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Arosa, Switzerland

by Debra C. Argen
Swiss International Air Lines Signature Dinners
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Arosa, SwitzerlandIn the mood for a winter vacation, Luxury Experience Magazine traveled to Arosa, Switzerland and discovered why it has been a Swiss favorite and an alpine health resort since 1877, and added it to our own list of favorites.


Edward F. Nesta and I flew Swiss International Air Lines from New York to Zurich, in late January 2008, where our Swiss experience began at the airport in the spacious Swiss Air Lines Lounge where we relaxed, enjoyed a glass of wine and appetizers, and checked our email before boarding the plane.

Once onboard and comfortably seated in our Business Class seats, we had our first taste of Switzerland with a signature meal designed by Swiss Chef Reto Mathis, owner of Mathis Food Affairs in St. Moritz, of Beef filet in a morel mushroom sauce with tomato Provençale, green asparagus and potato purée with Pommery mustard accompanied by a Swiss wine.

Upon landing in Zurich, our next step was to take a train from the airport where we immediately made use of our Swiss Travel System passes, (foreigners can purchase the pass before their trip). Although we purchased the "Swiss Pass", there are several types of passes available; check their website to determine which pass best suits your needs. The Swiss Pass offers unlimited first class travel on trains, buses, boats, and provides holders with free entrance to approximately 400 museums. Check the website www.museumpass.ch for list of participating museums.

Train to Arosa, Switzerland through mountainsHowever, in order to get to Arosa from Zurich, we had to first take a train from the Zurich airport to Chur, the capitol of the Canton of Graubünden, and then take another train from Chur to Arosa. Although off the beaten track, the journey was well worth it as we passed through the many cities and small villages along the way and watched the scenery drastically change from green grass, to a dusting of snow on the ground, and once we passed Chur, the snow covered mountains that came into view and quite literally stole our breath with their majestic beauty. We eagerly anticipated each turn, as the train wound its way through the mountain passes, where the landscape dazzled our eyes like children standing in front of a toyshop.

Debra C. Argen with horses in Arosa, SwitzerlandFinally, we arrived at the train station in Arosa, located at 1800 meters (5,905 feet) above sea level, and immediately fell in love with this charming area with a population of 2,441. Directly across from the train station the snow covered mountains loomed in the distance and horse drawn carriages awaited to take passengers for a ride.

Tschuggen Grand Hotel Arosa, SwitzerlandWe stayed at the luxurious Tschuggen Grand Hotel in Arosa, where service began at the train station when a driver from the hotel met us, and played tour guide pointing out the city sights on the short drive to the hotel.

The grande dame hotel is indulgent luxury at its best and has a new spacious 5000 square meter Spa, Tschuggen Bergoase by Mario Botta built in 2006, where we experienced the utmost in pampering.

In addition, they have four excellent restaurants orchestrated by talented Chef Ivan Gotfredsen; and if that was not enough, the view of the mountains from the terrace of our room was reason enough to travel to Arosa. The hotel is closed from mid-April until June.

Read about the Tschuggen Grand Hotel in the Hotels and Resorts, Restaurants, Chefs’ Recipes, and Spas sections.

Tschuggen Grand Hotel Arosa, Switzerland
Tschuggen Grand Hotel

CH-7050 Arosa, Switzerland
Telephone:      +41-81-378-9999
Fax:                 +41-81-378-9990

In order to experience some of the local cuisine of the Graubünden region, we had dinner at Prätschli-Stall, a restaurant housed in an adorable wood chalet. We sat at a wooden table in a private alcove, and admired the rustic charm of the restaurant with its red and white checked curtains at the windows, and half-timber beamed ceiling.

Bundner Gerstensuppe at Prätschli-Stall, Arosa, SwitzerlandOur waiter Diego brought us an aperitif of prosecco for us to enjoy before indulging in a hearty dinner of regional favorites. Edward began with Bündner Gerstensuppe, the famous soup made with barley, herbs, and bacon, while I selected a tomato and mozzarella.

Edward and Debra share fondue at Prätschli-Stall, Arosa, Switzerland The restaurant specializes in fondue and raclette, so of course, we had cheese fondue with all the trimmings which included cubed bread, boiled potatoes, gherkins, sun-dried tomatoes, onions, garlic, mushrooms, and even pears to dip in the rich sauce. Paired with a crisp chardonnay, we thoroughly enjoyed our taste of the region.

Hotel Prätschli
7050 Arosa, Switzerland
Telephone:      +41 81-378-8080
Fax:                 +41 81-378-8081

The Swiss are passionate about nature, so after dinner, and at the encouragement of the Tschuggen Grand Hotel, we were invited to take a ride on a sled from the top of Prätschli to the train station, where a driver from the hotel would meet us. Always up for a new adventure, we thought why not? Of course, we had yet to see the sled, and in the back of my mind, I must have been thinking of the beautifully groomed horses that I saw opposite the train station with their sheepskin throw covered carriages when I said yes.

After dinner, Diego brought us outside to pick up our sled, and what awaited us was not a horse drawn sled, but actually a very tiny sled that looked like something that you would pull a small child on. My immediate thought was that there must be some mistake; it was so small, was there a sled for each of us? Diego simply smiled and then chuckled at my naiveté and assured me that this was indeed our sled, that there was only one sled, and that the sled would accommodate the both of us. With that settled, my next question was how would we steer this crazy thing? Immediately followed by yet another question, which was, where do we go? We were told to follow the trail, and to watch the couple on a sled in front of us, to see how they handled their sled.

Edward and Debra Sledding in Arosa, SwitzerlandWe took our positions on the sled, with Edward sitting in the front, while I sat behind him and desperately hung on, hoping that I would not fall off the back of the sled. Suddenly we watched the couple in front of us promptly fall off the sled as they attempted to ride the sled, laughing and getting back on the sled. Okay, perhaps instead of learning what to do from them, we would learn what not to do.

Guided by the full moon, we rode over the moonlight trail, which twisted and wound its way down the mountain, stopping frequently for bouts of irrepressible laughter as we nearly collided with the snow banks on our way down the steep trail. By the time that we had reached the train station, our sides hurt from laughing, however we finally had learned how to ride the sled without falling off. When our driver loaded our sled onto the back of the car, we were still laughing from our sledding experience.

View from Terrace at Tschuggen Grand Hotel Arosa, SwitzerlandThe next morning we arose early to sit on the terrace of our room and soak in the scenery as the sun rose over the mountains that seemed close enough for us to reach out and touch them. After a bountiful breakfast, we set out to experience another new adventure, snow shoeing.

Ernesto and Debra showing off showshoes in Arosa, SwitzerlandWe had never tried this somewhat unusual sport called snow shoeing before, and thought that now would be the perfect time to experience it. Dry, crisp, clean air, bright sunshine, Ernesto, an instructor from Langlaufschule Geeser with extreme patience, and snow shoe equipment at our avail, we went off to experience a wonderful adventure that also provided us with excellent cardio-vascular exercise.

Edward F. Nesta Snowshoeing in Arosa, SwitzerlandIn the winter, this area is home to snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and Nordic walking, and when the snow thaws there is the highest 18-hole golf course in Europe (1,850 meters/6,069 feet above sea level), providing visitors with a variety of outdoor activities for all seasons. Read about snowshoeing in the Adventures section.


Langlaufschule Geeser of Arosa, Switzerland
Langlaufschule Geeser
Reto Geeser
7050 Arosa, Switzerland
Telephone:      +41-81-377-2215 (Winter)
Telephone:      +41-81-377-2983 (Summer)

Debra having lunch outdoors at Hof Maran The day was sunny and warm, and we decided to take advantage of the weather and have an al fresco lunch at Hof Maran where we sat on the terrace and soaked up the glorious sunshine while sipping cups of steaming hot chocolate. There is something wonderful about being able to sit outside in the wintertime surrounded by snow-covered mountains and have lunch.

Lunch at Hof Maran in Arosa, SwitzerlandEdward decided to experience another Graubünden favorite; a Bündnerfleisch sandwich, made with thinly sliced dried beef served on a crusty baguette, while I had a very large and colorful salad.

Hof Maran
7050 Arosa, Switzerland
Telephone:      +41 81-378-5151

Tschuggen Bergoase, Arosa, SwitzerlandLunch over, we returned to the hotel after our snowshoe adventure and decided to take the opportunity to indulge in some Spa pampering at the gorgeous Tschuggen Bergoase by Mario Botta. The 5,000 square-meter Spa, is like nothing that we had ever seen, with so the bells and whistles that we did not want to leave. Read about the Tschuggen Bergoase in the Spas section.

La Vetta restaurant of Tschuggen Grand Hotel Arosa, Switzerland - CodfishAfter a day of outdoor adventure and Spa pampering, we were ready to partake of a gastronomic journey with Chef Ivan Gotfredsen at the restaurant, La Vetta, where a few of the delectable courses that we sampled included Roasted half lobster with two kinds of sweet pepper and white lobster foam; Piemontese carnaroli risotto from limited production with "coniglio cacciatore" with rabbit, mushrooms, and tomatoes; and Icelandic codfish marinated and cooked in black Taggiasca olive oil, root vegetable and cauliflower puree, served with light crocus sauce. Read about La Vetta in the Restaurants section, and recipes from Chef Ivan Gotfredsen in the Chefs’ Recipes section.

La Vetta
Tschuggen Grand Hotel
CH-7050 Arosa, Switzerland
Telephone:      +41-81-378-9999
Fax:                 +41-81-378-9990

Edward and Kurli in cable car to WeisshornOf course, a trip to Arosa which offers 70 km (44 miles) of downhill skiing, would not be complete without going skiing, so after breakfast, our driver drove us to Carmenna Sport where we rented ski equipment and met Edward’s ski instructor, Kurli Zippert-Elderkin of the Schweizer Ski- und Snowboardschule (Swiss Ski and Snowboard School).

I grew up skiing, and although skiing was something that Edward had always wanted to try, this would be his skiing debut, and since we really get along very well, and wanted to continue to do so, we thought that it would be best for an instructor to teach him, instead of me. Believe me, it was well worth having a patient instructor as Edward learned ski techniques, which left me with plenty of time to photograph him, enjoy the breathtaking scenery, and make a few runs on the slopes on my own.

Debra C. Argen enjoying skiing in Arosa, Switzerland Edward F. Nesta and ski instructor in Arosa, Switzerland
Debra and Edward Skiing in Arosa, Swiztzerland

Once again the weather was picture perfect as we stopped for an al fresco lunch where we discussed the highlights of the day, Edward’s progress, and savored the scenery, before returning to the slopes.

Debra C. Argen and Edward F. Nesta relaxing at Weisshorn Mountain in Arosa, SwitzerlandAs a finale to our day at Arosa, we took the cable car to Weisshorn, which has an elevation of 2,653 meters (8,704 feet) and were rewarded with spectacular views of the mountains, paragliders who soared off the cliffs catching the wind, and an outdoor bar complete with palm trees and music. Read about our skiing adventure in the Adventures section.

Carmenna Sport
Familie Carigiert
7050 Arosa, Switzerland
Telephone:      +41 81-377-1205
Fax:                 +41 81-377-4723

Schweizer Ski- und Snowboardschule (Swiss Ski and Snowboard School)
7050 Arosa, Switzerland
Telephone:      +41 81-378-7500
Fax:                 +41 81-378-7508

Map of Ski Trails in Arosa, Switzerland
Map of Arosa Ski Trails

After returning our skis to Carmenna Sport, we decided to explore the Arosa shops and found a wonderful small shop selling regional products including cheeses, bündnerfleisch, and Bündner Nusstorte, which is a delicious honey and nut filled pastry. We really enjoyed learning about the regional specialties and of course, sampling these them.

Although we visited Arosa in the winter, this region offers much for guests at any time of the year, including hiking, horseback riding, and golfing. After an exciting few days experiencing Arosa, it was time to board the Bernina Express train for our next destination: St. Moritz, Switzerland!

Important information for Switzerland

Switzerland is not part of the European Union, and as such, the currency of Switzerland is the Swiss Franc. As of February 2008, the exchange rate was 1.08 Swiss Francs (CHF) to 1 US Dollar (USD), and 1.60 Swiss Francs (CHF) to 1 Euro (EUR). The Swiss Franc coin denominations are: 5,10, 20, 50 cents and 1, 2, and 5 Francs. Bank note denominations are: 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, and 1000 Francs.

Switzerland is a country with many languages: Swiss German, French, Italian, and Romansch. Swiss German is a spoken language, and High German is the spoken and written language for sixty eight percent of the Swiss population. The rest of the Swiss population speaks French (18%), Italian (12%), or Romansch (approximately 40,000) depending on their geographic location.

While many Swiss speak English, it is always helpful to have some basic language knowledge when traveling.

German Vocabulary
uide to pronunciation
ß = strong S sound (like a hiss)
j = sounds like y
ie = sounds like ea
ü = sounds like ou
w = sounds like v

Basic Vocabulary



Do you speak English?         

Sprechen Sie Englisch?

Excuse me     



Guten Tag


Auf Weidersehen

Good Morning

Guten morgen

Good Evening

Guten aben



Thank you










Where is?

Wo is?

Train Station



der Flughafen










































































Red wine


Sparkling wine


White wine






Read other articles on Arosa in the Hotels and Resorts, Restaurants, Chefs’ Recipes, Spas, and Adventures sections.

Read other articles on Switzerland in the Destinations section including: Zurich, Switzerland; Bern, Switzerland; Interlaken, Switzerland; and Lucerne, Switzerland; Hotels and Resorts, Restaurants, Chefs’ Recipes, Spas, Liquor Cabinet, Wine Cellar, Gastronomy, Luxury Products, and Adventures sections.

For information on Switzerland, please visit the website: www.MySwitzerland.com. For information on Arosa, please visit the website: www.Arosa.ch. For information on St. Moritz, please visit the websites: www.StMoritz.ch and www.Engadine.StMoritz.ch. For information on the St. Moritz Gourmet Festival and all of its events, please visit the website: www.StMoritz-GourmetFestival.ch. For information on the Cartier World Cup Polo on Snow, please visit the website: www.PoloStMoritz.com.

For information on Swiss International Air Lines, please visit the website: www.swiss.com. For information on the Swiss Pass, please visit the website: www.SwissTavelSystem.com.

For information on Lucerne, please visit the website: www.Luzern.org. For information on Interlaken, please visit the website: www.InterlakenTourism.ch. For information on Bern, please visit the website: www.BernInfo.com. For information on Zurich, please visit the website: www.Zuerich.com.

© March 2008. Luxury Experience. www.LuxuryExperience.com All rights reserved.

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