The Grand Hotel Kronenhof, the Swiss escape voted the ‘World’s Top Hotel’, may boast traditional splendour, Michelin-starred food and dramatic Alpine views but it’s incredibly family-friendly too
The Grand Hotel Kronenhof was named ‘World’s Top Hotel’ in TripAdvisor’s Travellers’ Choice Awards for 2014 – an accolade based on the reviews of its guests. There have been over 700 about the Kronenhof, with 96 per cent giving it a five-star rating.
It turns out guests are both appreciative and loyal. Well over half have been more than once. So what keeps them coming back? One obvious reason is the location – you’d be hard pushed to find a hotel with more dramatic views than the Kronenhof. Situated in the picture postcard village of Pontresina, just outside St Moritz in the Swiss Alps, above it are the mountains of Engadin, below lies the turquoise blue Bernina river. The Kronenhof exudes old-school style and splendour; indeed, its exterior bears resemblance to that of the film The Grand Budapest Hotel. And the interior is just as striking.
It’s worth getting a guided tour, as it boasts a rich history dating back to 1848. The wine cellar lines its walls with old skis and luggage tickets in memory of the British guests who left to fight in the Second World War but never returned. Nineteenth-century paintings adorn the ceilings of the cavernous dining room.
The Kronenhof also caters wonderfully for families. On arrival, we were greeted by a dedicated ‘kids concierge’. There is a dazzling array of amenities aimed at keeping young ones entertained, as well as an all-day babysitting service.
Rooms come with half-board and, at the ‘best hotel in the world’, you can try what some foodies consider to be one of its greatest dishes: canard de Rouen à la presse (pressed duck) at the Michelin-starred Kronenstübli. It is a serious dish for the serious carnivore that takes a seriously long time to prepare at your table. This is very much food as theatre.
You can dine alfresco in Le Pavillon, named fourth-best restaurant in the world by Monocle magazine. The Rondelle, meanwhile, is geared towards families, although, as we discovered, all the hotel restaurants go out of their way to cater for children.
Most will view winter as the time to visit Pontresina and the nearby ski slopes, but we were lucky enough to be there for Swiss National Day, when it turns into a sea of red and white. The celebrations climaxed with a spectacular fireworks display that transformed the mountains into a riot of colour – the kids absolutely loved it.
The spa has also earned its fair share of awards, and visitors are spoilt for choice of treatments and facilities. The infinity pool, with its panoramic windows, gives you the impression of swimming towards the mountains. And again the kids have been taken into consideration, with their own pool complete with a water slide.
Rooms are generously spacious. You never tire of waking up to a view of the Alps and you’ll leave the Kronenhof thinking about how soon you can go back.
The Grand Hotel Kronenhof – useful info
Take a video tour of the Grand Hotel Kronenhof kronenhof.com/en/hotel-portrait/photos-video