We’re standing on the platform at Zurich airport and, as you’d expect in a nation known for the precision of its timekeeping devices, all around us is a picture of calm efficiency. My partner Sophie, one-year-old son Arthur and I are guided to our seats by staff speaking perfect English. Views of towering, snow-capped peaks, wisps of cloud coiling around them like diaphanous silk scarves, render me silent. The three of us stare through the specially designed panoramic windows in wonder.
I feel particularly unencumbered as we’ve not even had to think about our heavy luggage since handing it over to the Swiss airline staff at Heathrow. The company sends the bags straight on to Hotel Bahnhof Zermatt – and, yes, as it’s Switzerland, I have complete confidence they will be there when we arrive. On arrival at Zermatt, a flurry of hotel staff and taxis help guests load their bags into a mix of small electric cars and horse-drawn carriages for the onward journey to their hotel.
The Matterhorn, which towers over the town, is the most-photographed mountain in the worldand it’s easy to see why. Visible from almost everywhere in Zermatt – and on the slopes that surround it – this 14,690ft alpine icon provides a spectacular backdrop. The mountain also provides a useful reference point as you move between Zermatt’s three main ski areas– Rothorn,Gornegrat and Schwarzee. There are 50 to choose from on the mountain itself and more than 100 others in the town. So good is Zermatt’s culinary scene that the airline Swiss offers signature dishes from Chez Vrony and Findlerhof.
Babysitting: Kinderparadies is a crèche for younger children of three months and upwards. Prices are from £87 per child, per day.
Kids from four can attend ski school. We recommend Stoked, which costs £374 per week, not including equipment hire. The school also operates a kids’ skiing race every Friday.
Those with younger children needn’t worry that they’ll be stuck in the chalet watching Peppa Pig dubbed into German. Childcare is on hand for kids of three months upwards and older ones can attend a combination of crèches and ski schools for full- or half-days. Yes, these are add-ons you’ll have to budget for but, given the location and level of service, they’re not unreasonable.
We were overjoyed to enjoy the daylight hours on the slopes, squeezing in a glass of glu?hwein by the fire at the Cervo Mountain Boutique Hotel before picking Arthur up at 5pm. Yes, it may cost a modest premium over other ski resorts, but this buys you a huge return in terms of experience.
Where to stay:
Getting there: Swiss flies from London Heathrow to Zurich, from £151 return. The airline will also send your bags direct to your final destination. Rail transfers with Swiss Railways from Zurich to Zermatt from £85
Best time to go: Eurpoes ski seasons fall across winter with the warmest ski month being March. for further information on the Matterhorn Ski Paradise area go to visit.zermatt.ch