December marks the opening of the ski season in the Swiss alps, and I was lucky enough to be one of the very first people to set tracks on the piste, thanks to the Tschuggen Grand Hotel Private Mountain Experience…The only guaranteed ticket to commence the ski season.

Pre-Christmas can always be a little risky but the Grisons region tends to be a safe bet early in the season, which is a win if you want to get a head start on skiing. Renowned as Switzerland’s most sought-after hotel group, the Tschuggen Grand is the original hotel that came before all the sister properties dotted around the valley that make up the Tschuggen Collection. Set in the Alpine town of Arosa, The Tschuggen Grand hotel opened way back in 1929, helping pioneer the tourism scene and evolve the destination into the ski hot spot it is today. Popular amongst couples, solo travellers and families, including your furry friends too, The Tschuggen Grand Hotel is suited to all those who love escaping to the mountains. Boasting its own exclusive ski railway that whizzes you up to the slopes in just 3 minutes, the Tschuggen Express adds to the ease of skiing at this prestigious resort, creating a seamless experience right to the top of the mountain.

After a lengthy yet swift journey, which involved trains, planes and automobiles, I was eager to check in to my room. Delighted by the picturesque mountainous landscape out of the balcony, I simply gazed out as the sun was setting taking in the natural beauty of the Alps…it never fails to amaze me! The hotel prides itself on its grandeur decor, giving you everything you want from an elegant ski resort hotel that is wrapped up in decades of alpine traditions. Throughout the years, the Tschuggen’s high standards have remained the same, but many of the offerings have modernised, including the wellbeing elements that have transitioned immensely.

Moving Mountains is the Tschuggen Collection’s forward-thinking programme that guests can immerse in to enhance their wellbeing during their stay. Moving Mountain’s offerings are prevalent through various aspects of the hotel, encompassing five pillars; Move, Play, Nourish, Rest, Give. 

If you spot the ‘MM’ logo on the dining menu, that is your cue that the dish has been curated by the chefs in line with the ‘Nourish’ Moving Mountains ethos, which is plant-based and refined sugar-free. This concept works wonders when you’re travelling with people who have a mixed palette as everyone is catered for under the same roof. The Tschuggen Grand Hotel pride itself on its culinary excellence status, using a selection of Switzerland’s finest ingredients. From immunity-boosting soups and vegan twists on carpaccio to start, sweet potato strudel topped with wild mushrooms and rich salted chocolate tart to finish, the Moving Mountains set menu will nourish your body and exceed satisfaction. For a more relaxed dining experience, guests can head to the basement restaurant which is fitted with a retro bowling alley, free to use at your leisure.

After a tiring day on the slopes, your muscles will thank you for a visit to the hotel spa. Built as an addition to the hotel in 2006, the spa has been architecturally constructed into the mountainside to conjoin the hotel. The abstract design concept of the sails allows natural light to flood into the spa. Set across four floors the spa features a gym, Finnish sauna, ice bath and multiple heated pools to unwind in, one of which transitions outside to give you a glimpse of the alpine backdrop that surrounds the hotel. Adopting a holistic approach to spa treatments, aligning with the Moving Mountains ethos, the aim is to rejuvenate your mind and body as well as reconnect you with nature. Many of the Moving Mountains spa treatments incorporate nature in some capacity, one being the Swiss Stone Pine Massage, a relaxing full-body treatment which uses Swiss pine oil to awaken your senses and shaving of pine condensed into a pouch, that is centred on your chest during the treatment to inhale the scent of the surroundings. 

Being positioned in one of the most picturesque landscapes in the world, with many out-of-the-ordinary experiences on their doorsteps, Tschuggen Collection has curated PLAY, a series of expeditions that give you access to explore nature in new ways. The torch-lit walk through the tree-lined forest is a pretty special excursion, draped by an illuminated starry sky, an unrivalled perspective.

The majority of guests that visit The Tschuggen Grand Hotel are there to ski, which slots into the Moving Mountains MOVE pillar. The hotel has a ski rental shop within it, always a bonus to avoid any faff! There’s quality skiing to be done in the Arosa region, with interlinks to neighbouring ski villages to maximise the variety. With ski in-ski out facilities, The Tschuggen Grand Hotel has our stamp of approval for minimal hassle, which can often be unavoidable on ski holidays.

The Private Mountain Experience gave us free rein of the slopes a day before they open to the general public. Taking place on the first Friday of December every year, the event is an exclusive affair, with returning hotel guests, as well as newcomers arriving giddy to get their skis on. I was greeted by enthused staff the evening prior with aperitivo and canapes to commence the new season. Bright and early on Friday morning after a hearty buffet-style breakfast, I headed up to the slopes for what would be an eventful day. Wide open, untouched pistes ready for a much-anticipated season ahead with thousands descending to the mountains. The bliss of skiing on empty runs, with as much space as you desire to carve your way down, is a novelty most will never experience. The exclusive offering the hotel has managed to secure is a testament to its heritage within the community, which only guests of the Tschuggen Grand get the chance to immerse in. Staff from the hotel were pitched up at the lifts to offer me warming beverages and snacks in between runs as well as a DJ to soundtrack the experience! The spa gondola is a pit stop worth making mid-way through the day for a mini massage with breathtaking views over the valley…definitely a noteworthy treatment you’re unlikely to find anywhere else. The Private Mountain Experience didn’t stop on the slopes, when the sun goes down, we were invited to come together at the ice skating rink for champagne and crepes, a welcoming duo after a big day on the slopes! Enveloped in the evening mist and lined with pine trees, the ice rink is open to anyone wanting to put some skates on, it’s a winter wonderland postcard that you can step into. To draw the evening to a close, one of Arosa’s talented skaters takes to the ice for a mesmerising performance, a spectacular not to miss! 

Whether you’re intrigued by The Private Mountain Experience or you can’t wait until next season and are more inclined to dust off your skis soon rather than later, The Tschuggen Grand Hotel provides a seamless skiing experience nestled within the bliss of the Swiss Alps. The mountains are seen to be a little behind when it comes to the plant-based movement, but The Tschuggen Grand’s modern take on alpine cuisine is ideal for those looking to prioritise their wellbeing, and the option is there just to tip your toe into the ethos too which we love. One day you may want to go fully plant-based and the next day you may want to indulge in the famed Swiss fondue dish… it’s all about the balance!

The serenity of waking up in the mountains is the purest form of mindfulness, the crisp air that clears your mind, the awe-inspiring views and the thrill of skiing. If you needed a sign to book a trip to the mountains, The Tschuggen Grand Hotel is it!

Click here to learn more about The Tschuggen Grand Hotel

Lead-in rate for Private Mountain: Prices from CHF 1067 per person in a double room for 3 nights / from CHF 1249 per person in a single room, both on half board basis. The price also includes ski pass on Saturday. 

For more information on Switzerland, visit MySwitzerland.com SWISS offers more than 160 weekly flights from London Heathrow, London City, Manchester, Birmingham, Edinburgh and London Gatwick (seasonal) to Zurich or Geneva. The Swiss Travel Pass offers unlimited travel on consecutive days throughout the Swiss Travel System rail, bus and boat network, and includes the Swiss Museum Pass, which allows you free entrance to 500 museums and exhibitions. Find out exactly what the Swiss Travel Pass covers here: All benefits and services: mystsnet.com/areaofvalidity

words by Isabelle Shury