Champfèr, Switzerland

Photo: Giardino Hotel Group

The Winter Olympics are, sadly, over. You spent the last two weeks cheering for old favorites, falling in love with passionate underdogs, and, at times, yelling at the television. You canceled all evening plans and needed a really good excuse to go out on the weekends. So, now that you have a lot more free time on your hands, what are you going to do? You should visit a former Olympic site.

St. Moritz was a perfect spot for the Winter Olympics. The resort town is in Graubünden. Switzerland’s largest and easternmost canton is trilingual; Italian, Romansh, and Swiss German are spoken here. The Engadin valley, near the Italian border, is known for its high mountain ranges, sunny climate, and breathtaking landscape. Plus the town is easily accessible from Zürich by train. No wonder it hosted the Olympic Games twice—in 1928 and 1948.

So it’s not surprising that St. Moritz is still one of the most popular winter resorts in Europe. Eighty-eight downhill trails are now spread across four mountains. Other skiers go cross-country and heli-skiing. There’s a snowboard park and curling facilities, as well. While snow kitesurfers cover the lakes once they freeze over.

Photo: Giardino Hotel Group

When you arrive in the area, you decide to stay in Champfèr. The even smaller village is just a short walk from the center of St. Moritz. It sits on the north slope of Lake Silvaplana, a gorgeous lake surrounded by pine trees. It’s home to the historic Church San Rochus and a former convent. Two restaurants hold Michelin stars. One of them is in a hotel that used to be a girls’ boarding school.

That hotel, Hotel Giardino Mountain, is your home base in Champfèr. The building is a traditional Engadine house from the 18th century. Its rustic stone walls remain. Italian-designed furniture, lamps, and wallpaper have been added. Black-and-white photographs, oversized chairs, and pops of magenta decorate the rooms, too. The view from your balcony extends over the frozen lake and the snow-covered mountains. While there’s an indoor pool, a spa with a sauna and a steam bath, and a bar with a panoramic terrace, as well.

Your first stop is Stüva, though. This isn’t the restaurant with the Michelin star. That’s Ecco, where you’ll eat a five-course dinner later tonight. Stüva is much more casual. It has wood paneling and corner benches. The hearty menu features Graubünden specialities, like barley soup and pizzoccheri (short tagliatelle pasta). Plus their signature dessert—a nut cake served in a glass—is legendary. It turns out that it isn’t just the Olympics that makes St. Moritz so memorable.


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