The Omnia

Zermatt, Swiss Alps, Switzerland Book from CHF290

Reviewed by Tom Bell
Stunning designer hotel high on the hill with a super-cool spa, very fancy bedrooms and big views over Zermatt
Your arrival is pure James Bond - you enter a cave, jump into an elevator, then rise through 45 metres of rock. Step out into reception and you find a cool, contemporary take on a traditional mountain lodge. There’s none of that heavy wood panelling - rather, sleek granite, blond wood and big windows that flood the place with mountain light. Logs burn in a stone fireplace, sofas and armchairs are scattered about, and doors open onto a terrace that overlooks town. In winter you sit here and sip your hot chocolate from fur-covered seats encircled by snowy peaks, with the Matterhorn looming beyond. It’s as if you’ve joined the gods on Mount Olympus.

Back inside, there’s a lovely lounge and library stocked with art books and vintage whiskies, a small bar for a coffee or a cocktail, a restaurant for exceptional food, then a state-of-the-art spa with an indoor/outdoor pool. Rooms come in different shapes and sizes, but all have the same uncluttered style: low-slung beds, fabulous bathrooms, beautiful art, sliding glass doors that open onto balconies. It’s a kaleidoscope of modernist furniture and design, all underpinned by traditional craftsmanship - a pleasure dome for the senses. As for Zermatt, it’s a lovely small town at the end of the valley with brilliant skiing and après-ski in winter as well as superb hiking and biking in the summer. Come to have fun.

Highs

  • Fantastic staff, whose chief aim is to make your stay here wildly special
  • The spa - black stone, blue pool, mountain views and a sun terrace overlooking town
  • Your arrival - how often do you step into a cave, then take an elevator through rock to enter a hotel?
  • Breakfast is fantastic and included in the price - don’t miss the chocolate crêpes
  • Zermatt - a charming car-free town and one of the loveliest places to ski in Europe. Some of the Theodul Glacier slopes are open year-round

Lows

  • Design hotels don’t come cheap and this one is beyond the reach of many of us
  • Rooms at the back don’t have much of a view, and there are no twin rooms
  • Some parts of the spa - the sauna and steam room - don’t open until 4pm unless requested in advance, but the pool is open all day
  • You can’t drive to Zermatt. You have to park in Täsch then take the shuttle. If you’re here to ski, come by train instead - you won't need a car while you're here

Best time to go

Zermatt is a great year-round destination, with fabulous skiing in winter, great hiking in summer and lots going on in the village all year round. You can ski on the Theodul Glacier every day of the year. However, the hotel closes from the Easter weekend to mid-June every year.

Our top tips

  • Come by train, especially in winter. Zermatt is car-free, so you can’t drive in. Instead, park securely in Täsch, then take the shuttle up the valley into town, where you’re picked up by the hotel in a buggy
  • Take a guided hike up to the solar-paneled Monte Rosa hut - a sustainable crystal-shaped base camp for mountaineers
  • Great for...

    Family
    Foodie
    Great Outdoors
    Honeymoon
    Spa
    • = Recommended
    • = Best in region
    • = World favourite
    • Boutique Hotel
    • 30
    • Restaurant and bar (open daily)
    • All ages welcome
    • Closed: 10 Apr 2016 - 16 Jun 2016
    • Pools
    • Spa
    • WiFi
    • Pet Friendly
    • Disabled Access
    • Beach Nearby
    • Off-street Parking
    • Restaurants Nearby
    • Air Conditioning
    • Guest Lounge
    • Terrace
    • Garden
    • Gym
    • Concierge Service
    Room:

    Rooms

    There are 30 rooms and although some are bigger or have better views, they all have much in common: white walls, beautiful photography, blond wood furniture, and glass doors onto private balconies in all but the smallest 2 room categories. Low-slung beds have memory-foam mattresses and crisp white linen, and they’re turned down every night. You get excellent WiFi, flat-screen TVs and DVD players (there’s a library in reception), then minibars with a decanter of bourbon that’s ‘on the house’. Bathrooms differ, but all come with white robes, fluffy towels and Aesop oils. In short, if you don’t end up in the bigger rooms, you’ll still find something decidedly special.

    Queen Rooms are the smallest, but they’re not that small (24sqm). They come with one comfy chair, a lovely walk-in power shower, and big windows that overlook the mountain to the back. Double Rooms (37sqm) are noticeably larger, and even though we stayed in a suite, we’d have been just as happy in one of these lovely rooms. They have kingsize beds, a bathtub with a power shower, and a couple of comfy chairs. Double Deluxes (50sqm) are extremely spacious and have a few fancy extras - a chaise longue in the bedroom, a balcony with a view over town or the Matterhorn, perhaps a free-standing wooden bath and a separate shower.

    Corner Suites (68sqm) and Village Suites (72sqm) are huge and have separate sitting rooms with big sofas. They have at least one balcony, maybe 2, one of which will overlook the valley and town. They also have a couple of bathrooms, one with a bathtub, the other with a shower. Matterhorn Suites (70sqm) have all the above plus stunning views of the mountain itself.

    Tower Suites (90sqm) have circular turrets with walls of glass that open onto Juliet balconies. Their sitting rooms are enormous with a fireplace. Balconies at the side give direct views onto the Matterhorn. Again, they have 2 bathrooms and a dressing room as well.

    The Roof Suite (110sqm) is where the owner stays! You get the lot in this one - a fabulous sitting room with sofas and daybeds, a fireplace and a wood-burner, a beautiful wooden free-standing bath, even a sauna and a telescope. Views on the sides take in mountain and town.

    Features include:

    • Bathrobes
    • Central heating
    • Cots Available
    • Dvd player
    • Extra beds
    • Hairdryer
    • Minibar/fridge
    • Phone
    • Radio
    • Safe box
    • Satellite tv
    • Terrace
    • Terrace
    • Toiletries
    • WiFi
    • Wifi internet

    Eating

    The restaurant is a big attractive room, with high wood ceilings, beautiful lighting and a sofa in front of the fire. It’s a little like eating in a smart, contemporary canteen, with black leather chairs at vast tables or steel-framed stools at bar benches; in summer doors open onto a terrace.

    Breakfast (7-11am) is included in the price and it’s seriously good. First, you help yourself to an enormous buffet - Bircher muesli, sliced fruits, jugs of fresh juices, then plate after plate of local cheese, cured meats and home-baked hams, plus a selection of fresh bread and baguettes, baskets of croissants and pains au chocolat. There's even a tea menu. Hot dishes are then cooked to order, anything from French toast with bananas and bacon to homemade chocolate crêpes (we tested the latter on your behalf and can report they are truly wonderful!).

    Dinner is equally indulgent with several menus that reflect the seasons. Food provenance is paramount on all - whatever can be is local. On the à la carte you might find homemade tagliatelle with Alba truffle and champagne sauce, saddle of venison with nuts and pear, then a warm chocolate cake with elderberry sorbet. The vegetarian menu is good enough to tempt a carnivore - perhaps burrata with apple and fennel, truffle ravioli with tomato and peas, a raspberry and almond tiramisu.

    As for the tasting menu, it’s what lots of people come here for. When we stayed, it featured duck liver with Greek yoghurt and figs, poached brill with razor clams and a bouillabaisse foam, fillet of Piedmont beef with curry and chicory, a cheeseboard of epic proportions, then a mandarin tart with mascarpone and cinnamon.

    Room service is available all day long and can be served in the bar, too. If you want to eat out, the staff will advise on the best places to go, both in town and up in the mountains for lunch. For great food in a lovely setting, Cervo is hard to beat. There are fancy burgers at the ironically named Zermatt Yacht Club.

    Features include:

    • Bar
    • Children meals
    • Minibar/fridge
    • Restaurant
    • Restaurants nearby
    • Room service
    Eating:
    Activity:

    Activities

    • Skiing and snowboarding in Zermatt is as good as it gets, with 360km of slopes at your disposal. Intermediates can enjoy sweeping long red runs in the Rothorn sector; the Triftji mogul run will test the very best of skiiers - regarded as one of the world’s toughest and longest runs. There's the famous Gravity Park for snowboarders (which includes a 200m super pipe), and there are nursery slopes and ski schools in all the main sectors
    • Lifts connect with those in Cervinia over the border in Italy, so pop over for lunch and spend the afternoon exploring its wide, gentle, smooth runs (perfect for beginners)
    • You can ski all year round in Zermatt - 21km of pistes on the Theodul Glacier are open every day. The view across the valley to the Matterhorn is rather good
    • Back in town, the art of après-ski is practised with great flair every evening, so come to join in
    • Forecast not so good? Bunk off skiing and spend a day in the beautiful hotel spa. There's a whole host of treatments on offer, an indoor/outdoor pool to swim in, and you can bubble in the hot tub and gaze out over town
    • Other winter distractions include sledging, cross-country skiing and winter hiking. Try the Igloo Village for a fondue in the evening or take a dip in its wellness baths (both hot and ice-cold!). Back in town curling and ice skating are both on tap, while Zermatt hosts league ice hockey, well worth seeing
    • In summer, hiking is a big draw, not least because the valley’s mountain railways help you get up high. 400km of signed trails wait between Randa and Zermatt, plus great low-level walking for those who want to take it easy
    • Mountain biking is also popular, with tracks through larch forests or over mountains. There are 6 trails for all levels, covering 100km, including a hair-raising downhill run
    • Other summer activities include golf at Täsch, fly-fishing, swimming in Alpine lakes, or tennis in town (the Zermatt Open takes place in July). There’s paragliding, too, for those who want to fly. The Matterhorn Museum in town is well worth a visit

    Activities on site or nearby include:

    • Cycling
    • Fishing
    • Golf
    • Hiking
    • Ice skating and hockey
    • Mountain biking
    • Museums / galleries
    • Nightlife
    • Paragliding
    • Shopping / markets
    • Skiing
    • Sledging
    • Swimming
    • Tennis
    • Well being

    Kids

    Children are welcome and baby cots/extra beds can be provided. Kids will enjoy the ski slopes, the exciting lift journey into the hotel, and Zermatt's activities, but they’ll need supervision in the swimming pool.

    Best for:

    Babies (0-1 years), Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)

    Family friendly accommodation:

    Most rooms are big enough to accommodate an extra bed or baby cot, while the Village, Matterhorn and Corner Suites are huge and can easily accommodate 2 children

    Babysitting:

    On request

    Baby equipment:

    • Baby cots

    Remember  baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking

    Children's meals:

    • High chairs and a kids' menu in the restaurant

    Kids Activities on site:

    • DVD library
    • Swimming pool - note supervision required

    Kids Activities nearby:

    • Skiing and snowboarding (various ski schools)
    • Sledging
    • Ice skating and ice hockey
    • Hiking and mountain biking
    • Swimming and boat trips in Alpine lakes

    Families Should Know:

    The pool is not fenced

    Distances:

    • Airport: 240km (Geneva)
    • Shops, including a pharmacy: 10 minutes' walk
    • Hospital: Zermatt
    Kid Friendly:

    Our guests' ratings...

    10/
    Rooms
    10/
    Food
    10/
    Service
    9/
    Value
    10/
    Overall

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