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At Suvretta House, the dream of the Alpine Grand Hotel lives on

For 111 years, the Suvretta House near St. Moritz has hosted the most sophisticated and elegant guests in its luxurious halls. For Classic Driver, the legendary Swiss grand hotel is more than a place of longing – it has become a second home in the Alps.

You will never forget the first time you arrive at Suvretta House. No matter if you check into the hotel in the height of alpine summer under a dark blue sky, in autumn when the Engadin valley is ablaze with the colours of bright orange arolla pines, or in winter when the snow turns the landscape into a fairytale wonderland, once you let the nostalgic elevator carry you up to your cozy room and open the window, the views of Lake Silvaplana and the surrounding mountain peaks will simply take your breath away. Since the Suvretta House first opened its doors on 16 December 1912, the glitzy alpine grand hotel has attracted countless high-profile guests: King Faruk of Egypt stayed here as well as crown prince Akihito, the Shah of Persia, Gregory Peck and Evita Perón; the list of royals, Hollywood stars, industrials and adventurers that stayed at Suvretta House could go on forever. 

Until this day, Suvretta House has managed to conserve the glamour and grandezza of the old days while keeping up with the demands of contemporary luxury travellers like few other grand hotels in the world. Stay there for a week and after a few days you will fall into the daily routine of a character from a Wes Anderson movie. In the morning you enjoy the lavish Swiss breakfast with its fine selection of local delicacies while flicking through the latest newspapers. Right after, you put on your one-piece puffer suit and take the hotel’s private ski lift up to the superb slopes of Corviglia. After some hours on the slopes, you enjoy an excellent lunch on the sunny terrace of Chasellas restaurant before soaking yourself in Suvretta’s outdoor whirlpool. In the afternoon, you savour a piece of excellent Bündner Nusstorte and a cup of Earl Grey in the main hall overlooking the valley. Then, you retreat back to your room to get changed for dinner. At the Grand Restaurant the white liveried waiters already know your order – the famous Tartare de bœuf Fassona "al coltello" for starters, Peduzzi’s lamb saddle smoked in mountain thyme as a main, and the flambéed Crêpes Suzette "Suvretta House" for desert. If you can still walk after this treat, you enjoy your nightcap at Anton’s Bar before withdrawing to the down duvet comfort of your room. 

Suvretta House envelopes its guests in a one-of-a-kind mix of nostalgic elegance, casual comfort, five-star luxury and Swiss discretion. One of the secrets of the grand hotel’s continuous success might be that the house is not part of a global chain of luxury hotels and therefore managed to preserve its personal, almost familiar spirit. In fact, Esther and Peter Egli run Suvretta House as the seventh generation of hoteliers – and with just the right intuition and finesse to make every guests feel immediately at home, even if you've just checked in for the very first time.

It’s all about attention to detail at Suvretta House – and a great sense for everything iconic. It is the kind of place where you go to the snow bar for an early Negroni at the ice rink on a sunny winter afternoon, only to realize that the silver Aston Martin DB5 casually parked on the ice next to you is actually one of the rarer-than-rare James Bond continuation cars, including machine guns, ejector seats, and rotating number plates. Everywhere you go, you feel like you are entering a Slim Aarons photo shoot, where beautiful people in colourful winter parkas enjoy their privileged lives while somewhere in the background a pianist is tinkling the ivories with a lighthearted Gershwin variation. 

Car culture and special automobiles have always played a big part at Suvretta House. In the 1980s, Gianni Agnelli – who lived just up the street – used his signature silver Panda 4×4 to casually tear between the Cresta Run, Dracula Club, Palace Hotel and Suvretta House. In 2019, Classic Driver teamed up with the hotel’s patrons and paid homage to the humble hatchback from Turin that became a style icon of the international Jet Set with the first Panda Meet in St. Moritz. Every summer, the grand hotel hosts the British Classic Car Meeting in St. Moritz, where the most iconic, elegant, and obscure cars ever made in the United Kingdom take the center stage. It’s a nod to the British guests that put St. Moritz on the map and those who are still driving down to their favourite alpine destination in their grand tourers. This year, the BCCM is dedicated to automobiles of royal descent or provenance and we cannot wait for the organizers to reveal the crown jewels of the line-up. 

However, the Suvretta House is not just the perfect backdrop for Switzerland’s most stylish classic car events. For us, the fairy-tale castle overlooking the Engadin valley has become a place of longing: When our Zurich hometown is submerged in fog on a grey winter weekend, there’s no better escape than Suvretta House. So why don’t you activate your out-of-office reply, wake your classic car out of hibernation, hit the twisted mountain roads towards St. Moritz, and join us for a piece of cake in the main hall? 

Photos by Błażej Żuławski for Classic Driver © 2023