Andermatt, Switzerland

Photo: GHM Hotels
Photo: GHM Hotels

With the thermometer swinging between the 50s, the 60s, and even the 70s this fall, it doesn’t feel like winter is coming anytime soon. At least on the East Coast. There are places in Europe that are already starting to look like winter wonderlands with snow-capped mountains, crackling fireplaces, and skiers showing off their brand-new equipment. Ready to take your first cold-weather trip of the season?

Andermatt is a picture-perfect village that sits high in the Swiss Alps. The twisting road leading up the mountain is surrounded by sheer granite walls, narrow stone bridges, and long tunnels. The center of town is filled with wooden chalets and a 17th-century church. Orchards and vineyards, rivers and glaciers surround it. Pristine lakes are hidden between canyons. Two ski mountains offer wide slopes and deep powder. While those snow-capped peaks are never far from sight.

You arrive in Andermatt on the Glacier Express, a train taken for its breathtaking scenic views instead of its speed. Everything is within walking distance of the little train station. Your hotel, the Chedi Andermatt, is actually just steps away from it. You immediately feel welcomed and toasty when you step into the lobby. It’s decorated with warm wood and natural stone. Two wood-burning fireplaces provide a soft glow. Deep couches and suede pillows dare you not to relax. The courtyard has been turned into an ice rink for the winter; hot punch is always available when you go back inside. Plus a sports butler, wearing a Nordic sweater, has already whisked your snowboard away for safekeeping.

Photo: GHM Hotels
Photo: GHM Hotels

If you’re impressed with the first floor of the Chedi, you’ll be wowed when you go upstairs to your room. A soft leather chair, a built-in fireplace, and a Hästens bed sit atop the dark wood floor. The open bathroom has a heated stone floor, a deep soaking tub, and a rain shower. An iPad controls everything from the lights and the blinds to the fireplace and the music. You also have a perfect view of Nätschen mountain from your windows. You’re tempted to wrap yourself in a soft robe, open the mini bar, and watch the snowflakes that are starting to fall. But don’t get into bed. You haven’t seen the spa yet.

The spa is the ultimate oasis. Expect more warm wood, natural stone, and huge windows looking over the mountains. But this time, daybeds, hydrothermal pools, and candlelight have been added to the mix. Find your zen as you move between the Finnish sauna, the steam bath, and the yoga room. Sip organic tea as you watch silent ripples move across the pool. Then relax during an Alpienne Mountain Massage with marmot oil to relieve your cramped muscles. You should probably book another treatment for after you hit the slopes as well.

From the spa, move to the Bar and Living Room’s terrace for a cocktail before dinner. Cashmere blankets, a fur throw, and a roaring fire pit will keep you warm outside. The Alps now stand over you like a shadow, since the sun disappeared behind them. Choose between European and Japanese cuisine for dinner. The Japanese Restaurant has an open sashimi bar, a tempura counter, and Kirin beer, while the Restaurant has a cheese cellar filled with massive wheels of cheese. Sip a glass of single malt whisky or Swiss wine, which is rarely exported out of the country, in the Wine Library and Cigar Lounge after eating smoked-salmon cannelloni. Then allow yourself to retreat to your room, put on that snuggly robe, and hope it starts snowing again. You’ll be ready for your first run of the season bright and early tomorrow morning.

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