james debate
james debate

Friday, 4 April 2008

This year, as it turns out, I was given a bumper long 6 week Easter holiday. Even though I was supposed to use this time to study hard and cram my head full of as much medical knowledge as possible, I figured I needed a good week completely off to relax and tune out. To that end I took a week of skiing in Switzerland, where I stayed at the Suvretta House resort near St Moritz. It has been a long time coming and a number of you have asked what has been taking me so long (i'm busy and i've been sick so nyah) but without further ado, I present to you the massive write up of a week's stay in snowy paradise.

First of all, I'm not a big fan of these short flights, just over an hour and a half in length. There's nothing to do on them and the food is much cheaper and the whole thing just smacks of lack of effort. Also i really pity the guys who pay an extra couple of thousand for a first class ticket for such a short flight, only to find that it's time to go as soon as they've settled in. None the less it was a good trip in, and after a 3 hour train ride, I got to the town of St Moritz, situated high in the mountains with a view of the Alps to die for. Now this town has become pretty much a playground for public school boys and old people with too much money. It is swarming with old Etonians and Harrovians and people from even my prep school (and it wasnt even too fancy like Eton!). As it so happened I even ran into old friends from the Eton ski team. As such the area now has more of a 'disneyland' kind of feel to it. To match this, the town has transformed in the past 10 years or so, filling up now with designer clothes shops, bars/clubs and expensive chocolate shops, which are awesome. But then, the insult of all insults, the town was covered in advertising for Euro2008, which is being held in Switzerland this summer (for which England have not qualified). For a place so densely populated by English people, Im sure it couldn't have been accidental. There are also plenty of lovely restaurants in St Moritz, but I would have no time to sample them this time around as I will soon explain.

Now onto the Suvretta Resort itself. This place is essentially a utopian paradise, for people generally a hell of a lot richer than I am. But seeing as I may not be back skiing for a good few years thanks to medical school I figure I may as well go all out this time. The building is massive and majestically beautiful, reminiscent of the giant lodge in the film 'the Shining' except far prettier and a lot less haunted (I suppose that depends on what you dislike most between ghosts and dentists, more on that in a minute). The lobby is huge and ornate, with an even bigger lounge full of tables and sofas, all with a view out of the giant floor-to-ceiling windows across the simply spellbinding mountains and forests. Here, one can sit at any point during the day or night, listening to live piano music and being waited on by an extensive staff that surely must equal the guests in size. These members of staff are all charismatic and helpful, from affable old swiss gentlemen who speak little english, to younger Italian trainees who teach me pickup lines in Italian when I'm about to go off and hang out with various other guests I meet. The rooms are huge, well kept and feel expensive and luxurious. The hotel has it's own shops and ski shop. It has a full spa and large indoor swimming pool, as well as an outdoor hot tub (and let me tell you, you haven't lived until you spend an hour sitting in a steamy hot tub in the middle of a snow storm). Indeed this pool area/hot tub is where many of the younger guests migrate during the day after some tiring skiing or snowboarding, so it is a good place to meet people of your age.
I suppose that brings us on to arguably one of the best things about this place, the restaurant. In fact there are two restaurants, one being an ├╝ber fancy 'wear a tie and jacket' affair, and the other being a more smart casual country style restaurant, aptly named the 'Stube' German for 'lounge'. They are both very good, but really, special praise has to be given to this main restaurant. They have a completely different menu each night, consisting of two courses and a soup course, followed by dessert. There are some restaurants which fill their menus with strange, random sounding stuff, chocolate and wasabi mousse, pigeon with cocoa beans, bacon and eggs ice cream, and the mark of a truly genius chef is when you find a place that does these dishes well, somewhere which instils you with the confidence to eat everything they make, no matter how strange it sounds. This is one of those places, and indeed every single dish I had this week was brilliant. And if a different selection of dishes for each course every night was not enough, the chef is also prepared to take requests. You can ask for any dish you like, anything in the world and they will make it for you. They seem to be able to manage it more often than not too, that must be one bloody huge kitchen.

As for the skiing itself. When we got there it was pretty damn windy and foggy and cold and as such the first day or two were approached with a bit of trepidation and daring more than childlike enthusiasm. However this quickly passed and the remaining days of the trip were subject to some of the most blissfully perfect conditions I've seen in many years, perfect soft snow and lovely warm sun in a big clear sky.

But all was not perfect. The tv, for a start was a bit baffling, in that the channels we got seemed to be changing every day, and never agreed with the channel listings provided by the hotel. Fortunately I didn't exactly go there to do a lot of tv watching, the only time I wanted it was to watch the England game, which I then found on French tv anyway. Worse though was how crowded the hotel was. And why was this? Dentists! every year this time of year they have some massive dentist gathering at the hotel and the place is packed full of them and their familes. Bloody dentists. They steal all the good breads from the massive buffet breakfast too.

Things I have Learned from this trip
Bellinis rock
Merlot from the south of Switzerland is very good
Dentists REALLY suck

Newer Post Older Post Home