I’ve been to Zermatt before and it stole my heart. The bewitching village swallows you up. It draws you to every snow-covered window ledge. It stops you in your tracks to mentally photograph the enchanting streets that filter off to welcoming chalets and hotels filled with log fires, rugged up guests and that alluring scent of mulled wine.
This time I arrive with my companion, Mike on that same enchanting Glacier Express train that gently trundles up through the mountains, enticing you with the snow capped mountains in the distance. Your inner child inevitably kicks in. The train is filled with silence as its passengers sit jaws open at the magical scenery.
As we arrive into the station of Zermatt and head to The Omnia, my head floods with what this hotel humbly suggests it provides. I am curious to see if it the brochure matches with reality.
We arrive at the hotel. Like a scene from James Bond, we are taken through a small, non-descript entrance to maximise the impact. The glass doors silently part to reveal a beautifully carved tunnel, seductively lit and warmed to perfection. As we disembark, the driver calls the lift and privately smiles. No doubt he’s seen the reactions before.
A vast range of spa facilities, an indoor/outdoor pool and ski passes
The dark lift walls convert into floor to ceiling glass, revealing the most mesmerising view of snow filled Zermatt. We are hovering above this dream and, as the doors open to reception we stand, speechlessly gazing at this visual drug. The faces of newly arrived guests must forever entertain the reception staff as they exchange a silent smile and warmly welcome us to The Omnia.
With genuine enthusiasm and ease, we are efficiently taken through checking in, informed about the vast range of unique spa facilities, indoor/outdoor pool, Cavern lounge bar and ski passes booked so no queuing required. As we book our evening dinner, I hear crackling of the log fire behind us and turn to see the grandiose Matterhorn mountain. The giant of the giants.
Unlike many hotels that limit such indulgences, a burning log fire, the Matterhorn and the expansive views of the mountain range are there to greet us in our opulent but understated suite. I walk to the window and rub my eyes still not believing this view. I then spy the telescope to further feed my new obsession.
I’m giddy with attention to detail. Placed on the table is a complimentary decanter of whiskey, a personal welcome from the owner. It is the perfect synergy for our surroundings – and for what is to come.
Enjoying outdoor whirlpool, before we go skiing
I feel thoroughly spoilt as we venture down to the spa in our robes and slippers. My body physically drops, the tension leaves as we open the doors to the indoor/outdoor pool. I am a child in a candy store. Do I go into the Finnish Sauna first? Or the Turkish Bath? I’ve never experienced a Petal Steam Room and the Caldarium sounds so a treat. I explore one, then another, then quickly do it all again (I’m sure this isn’t what you are supposed to do) but the pure indulgence of it all is surreal. Then, as I slip into the swimming pool that extends outside, I see it. The outdoor whirlpool, steaming and bubbling, waiting to soothe those weary limbs from a day of skiing. Oh yes, I am supposed to be here skiing! What is this hotel doing to me?
My priorities are changing. I’m feeling calm, relaxed. Good god, I want to get into the Petal Steam Room again but I don’t want to leave the Whirlpool. Dilemma, dilemma. As I drink in to view around me, watching the Gornergrat railway silently silkworm its way in the darkness, 3000 metres up the side of the mountain, a familiar question pops into my head. Where is my phone? I don’t care. The Omnia has me and tomorrow I have those seductive slopes to conquer, but I honestly, for the first time in my life, just want to get back here.
Australians skiing in Zermatt, Switzerland
Can Australians ski? Funny the reputation we bronzed ocean loving Aussies get asked by the European skiing community whilst we ride together in the ultra efficient gondolas. The good natured cross examination by snow loving locals crosses our paths frequently and is an ever present reminder we are in foreign territory. We stand, looking down over the alluring blanket of Zermatt, feeling the majestic Matterhorn that frankly looks photoshopped into the skyline. The expansive windows of the Giants (the mountains) allure you and your computer, phone become discordant with the environment. It’s disrespectful and mindless to even consider. You have pure raw history surrounding you.
Here you see, feel, hear, touch, smell – you cannot portray this in a photo. It is literally pure magic. You just have to stop. Absorb. Take mental pictures. Breathe and realise this is the ultimate. The relentless views are a constant distraction from the reason you are here; the ultimate skiing experience.
White powder and cable car lifts with panoramic scenery
There are long runs that present a challenge for every level of skier, white powder, cable car lifts with panoramic scenery that rival any views anywhere in the world, ski fields or not. The skiing gods were on our side ensuring four days straight of brilliant sunshine as the Zermatt adventure rolled on. Most antipodean skiers don’t have the opportunity of seeing what a big a difference the length of run makes to your skiing experience. Double and triple length of runs compared to the local slopes combined with large swift lift experiences ensures maximum ski time and maximum enjoyment. Leaving the behind the snow covered alps and the sparsely populated crisp fresh white powdered slopes on our first day didn’t seem humanly possible except for one reason alone; I want to get back to The Omnia.
We venture down to an experience I’d been looking forward to. The Omnia restaurant has been awarded one Michelin star and 15 Gault Milau points. It’s contemporary, delicate cuisine is a refreshing change from other restaurants in Zermatt, experimenting with seasonal produce and presented with unpretentious passion.
The Omnia restaurant: Executive Chef, Hauke Pohl
Executive Chef, Hauke Pohl is renowned for his creativity, with fresh, clean, unique plates that are in keeping with your environment – impressive, indulgent and dignified. So I am excited, but I am not sure Chef Hauke would be quite so as I am vegan and, in there lies a potential challenge as we throw down the gauntlet, requesting the six course gourmet menu, vegan style.
My apologetic request is met with respect and genuine enthusiasm; I am told Chef Hauke enjoys challenges and thrives on providing food for any dietary requirement without compromise. Rather than offering a limiting menu, the staff present his creations through a newly considered tasting experience, vegan style. I feel like I am their favourite guest ever; their attention to detail, fervour and genuine interest about you installs a feeling of belonging but, as I scan the beautiful dining room, I see they are just as passionate as their pioneer about providing such an experience to all guests. This spirit seems so natural and authentic from all the staff at The Omnia, once again mirroring the energising surroundings that humbly boast natural phenomenon’s of exposed minerals and rocks.
So we then have our next challenge. Choosing the wine. We love wine but are no connoisseurs. Our stay at The Omnia has clearly illustrated its ability to choose and provide the ultimate so, when asked if we would like our meal to be paired with their recommended wines, it would seem foolish not to take advantage of this experts’ choice. And, with that, they venture off with sincere eagerness to start our evening of culinary excellence.
We are introduced with fresh breads that defy any bread I’ve ever tasted before. My personal deal not to fill up on bread immediately goes out the snow covered window. I still crave it now. Complimented with a unique selection of amuse-bouche, the dinner immediately takes a turn. No longer are we sharing as it all tastes too exquisite; the staff (who thought I was their best guest ever) eye the cutlery on the table. Thankfully, weapons down, we are introduced to the most glorious wine to compliment this array of fresh flavours. As with our initial reaction to entering The Omnia, I think they have seen this desire many times before.
A hotel that hangs onto the side of the mountain, overlooking Zermatt
One by one, we are seduced with dishes that touch all your senses. Beautifully presented and earnestly introduced, your vision is pampered with colour, whilst the scent certifies the freshness of ingredients, the taste is oh so decadent as you touch and feel the textures in your mouth. You listen to the love and thought that has been injected into each dish, admiring the magic of how Chef Hauke and his team have turned a simple carrot, pomelos, mushroom, beetroot and various other vegetable into extraordinary individual dishes that defy possibility.
The Omnia is my drug. I am addicted. This understated hotel that hangs onto the side of the mountain, overlooking Zermatt has won. You have fulfilled my every desire.
Hotel facilities: Cuisine, spa area, private balconies, wi-fi, taxi service, winter sports
Situated on a rock, 45 m above the roofs of central Zermatt, guests access The Omnia via a tunnel leading to an elevator, which brings them right into the lobby.
Guests can taste refined international cuisine made from selected seasonal ingredients in the restaurant or on the terrace. After dinner, guests can relax on the sofa in front of the fireplace, sipping an espresso or a grappa.
The spa area offers various treatments to unwind after a day in the fresh mountain air.
All units vary in layout and size and feature elegant modern design and private balconies.
Wireless internet is available in the entire hotel free of charge.
The Omnia offers its own taxi service to and from Zermatt railway station, the car park or the heliport. A shuttle or helicopter service to the airports can be arranged by the hotel team as well.
Zermatt’s winter sports area can be reached within a 15-minute walk or by electrically-powered buses and taxis.