Matchmaker: Best Hotels in St. Moritz & the Engadin, Switzerland

There is no shortage of luxury hotels in and around St. Moritz. Indagare’s Peter Schlesinger—who has been visiting the Engadin Valley for more than 25 years—details what makes the best hotels unique.

St. Moritz literally invented the winter resort: In the 1860s, local hotelier Johannes Badrutt invited British summer tourists to return in colder months, promising to reimburse their travels if they were disappointed (spoiler alert: they weren’t). More than 150 years later, we still can’t get enough of the St. Moritz winter, or summer for that matter. The reasons are twofold. St. Moritz’s setting is uniquely beautiful: in the wide Engadin Valley with its string of lakes and charming villages surrounded by the towering Alps and blessed with more than 320 sunny days a year. It is also uniquely well-supplied with fabulous hotel properties. In the winter, some of these hotels play host to a ski-and-be-seen scene that makes Aspen look rustic. Others are more subdued: quiet, though stylish havens for outdoors enthusiasts. Nearly all of them are family-friendly, welcoming young travelers with kids clubs.

Read below for a breakdown of the best hotels in St. Moritz, and what distinguishes them from each other.

Contact Indagare or your Trip Designer for assistance planning a trip to Switzerland. Our team can match you with the hotels that are right for you, as well as advise on all our favorite activities and restaurants.

In Town

These hotels place guests right in the middle of the St. Moritz scene. This means easy walking to restaurants and luxury shopping, or to the trail along St. Moritz Lake. Hotels provide complimentary transfer service to the centrally-located Chantarella funicular, which takes skiers and summertime hikers up to the Corviglia slopes. For skiers, these are home to mostly intermediate runs, although there are some runs for beginners and more advanced alpinists as well. (Getting to Corvatsch, which has more advanced runs, is a 15-minute ride.) One surprise for many first-time visitors: while the historic center of St. Moritz Dorf (or “village”) is lovely, the outskirts—particularly in St. Moritz Bad (meaning “baths,” for the area’s natural springs)—comprise ugly mid-rise apartment buildings. Ignore those, and look up at the mountains instead.

The Original (And Swiss-Approved): Kulm Hotel

Classic, Local & Grand

Kulm Hotel

is the property that put St. Moritz and winter tourism on the map. Opened as a modest guesthouse by Johannes Badrutt in 1856, it has since expanded into a 1,300 foot-long, 173-room complex that, of all the five-stars in town, promises a reverence for Swiss tradition without a hint of pomp. Service is warm and family-friendly, and many rooms come with views of the lake. Around half of all guests are Swiss nationals. Read Indagare’s full review of Kulm Hotel.

The St. Moritz Icon and Social Hub: Badrutt’s Palace

Lavish, Sceney & Legendary

When people say “I want to go to St. Moritz,” what they often mean is “I want to go to Badrutt’s Palace”—named for Johannes Badrutt’s son Kasper, who opened the property in the 1890s. The Palace’s timbered tower has become a veritable emblem of the resort town, and the hotel is the place to see and be seen. This is especially the case in the winter, when St. Moritz’s glam factor runs highest, and jet-setters gather in the grand lobby or dance the night away in the downstairs King’s Social Club. The hotel’s spa is also excellent. Read Indagare’s full review of Badrutt’s Palace.

The All-Suite, Winter-Only Boutique with the Best Views: Carlton

Exclusive, Luxe & Playful

A short walk from Kulm and Badrutt’s Palace, Carlton has just 60 spacious suites, each with butler service, making it the most intimate five-star hotel in St. Moritz. Another standout: all suites face the valley and lake, as well as Badrutt’s Palace’s tower. (The latter is an important distinction from the Palace’s rooms: not only do they not all face the lake, but they also miss out on views of the iconic tower itself.) Built in 1912 and massively overhauled in the mid-2000s, Carlton’s interiors maintain their gilded Belle Epoque bones but incorporate a bold sense of whimsy: poppy textiles, Berluti leathers and lush color palettes in shades of Champagne, mauve and crimson. For the ultimate ski trip, Carlton’s three-bedroom penthouse is—at more than 4,000-square-feet—the largest suite in the region, and has five balconies. The spa is expansive and excellent, especially given the property’s small size. Unlike other St. Moritz hotels, which reopen for the summer season, Carlton is only open in the winter. Read Indagare’s full review of Carlton St. Moritz.

The Stylish Newcomer: Hotel Grace La Margna

New & Notable

Opened summer 2023, Grace La Margna is St. Moritz’s first new hotel in five decades. It’s a rebirth of La Margna hotel, a 1906 Art Nouveau boutique property across from the train station that has sat empty for years. The Grace adds a contemporary wing, also in Moleanos limestone. What to expect: 74 rooms, split between the two buildings, that showcase a clean, modern Alpine aesthetic, plus several restaurants and a spa. Indagare review coming soon.

The Beauty Queen & Nordic-Skier’s Base: Kempinski Grand Hotel des Bains

On the valley floor in St. Moritz Bad (yes, the ugly neighborhood), Kempinski Grand Hotel des Bains may just be the prettiest hotel in the Engadin, with a cream-hued façade, sky-blue shutters and graceful towers. Guests arrive to the French-inspired palace via a long driveway, which allows for plenty of time to admire the exterior. The interiors, beyond the lobby and the popular Ristorante Da Adriano, don’t match the grandeur of the building itself, opting instead for a more contemporary feel. First-time visitors to St. Moritz may find the location inconvenient, since it requires (easy) transfers to the historic center’s shopping and restaurants. Anyone who’s interested in nordic skiing, however, will be happy here: the hotel sits at a major intersection of cross-country ski runs, connecting more than 200 miles of nordic terrain. The hotel is also just across the street from Signalbahn, which takes downhill skiers to the Corviglia runs. Indagare review coming soon.

Outside of Town

These hotels, two of which are ski-in, ski-out, are not in the main center of St. Moritz, though they are each within a 10-minute drive. The advantage: Engadin valley beauty without the St. Moritz “scene.” Note that taxis are exorbitantly expensive—that 10 minutes could cost you upwards of 70 francs. A convenient public shuttle service is available and popular, and runs well into the night.

The Slopeside Fairytale: Suvretta House, St. Moritz

Old-school, Elegant & Ski-in/Ski-out

A 5-minute drive or easy 20-minute walk through the woods outside of St. Moritz’s historic center, Suvretta House is the only ski-in/ski-out luxury property in the area. And what a property: built in 1912 on a forested bluff overlooking the valley, the 181-room Belle Epoque hotel has dark-wood paneling, vaulted ceilings, numerous fireplaces, and accommodations in soothing tones of beige, soft red and pale green. The clientele here is more subdued, though no less chic, than at Badrutt’s. The real perk: direct access to the slopes at Corviglia, via the hotel’s private chairlift. Unsurprisingly, Suvretta House has an excellent ski shop and is renowned for its ski instructors. Read Indagare’s full review of Suvretta House.

The Secret Grand Dame: Grand Hotel Kronenhof, Pontresina

Classic, Refined & Relaxed

At the base of the Roseg Valley, under a ten-minute drive from St. Moritz, Grand Hotel Kronenhof has been welcoming mountain-loving guests since 1848. Over the last four years, Pierre-Yves Rochon’s Paris-based design firm has gradually renovated both public areas and some of the hotel’s 112 rooms and suites. The result: a jewel-box of a hotel that has all the 19th century grandeur of Badrutt’s Palace or Kulm, but in a more serene setting that draws outdoorsy people rather than party people. There is also an excellent spa and one of the best kids’ clubs, not just in Switzerland but all of Europe. Read Indagare’s full review of Grand Hotel Kronenhof.

The Serious Skier’s Retreat: Nira Alpina, Surlej

Contemporary & Ski-in/Ski-out

In the tiny village of Surlej, which rises over Lake Silvaplana on the eastern side of the Engadin valley, Nira Alpina is a contemporary-style, 70-room hotel that is connected via catwalk to the Corvatsch Gondola. It is ideal for travelers who prioritize getting up to the mountains fast and who don’t want the Grand Dame feel of Suvretta House. In the winter, specifically, this is the best option for skiers who want access to the Corvatsch ski area, home to St. Moritz’s largest cluster of advanced runs. The property isn’t grand, service-oriented or five-star, but it does have advantages beyond its mountain access. Most rooms—done in blond wood with floor-to-ceiling windows—have terraces overlooking Lake Silvaplana and the Corviglia side of the valley; there is a charming bakery and a great hydrotherapy area on-property; and the breakfast buffet serves some of the best bircher-muesli in the Engadin. Indagare review coming soon.

On Our Radar: Waldhaus Sils

A 15-minute drive south of St. Moritz, the turret of Waldhaus Sils rises through the trees at the bottom of Piz Corvatsch overlooking Silsersee, one lake down from Lake Silvaplana. It is another of the Engadin’s original grand, family-run hotels, operated by the same family since it opened in 1908. In the winter, the hotel’s van takes guests to and from the Furtschellas cable car up to Corvatsch, as well as to the bus stop for easy transfers to Corviglia skiing, St. Moritz and other Engadin towns. Indagare review coming soon.

Contact Indagare or your Trip Designer for assistance planning a trip to Switzerland. Our team can match you with the hotels that are right for you, as well as advise on all our favorite activities and restaurants.

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