Tourism began in the pretty Swiss town of Andermatt in 1872 with the debut of the Grand Hotel Bellevue, which attracted visitors to central Switzerland with the promise of clean, invigorating Alpine air during summer and sleigh rides through the
snow in winter. When the nine-mile Gotthard rail tunnel opened in 1881, connecting Göschenen with Airolo, Andermatt was linked to the wider world and flourished until World War I brought its first golden age to a sudden end.
As a result of the deep powder created by notably reliable snowfalls, and the Urseren Valley’s web of trails, Andermatt reemerged as a ski resort, albeit an appealingly low-key one. Until now, it has been more a hot chocolate than a Champagne destination, but that looks set to change. Last December, the 105-room Chedi hotel opened on the site once occupied by the Bellevue.
The new property is the first part of a huge investment by the family-owned Egyptian conglomerate Orascom — telecommunications, hotels, construction — which is intended to transform Andermatt into a high-profile ski station, a 21st-century Gstaad. Designed by the Belgian architect Jean-Michel Gathy, The Chedi hotel itself is a joint venture between the Singapore-based
GHM hotel group, which runs Chedi properties in Vietnam, Thailand and Oman (among other locations), and Amanresorts.