Golf in the Wide Open Spaces of Switzerland’s Engadine Valley

Golf in the Wide Open Spaces of Switzerland’s Engadine Valley

Engadine Valley, Switzerland, July 16, 2020 / TRAVELINDEX / With overseas golf trips back on the agenda, now is the ideal time to visit the wide open spaces and crystal clear air of Switzerland’s Engadine Valley to experience a spectacular Alpine round against a backdrop of majestic mountains and expansive blue skies.

There is no better place to stay than the iconic Kulm Hotel St. Moritz or its sister property Grand Hotel Kronenhof in nearby Pontresina, two luxurious grand dames with plenty of public areas and private grounds to relax in after a round at one of the region’s three courses.

Golf has long been associated with the Kulm Hotel, which established its own historic course in 1891, making it one of the first in Switzerland. The 9-hole, par 3 meanders up and down hills, past the Olympia Bob Run and the former Olympic Stadium, through shady pine copses whilst also enjoying superb vistas over Lake St. Moritz, all just a 7 iron from the Kulm Hotel. Built at a height of 1,860 metres (among the highest in Europe), the mountainous layout makes it physically demanding, which makes the post-golf drinks on the terrace of the Chesa al Parc club house taste all the sweeter!

Meanwhile the Engadine Golf Club, the oldest golf club in Switzerland, has two courses – Samedan and Zuoz-Madulain, which are a 10 and 20 minute drive respectively from the Kulm Hotel and Grand Hotel Kronenhof.

In 1893, Samedan was the first 18-hole golf course to open its doors in Switzerland. A classic, parkland course, Samedan is set mainly on the valley floor, though some gently undulating holes and greens give the course a links feel. Its broad fairways are flanked by ancient, giant larch trees, some of which are over 700 years old, whilst a host of water hazards make for a tricky golfing challenge.

Zuoz-Madulain (known simply as Zuoz to the locals) opened in 2003 and was designed by the renowned Canadian golf course architect Les Furber. In contrast to the golf course in Samedan, the layout at Zuoz offers a challenging combination of undulating fairways, elevation changes and receptive greens, plus a super attractive setting as it is flanked on one side by natural thick pine forest, which has made it very popular among the golfing community.

Away from the golf courses, visitors can explore the extensive Engadine valley via its hiking routes and mountain bike paths, whilst the numerous lakes provide plenty of opportunities for a range of water sports, such as wild swimming, stand-up paddle boarding and kite surfing. After an active day outdoors, both hotels have large luxurious spas and multiple bars and restaurants in which to enjoy some well-deserved R&R.

The Kulm Hotel’s ‘Golf Break’ package starts from CHF 620 pp sharing a double room, including:

  • 2 nights’ accommodation on a half-board basis
  • Complimentary green fees at the 9-hole Kulm Golf St. Moritz*
  • 1 complimentary green fee on the 18-hole Samedan or Zuoz-Madulain golf courses*
  • unlimited access to the Kulm Spa St. Moritz
  • unlimited use of the hotel’s tennis courts
  • unlimited use of all open mountain railways in the Engadine / St. Moritz region and public transportation in the valley (bus and Rhaetian railway)
    *Tee time bookings to be made upon reservation confirmation. 

Grand Hotel Kronenhof’s ‘Golf – All in One’ package starts from CH 515 pp sharing a double room, including:

  • 2 nights’ accommodation on a half-board basis
  • Complimentary green fees at the 9-hole Kulm Golf St. Moritz*
  • 1 complimentary green fee on the 18-hole Samedan or Zuoz-Madulain golf courses*
  • unlimited access to the Kronenhof Spa
  • unlimited use of all open mountain railways in the Engadine / St. Moritz region and public transportation in the valley (bus and Rhaetian railway)
    *Tee time bookings to be made upon reservation confirmation. 

The Kulm Hotel St. Moritz will close on 6 September 2020, while Grand Hotel Kronenhof will stay open through the Autumn until 18 October 2020, allowing golfers to also enjoy some spectacular autumn vistas as the larch trees change from green to golden.

Kulm Golf St Moritz
The nine-hole Kulm Golf St. Moritz course, first laid out in 1891, meanders harmoniously through the town, past the St. Moritz bobsleigh run and the former Olympic Stadium (two winter Olympics have been held on the course, in 1928 and 1948), while enjoying spectacular views over Lake St. Moritz. Lying at a height of 1,860 metres, this demanding par 27 course is among the highest in Europe and was re-laid in 2001 to bring it up to date for the needs of today’s golfers.

In addition to the course, the Club has a practice putting green and a driving range, as well as its own Club restaurant “Chesa al Parc”. An integral part of the offering at the Kulm Golf St. Moritz is the Academy, where beginners can discover the fascination of golf and seasoned players can improve their technique. Our experienced pros are on hand to provide individual instruction to guests, making use of state-of-the-art technical and audiovisual aids.

Kulm Hotel St. Moritz was the first hotel to be built in St. Moritz. The Kulm Hotel opened its doors in 1856 and immediately became popular for summer spa and painting holidays, particularly among the British who comprised around 75% of the hotel guests. The then owner of the Kulm Hotel, Johannes Badrutt, initiated winter holidays to St. Moritz from 1864 and, as a result, the hotel, resort and Switzerland itself celebrated 150 years of winter tourism in the 2014/15 season.

Since the 19th century, the Kulm Hotel has changed considerably through expansion and renovation, but the fabulous location at the heart of St. Moritz with views over the Lake remains the same. A member of The Leading Hotels of the World, Kulm Hotel St. Moritz has 164 rooms, five restaurants (including formal dining in the Grand Restaurant, the k by Tim Raue with one Michelin star, the Italian Pizzeria with 14 Gault Millau points and local Engadine specialities at Chesa al Parc), the extensive  Kulm Spa St. Moritz (with a 20m indoor pool with underwater music, various saunas and steam room, a Jacuzzi, a fully-equipped gym and treatment rooms, all with stunning views over Lake St. Moritz) and six conference rooms, with capacities ranging from 50 to 500 people.

Entertainment and summer sports facilities include the 9-hole Kulm Golf Course St. Moritz (the oldest golf course in the country), three tennis courts and the Marmotta Kids’ Club for younger guests.

In May 2016, Jenny and Heinz E. Hunkeler of the Kulm Hotel St. Moritz were named “Hoteliers of the Year 2016” by leading Swiss newspaper SonntagsZeitung, which publishes annual Hotel Rating Awards, the only honours sanctioned by Switzerland Tourism, the national tourist office.

Grand Hotel Kronenhof, located in Pontresina, six miles from St. Moritz, offers the best of both worlds: the chance to enjoy the glitz of St. Moritz, while staying in a peaceful mountain village.

Grand Hotel Kronenhof has a rich and interesting history, having first opened its doors in the first half of the 19th century as a guesthouse. However, the main part of the current building, which is a registered historical landmark, was built at the very end of the 19th century in Neo-Baroque style. The latest wing, completed in November 2007 and costing CHF 35 million (approximately £24 million), consists of 28 new guest rooms and a stunning spa complex covering more than 2000 square metres. More recently, the internationally-renowned interior architect Pierre-Yves Rochon has been renovating a few guest rooms per year, in his own inimitable style, along with the creation of an elegant cigar lounge and adjoining billiards room.

The spa is certainly one of the hotel’s highlights and has been named “the best Alpine spa” (according to Tyler Brule writing in the FT, November 2009). Facilities include a 20m indoor infinity pool with counter-current system, a flotation pool with underwater music, a wide range of saunas and steam rooms, a luxurious private suite for couples to enjoy wraps and massages together, and – for the perfect final touch – a crackling log fire in the relaxation room.

Gourmet cuisine is also a specialty at the Grand Hotel Kronenhof. Awarded the title of GaultMillau Hotel of the Year in 2009, it has three restaurants (the formal Grand Restaurant in an elegant Neo-Baroque vaulted room, Gourmet Restaurant Kronenstübli serving Italian-Mediterranean cuisine with 16 GaultMillau points and the informal Le Pavillon for light lunches). In addition, the hotel features a 19th-century original bowling alley where Swiss raclette is served.

Finally, Grand Hotel Kronenhof is renowned for its extensive children’s activities and facilities (a kids’ playroom and Rondelle, a restaurant just for younger members of the family).

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