Stealing away from Milan to St. Moritz is a weekend delicacy, but it is also fraught with logistical aggravations for those of us with full time jobs and no butler. There is the basement to raid for ski supplies, the four-wheel-drive car to rent, the hotel or house rental to organize, the German-speaking COOP supermarket to navigate, the ski parking lot to squeeze into, the ski rental shop to deal with, the lift tickets to buy, and the over-subscribed restaurants to book.
When Giorgio Armani organizes your ski weekend, however, every hassle imaginable magically disappears. Last weekend the Italian designer hosted 20 international journalists for the opening of his new boutique in St. Moritz (and was kind enough to allow us to bring our significant others along for the ride). My husband and my usual eight overstuffed suitcases were slimmed down to two impossibly slim, carry-on-sized bags, because Mr. Armani arranged for our new, complete Emporio Armani ski outfits (mine all white, my husband’s blue and black) to be laid out on our bed upon arrival at the grand Badrutt’s Palace Hotel. Our boots and skis, meanwhile, were custom fitted in five minutes in the hotel’s chic basement after a 30-second seamless check-in. There was no GPS system to scream at on the 2.5-hour ride to St. Moritz because Mr. Armani had thoughtfully sent a shiny chauffeured Mercedes S class car (stocked with Armani chocolates) to our home to collect us. There were no lines to wait in while freezing our buns off, because our ski lift tickets were pre-loaded into our Armani jackets, as if we were bionic ski people.
The snafu-less adventure let us sink deeply into the joys of Engadina, the long, winding Swiss valley where St. Moritz is but one town out of more than twenty. Our first night we were hosted for dinner in the small town of La Punt at Giorgio Armani’s own four-story home, which looks traditionally Swiss on the outside but rigorously Japanese on the inside and features closets pre-stocked with Mr. Armani’s all-navy uniform. We were asked to remove our shoes prior to crossing the threshold. But guess how the designer softened that blow? We were each issued a pair of black velvet Giorgio Armani evening slippers.
The next day we skied down the sparkling slopes of the Corvatsch mountain, broken down into small groups led by smiling Emporio Armani-clad ski instructors. We stopped for a group lunch at Kuhstall, a cave-like stone lodge with sheepskin-covered benches on the slopes where we dined on bratwurst the size of baseball bats and rosti potatoes pan fried in butter. That night, we were tucked under shearling blankets and shuttled in horse-drawn sleighs across the snowy banks of Silvaplana to the tiny town of Sur Lej, where we dined at the charming, wood-carved Bellavista restaurant. The following day, after blizzardy ski sessions, we collapsed in happiness at El Paradiso, the chicest restaurant on St. Moritz’s slopes, for a decadent lunch of salmon, roasted chicken and ratatouille.
Fully pampered, we ate, drank, danced and laughed our hearts out with fellow journalist friends like W magazine’s Karla Martinez, System magazine’s Elizabeth Von Guttman, British Vogue’s Sarah Harris and Wallpaper*’s Nick Vinson. “This was the best weekend ever,” said Vanity Fair’s Michael Carl on Sunday afternoon, sipping tea in the Palace hotel. “I don’t want to leave.”
– J.J Martin