Grand Hotel Kronenhof Pontresina is the perfect example of a palatial mountain getaway in the heart of the Swiss Alps. Set into the side of the mountain, this hotel offers amazing views, looking out over a grassy lawn that slopes down towards the mountain river that rushes past below. Above the lawns, the vista is pine-covered mountains as far as the eye can see.
We visited the Grand Hotel Kronenhof Pontresina as part of a grand tour around this part of Switzerland. The Grand Hotel Des Bains Kempinski St. Moritz was our first stop. We then stayed at and reviewed the Kulm Hotel St. Moritz, followed by Grand Hotel Kronenhof in Pontresina before heading back down the mountains, taking a famous and picturesque Swiss train journey to the spa resort of Grand Resort Bad Ragaz.
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Grand Hotel Kronenhof can be found on the edge of the small and picturesque town of Pontresina, which sits at an altitude of 1,805 meters (5,922 feet) above sea level. The village is nestled in the Swiss Alps and is surrounded by majestic mountain peaks, including the Bernina Range and the Morteratsch Glacier.
Pontresina can be found down the same valley as St. Moritz and is a short drive away. It has its own station, so it’s easy to get to.
There isn’t a lot to this tiny town. It’s very pretty and packed with historic chalets, but the main draws are the mountain hikes and bike trails in the summer and in the winter, the almost never-ending cross country ski tracks that mirror the river at the base of the valley.
There’s also a local beginner ski area and a gondola in the next town that the Grand Hotel Kronenhof will shuttle you to, giving access to the entire St Moritz ski area.
Style & Character
The Grand Hotel Kronenhof Pontresina has a history of 175 years in hospitality and is one of the best-preserved grand hotels from the 19th century in Europe. In 2004, this heritage-protected house changed hands when AG Grand Hotels Engadinerkulm, the group that also owns the Kronenhof’s sister hotel Kulm Hotel St. Moritz, purchased the Kronenhof Pontresina.
The extensive restoration work and investment, which has been completed since the hotel’s purchase, showcases the grandeur of this hotel’s heyday.
Grand is the best word to describe this hotel. The foyer and lounge areas beyond are blessed with high ceilings and enormous windows that share the perfect green mountains beyond. The whole hotel has been beautifully restored. All the fabrics and furnishings feel brand new, and the design of the lounges and bar area feel contemporary and modern within this grand setting.
The original ceiling frescoes, and gold leaf detailing brings past splendors to life and history is hidden in every corner, such as the old wooden skis which were left at the hotel 100 years ago before the wars and are still waiting for their owners to return.
Our room, room 102, was immaculate and had garden views to two sides so that you could look out onto glittering green trees and lush lawns from the bed. The room was exceptionally quiet, with modern and pristine oatmeal furnishings, an immaculate bathroom with a separate toilet and walk-in shower, and an extra luggage room which is always useful.
Service & Facilities
Most guests will come here to ski or spa. We came for the latter as we visited in the summer. Our highlights were the glorious pool, the delightful lawns where you can laze in the sunshine or enjoy a lunchtime barbeque, the wonderful dining, and the heavenly views from every corner of this beautiful hotel.
The pool area has been beautifully designed with an infinity pool that takes full advantage of the mountain setting. The rounded windows mean that as you swim up the pool, it seems like you are swimming across to the mountains in front of you.
In the summer all the mountain flowers caress the edge of the lawns, framing the view from the pool with thousands of multicolored wildflowers. Beyond the main pool, there’s a warmer bubble pool with all sorts of jets, a toddler pool with a slide, and plenty of loungers set up to make the most of the mountain views, both inside the pool area and outside on the lawn.
Food & Drink
As night falls, the scent of the open fire fills the halls. Guests meander to the main dining hall, which is nothing short of exquisite.
The setting is pretty as a wedding cake with a ceiling that is so ornate and intricately painted that an entire story of all four seasons is depicted using Greek gods. Numerous pillars and Murano glass chandeliers enrapture in this grand dining venue, and a live pianist tinkles tunes into the night while you eat.
The mainly Italian staff serve the gourmet dishes with drama in a manner that Italians do best. They whisk plates on and off your table with perfect timing. They brandish platter after platter, lifting silver covers off each plate to reveal the steaming food beneath.
And the food here is great. If you book half-board, the restaurant in the main hall, which is included in your half-board booking, offers the finest of dining with a salad bar, delicious pasta, soups, a main dish, and a divine dessert.
The unique mix of the magic of times long past, modern comfort, and the beautiful natural world all around makes the Grand Hotel Kronenhof incredibly special. The exquisite food and well-heeled guests that clearly appreciate the finer things in life and the care and love invested into this exceptional hotel.
In fact, the night before our stay, the hotel had celebrated the wedding of an American couple who had been visiting the hotel every year for over ten years. They and all their friends felt that this hotel was worth the long flight from the US and the lengthy train or private transfer from Zurich airport.
We think so too. Even in the world of luxury hotels, it’s hard to find a hotel that gets it all right. Grand Hotel Kronenhof Pontresina is one of the few hotel gems in the world that manages this feat. If you stay here once, I guarantee you’ll feel the need to return.
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