Grand Hotel Kronenhof Pontresina

Grand Hotel Kronenhof Pontresina
 

Grand Hotel Kronenhof, Pontresina


 

For 150 years, the Engadine and the neighbouring villages of Celerina, Pontresina and St Moritz have been a familiar haven for skiers, polo players and other thrill-seekers. St Moritz even presents itself as The King of resorts, the resort of Kings. Many a prince has mounted his polo pony here and during the last century many a nobleman raced down the famous Cresta Run at over a hundred kilometres per hour. Prominent members of the German, Italian and, especially, British aristocracy have a long and intimate association with this region. And it was none other than the British who brought about the flourishing of the Engadine. The Alps had been discovered for summer tourism in the first half of the 19th century but no one considered staying in the winter. Hoteliers in the Engadine wanted to draw their summer guests to the mountains. Hotel owner Johannes Badrutt from St Moritz turned out to be a great initiator for tourism in the area. Very shrewdly, he let a group of British summer visitors overwinter free of charge in 1865 creating a century and a half of sporting links between Britain and Switzerland. Ice rinks and toboggan runs, which the British dominated, were built and alpine skiing, hitherto only practiced by a few, was encouraged. With the building of some legendary five-star hotels—including the Kulm Hotel—St Moritz developed into the leading international winter paradise for the very wealthy. Situated in Pontresina just outside chic St Moritz, the Kulm’s sister hotel, the Grand Hotel Kronenhof dates just a little further back in time. The hotel has all the ingredients for a long-standing, international reputation, stating on the cover of its brochure Love at first sight. If true love can be focused on a hotel, the Kronenhof has a good chance. It combines an ideal climate with broad, rugged Alpine views in an historic building where running a hotel has been elevated to an art. Where does a mango taste better at this altitude than in the Kronenhof and where is breakfast as munificent as within these walls? No wonder so few guests disappear in the evening, preferring the chef’s offering and the astonishing range of wines. The relationship with wine goes back to the first days of Kronenhof’s existence. In 1848 the hotel was still known Gasthaus zur Krone-Post and it was no more than a simple shelter but with the most unusual feature of its own extensive cellar and a Veltliner wine shop. The hotel has expanded over the years and since the end of the 19th century, when it took the name Kronenhof, has grown from a simple lodging with a few plain rooms into a triumphantly situated 350-bed edifice. Despite the unmistakable five-star comfort—room doors which seem to have been constructed to last an eternity—the decor is understated, often with a high degree of wood detailing. Many will not notice the finer points of their room, distracted by broad views of the Roseg glacier or the Corviglia panorama. And why stay in your room when the Kronenhof itself has so much to offer? Cocktails in the Kronenhof bar, lunch at Le Pavillon, high tea in the hotel lobby and jazz in the wine cellar. Then settling down in the dining room where the creaking of the parquet permanently betrays the hotel’s long history. Travellers do not need to worry about excess calories. The Kronenhof has seen a significant expansion in the form of a huge 2,000 square metre state-ofthe-art spa. As well as a majestic pool with spectacular Alpine views, truly everything is available to get legs tired after a hike or knees sore from skiing back into shape. It is an imposing labyrinth with numerous treatment rooms, a ‘Relax Floating Grotto’ and, for those who desire privacy, the Private Spa Suite. The spa, whose bold design sticks to the hotel like a James Bond headquarters, has not upset the old atmosphere of the Kronenhof. Thanks to the use of glass, guests in this new annexe can still enjoy panoramic views of the Alps after their outdoor activities, keeping fully connected to the mountains even after they come inside.
 
—Copyright 2015 Yvo van Regteren Altena
 
 
 

Grand Hotel Kronenhof Pontresina
 

Grand Hotel Kronenhof, Pontresina