Living the High Life in St. Moritz

above: Polo like you’ve never seen before

left: Never a bad day to hit the mountain. middle: The icier the roads, the better for this vintage car exhibit. right: Where spectating is a sport in itself.

If luxury is defined as exclusive and rare, then winter sports in St. Moritz deserve a capital “L.” And now is the time to start planning your winter getaway.

Sure, skiing is on the menu, but that’s the sport of the masses. True jet-setters arrive for the polo matches, thoroughbred horse races and vintage car competitions. Don’t expect the Swiss to crow about it—they are too tight-lipped. But polo on ice is next-level. Besides being the first-ever snow polo tournament, it’s the only high-goal tournament played on snow. And if you love the Greenwich Concours de Elegance, add studded tires, ice courses and champagne servers on skates and you have the relatively new I.C.E. (International Concours de Elegance).

Unless you’re on a private jet, you can’t fly directly to St. Moritz; the Engadin airport doesn’t offer any commercial flights. You can drive the nearly three hours on icy roads through the craggy Alps from the nearest airport in Zurich, or board a train with Gen Pop. (Some do have glass roofs for sightseeing, but packing all your furs for train travel can be challenging.)

The stunning Carlton Hotel

Where to Stay in St. Moritz

THE CARLTON HOTEL
The lake is ringed by fairy-tale-worthy hotels, and you can’t go wrong with iconic names like Badrutt’s or Kulm, but we suggest The Carlton Hotel. The Carlton is only open from December to April. There are just 60 rooms, which are all spacious suites boasting sweeping views of the lake. Oh, and they include private butler service.

But why settle for just an indoor butler when you can also hire an outdoor butler? What does an outdoor butler do, you ask? They’ll take you hiking, skiing or on an epic journey skating on a hidden lake, returning by torchlight.

It’s Switzerland, so naturally there is a world-class spa. Before you go, here’s a fun fact: Wearing a bathing suit in the sauna is considered unhealthy and verboten. The Carlton Spa is spread over three floors. In addition to the birthday- suit only sauna area, there is a toasty indoor pool with a clear door that opensto the bracing air and an outdoor heated pool.

Charmingly decorated vintage gondolas stand sentry near the entrance of the hotel. They appear to be nothing more than Instagram fodder with old-timey skis and poles haphazardly stowed on gondolas going nowhere. When night falls, these become the most intimate venue to enjoy traditional Swiss fondue as you snuggle up with fur blankets and endless, gooey, warm cheese. Make a reservation for the hotel’s two-starred Michelin restaurant, Da Vittoria. This outpost of the Michelin three-star Da Vittoria in Bergamo is considered the best Italian restaurant in Switzerland, and like the hotel, only open for the short winter season.

Nightly room rates start at 1,300 Swiss Francs and climb rapidly as the 60 rooms book up for the winter holidays.

What to do

THE MOUNTAINS
Skiing in St. Moritz is a bucket list dream for many. It has hosted the Winter Olympics twice, and the sun shines more than 322 days of the year. It’s hard to have a bad ski day here. The famed pistes of Corviglia have been dubbed the “White Carpet” and are easily reachable from town via the weirdly efficient Chanterella funicular. Break for lunch at either the oldest ski hut, the Alpina, or pull up a fur-lined chair at the White Marmot—where you won’t find chicken tenders anywhere on the menu.

Snow Polo World Cup

SNOW POLO WORLD CUP
January 24 through January 26, 2025
Sure, a picnic at Greenwich Polo Club is fun, and you get to see the best of the best play high-goal polo. But in St Moritz, your champagne arrives with a tuxedo-clad server on ice skates. There are other snow polo events, like Courcheval, but St. Moritz is the only high-goal tournament. Tickets are free. But you’ll want to buy a spot in the Perrier-Jouët Chukker Club, where the champagne and canapes flow endlessly and you get a reserved seat in the grandstand. Chukker Club tickets are CHF120. VIP tickets cost CHF820; for the extra cash you get a seated gourmet lunch, access to a cigar bar, heated blankets and champagne in the grandstands. The best sideshow is admiring the latest in winter fashion for pups. If you don’t have a Moncler vest for your pooch, you should. snowpolo-stmoritz.com

White Turf takes horse racing to a whole different level.

WHITE TURF
February 2, 9 and 16, 2025
Imagine the Kentucky Derby, but on ice, and you have White Turf. The horses wear spiked shoes, and the spectators wear fur and Chanel goggles while shouting “Cavalli Partitii”—roughly translated to “go horses.” In addition to the racing, the event includes live music, gourmet catering and more. Tickets will be available at whiteturf.ch/en. Or book a package including hotels and VIP access at racingbreaks.com/white-turf.

The I.C.E.

THE I.C.E.
February 21 through February 23, 2025
If James Bond and my high school boyfriend brought their classic cars to St. Moritz, that would be the definition of The I.C.E. The cars don’t come to race.They come to be admired as they skid around the ice track taking laps, which must be an almost uninsurable activity.

The event begins with quality checks on the lake in the days leading up to the race. The ice must reach a minimum thickness of 10 inches for racing to begin. This year, they had the unlucky occurrence of too much snow and had to hold the competition in a nearby parking garage. This did nothing to dampen the spirit of the party. Since The I.C.E. is a relatively new luxury event, it feels intimate, championed by the cognoscenti and undiscovered by the masses. This “insider” status won’t last long now that, we’re letting you in on the secret. theicestmoritz.ch

Categories include:

  • Barchettas on the Lake: Two-seater racing cars
  • Open Wheels: Single-seaters from the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s, designed for track driving
  • Concept Cars & One-Offs: Unique examples created by visionary minds or custom-built according to the taste, character and personality of the owner
  • Icons on Wheels” Does “icon” need a definition? Last year’s winner was a Delage D8-125 S.

 

 

 

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