In this post we will talk about our winter escape to the Waldhaus Sils Hotel, a real gem in the Engadin Valley
The Waldhaus Sils Hotel was opened on June 15, 1908, by Josef Giger and Amalie Giger-Nigg. The hotel remains purely a family affair without external partners or managers, very rare for a hotel of this kind and size.
The Waldhaus hosts and organizes numerous cultural events and is part and parcel of the rich cultural life of the Engadine as a whole. The philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche helped make Sils Maria famous in the 19th century. You can even visit his house which is nearby! Other authors, artists and intellectuals soon followed, often staying at the Waldhaus. Even today an extraordinary range of personalities reads and rests, composes and plays, writes and philosophises at the Waldhaus in Sils Maria – the village which Hermann Hesse called “paradise on earth”.
St Moritz has always been on top of our bucket list, because of its incredible position at the centre of the Swiss Alps and its beautiful ski resorts (if you have been before, you will know exactly what we are talking about!).
We flew from London Gatwick airport to Zurich and went by train to St Moritz. We had thought about renting a car because of the beautiful landscapes and passes, but it was a bit of a hazard with the snowy weather and we weren’t ready to ruin our relaxing weekend. Plus, the views from the train are absolutely gorgeous, so it was a happy choice in the end.
We were greeted by the lovely Patrick, who together with Claudio is currently running the hotel. Patrick gave us a small tour of the Waldhaus and showed us the architecture, the restaurants and the spa. In addition, he showed us the wine cellar, where the hotel stores over 30,000 bottles of wine and is untouched since 1908.
We stayed in room 328, on the fifth floor. The view was absolutely breathtaking, one of the best that we have seen so far during our Pretty Little Trips!
How can you not order in-room breakfast when the view looks like this?
The Waldhaus has renovated its spa in the winter of 2016/17. Architects Miller & Maranta’s design has been carefully integrated into the surrounding larch and stone pine forests and were advised by Austrian spa specialist Susanne Kaufmann.
The spa features a spacious swimming pool on the top level and a steam room and relaxation area on the lower level, which is only accessible if you are 14 or older (thank god!).
There is nothing like relaxing in an outdoor Jacuzzi with this cold weather!
The Waldhaus features some beautiful and cosy restaurants. What their kitchen crew lovingly arranges on the plates is nothing less than the taste of the Waldhaus itself: forest and garden, the Fex valley and Bregaglia, Alp Prasüra and the mountains.
We had breakfast at the buffet on our first day with a gorgeous view over thesnowy pine trees and had dinner in the same room, where the friendly Italian staff talked us through the menu and helped us with the wine.
The waiters at this hotel are genuinely friendly and helpful, which really makes all the difference in the world when you are looking for a relaxing escape.
St. Moritz has been a resort for winter sports vacations since the 19th Century and features a number of events throughout the year. The Waldhaus, in collaboration with the Engadin Tourism Board, arranged for us to attend the White Turf, a horse race on the frozen Lake St. Moritz attended by 35,000 tourists from all over Europe.
The White Turf has been running since 1907. It is a festive event with gourmet catering, lively music and inspiring art exhibitions, all taking place in winter sunshine on the frozen lake among the stunningly beautiful, snow-capped mountains of St Moritz. Here, race-horse owners, trainers and jockeys from all over the world meet up as well as being an unmissable fixture on the calendar for local people.
For us, it was a unique experience and really made us feel like locals!
Another absolute must when in St Moritz is going up the Corvatsch. This area spoils visitors with marvelous panoramic views, numerous sports possibilities and 80km of hiking paths in the Corvatsch-Furtschellas region.
Also, there are five mountain restaurants serving local specialties and barbeque sites for hikers who like to cook themselves! Nikola – our guide for the day – took us to the beautiful Panorama Restaurant 3303, with its unique view over the alps and its delicious food.
The Waldhaus Sils-Maria has to be one of the nicest and cosiest hotels we have ever had the pleasure of staying in. The genuine friendliness of the staff, the atmosphere and the restaurants make this hotel perfect for a relaxing escape with your loved one or with your family. You will not find the usual glamour of 5-star hotels, but instead the personal touch of a family that has been passionately managing the hotel since 1908, making it a place that remains in every guest’s heart. This is a place of peace, an escape from modern society, something we all need once in a while.