Travel: postcard from St Moritz


    Beena Nadeem and her family undertake a digital ‘detox’ in the mountains of St Moritz

    “Come on, Lillia! If you don’t hurry up and take your skis off, mummy will be late for her spa treatment.” My partner Ian is laughing at this outburst of pretension, though in a mountain resort where a bottle of water can set you back 9 CHF, surely the option of a post-ski spa visit is one’s right? The day before we had spent four hours on the train from Zurich. The hotel’s chauffeur was waiting to collect us from the station, whisking us off to a fairytale hotel complete with a ballroom-cum-restaurant, 20-metre infinity pool and spa, kids’ club and outdoor ice-skating.

    Grand Hotel Kronenhof is just 6km from St Moritz, in a little slice of utopia called Pontresina. On arrival we decide to embrace the spirit of Switzerland, where wellbeing is taken seriously, and undertake a family ‘detox’: a week without a single flickering blue screen or social media update, set in the silent mountains, our phones and iPads locked in the belly of the hotel’s safe, and our rooms emptied of everything electrical.


    After a whole day’s skiing, I was grateful for my impending spa treatment – a delicious detox bath and massage. Afterwards, I settle into the serenity of a waterbed overlooking a mountain panorama. As a dusky peach light scatters across the mountaintops, I wonder how long this moment might last. The answer, as it turns out, was not very long. As I glance across the pool, I see Lillia collapsing into fits of giggles. “Mummy, it has underwater speakers,” she shrills. I wrap a gown around her and we take in the moment. “Look at those clouds,” she says, giving me a hug.

    The mornings are blessed with a beautiful light; cool, crisp and sunny. After breakfast, where Lillia’s cherub-like looks reward her with extra portions of waffles, watermelon juice, hot chocolate and strawberries, we are ready to be carried outside.


    I admit, we only attended Grand Hotel Kronenhof’s sunrise walk in spirit, instead choosing to lie-in, though we do make an effort for the ski yoga, before heading to Lillia’s favourite: the snow parks. Its mixture of rolling humps and steep drops elicit shrieks of joy. When we return to our room, Lillia pounces on her bed, which each day has been showered with gifts from the hotel.

    When people talk of fairytale escapes, this is it and more. The one time I did have to whip my phone from the safe was met with a stern, “Mummy, put that down” when it would usually have got a, “Can I play on that?”. It’s fair to say, that’s a result.

    Grand Hotel Kronenhof opens between 7 December and 1 April –