At the centre of the world, when it comes to mountains, or very intimate.
Life among the snowy slopes of the Engadina valley, in the capital of the jet set whose hub is Saint Moritz.
The Grand Hotel Palace, in particular, is the neuralgic centre of life in this little town, where Lebanese jewellery designer Noor Fares has always stayed at Christmas and basked in the February sun. Her home is in London, but her next appearance will be in Paris to take in the February fashion week.
In the company of Tod’s Portrait, which will be going online to narrate some of the more exclusive aspects.
Now, back to her holidays in Saint Moritz, from the viewpoint of a fond and assiduous visitor, with some useful advice thrown in for good measure.
Sun. The ideal stopover for lunch is the Paradiso refuge, warmed by the sun beams that throw light on its wood terraces, which descend scenically arranged in the manner of enormous steps. Snow. To take a break from the cold and skiing, what better setting than the modern wood panelled interiors of the Clavadatsch restaurant with its international clientele. Gastronomic delicacies. If it is a question of menu, Noor chooses the valley’s best frankfurter sausages: at the Chasellas, and here we find ourselves immersed in the woods of the Suvretta district.
An alternative to skiing.
Sledge rides. The Muottas Muragl ride is amazingly panoramic.
You go up on the rack-rail to a height of 2500 metres.
Once there, you may decide to stop off at the restaurant or hasten to your sledge and plunge down the valley along the trail that winds its way through the woods, when not actually looking out onto the valley with a view of almost 360 degrees.
By carriage. Every year Noor Fares relives this enchanting experience.
The silence of the Fex Valley, traffic-free and crossed solely by horse-drawn carriages, those that accompany visitors as far as the Hotel Sonne through pinewoods and picture postcard views of yesteryear.
In the daytime, the charm of the sun, at night-time the romantic sensation of a ride through the gleaming whiteness of the snow, illuminated by the moonlight, while nestling cosily beneath fur covers.
Noor’s favourite way of spending an evening is at Pontresina in the rooms of the Grand Hotel Kronenhof.
Here, Ian Fleming drafted the plots of his James Bond novels; here Noor spends the evenings with friends, this being a hotel that offers many leisure pastimes such as bowling and ping pong, otherwise a traditional spot of ice-skating…
The most fashionable venue is the Dracula Club, where you may dine or just go for the dancing; people queue up at the entrance in evening dress, even at three in the morning… free and immediate access for life members, meaning members of the Cresta Run (a legendary club dating back to 1885, whose members have descended a 1200 m ice channel face down on a sledge), but more problematic for others. This is said to be the winter jet set par excellence, but the dance floor is relatively small: at the Dracula the clients are not many, but highly select.