Klosters has a long history of attracting an A list crowd, from the European Monarchy to Hollywood royalty. (This is where Prince William and Harry first learned to ski) Though frequented by a chi-chi crowd, it has retained a feeling of old Switzerland, a place where families return year after year. There’s no pretention, no fancy 5 star hotels-- just plenty of charm and endless ski runs. Discovered, yes, but still unspoiled. Our good friend interior designer Julie Hillman, travels everywhere and has the best taste, so when she raved about her recent trip to Klosters we knew she had to share! She traveled with friends from Brussels, who have been skiing in Klosters since childhood and therefore got to experience Klosters in a more intimate and seasoned way.
Like many ski destinations, Klosters is not just a winter playground, but offers an abundance of summer activities. In addition to traditional activities such as hiking, biking or tennis, take a glacial tour or attend a concert or alpine festival.
Prince Charles slept here…staying at the Walserhof is another option—this beautiful Relais & Chateaux has spacious rooms and a friendly staff. The restaurant is excellent, well deserving of its Michelin star.
Way to go: Fly to Zurich then hop on the train, it’s much more convenient than driving, and drops you off directly in front of the hotel. Spectacular may be overused but the 90-minute ride was just that--passing lakes, mountains and one gorgeous home after another. We checked our bags in NY right through to Klosters, with prearranged tags, they were transferred to the train and arrived at our hotel. (If you plan on skiing right when you arrive, you might want to pack a carry on bag with ski clothing. The luggage arrives to your hotel a bit later than you do.)
Stay: Booking last minute we were lucky to get a room at the Alpina Hotel. (It was spring half term in England) You’d think being across from the train might be viewed as undesirable, but not in this Swiss town, where one jumps on and off to go skiing in nearby Davos or St Moritz. The Alpina is quiet, away from the bustle of town, and more modern and slightly larger than some of the other hotels.
First Choice: While we were happy at the Alpina, the place to stay is The Chesa Grischuna. Book way in advance at this family run hotel dating back to 1938. The hotel is comfortable and sits in a perfect location. Decorated with local handiwork, it’s traditional, charming and classic in the Swiss chalet style. On a sunny day for après ski, there’s no better place than sitting on the terrace wrapped in a sheepskin blanket sipping Gluhwein.
How Cool: The Chesa has a private 2-lane bowling alley where you can arrange to have a private fondue or raclette dinner.
Ski: You’re here for the skiing, and there may be no better place for off piste skiing and snowboarding In Europe. The great thing about skiing in Klosters is the sheer vastness of its runs. You can ski the 2 mountains right in Klosters - the Gotschnagrat and the Madrisa, with some of the longest runs in Europe down to Kublis and Serneus -- over 20km long. From from the top of the Gotschnagrat you can access all the Davos trails, which is the next town over.(The host of the Davos Economic Forum every year.) If you’re an advanced skier you have the option of booking a private guide who will equip your group with seal skins and special bindings so you can climb up the mountain, skiing down deserted bowls into Austria. Rest assured, both skiers and guides are furnished with avalanche beepers. (I did say advanced skiers...)
Lunch: Eat at Alte Schwendi for the best food on the mountain—the music and hip young crowd add to the fun!
Nap: There is no temptation to shop as Klosters has only a few simple stores. I loved the absence of fancy boutiques; you can get your fix if needed in nearby Davos. Head back to the hotel to rest before dinner.
Dinner: Definitely go to Rustico, it was phenomenal. With only 5 tables the restaurant is small, we were a large group so we sat in a special room off the back that seats up to 18. It was picture perfect with every chair draped in a sheepskin throw. Rustico specializes in fondue and raclette--no dieting here—especially, as you can choose either bread or potatoes to dip in your fondue. Another favorite serving incredible food was Alpen Roesli, located on the mountain. The boisterous room was filled with tons of families enjoying the hearty food. After dinner the brave can strap on a headlight, and sled back to town.
Late Night: Have an after drink at the piano bar at the Chesa before heading to nightclub Casa Antica, it’s where all of Klosters meets up late night. From the exterior it looks like a Swiss Chalet, but inside it is very cool and loungey.
Day Trip: Sit back and enjoy the stunning scenery on the one-hour train ride to St.Moritz. Now, you can get your fill of shopping, and visiting the galleries. Have lunch at Muottas Muragl.
Ski Team: James Palmer-Tomkinson has been sking in Klosters since age 4, and boasts quite a ski pedigree with numerous British ski champions in his family tree. Together with his wife Sos, he founded PT Ski, a full service ski company that arranges everything for you including lessons, ski guides, and hotel, train and dining reservations. James and Sos know everything and everyone in Klosters, I highly recommend their services.