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January 2, 2024

Klosters: why this low-key ski resort is fit for a king

As neighbouring Davos prepares to host the World Economic Forum, Spear's discovers the understated appeal of Klosters

By Jake Rees-Bidder

Passing a Co-op supermarket on the main road in Klosters Platz, one would be forgiven for thinking this small ski town pales in comparison to the bigger, brasher resorts of St Moritz, Verbier, Val Thorens, Courchevel and Val d’Isère — that typically attract ultra-high-net-worth travellers. Upon a closer look, however, it becomes clear that this is far from the case. Klosters is quieter, yes, and more low-key, but therein lies its charm: it is the go-to destination for UHNWs who want to slip under the radar and onto the slopes.

[See also: What to expect from Davos 2024]

Later this month, the region will play host to Wall Street titans, politicians and philanthropists as the World Economic Forum arrives in neighbouring Davos. Those power-players fortunate enough to find time to ski alongside their panel discussions on Artificial Intelligence and climate change are in for a treat. Klosters possesses phenomenal skiing facilities with over 300 km of pistes (and plenty more if you’re planning some off-piste adventuring). 

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Happily, there is a deliberate absence of the five-star hotels and the high-end designer outlets that are sprinkled across most luxury ski resorts. In place of flashy Instagram influencers and buzzy pop-up shops, Klosters offers old-school charm and whisper-quiet stealth wealth

A view of Davos, the town which neighbours Klosters in Switzerland
The global elite will soon gather in Davos, which neighbours Klosters, for the World Economic Forum / Image: Shutterstock

Klosters’ Hollywood heyday

This level of discretion is one of the reasons King Charles III has returned again and again, explained Clair Southwell, founder of luxury concierge service Klosters Concierge whose insider knowledge has earned her the nickname ‘Mrs Klosters’. His Majesty first visited as Prince of Wales in 1978 and has returned to Klosters every year since – with the exception of 2023, as he didn’t want to risk an ill-timed injury before the coronation. Speaking over dinner at the charming Hotel Wynegg restaurant (a favourite of His Majesty) Southwell explained the King can casually walk down the street and nobody bats an eyelid. Understated cool is the order of the day.

We stayed at the Seven Alpina Boutique Hotel, a perfectly pleasant spot conveniently situated within a stone’s throw of Klosters Platz station and the ski lifts. Since our stay, the hotel has been refurbished and is now open for the new season. Smaller, boutique hotels are common in and there is also plenty of private accommodation available for those seeking a more intimate experience. Members of the royal family have stayed at Chalet Eugenia.

The crown for the most famous boutique hotel in Klosters goes to the Chesa Grischuna, dubbed ‘Hollywood on the Rocks’ in honour of the roll-call of famous faces it hosted in the 1950s. Constructed in 1938, the Chesa is an exquisite example of craftsmanship, from the coffered ceilings in the dining room and barrel vaulted ceilings in the bedrooms; to the intricately carved pillars and decorated wooden panels. There’s a feeling of serenity as one walks through the doors of the Chesa, a hotel with a truly magnificent history, now standing still in time. 

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A League of Their Own

Actors and directors once flocked to the Chesa for its superb skiing, fine dining and boisterous parties. Now their names – William Wyler, Audrey Hepburn, Paul Newman – live on in the guestbook, which is stored under lock and key and can only be handled when wearing velvet gloves. ‘What a lovely place to spend a winter! It’s been all too short – But please, expect me back. – Good Luck,’ wrote Gene Kelly, who is rumoured to have danced the night away on the tables of the hotel bar. 

Back on the street, and beyond the Co-op, there is a little jewellery shop marked with a simple plaque that’s easy to miss: ‘By appointment to HRH the Prince of Wales, Jeweller & Watchmaker, Maissen Klosters AG, Klosters, Switzerland.’

Timeless, understated, elegant. Exactly like the town itself. 

www.klosters.ch/en.html, www.davos.ch/en/

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