Grand Hotel Kronenhof
What We Love
- The Jetsetter rate includes daily breakfast and access to the spa
- Gorgeous neo-Baroque interiors (wood paneling, chandeliers, original ceiling paintings)
- Treatments at the award-winning spa use bioactive products from the Swiss Alps
- Two fancy fine dining restaurants plus an alfresco terrace for laid-back lunches
What To Know
- Free shuttle to/from the local train station
- Pontresina is 130 miles from Zurich Airport (ZRH); the domestic Samedan Airport (SMV), which serves the Engadin valley, is four miles away
- Excellent outdoor activities (hiking, biking, skiing) on the doorstep, but not much in the way of nightlife
- The Grand Restaurant is just as it sounds, with a strict jacket-and-tie dress code
- Free WiFi
- Parking On Site
- Room Service
In the tiny village of Pontresina, in Switzerland’s Engadin valley, the Grand Hotel Kronenhof is an opulent Alpine retreat with postcard-pretty views of the surrounding glaciers. Swiss-owned since 1898, it has neo-Baroque interiors (think cherubs on the ceiling and elaborate stucco work) that are indicative of this hotel’s long and impressive history. Dark pine panels, so typical of 19th-century Swiss style, create a warm welcome, and panoramic windows offer dramatic views at every turn.
Bed and Bath
With cherrywood-paneled walls and huge windows, the guestrooms have a luxe log cabin feel. Fling open the windows for a breeze bearing the scents of the Alps (Swiss pine and other evergreens). The Standard Rooms are located in the Ganzoni wing and overlook the inner courtyard; Deluxe Rooms feature comfy chairs and a sofa; most have a balcony or terrace. The small touches — a generous fresh fruit bowl, underfloor bathroom heating, full-size L’Occitane products and a powerful walk-in shower — are indicative of the Kronenhof’s attention to detail.
The hotel has two fine dining restaurants: the aptly named Grand Restaurant, which has lavish ceiling paintings and sparkling chandeliers, and the cozy, wood-paneled Kronenstübli Restaurant, a gourmet spot that serves classic French and Italian dishes. For laid-back lunching, have a light Swiss bite on the terrace at Le Pavillion. Finish the night in the lounge bar, where you can listen to live piano music every night from 9 p.m. The award-winning Kronenhof Spa is a health haven with a large glass-fronted indoor pool with views of the mountains, a Bio Sauna scented with essential oils, a saltwater grotto and a flotation room with underwater music and calming wave projections. Indulge in a therapeutic massage using Alpienne products, a product range with bioactive ingredients including honey, propolis, arnica and marmot oil.
In the Area
The surrounding area is a hiker’s paradise, with a 360-mile network of idyllic trails. The friendly staff at the hotel can give you well-informed recommendations, whether you’re after a casual walk, a romantic stroll, a family outing or an ambitious climb. The Kronenhof’s sister hotel, the Kulm, is 10 minutes away in neighboring St. Moritz, and a spa or dinner reservation can be easily arranged. There are 18 mountaintop restaurants nearby; ask the concierge about discounts. And it’s worth mentioning how surprisingly close to the Italian border the property is. The Valtellina region of northern Italy, famous for its wines, is an hour’s drive away and perfect for adding some unexpected variety to your Swiss adventure.
How to Get There
This was our second visit to the Grand Hotel Kronenhof and the hotel is just amazing! Very professional and friendly service, beautiful views and extremely nice rooms. The spa is definitely also worth a visit (or several).
Just a wonderful place and definitely not the last time we are going to visit this place!
We were, perhaps only a little unexpectedly, treated like royalty. I say “perhaps unexpectedly” because our travelling companion was an ex senior staff member of the Grand Kronenhof, and I am sure that that opened a few doors for us. I do know that that earned us a room upgrade, which was most welcome and extremely comfortable.
However, and this is an important distinction, based on what I saw and experienced our treatment was no better than those who did not have an “inside connection”.
The Grand Kronenhof is, simply, grand. I have had the opportunity to be the guest of many 5-star hotels, mostly in parts of Asia. I have some favourites, both in terms of the actual establishment, and the chain with which they are part or associated. I say this only to indicate that I do have a frame of reference by which to judge good quality hotels. I have been contemplating whether the Grand Kronenhof is THE best hotel I have ever had the pleasure to stay in. By some measures this is a clear “yes”. By others it is relegated to “only” equal best. This is solely because making a comparison between top end hotels in difficult, because one is not necessarily comparing apples with apples.
But whether it is THE best, or “merely” equal best, is actually a moot point, because it is superb by any measure. The fact that it has a history going back some 140 years (or more by some other measures) adds to its “grand-ness”. The architecture and the thoughtful renovations over the years is almost incomparable. The ceiling frescos in the Grand Restaurant are stunning, as is the impeccable service in that room. The variety of lounge rooms, all with wonderful views of the nearby glaciers, all provide the opportunity to relax in sublime comfort, simply taking in the views, reading the papers or enjoying a drink from the bar. Our room was wonderful (and I shouldn’t go on too much about that because we did receive special treatment). And it provides an excellent central base from which to explore the beautiful Engadin area of the Swiss Alps (and as an additional service the Kronenhof provides guests with a complementary cable car/chair lift pass for the area for the duration of your stay).
As with many of these places though, the measure is the staff. In the Kronenhof’s case this is impeccable by any standard. Friendly, warm, knowledgeable, helpful, professional. Even though some knew of our “connection”, I genuinely don't think that that made any difference to the service they offered. We got what we got, at a superb standard, simply because we were guests, not because we “knew” someone. That said we were treated to an insider’s view guided tour of the hotel, including the original hotel/trading rooms (dating back to the 1840s) and the ancient wine cellar, and I guess that not everyone would be so lucky, however the service of the staff is such that if you wanted get such an insight I suspect that all you’d need to do would be to ask (but please don't let me commit the hotel to this!!).
The Grand Kronenhof will not be everyone’s cup of tea. It’s not an inexpensive place – not helped by the fact that the Australian dollar is presently at its lowest in many years, which of course is not the Kronenhof’s fault. But if you can look past that, and want to treat yourself to something special whilst in Europe, I can’t imagine that you’d be able to find too many places better.
A typical Swiss luxury hotel:
- highly professional and helpful staff, not only at the front desk, in every restaurant (we tested the main one and the fantastic Kronentsübli), but also the staff in charge of the room. Cordial, efficient and really focused. The breakfast is an example of careful service. The dinner (half-board chosen) was almost choreographed - the waiters remembered our preferred wine, for example.
- a quiet room (that we managed to change without difficulty when the neighbors upstairs defied the luxurious atmosphere)
- high quality sports facilities, with connection to TV, Netflix, weather news, radio
- perfect spa facilities, with refreshments and fruits, quiet area, great and large swimming pool, multiple sauna areas
- excellent location, with service from and to the train station, within the village so in direct access to the local restaurants and entertainment venues, but also with direct bus connections to St Moritz (15 mn away) and other locations
We went to relax, rest and enjoy. We could as well have gone hiking everyday.
We were fully satisfied and even thought to extend our stay... Highly recommended