Cheryl Markosky gets mountain highs at the new crowning glory of Andermatt Swiss Alps
A number of Alpine ski resorts have suddenly taken to declaring that they’re year-round vacation spots. And yet the reality is that only some of them can truly claim this 365-day-a-year accolade.
One that can rightfully hold the title, however, is Andermatt, a newcomer on the block, with snow-swept activities in the winter and genuine summer fun when those last traces of soft powder melt away. As well as being terrific for winter adventures, such as skating, skiing, snowboarding and freeriding, Andermatt has just as much to offer when temperatures escalate.
The balmy weather “piste de resistance” is an international-class, 18-hole golf course with driving range that will be one of the top courses in Switzerland when it opens to the public in 2016. This summertime asset accompanies other leisure pursuits, including cycling, hiking, climbing, canoeing and paragliding. Other amenities – wellness, leisure and conference facilities, for instance – are appealing during any calendar month.
Come winter or summer, the recently launched five-star, 104-suite The Chedi Andermatt Hotel, the first of six four and five-star hotels planned for the resort, provides a winning East-meets-West combo of Asian luxury from hostelry chain GHM and meticulous Swiss service. Prices for a double suite cost from £560 a night, including breakfast.
After the Swiss Army departed from its training base just over a decade ago, the quaint village of Andermatt is experiencing its own renaissance as a result of the groundbreaking investment in the construction of hotels, commercial space, inns and homes by the resort developer Andermatt Swiss Alps.
Selling agent Robert Green, general manager of Abercrombie & Kent International Estates, believes that any “early pioneers purchasing property now will share the vision of this rising location in five to ten years when Andermatt will be one of Europe’s leading winter ski destinations”.
Early pioneers purchasing property now will share the vision of this rising location in five to ten years when Andermatt will be one of Europe’s leading winter ski destinations
He anticipates values for the development’s 490 apartments ranging over 42 buildings and 25 chalets, currently priced from around £335,000, to appreciate as the £1.24-billion resort begins to bed in and mature. Equally, apartments and penthouses at The Chedi Andermatt Residences, ranging now from £1.4 million to £8.128 million, are also likely to see an increase in growth.
A huge plus for non-Swiss property investors, adds Mr Green, is the rare fact that they won’t be subject to restrictions when buying real estate at the Andermatt Swiss Alps resort. “The project’s exempt from Lex Koller regulations until at least 2030; a law that seriously restricts foreign home ownership,” he explains. “This is the only development of its kind in the Alps, which also allows owners to re-sell to other foreigners, and quite possibly the last, as restrictions elsewhere tighten up further.”
The sheer variety of property on offer also means that it’s conceivable a purchaser not wanting to horrify his bank manager can buy a one-bedroom apartment for £335,000, while someone used to the finer things in life can plump for a grand, upper-scale chalet from around the £7.5 million mark.
Price is one thing, but how you’ll actually get to your Alpine hideaway can be equally important. If your vacation kicks off with an exasperating and tiring flight, followed by a lengthy white-knuckle drive around contorted mountain roads, it can take days to recover from the process of just trying to get there in one piece. As Andermatt’s only a relatively easy 90-minute drive from Zurich and Milan airports, your holiday begins as soon as you arrive. And for those not keen on being behind the wheel, there’s an excellent “car-free” rail connection that takes you right into the village centre whatever the season.
Abercrombie & Kent International Estates
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“It’s family friendly,” says ski star
Legendary Swiss Olympic and world champion skier Bernhard Russi is advising Andermatt Swiss Alps on how to develop and offer a broad variety of sports activities.
“Developing the ski area, including seven new chairlifts, will connect Andermatt to the neighbouring Sedrun region, giving access to around 123 kilometres of pistes, making it the biggest resort in central Switzerland,” he says.
“There will be specially laid-out pistes not only for beginners, but also for families who want to have fun. And there will be more difficult runs and off-piste opportunities to get the pulse racing for advanced skiers.”
Russi, a local born in the building that is now Andermatt’s station, also likes the juxtaposition of the small, unspoiled village and authentic beauty of the natural surroundings only minutes from the core of the resort.
“I know at least 20 little lakes hidden up in the mountains where I can go and bathe when it’s hot,” he says. “And even better, when I come back to the resort I won’t have to fight to get a table in restaurants or cafes because it will never be overcrowded like some Alpine holiday haunts.”