From A.T., N.Y.
We decided, very much at the last minute, to go skiing in Switzerland over Spring Break. Despite many attempts to book a place in Zermatt, it proved impossible, either because the hotels were sold out or because of their seven-night minimum stay policy (which seems to be standard in Zermatt). So, we headed to St. Moritz instead.
The Saratz Hotel (Pontresina; 41-81-839-4000; www.saratz.ch), which was recommended by an Indagare member, was sold out for one of the nights, so we ended up staying in another hotel, the Cresta Palace (Postfach 16, Celerina; 41-81-836-5656; www.crestapalace.ch). I can really recommend it for anyone traveling with kids, since it is very family-oriented and has a much more relaxed atmosphere than most of the well-known St. Moritz hotels. The hotel is located in Celerina, a charming village only two miles away from St. Moritz-Dorf and is managed by the same Swiss family that has been running it for many years. We stayed in a suite with a large separate living room (turned into a bedroom for our children), two bathrooms and enough closet space to stay at least a month (which is invaluable when you travel with ski equipment for four people). The standard rooms seem to be on the smaller side, so for a longer stay, I would definitely recommend looking into the larger rooms (junior suites or suites). The big advantage of the hotel is that it is located in walking distance to the Corviglia Gondola, which makes it perfect for a ski vacation. There was not much snow left in the village because we went mid-April, but in winter you could ski almost to the entrance of the hotel.
St. Moritz is divided into three separate ski areas, and to go from one to another, you will either need a car (probably the best option) or to use the shuttles. The two larger ski areas are Corviglia and Corvatsch. Corviglia is convenient because the gondola is so close to the hotel, but Corvatsch (a fifteen-minute drive from Celerina and a ten-minute drive from St. Moritz) is definitely worth your while because it has the highest runs and therefore the best snow. That can make all the difference when you ski in the spring. The third ski area is Diavolezza/Lagalp, which is also fifteen to twenty minutes from Celerina, past the village of Pontresina. Although it is a much smaller ski area, Diavolezza has, in my opinion, the most stunning views of the glaciers.
What another Indagare member said about everything being much more quiet in April is absolutely true: St. Moritz was close to empty with most of the five-star hotels closed and the others about to close for the season as well. The positive side, however, was that we found a table at all the restaurants we wanted to go (we particularly liked Chesa Rosatsch in Celerina and the more casual Dorta (41-81-854-2040; www.dorta.ch) in Zuoz, an old farmhouse that has been converted into a restaurant – ask for the smaller room called “Stuebli”). Also, at that time of year, there are no lift lines whatsoever and most stores in St. Moritz have their merchandise (lots of ski jackets) on sale at major discounts. My conclusion was that if you want to see St.Moritz in all its winter splendor, April might be too late in the year. But if you want to spend some quiet time skiing in the Alps while still enjoying St.Moritz and the warmer weather (which was our case), then it is a great time to go. I must say however that we were fortunate because Switzerland got an amazing amount of snow this year and there was still plenty of it when we were there.
Read our destination report on St. Moritz
See recommendations on St. Moritz from an Indagare insider
Read about a family ski vacation in the Alps