For one special weekend in December, we left the city and the pre-Christmas bustle behind, to spend three wonderful days at Arosa Kulm Hotel, tucked away in the Swiss Alps of Canton Graubünden.*
Arosa Kulm is that rare hotel that is luxurious in every way, yet entirely unpretentious. It’s warmly decorated, comfortably-furnished, and run by the friendliest staff.
I don’t ski so what I look for in winter destination hotels is a large dose of winter coziness, a grand, relaxing spa, and views, views, views. Arosa Kulm had them all, plus for those that do partake in fun on the slopes – it’s a Ski-in, Ski-out hotel.
It was our first time to Arosa region even though it’s relatively close to Zürich, being only 1.5hrs drive away by car. But, from Chur to the village, it is one of the windiest and relentlessly curviest roads I’ve been on Switzerland. I wish I could say I enjoyed the views, but I get terrible motion sickness (even after taking medicine) so I spent most of the ride clinging to the side door and waiting for it to be over. Which made arrival all the more fabulous when I could finally focus and see how beautiful it was!
HOTEL ATMOSPHERE & ROOMS
I used to think that spending Christmas holidays at hotels was a bit sad – wouldn’t you want to be at home with family instead? But the more I travel in the pre-Christmas season the more I understand the appeal. As soon as we arrived at Arosa Kulm I felt myself so relaxed by the atmosphere I wished we could stay for a week and spend the holidays there.
The lobby was festively decorated, with a big real Christmas Tree and a fireplace that crackled soothingly in the evenings. Outside you could see snow glistening during the day and skiers coming down the slopes.
We stayed in a Deluxe Suite, which was decorated like my dream chalet – modern, cozy, with warm colors and a lot of light. The suite can accommodate a family and has pullout beds for children and two bathrooms.
Built over two floors, the spa has an indoor infinity pool and relaxing areas surrounded by large windows that let in the snowy landscape. Downstairs, different saunas and steam rooms create a hammam like atmosphere.
My favorite part was the big corner sauna with a window to the outside. We did a proper spa experience by sitting for 10-15 minutes in the sauna, then running outside and jumping into the snow (there is a special area and a door that lets you out quickly outside), then bundling up into the warm robe and relaxing for 15 minutes before doing it all over again.
Also, a tip from my side: bring a magazine and books with you! The spa is so nice and relaxing to read or sleep or just lay there watching the view, but I always see people on their phones instead. Soak up the moment and bring something nice to read without a blue screen 🙂
We tried two of the hotel’s restaurants: the Ahaan Thai and Piz Kulm.
In the 1930s, the Thai King learned to ski in Arosa and stayed at the Arosa Kulm Hotel. Today, the hotel has a delicious authentic Thai restaurant.
We ordered the Bangkok set menu.
On our second night, we went for a traditional Swiss dinner at the Piz Kulm.
This was one of the most Swiss things I’ve done while living here and I’ve done a lot! Imagine a tiny cabin perched above a hill, with big glass windows that let in a full panoramic view of wintery Arosa village and slopes, decorated in traditional colors and patterns inside.
What’s on the menu? Why, raclette or fondue of course.
We went for the fondue option this time, craving it after a day of cross-country skiing and fresh air, and it was delicious. Together with the setting, the views, the music, the food – if you’re looking for a very memorable local dining experience – this is it.
A delicious buffet, with champagne and mountain views to really make it feel like a holiday.
I wanted to do something new on this trip so we tried cross-country skiing for the first time! And I have to say, it is a lot more challenging than it looks.
Winter sports can be intimidating – what to wear? where to go? how to start? which track/slope? what kind of equipment? etc. so I decided to have help and asked the concierge at Arosa Kulm to arrange the experience for us.
He recommended we do a two-hour lesson if we never skied before and I’m so glad that we did. There is a certain amount of technique you need to learn and if we just rented the skies and tried on our own, I’m sure we would not have progressed or had as much as we did.
We rented our equipment at Carmen Sport in Arosa village and met our instructor at the beginning of the cross-country track at Langlaufzentrum Arosa.
Our instructor Petra from Ski School Arosa was so fun and patient with us that it made learning easier. She took us to the basic track (classic not skating) and taught us the right form and moves. After two hours, we were able to do a full track by ourselves.
I would say I’m pretty fit but I was completely out of breath and challenged by the end and craved a spa and a fondue (see above), and I absolutely loved that it was such a physical exercise on top of being fun. Will do it again!
Arosa village is pretty to stroll through and there are also winter hiking paths you can do around.
We did the Squirrel path – an easy walk through the forest with lots of friendly squirrels along the way. If you just arrived in the region and want a relaxed stroll, this is a great one to do.
Overall, an amazing, relaxing stay. Mr JMTS, who did try the ski slopes, reports that it’s also a great resort if you want to venture past the spa and the hotel, I personally, was quite content inside 🙂
*This visit was organized by Arosa Kulm as a press trip