The main entrance to this quaint and luxurious hotel marks the beginning of the unique lodging experience that awaits visitors.
Switzerland remains one of the most cigar-friendly countries in the world and the Michel Reybier Hospitality Group is one of the most smoker-friendly brands in the hospitality industry. The company’s five-star La Reserve properties in Zurich and Geneva both feature elaborate smoking lounges, and while both of these international gateway cities are popular business destinations, Switzerland’s third-most-visited location comes as a surprise. , almost entirely based on hobbies.
Zermatt is the original mountain town, the inspiration for everything from a trip to Disney World to America’s most popular ski resort, Vail, as well as the architecture of alpine chalets copied around the world entire. One of the oldest hiking, climbing and skiing destinations in the world, Zermatt is an incredibly scenic car-free village located in the shadow of the Matterhorn, the world’s most recognizable mountain. Reybier’s resort here, the Schweizerhof, is a bit more laid-back than its urban siblings, but still arguably the best luxury hotel in town, and certainly the best for cigar aficionados.
An inside look at Le Fumoir, the smoking room of the Hotel Schweizerhof.
Each room has a private balcony or patio with ashtrays and matches, and in the summer the hotel operates a large outdoor tropical “beach bar” reminiscent of tiki huts, but the real star is simply named The Smoking room, “The Smoking Room”. More living room than bedroom, it’s large and divided into three sections, with semi-private enclaves separated by bookshelves at one end, a more open seating area in the middle, and a pool table at the other end. It was completely redone as part of the hotel’s top-to-bottom renovation in 2018, and management wanted an old-school feel without losing the mountain town vibe. It does this by mixing a library aesthetic with funky cowhide seating and a variety of other seating options ranging from dark leather sofas to chairs around marble tables. Each table or side table is adorned with a large ceramic ashtray and a box of long wooden matches, and to maintain the vintage theme, the cigar and drinks list is printed in the style of an old tabloid, including a “cover story” on the history of cigars. This story begins with the return of Christopher Columbus from his famous voyage of discovery in 1492, which introduced tobacco to Europe, through the first Spanish cigar (1676), the launch of French production by Napoleon (1815) and up to to the US embargo on Cuba.
Adding to the clubby vibe, buttons at each table summon a server to order drinks, and the list includes a wide selection. From Caribbean rums to French cognacs and armagnacs and whiskeys from around the world, including a 17-year-old Nikka Taketsuru from Japan and Macallan Rare Cask 1824 Master Series. There are also plenty of high-end French wines with a focus on Bordeaux, including many Grands Crus, with premier crus from Chateau Margaux and Mouton Rothschild, but the signature is the ‘house wines’, since Reybier also has the famous Château Cos d’Estournel, and the list includes both full-size bottles and a vertical dating back to 1986. It also has its own namesake champagne label, which is widely distributed in the resort.
Schweizerhof Kitchen, located inside the hotel, is considered one of the best establishments in Zermatt.
The five-tier, glass-fronted display humidor is integrated into the bookcase at one end of the large living room, and features a rotating selection with a focus on a variety of shapes and price points, with entry options from range for novices and high-end. selection for connoisseurs. There is a partnership with Davidoff, but other brands are also present, including La Aurora. They normally try to always have Cubans on hand, but supply chain issues have made this difficult since the pandemic, so they are often available ‘off the menu’, on request. On a recent visit, the printed list had 18 options, most of them from the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua and Honduras. The detailed menu describes each selection in terms of strength, length, diameter, flavors (vegetable, spicy, earthy, woody) as well as the estimated minutes needed to smoke one. Because many customers buy cigars to take to the golf course, on the ski slopes, or while hiking in the mountains, they always offer tube-packed options and stock special reusable humidor bags to protect the cigars. during their travels.
The cigar lounge is hugely popular as an après-ski spot in the winter and has a powerful downdraft ventilation system built into the floor so non-smoking companions don’t smell a thing and the staff allows the access to the cellar for purchases even when the living room is closed.
The Matterhorn, one of the most distinctive mountains in the world, serves as the breathtaking backdrop to Hotel Schweizerhof.
The Schweizerhof has an excellent location on Zermatt’s main pedestrian street and is the closest hotel to the station where everyone arrives and the Gornergrat Bahn, the most popular summer attraction and main ski train in Zermatt. ‘winter. It has 95 rooms and suites and two of the best restaurants in town, the fine dining Schweizerhof Kitchen focused on local ingredients and an upscale take on classic Swiss mountain dishes such as fondue and raclette, the Cheese Factory.
Zermatt, Switzerland 3920
Open Sunday to Saturday: 7 a.m. to 12 p.m.
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