One of the places in the world where you can genuinely lose track of time is the Romanoff restaurant in the Carlton Hotel, despite the fact that time itself plays a special role in the historic atmosphere reminiscent of the Belle Epoque.
Named after the last family of tsars, the Romanoff tells the story of the past hundred years with an unobtrusive charm.
This charm was revived in 2006/2007 during the comprehensive 18-month renovation carried out under the auspices of the Swiss interior designer Carlo Rampazzi, who transformed the Carlton into an absolute gem reflecting the lustre of its early years a whole century ago.
The monumental and historical character of the place can be felt in every detail of his modern, contemporary interpretation.
The same can be said of the dining room and cuisine of 14-point chef Salvatore Frequente, who has given the traditional gourmet delicacies served in the Romanoff a novel and Mediterranean twist.
Where better to delve into the history of the hotel and the Engadin valley which has always moved with the times since tourism first came to the Swiss Alps?
From here, the eye is quite naturally drawn to the high valley by the magical light flooding through the arched windows stretching to the ceiling.
It required all the pioneering spirit of the 19th century to transform this archaic landscape into a prime travel destination, and that includes the pioneering spirit of the hoteliers.
The founder of the Hotel Kulm brought electricity to St. Moritz, which became the very first town in Switzerland to boast electric lighting.
That wasn’t the only time that St. Moritz had the courage to create something new.
With the first bobsleigh run, the first horse races on snow, the legendary White Turf on the frozen lake and, later, the first ski school in Switzerland, there was no end to the extraordinary innovations witnessed in the tourist industry.
During this time, the fifth and last five-star Hotel Carlton was built.
It opened its doors in 1913 to greet a world doomed to destruction.
The outbreak of the First World War the very next year pulled the Belle Epoque and the blossoming tourist industry of yesteryear into the abyss.
After a final flourish, the Second World War proved to be the final nail in the coffin of the “Grand Tourisme” of the past. For the Carlton, “zero hour” came late.
Only in 1988, after four decades of changing hands, did the hotel finally find – in the Kipp-Bechtolsheimer family – the owners whose spirit matched that of the early hotel pioneers.
With courage and perseverance, the new owners took the hotel, which now belonged to the Tschuggen Hotel Group, back to where it had all begun in 1913: to the ranks of the very best hotels.
Steeped in tradition, the newly renovated hotel picked up where the last dazzling winter season of 1913 left off, with illustrious guests celebrating in the Belle Epoque dining room of the Romanoff.
The grand times are back, and thanks to Carlo Rampazzi’s unequalled creativity, the meticulous renovation blends modernity with the spirit of the past.
The imposing staircase and the stucco decoration of the Bel Etage recall the glory of a bygone era.
Yet the designer did not shy away from imposing a refined colour scheme on the 60 spacious junior suites and suites.
Boasting state-of-the-art technology and the very highest quality materials, they offer guests every comfort.
From the Romanoff restaurant, guests can gaze over Lake St. Moritz confident in the knowledge that they are sitting in one of the most elegant hotels in Switzerland in the sunniest spot in St. Moritz.
But whether you are sitting in the legendary Carlton Bar, relaxing in the three-storey spa or lounging in the largest penthouse in the Alps covering almost 400 square metres, it is Dominic and Laurence Bachofen who make the modern Carlton what is was a hundred years ago.
During his time here between 1999 and 2004, Dominic Bachofen developed a definite taste for the establishment which he has managed, together with his wife, with profound passion since 2009.
With their flair for innovation and their innate understanding of what perfect service really means, they have succeeded in perpetuating the feeling common to anyone who has stays in the Carlton and loses track of time: the feeling of being a guest in one of the best hotels in the world.
Carlton Hotel St. Moritz is presently a nominee at the inaugural World Ski Awards, which is set to take place at A-ROSA Kitzbühel, Austria, on November 16th 2013.
For more information on the property head over to the official website.