Having always wanted to ski but not really ever had the chance I jumped at the opportunity when it arose, to indulge in a gorgeous ski/spa experience at Switzerland’s stunning Tschuggen Grand Hotel in the very small, very magical mountainous town of Arosa. Now, based on the small fact that Wills & Kate stayed there 2 weeks prior to myself I guess you could say it’s not too bad a place at all!
We travelled for what felt like hours, but after a plane, 2 normal trains and another, which took us higher and higher into the Swiss Alps over viaducts, past ethereal lakes and through the most spectacular scenery, we finally arrived at Arosa where we were met by our driver and escorted to the hotel.
Our stay began with a gorgeous lunch in one of the hotel’s 5 amazing restaurants. Steak was on the menu so we tucked in order to fuel up for our afternoon activity – sledging. Little did I know what I was about to let myself in for; when I say sledging I don’t mean sliding gleefully down a hill on the South Downs, I’m talking about throwing yourself down a mountain at break-neck speeds, meandering round bends while coming close to the edge on several occasions, all on a few small pieces of wood nailed together with no breaks, safety pads, helmets or instructions. Suffice to say it’s pretty crazy and utterly dangerous but SO much fun (travel insurance is advisable).
Once my heart rate had slowed, Amelia and I snuck off to the bar in search of a much-needed glass of bubbles. Once recovered we all reconvened for supper in the beautiful michelin star La Vetta restaurant where we tucked into the most delicious wines and a huge meal made up of lots of little dishes – You think you’re not eating a lot that way but you soon realise, when you waddle out, that you have in actual fact eaten around three times your own body weight.
A combination of the fresh mountain air and incredible cuisine and I was in a deep slumber as soon as my head hit the soft fluffy pillow.
We ate the universe – literally.
Our itinerary was pretty tight and meticulously put together. The next morning after waking to the most breathtaking views of the mountains and crystal blue skies, a HUGE buffet breakfast took place at 8, after which we met at the ski shop to have our boots and ski’s fitted, then we were off up the mountain in the hotel’s version of a ski lift, the ‘Tschuggen Express’.
Spectacular mountain views from my hotel room balcony. One word… SPOILT!
We spent the day mastering the art of ski and I loved every minute of it. Lunch was had at an incredibly spoiling spot higher up the mountains where we tucked into a deliciously steaming bowl of bolognese, while surrounded by other skiers and uber-cool snow boarders who all flock to admire the views and re-energise for round two on the slopes.
Amelia had a little trouble mastering the snow plow, and seemed a lot more content soaking up the rays!
I’ve always been very attracted to the idea of après ski, and sure enough our rather cheeky ski instructor Benito showed us the best spot for a “cold beer” when everyone hops off the slopes at about 5pm. Again skis and snowboards were dumped en mass outside a rather small but very packed bar, and the atmosphere was great – nobody cared about the fact they were probably hot and sweaty with very bad hat hair, but that’s the fun of it – it was a refreshing break from the stuffiness of London, and admittedly I felt very at home amongst this very cool (but slightly alien to me) crowd.
Après ski was followed by the most delectable canapes in the hotel bar washed down with the areas local bubbly – they had obviously prepared for my arrival!
Dinner was then had at Bündnerstube, another of their exquisite restaurants, which came in the form of a ski lodge, complete with sleigh and bowling alley – yep that’s right, it was so exciting we were a bunch of giggling girls again!
We finally dug into the cheesiest of cheese fondu’s – melted cheese (obviously) that you’re meant to dip liqueur soaked bread chunks in. It wasn’t quite to everyone’s liking I don’t think, but it was great fun and we all dug in to the hearty warm tradition.
By the time we were finished, the night was still young, so we slipped out of the hotel and down into the town for a night cap.
Several hours, shots and a dance off to the Backstreet Boys, Queen and the Spice Girls later, we made our way back to the hotel to rest our weary heads. After all, we had an important appointment with the hotel spa a few hours ahead of us, so some much needed shut eye was on the cards.
As gorgeous as the spa was I’ll save that for part 2… and promise not to make it quite as long!