The history of Suvretta House dates back to the beginning of the 20th century when an English shipbuilder had the “Villa Suvretta” built for his wife by Swiss architect Karl Koller. He then sold the villa to his friend, Charles Sydney Goldman, British Member of Parliament and businessman
Goldman met Swiss hotelier Anton Bon, and both agreed on building a new hotel. The groundbreaking ceremony took place on 22 April 1911. The inauguration took place on December 16, 1912 with 200 invited guests. The hotel had 250 guest rooms, 370 beds, 110 bathrooms, rooms for bridge, billiards, smokers and tea drinkers, a library, a music room and a dining room.
Following Anton Bon’s death in 1915, his wife Maria took over the management of the hotel. In 1916, her son, Hans Bon (1882-1950) was appointed as the new director. The hotel is now owned by the seventh generation of the Bon family.
I have had the opportunity and privilege to return to Suvretta House this month (February 2021) and I have felt compelled to mention briefly the history of the iconic luxury heritage hotel. From those very early years, those laid the foundations of the property understood the incredible strategic location, not only from the point of view of the spectacular views (unique among any other hotel in St Moritz) but also the proximity to the ski slopes as well as the slightly laid back positioning from the downtown / central part of St Moritz.
During the current pandemic, almost 110 years since opening, the hotel is a sanctuary of peace, secluded from the busy centre of St Moritz and away from any potentially crowded areas, such as with shops (retail), bars, cafes or restaurants. Guests can exclusively access the ski slopes directly from the hotel, with a fully equipped Ski Concierge – in this way, Suvretta House guests do not need to mingle with other tourists. especially those skiing. The hotel owners own a third of the Suvretta Snowsports School, with a variety of activities, including not just skiing and snowboard but also camps or even snow yoga or fitness.
The grand ample lobby area with its massive windows, are not only a picture frame of the breathtaking scenery of the mountains (sitting on an elevated plateau at 1.850 m), but these days, an ideal place to unwind without even realising distancing an fresh air come as natural. The fact that part of its extensive renovations, the hotel renovated entirely its lobby recently, it is yet another statement – the choice of materials – the finest quality furnishings and decor elements, as well as flawless finishes, makes any guest feel even safer, in a crisp and sleek feel, instilling a sensation of exceptionally clean / brand new (which obviously require less effort in cleaning).
The same quality of materials and finishes have been chosen for renovating the rooms and suites of the hotel, with the same timeless and understated aesthetic, with a muted colour palette, which would not only be appealing to a large guest profile base but would also ‘stand the test of time’ as the saying goes, in other words, ageing well and not requiring major updates more frequently. Needless to say, rooms and suites now feel even brighter and more cozy.
Particular attention has been paid to choose the utmost comfortable mattresses, not to mention the superb satin silk high-thread bed linen. Accommodations are not only beautiful but they are also functional, with very carefully chosen lighting, heating and other room controls. Each accommodation benefits from expansive closed / wardrobe and most of them have luxurious marble bathrooms, with separate walk in showers (high-water pressure) and bathrobe – a variety of organic salts are placed complimentary for a private Spa experience, along with amenities by Asprey of London. Bathrooms also have heated floors and racks.
The dining experience has always been a major attraction for the Suvretta House guests, with a variety of traditional and international cuisine, from casual to more formal, including the lobby where a splendid Afternoon Tea is served daily. The black-tie award winning formal dining Grand Restaurant with an impressive setting of solid oak columns and an elaborately decorated cassette ceiling, giving it a mix of a palatial and aristocratic feel. Guests can choose from 4-course offerings that change daily. Suvretta Stube is the main restaurant of the property, with a more casual look and feel, yet the same exceptional quality food and service.
Beyond the majestic building and its views, as well as its superb interiors and product, it is the signature, exceptional level service standards, for which Suvretta has become so renowned for. Staff take genuine pleasure in serving and engaging with guests, most importantly commanding the perfect approach, whether it would be a more warm approach or a rather more restrained one, depending on the preference of each guest. You will feel pampered at every corner, all staff recognising you by name and addressing you as such.
I was also deeply impressed by the respect and friendliness which guest show to the staff, sometimes, you have the impression of being near old friends. I believe, above all, this is what true luxury means in hotels and it is this care which makes a property unique. Peter Egli and his wife Esther Egli are not only manager of the property – they are true hosts, treating Suvretta House as their baby and paying the very same close attention to every single guest.
While they will impress you with their innate modesty and humbleness, during the ongoing pandemic being very firm when it came to implementing the most complex set of safety and hygiene measures to protect both staff and guests from Covid-19. All the staff are Covid-19 tested on a weekly basis and the hotel only operates 70% of its accommodations inventory, paying extreme attention to the capacity, usage and occupancy of all public spaces including the Spa, the pools and the restaurants,
Similarly to the top luxury fashion, jewellery, watches or car brands, luxury hotels are about a continuous investment not only in product but most importantly in their human resources. Consistency in the quality of product and service is crucial – but also constant innovation, especially when it comes to enhancing comfort and sustainability / ecology.
The alpine dairy is located at the foot of the Morteratsch glacier. This has inspired to give the semi-hard Mutschli the name “Gletscher-Mutschli”. During the cheese maturing process, the Gletscher-Mutschli are turned 2-3 times a week in the cheese cellar at approx. 13°C and 98% relative humidity and rubbed with brine and maturing bacteria. Suvretta runs its own custom Tesla cars and this year, it launched its very own cheese.
Make sure you do not miss the heavenly restorative organic based ILA treatments at the state-of-the-art Spa, a cross country ski experience, the skating rink or simply lay back, relax and forget about it all – you are in the safest hands! Bring your pets too!
Oliver Petcu in St Moritz
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