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Winter Work in St. Moritz

“Fireside, jet set, English teatime and the search for the authentic Engadin. I wasn‘t primarily visiting St. Moritz to ski, but to prepare for a TV shoot. Nevertheless I managed to strap on my skis.“ Kai Böcking

It‘s March and the high season in St. Moritz is slowly coming to an end. A lot once started off here: Around 1870, a well-known hotelier is said to have promised his English summer guests as many days of sunshine in winter as in summer. If not, he would foot the bill. He didn‘t have to.

Between Christmas and Easter, St. Moritz is the place of longing for jet-setters and wannabes from all over the world. Furs and jewellery are worn here as naturally as coiffed poodles by coiffed gentlemen. At first glance it doesn‘t seem like a place to work from.. But St. Moritz does have another side that can combine leisure with business.

The Des Bains Kempinski St. Moritz describes itself as being a grand hotel with good reason. The magnificent historic building celebrates its 160th anniversary in 2024 and – as few people know – sits on an drinking water spring. The lobby and rooms were renovated in time for the anniversary. If you want something particularly luxurious, you can rent one of the residences in the side wing. My room has the baroque charm of the Engadine: dark tones, wood, marble and an enchanting view of the mountains. Plenty of power sockets, working Wi-Fi and a desk to calm my nerves as a bleisure traveller. In between, a round of skiing beckons.

If you‘ve left your equipment at home, you can hire skis from the hotel. The Signal cable car to Corviglia is across the road. Up there the finest groomed ski slopes lie on a over 3000 m high mountain peak – I just sit back and enjoy. After two ski hours, it‘s back to the hotel to answer emails and then off to the wellness area. Pool, fitness, sauna – it‘s all there. And a cold chamber at minus 110 degrees. The inverted sauna is called cryotherapy and lasts three minutes with a cap, shoes and swimming trunks. It‘s cold, but it‘s supposed to help with sore muscles and a few other aches and pains. The cold is followed by warm tea in the renovated lobby bar. That‘ s the place where the laptop likes to open up again.

Shops, pizza, Shuttlecock

It takes about 15 minutes to walk from the hotel to the upper centre of St. Moritz. One expensive boutique follows another, but there are also a surprising number of small local shops selling Engadine specialities. And: so close to Italy, pizza has a special status. On the mountain you can still find from culinary maestro Reto Mathis the truffle pizza, which is actually a tarte flambée. I treat myself to just as much truffle, but on a classical pizza dough, at the Chesa Veglia in Badrutt‘s Palace Hotel. The former hayloft is always packed, rustic and very expensive. Nevertheless, I have to have a pizza here every time I visit St. Moritz.

I walk back to the Kempinski along the lake. At more than 1,800 m sleep drapes over me like the heavy down duvets of the grand hotel.
Breakfast is another special treat – Les Saisons is a grand hotel breakfast temple for me. Here, there are still chefs behind the counter, plus liveried waiters and a glass of champagne as part of the service. The buffet is lined with Engadine saus­age and cheese specialities, homemade jam, fresh fruit and bread in all colours and textures. A perfect start to the Bleisure day.

Finally a special tip. As jet-set as St. Moritz may be with its many bling-bling events, the most famous men‘s club in the world is just as “down-to-earth“: the English Shuttlecock Club. Founded in 1933 the exclusively male members regularly race down the Olympic natural ice rink on their stomachs at speeds of up to 130 km/h as a test of courage. Those who survive drink a bull shot afterwards – cold meat broth with ­plenty of vodka.


Kai Böcking …

… has a clear conclusion: St. Moritz is crazy, expensive, but also somehow a village.
You can even find peace and quiet here – and actually work.


BLEISURE TIPS ST. MORITZ

The cradle of skiing holidays has a long and – leaning – tradition: the tower of St. Mauritius Church leans 5.5% which is more than the Leaning Tower of Pisa. In St. Moritz Dorf, right next to the Crest Club ice rink.Only a few people know that the artist Gerhard Richter is inspired by the Engadin: An exhibition of his work is being held at various locations until the end of April 2024.
Metzgerei Heuberger: Grisons meat and delicious veal sausages.
Bäckerei-Konditorei Bad: Engadine nut cake is a must.
Truffle pizza: Once invented by mountain chef Reto Mathis, it can be found in some ski huts. Only real if it‘s tarte flambée dough!

Fotos: © istock.com/zodebala

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