Sitting amongst charming chalets with great views of an idyllic Swiss village, The Chedi Andermatt in Switzerland, designed by Malaysia-based architect Jean-Michel Gathy is a showcase of smart design that’s as memorable and picturesque as its destination. It’s a perfect example of what happens when Alpine architecture meets the Asian design sensibility.
The hills were alive with the sound of silence in a tiny village called Andermatt in the Urseren Valley of Switzerland. For, the army planned to pull out of here, and the place risked disappearing into irrelevance. But then this is the Alps, where crisp winter air blows a powdery white kiss; where it is better to practice strokes and stoke passions; where you find a luxe altar of sports, style and sartorial splendor; where champagne is the air you breathe.
Incidentally, Andermatt also has one of the best snow records in the Alps, making it an ideal location for a luxurious ski resort. Despite all this, the village was all set to become a footnote in history. Then, developer Orascom and the GHM Hotels were called in to rescue and revitalize one of the collapsing resorts. The result was, The Chedi Andermatt, a spectacular 5-star hotel. Most of us are more familiar with other resorts from GHM Hotel group in the pleasant sea-side climes of Bali and Vietnam, which is perhaps why one sees an intoxicating cocktail of Asian hospitality and Alpine architecture in the new property.
Spread over 30,000-square-metres, Kuala Lumpur-based Jean-Michel Gathy of Denniston International Architects and Planners has designed the resort to have striking Swiss-chalet-meets-Asian-luxe interiors. The execution of the work was carried out in cooperation with local architects Germann & Achermann AG from Altdorf, Switzerland.
Surrounded by the natural, year-round beauty of the Swiss Alps, The Chedi Andermatt has 106 rooms and suites. What sets this property apart is its opulence — besides the chic and comfortable accommodation, The Chedi Andermattt has a 7,874 sq ft spa with three swimming pools (including an exquisite 35-metre indoor pool and a lavish hydrotherapy complex of pools), three luxury restaurants (Swiss, international and Japanese), Wine and Cigar Library, children’s club, ski concierge and a skating rink. In fact, the unique flavour of the 5-star begins to unfold the minute you walk in. After all, the resort’s reception is a stylish bar. The welcome desk itself is 30-metre long and runs through the entire lobby; it doubles up as the schmooze area and even has wine displays behind the front desk.
The rooms and suites have extensive wood panelling and natural stone floors, elements borrowed from the East that stylishly contrast the indulgently soft leather chairs and cosy sofas. From heated floors, sheepskin throws and deep bathtubs (with an assortment of sophisticated Acqua di Parma unguents) to glass-encased gas fireplace and a view of rich alpine woods — each room is designed to pamper the skiing enthusiast. Painted murals in the rooms inspired by 17th- century European master Peter Paul Rubens add a romantic touch; while modern conveniences include large flat-screen TVs, WiFi, Bose sound systems and central iPad controls.
The first category of accommodation available is the Deluxe room (a total of 31) with a magnificent bathroom complete with a soak tub, rain shower and a natural stone floor. Next is the Grand Deluxe room (a total of 13), which has a timber wall behind the bed fitted with small lights to give the effect of a starry sky. The third category is the Deluxe Suites (a total of 61), with picture windows or a private balcony to soak up the awe-inspiring alpine panoramas.
It has plush leather sofas and a larger living area compared to the other two kinds of accommodation. Plus, guests have the option of requesting the wine cabinet to be stocked up with the best the resort can offer. However, those looking for even more luxurious quarters can check out the Gemsstock Suite, named for its unobstructed views of the sky-piercing Mount Gemsstock. It sports gorgeous vaulted wood ceilings and a spacious bathroom fitted with natural stone, polished woods and supple leather accents.
Once you have checked into your room, you can explore the many wining and dining options, all located on the ground floor. Under an alpine high ceiling with captivating views to Natschen Mountain is The Restaurant, an all-day dining venue serving central Swiss and European cuisine along with flavours from the Far East. The highlight here is the five-metre high, cheese cellar encased in glass. Seating only 40 guests, The Japanese restaurant serves up fare as its name suggests. Pick from the open sushi and sashimi bar or tempura counter to dine in style. Laser-cut panels and pretty glass pendant lights create a warm and inviting atmosphere. Both the eateries have been designed by SPIN Studio led by Yasuhiro Koichi.
However, if you want to indulge in fine wines and cigars, head to The Wine and Cigar Library located directly in front of the main entrance. With seating for more than 50 people, it offers a worldwide selection of high-end wines by the glass and bottle. The Cigar Lounge is more intimate and seats 12 around the roaring fireplace. There’s also a walk-in humidor housing myriad cigars all over the world.
When it’s time to let your hair down, head to The Bar and Living Room located directly in front of the main entrance. On offer are signature cocktails, rustic bites, Swiss specialties plus wine by the glass, and local beers all set to the beats of live music with a crackling fire going. And when it gets too cold to move, decadent fur blankets should keep you toasty.
Leather seats, elegant spotlights and pretty wood panels create a casual chic vibe. Conveniently located nearby is The Lobby with two grand Swiss fireplaces, well-padded chairs and ultra-plump sofas. Indulge in some freshly squeezed juice, coffee or cocktails here. But if you prefer the outdoors, The Courtyard is where you should go. The sun-lit lounge sports relaxed seating around a bonfire and even has a skating rink.
If the eateries were all about understated glamour, the spa and wellness centre are focused on relaxation. The outdoor lap pool is simple, utilitarian and temperature controlled; while the handsome indoor pool feels more like a living room with carpets, rugs and sofas. With eight fireplaces surrounding pool, you won’t step out of the water and freeze.
Meanwhile the padded day beds and couches are perfect for a mid-day siesta. With saunas and a steam bath, guests can also avail of the spa’s ten deluxe suites that offer Chedi’s usual menu of Oriental treatments.
The Chedi Andermatt opened its doors in December 2013 and has already become the hip, new ski destination. The plush interiors are well-designed with so many interesting nooks and corners, that one can’t help but wonder if guests even find time to step out to ski at all.
To create a property that has a contemporary chic Alpine look along with Asia-inspired design elements by predominantly using wood and natural stones.
Flooring Wood, natural stone Walls Dark wood paneling, natural stones Ceiling Alpine wood, glass
Location Andermatt, Switzerland Principal architect Jean-Michel Gathy of Denniston International Architects and Planners in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in cooperation with the local architects Germann & Achermann AG from Altdorf, Switzerland Restaurant design Yasuhiro Kochi of Spin Design Studio, Tokyo Lighting designer Nathan Thompson, The Flaming Beacon, Australia
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