When I finish building my time machine, the first trip I’ll take will be back in time. I’d go back to the 1930’s and borrow the life of the blues singer Bessie Smith. As her impersonated character I’d go on a tour across the Atlantic. First stop would be progressive London, then poetic Paris to glamorous Gstaad. In company of Sir Louis Armstrong, I’d take the scenic Glacier Express train to Alpine Chic St. Moritz. We’d travel swingin’ jazz and blues.
This fictional sequence is naturally a dreamlike act typical of my nostalgic mind. For the moment, I am a one woman audience to the charismatic and talented piano player at the lavish and elegant lobby bar at the Carlton St. Moritz.
The sound of the wood cracking in the fireplace harmoniously warms up the ivory keys gliding under the pianist fingers.
Enjoying my usual midnight cocktail, I muse at his performance reminiscing a decade that once filled this current space with celebrities, poets, writers, musicians and elegant travelers. The squeaky floor announces the approach of a timeless waiter. It sentimentally strikes me then that everything happening in this room tonight mirrors a “call-and-response”. Memories began to flash back like they are present. For every note, curtains fall down, presenting a glorious era. You know, that familiar feeling, when you belong to a place you have actually never been before? Leaving one half, the other side is a mystery. One thing is certain, I’m Bessie Smith and this is my time machine diary.
The Carlton St. Moritz has a story of its own, which declares that the hotel was initially built to become the summer residence to Russian royalties in the 19th century. Despite the dusty rumors claiming that czar Nicolaj II has never been to the property, Carlo Rampazzi, the interior designer responsible for latest renovation, used the PR frenzy to dress up the place, endowing it to embrace majestic visitors, kings and queens, like you and I. Nevertheless, I demand further investigation to prove that czar Nicolaj has at least visited it. Or does anyone have anything to say about the accuracy of time travel?
Things to do:
1. Winter Sports
High-Alpine with 322 days of sunshine, this Engadin valley has been mastering its craft and awing visitors for 150 years. Considered the birthplace of winter tourism, St. Moritz is by far the most exciting and daring winter resort in the world. Home to the Winter Olympics Games in 1928/1948, and the Alpine World Ski Championship in 1974/2017, the international competition spirit brings out a great sense of “being super-alive”, especially when living your own championship experience. From sledding to ski, snow polo to cricket on ice, horse race on a frozen lake, conquering St. Moritz is not all about winning, it’s about countless opportunities to embark on unique adventures!
2. Outdoor Butler
32 km/h! For the most experienced, it might sound like a warm up. For me, it was a personal victory. It was my first time on a sled, bam! Urs, the Outdoor Buttler at the Carlton St. Moritz, ensured that 32 km/h was a bold move. He added; “Or perhaps racing against the big dog (in this case, my own fear) made you release the brake?” Urs words of encouragement, in the most buddha-like essence, touched once again the core in which a triumph momentum doesn’t always come in a medal format. Spending the day with Urs was by far the most honest moment I found myself enjoying. I guess it had to do with trusting someone connected with what really matters : the great outdoors.
2. Bernina Express
Glaciers, rivers, lakes, winding bridges, quaint towns, the Bernina Express is the ultimate picture perfect journey through the wildness of the Swiss the Alps. This worldliness on rail promises to top the most alluring traveler’s bucketlist. With 55 tunnels, 196 bridges this Unesco World Heritage site starts/ends from Chur, Davos, St. Moritz and Tirano-Italy. The 4 hours trip from Chur to Tirano crosses the Graubunden canton from north to south. A region notorious for its raw nature and authenticity.
4. Da Vittorio Restaurant
The Carlton St. Moritz has become one of the most delightful culinary affair on my book since indulging into the Italian family legacy restaurant Da Vittorio. The 3 Michelin Stars and 18 GaultMillau points has redefined the palate of hotel guests since first opening its doors in 2012. The addition from the original location in Bergamo in Italy had me flirting with the idea that Italians really do it better.