Sleeping under a quilt of twinkling stars is about as romantic as it gets, unless of course you’re in a tent and it’s freezing outside. What you want is romance with comfort, and in Switzerland you can have both together without any stress. No hikes, no tents, just pure relaxation.
The terrace at Berghaus Niesen Kulm
Spending the night on a mountain top is an unforgettable experience, and a fairly easy one with these five hotels. Each of them is situated over 2,000 metres above sea level but can be reached by mountain train or funicular, with journey up to the top a moment to remember in itself. Great rooms, great food and – weather permitting – stunning views.
Cheminee Saal at Gotel Pilatus-Kulm
These are all popular spots but you can have the mountain almost to yourselves once the day-trippers have gone. You’ll feel on top of the world as the 360° sunset sends the jagged horizon slowly into darkness, followed by an after-dinner stroll that reveals the night sky in all its glory, without any light pollution.
Matterhorn seen from Kulmhotel Gornergrat
Early birds will definitely be up before dawn to watch the first rays of sun creep across the valley floor. Not forgetting being able to enjoy a unique serenity and stillness that is only broken by the arrival of the first train of the day.
A magical night that will literally be the highlight of your Swiss adventure.
Glaspavillon Meier at Berghaus Niesen Kulm
One hotel with serious altitude is the Kulmhotel at Gornergrat, near Zermatt, which at 3,100 metres up just happens to be the highest hotel in Switzerland. The views are seriously breath-taking, although at this altitude everything takes your breath away. This isn’t a place for rushing around! Some of the comfy bedrooms look across to the iconic Matterhorn, while others face Dufourspitze, Switzerland’s highest point.
The summer terrace at Romantik Hotel Muottas Muragl
Over in Graubünden, Muottas Muragl is a mere 2,456 metres up but offers an unparalleled view of the Engadine valley, with its chain of clear blue lakes set against dark green forests and framed by towering peaks. This panorama can be enjoyed from the terrace or rooms of the renovated Romantik Hotel. It now makes the most of its elevated position and powers all its electricity and hot water with solar energy.
The Pilatus railway, photo courtesy of swiss-image.ch
Niesen is known locally as the ‘Swiss pyramid’ and never is that nickname clearer than at sunset. As the sun sinks, the giant triangular shadow of the mountain is projected onto the lakes at its feet. It’s an amazing sight that whets your appetite for a memorable stay at 2,362 metres above sea level. This is a small hotel and its eight stylish bedrooms get booked up months in advance.
The restaurant at Romantik Hotel Muottas
Many visitors to Lucerne hop on the world’s steepest railway up to the summit of Pilatus, the rugged mountain that looking down on the city. Very few get to see that view at night, with the glittering lights of Lucerne set against the dark emptiness of the lake. That’s possible thanks to the historic Hotel Pilatus-Kulm, sitting up at 2,132 metres. First opened in 1890, it has been sumptuously restored, adding modern Alpine style to its Belle Epoque charm.
A room at Berghotel Schynge Platte
You’ll never forget the ride up to Schynige Platte as this dinky mountain train still has old wooden carriages chugging their way up to 2,076 metres. The views of the Bernese Oberland are spectacular: across to the Eiger one way and down to Interlaken the other. The Berghotel is newly restored in very traditional style, with old-world charm and no modern fripperies such as TV or even en suite bathrooms.
At all five hotels the fresh mountain air guarantees a good night’s sleep for some guests, though the altitude can affect your equilibrium. Take things nice and slowly.