The most striking thing as you approach the Hermitage is its unique location. You’ll meander higher and higher until you reach the foot of the magnificent Matterhorn, where the chalet sits nestled amidst towering trees enjoying the most disarming view of the legendary Matterhorn peak and Grande Murailles.
Step into the cosy and inviting heart of the Hermitage, a spacious lounge of oversized armchairs, warm lighting and a huge open fire in the centre, and you’ll instantly start to relax. This is one of the homeliest hotels in the mountains and perfect if you’re looking to escape from the rest of the world for a few days to a secluded retreat. The team at the Hermitage offer outstanding hospitality and that’s what I feel gives this hotel a real edge. As a Relais & Chateaux property, it surpasses my expectations with exceptional service and attention to detail. I love the vibe of the lounge, which is often bustling in the late afternoon with people gathering and chatting around the fire and indulging in hot choccies or whiskies to warm up after their mountain adventures.
Rooms and Suites at the Hermitage are classic and refined, each with an individual style and elegance. Soft fabrics, floor to ceiling curtains, beautiful patterned wall-papers, dark woods, pictures of local and alpine scenery, antique furniture and hand-selected ornaments all combine to make each room feel like a luxurious home from home. Expect top-level comfort and enjoy special Hermitage treats such as chocolates and delicacies by Venchi waiting for you when you get back from the slopes. The signature whirlpool baths are also absolute heaven! Some suites have private terraces with spectacular views over the mountain scenery, and there are a number of connecting-room options for families.
Indulge in fine-dining at 5-star restaurant La Chandelle, where Chef Roberto Pession is a master at creating delicious traditional Aosta Valley and Piedmont dishes with a modern twist, always using top quality local foods. The restaurant’s mouth-watering selection of mountain cheeses won’t fail to tease you into ordering fondue more than once! The experience here goes beyond fine-dining, with all features from white-table cloths to plush scarlet chairs, candlelight and large windows framing the mountain scenery, all coming together to offer a unique/timeless alpine dining experience. For a special occasion, I would highly recommend a private dinner in the exclusive wine cellar ‘La Cave’, which houses an impressive selection of 700 wines hand-selected by the Neyroz brothers, and the hotel’s famous home-made grappa. Enjoy the magical setting with a private waiter and sommelier at your service and a delicious personalised menu with wine pairing.
For lighter bights or finger food, tuck into delicious charcuterie washed down with a cocktail at the Hermitage’s charming bar – the atmosphere is wonderfully cosy and romantic, often with live music playing in the evenings. Or, for those who like a quiet place to unwind, head to the traditional cigars room with a good book.
I have always felt this region is underrated, but that’s what’s so brilliant about it as you’re not fighting the crowds of the three-valleys or spending your whole morning queuing for a lift. The Breuil-Cervinia Valtournenche Zermatt region is one of the largest skiing areas in the Alps and the skiing is incredibly varied, with excellent options for both beginners or those looking to really challenge themselves. Hermitage offer an exceptional experience with their team of ‘Genius assistants’, who are professional ski instructors with unparalleled knowledge of the region and long-standing relationships with locals. Your Genius assistant will ensure that during your stay you’ll be immersed in local culture and tradition, meeting locals at their farm-shops, wood-carving studios, or mountaineers who know the region like the back of their hand. This experience adds so much more to a standard skiing holiday. It’s also worth mentioning that the Hermitage is open in the summer and for those looking to escape to the mountains for some sunshine and tranquility, it’s a beautiful place to stay. The extensive gardens are filled with flowers and you can relax on a sunbed, or hike in the mountains. Cervino also boasts one of the highest 18-hole golf courses in Europe at 2050 metres.
Skiing is one of my favourite hobbies and I try to spend as much of winter as possible in the mountains. But I will also admit to being a serious spa addict, and this is one of the Hermitage’s real attractions. The Spa by La Prairie (same as at the amazing L’Apogee hotel in Courchevel) is a haven of wellness and relaxation – offering just what you crave after being out in the elements all day. Personalised spa treatments are designed for complete relaxation, and with a heated swimming pool, whirlpools, sauna, Turkish bath and relaxation zone, a day here is almost as alluring as a day on the slopes!
Every time I explore a new destination, whether it’s on an adventure holiday in Peru or a luxury beach escape in the Indian Ocean, I return home full of excitement to share the amazing sights I have seen. Through my own experiences I have developed a love of helping others experience the great wonders of the world; truly getting under the skin of the extraordinary destinations that are at your fingertips. Getting the details right, from which hotel is perfectly located for exploring away from the crowds, to which local guide is most knowledgeable on history or culture or art, is of paramount importance to me. I am constantly seeking out new and exciting experiences and exploring off the beaten track to ensure my clients are receiving the best and most honest first-hand advice.
Take a look at my travel diaries for food for thought on your next trip...