Hotel in Crans-Montana
If there's ever a place to while away a grey day, it's the Crans Ambassador.
Its overcast and blowing a gale when we arrive at this newly opened five star hotel perched above Montana village – not ideal for a day on the slopes of Crans Montana. But spending the afternoon lazing around in the hotel isn't a bad alternative.
Originally built in 1972 but bought by its new owner in 2007 and completely renovated, the Crans Ambassador reopened last summer. The distinctive triangular shape of the building – designed to mirror the peaks above it – now houses an open, spacious, airy hotel which makes the most of the sumptuous mountain view from its lofty position in the village. Of its 60 rooms, most are south facing, therefore benefiting from the view and the sun. Floor-to-ceiling French windows and large balconies mean guests are well set-up for mountain-gazing. On the middle floors, the bar, restaurant, fitness suite and 16 metre spa pool are all glass fronted, while the inviting outdoor terrace provides further opportunity for taking in the panorama.
For a five star hotel, it is not as grand as you may expect. The décor is stylishly clean and simple rather than opulent – mountain-style red and white fabrics, dark wood, clean lines, plenty of glass – and the more expensive suites have little advantage over my premium room but extra space. On my visit a few teething problems are evident: divisions between balconies are not yet built, and a technical problem with the heating system means a rather over-heated night's sleep for us. But these will likely be ironed out quickly, and the ever-accommodating staff are always on hand to help with any issues.
When the weather does propel you to the slopes, it's easy from here. The hotel claims to be ski in-ski out, and indeed with enough snow to slide down the short path to the Montana-Cry d'Er cable car, it would be. On our visit it's too mild to do that, but it's minimal effort to carry equipment to the lift. When you're done for the day, storing your skis and boots in the rental shop attached to the hotel is a convenient bonus.
The heated pool, spa treatment rooms and low-lit, cosy bar are great assets to come home to. We enjoy a drink in the bar as the lights twinkle in the darkness below us, before heading to the restaurant to sample chef Olivier Androuin's menu, which ranges from pasta and risotto to bigger fish and meat dishes, all given the five star finish – black truffle shavings, foams and herb infusions. It's an interesting selection, served impeccably by friendly staff and a dedicated sommelier, but for me, the flavours didn't quite match the presentation.
The next day I fling back the curtains to see sun spilling over the valley – we will ski after all. Despite the lure of the hotel's many comforts, the Crans Ambassador is billed as a 'luxury sport resort'. I've had the luxury, now it's time to do some sport.
Caroline Bishop is a freelance journalist who recently swapped city life in London for outdoor adventures in Switzerland where she writes about travel, food and culture.
Photographs courtesy of Crans Ambassador
|Reviewer's Rating||★ ★ ★ ★ ★|
|Ambience||Incredible Staff, Cosy|
|Services||Free Parking, Restaurant, Room Service, Fitness Center, Swimming Pool, Health Spa|
|Number of Rooms||60 rooms & suites|
|Related Activity||Relaxation, Skiing / Winter sports|
Single (15-21 m²), Forest (21-30 m²), Forest Suite (north facing) 32 m², Deluxe (22-33 m²), Premium Room (27-40 m²), Romantic Room (44 m²), Suite (45-60 m²), Top Suite (57-70 m²).
Simple and stylish rather than opulent; accommodating staff.
Wine from 30CHF, Starters from 16CHF, Mains from 26CHF, 50% discount for children under 12. Massages from 100CHF.
Last updated on 02-10-2015