48 Hours at the Hotel Walther Pontresina
Well, this is the most special hotel review I have ever written because I had the honor to work at this hotel for the last two years, knowing every single corner of this property. Yes as an employee of such a nice institution you get lots of stories to know but this is a different part ;). When we got the kind chance to stay at the Walther I got really emotional I mean this is the first Inside review for me ever.
Fine, I’m sure you heard about St Moritz the super fancy village at the lake and so on, but if you pass the first round about after Samedan and drive through the valley in direction Bernina Pass, you reach Pontresina. Pontresina has about 1800 inhabitants and is just a five minutes’ car drive away from fancy ski town St Moritz with its dazzling boutiques and I dare to pretend that the view is a little better in Pontresina than at the capital of winter sport, but this is just a personal opinion.
When you are going on vacation knowing the hotel is member of Relais & Chateaux, you simply have no doubts in terms of any disappointments. I don’t even know how to start the actual review because there are so many positive thoughts in my head right now.
I figure we should start at the check in. Upon arrival at the round about right in front of the impressive main entrance my luggage got picked up by Antonio and directly escorted to my room without saying my name or anything else. This happened not just in my case, because they know every single guest by heart. During my check in, while drinking a fresh vitamin water, my car was parked in the enormous parking garage 20 meters away from the entrance by Antonio as well. After all the check in formalities I got escorted to my room.
Did I say room before? I meant Junior Suite, situated at the fifth floor, super-fast to reach with the elevator from the reception you can find “chambre” 94. The suite is bright and has the perfect size of 42 square meters. (I personally don’t like massive hotel rooms cause you tend to lose everything within a few hours) By passing by the entrance door you can find a small wardrobe for you jackets shoes and suitcases.
The room itself is beautifully furnished with wooden elements like the roof truss. Of course you do have all typical suite features such as a couch, a work space with a comfy chair, a LED TV and high-speed WIFI. A very nice detail was the Nespresso machine on top of the complimentary minibar which is equipped with sodas and local water. As a guest of the Hotel Walther you feel like a VIP: Right on top of the living room table was a huge etagere with homemade truffles, fresh fruits and a hand-written card from Mr. and Mrs. Walther. The bed was one of the most comfortable things I’ve ever felt on my skin I can’t describe the level of coziness. In the bathroom you can find a huge bath tub which was the shower as well, the classic Relais & Chateaux amenities - mandatory for such a unique hotel! Towels and sheets where branded with the logo of the hotel. If the weather is nice and sunny you have to stay at least once in a time at the big balcony which is also furnished with a lounger, umbrella and a chair.
Due to a cooperation with the “Engadiner Bergbahn AG” every guest gets a ticket to explore the mountains by the roallercosters and cable cars. So especially when the weather is good you have to go for a hike like I did. In addition, after the hike I highly recommend having a post hike snack at the cake buffet in the Walther lounge, which was completely new designed and renovated last year. Every single cake and pie is homemade by chef patissier Marc Klinke. If you finished your pie then take of your clothes switch into your bathrobe and sneak to the SPA which is located in an extra building connected to the hotel by an underground hallway. It dosen’t matter if you prefer to go to the sauna (they have three), hot tubs or the regular pool which is heated to a temperature of 29 degrees.
Lets start with my favorite part of the report: THE FOOD. As I told you before I spent the last two years of my life in the restaurant kitchen as cook. I was extremely excited and to be honest I had high expectations. Hereafter a quick aperitif at the also superb newly renovated Walther Bar mixed by Chef de Bar Gody and Nathalie I went into the grand restaurant. I love the redesigned interior which is in my favorite color blue. Escorted by maître d’hôtel Dino to my table I got bread and native olive oil and sea salted butter. The first course was a perfect seasoned jerusalem artichoke foam soup with so much truffle on it that my palatine instantly felt in love with the combination which I’ve never had before. Onto to the next course, the cold starter since we are in Switzerland at least one ingredient needs to be on the menu directly around the corner, so the starter was the famous “Bünderfleisch” with pumpkin cubes, smoked bacon and parsley sponge beautifully presented on a blue churchill dish.
As wine paring a got an Italian vino rosso which matched perfectly to the whole menu even for my next course, cod fish marinated with old balsam vinegar, green asparagus mussels and spaghetti. Executive Chef Peter Maxlmoser attaches importance to the sauces, so the garlic foam sauce was just like a dream. I thought to myself it can’t be better until my main course appeared; Sous vide cooked veal tenderloin made out swiss prime meat combined with carrot caramel sauce Italian aquarello risotto and perfectly cut vegetables in order to that I got goose bumps all over me when I took the first byte. The restaurant is awarded with 15/20 points by the Gault&Millau guide that means if you order a menu like that it is not unusual to get two desserts. In my case I got as pre-dessert a peach sorbet with caramelized buckwheat refined with ginger beer served and finished by the very attentive service at the table. The final of that simply outstanding dinner was the dessert created by Marc Klinke; chestnut cake with mousse au chocolate pears ice cream and decorated with crispy meringue. Beside such gorgeous menus you have to choose between classic dishes like the Chateaubriand with sauce béarnaise.
The next morning still impressed and full by the menu in the evening, I went to the vast breakfast buffet. Of course, being a Relais &Chateaux hotel that means the offer of breakfast products is vast and of highest quality. In my case I ordered a simple French omelet with ham and cheese.
To sum up the Hotel Walther Pontresina is one of the my chosen hotels in the world. Basically, the team lead by Mr. and Mrs. Walther, all the department managers are doing their job with so much passion. I mean this hotel has everything you need. Valet parking, bellmen service, concierge, al a carte breakfast, renowned gourmet restaurant, SPA and the most important thing is you feel like a guest not just like a number!
Felix was a guest of the Walther Family and was hosted for the weekend by the property. However all above written expresses our own opinion and has not been influenced in any way.