself. A music speaker connected to the tv offered the possibility to linger for a bit longer while taking a shower and enjoying the L'Occitane toiletries. Generally the bathroom is a complete 9 out of 10 with all the amenities needed for a ski holiday. Unfortunately they don't provide toothbrush & -paste as well as shaving kit inside the room so I called the front desk. While ordering a dental kit, they arrived with a toothbrush only (tough a branded one), which was nice but not really helpful for me - travelling without anything like that for the weekend. Also, I loved the bathroom floor heating and the option to have 2 bath towels per person plus a separate walk-in shower - happy to see more and more hotels adapting this trend.
With the toilet to be separated next to the hallway with a separate sink, there was plenty of privacy offered and basically I can say that even the standard rooms are extremely spacious in terms of size. Be aware that room in the Nostalgic track still have shower-/tub combos so in case better go for the ones in the main building. One of the first things I had to do after inspecting the room was making dinner arrangements. As the main restaurant was closed and I was not in the mood for having dinner in town, I went to the Italian restaurant opposite the main entrance belonging to the hotel. While the restaurant Al Bosco looks more like a Swiss chalet serving fondue and traditional Swiss dishes, I was surprised to see an Italian menu. To be honest, there were plenty of Swiss options, however I wanted to be classy and went for Pizza which arrived on a wood platter and in form of the Matterhorn. People always say, when in Italy, have Pasta or Pizza, so when in Switzerland you should definitely go for Swiss dishes, just because they can do it best. There is nothing about a cheese fondue in such a stunning ambiance with the Matterhorn in between the snow capped trees. Staying at Riffelalp is an extraordinary experience, so comes the price tag. Once you decide not to have dinner in town your options are limited to the hotels two restaurants (in summer), and three in winter. Prices for the restaurants can be seen on the website, which is a great plus to calculate any unavoidable extra costs. Caution when you go to the town, you need to pay for the train into Zermatt, the one up to the hotel after 8 pm is free of charge.
After a super peaceful night with open windows, only hearing the bells of the cows vacationing on the alps, I went for the breakfast served in the hotel's main restaurant. A beautiful breakfast was set up with lots of local products, which I always appreciate. There was a live cooking station too, however being 8 in the morning and the first guest in the restaurant, there was nobody who asking me for any egg order, however they asked for my coffee order and of course I took a hot chocolate with the Matterhorn reflecting in my eyes, shining like those of a small child. It was my first morning and I was ready to climb up to Gornergrat for the most amazing view of Matterhorn and Monte Rosa. Well, the Gornergrat train was climbing up when I was reclining into the seat while enjoying the magnificent vistas. I have to admit that the famous Gornergrat is really impressive but at no moment did I feel that the view from my room at Riffelalp was less spectacular, in fact it was even better as I could sit there as long as I want. Honestly, I would warmly recommend to skip the Gornergrat and instead go to the spa to better enjoy the amazing view.
Spread over two floors, the spa area is a beautiful place to relax and unwind after a day hitting the slopes of hiking around one of the most stunning alpine areas in the world. The indoor pool is a great alternative for rainy days, otherwise I would always go for the heated outside swimming pool. Not just because it has that view, also because it is warmer and therefore more relaxing. I didn't have a look into the sauna area, as it was situated on the ground floor and I couldn't hesitate jumping into the warm outdoor pool.
All in all, this was my stay at the Riffelalp resort at an altitude of 2.222 meters. It's been one of the most magnificent stays I have had in Switzerland and I think it is a gorgeous place for a Christmas holiday, family time or a simple ski holiday. I would also recommend a stay in summer, but since I love skiing from the footsteps of my room, no doubts, this is the perfect hotspot to be from December to March!
A huge thanks to the Riffelalp Resort 2.222m which invited me for a test stay at the property. All above expresses my own opinion and has not been influenced.