Say what you will about 007’s enemies, but they sure have an interesting taste in architecture. So, when I compare the OMNIA Hotel in Zermatt, Switzerland to the luxury pad of one of Bond’s siblings, I’m very impressed.
When it comes to the right hideout, it’s all about location, location, location, and OMNIA certainly has the dramatic setting covered. This 30-room boutique hotel is located on a slope above the chalet-filled village of Zermatt, nestled in a valley near the base of the Matterhorn.
The resort is popular for skiing in the winter and walking and cycling in the summer, but it is best known as a base for mountaineers keen to conquer the strangely tilted Matterhorn peak, which rises above Zermatt’s convex slopes.
Arrive in style
Of course, one doesn’t head to the villain’s lair and ring the doorbell like a cheeky hoax or hoax. An exotic entrance is a must, and OMNIA Hotel does not disappoint.
When my wife and I got off at Zermatt’s train station, we were greeted by a livery driver in an electric bus — essentially a stretch limousine version of a golf cart — emblazoned with the hotel’s moniker ALL CAPS. (Zermatt’s city center appears to be “car-free,” though pedestrians can still enjoy a Frogger-style adrenaline rush by dodging electric cars, scooters, and bicycles.)
Within minutes, we reach what appears to be a dead end at the bottom of the bluff… until a set of sliding glass doors open, and our shuttle zips through the gap into a dimly lit tunnel. This cave leads to an elevator that takes us to Central 21street Century Alpine Gallery, which the late New York-based architect Ali Tayyar may have designed with Ian Fleming in mind.
The reception area feels like a sleek, contemporary living room, with leather sofas and armchairs, a stone fireplace with an industrial-looking flute, and a library housing a variety of whiskies, as well as volumes on art and photography.
Just one flight down, there’s a spacious “wellness” area, where guests can enjoy the indoor and outdoor pool (thankfully free of the toothy sharks 007 encountered in Thunder), you can fish in an outdoor whirlpool overlooking the Matterhorn, and relax in the Finnish sauna, Turkish bath and steam room.
If your bones haven’t turned to jelly yet, I recommend a Lomi Lomi massage with Rebecca, whose subtly applied pressure doesn’t stop until you’re forced to reveal the nuclear launch codes. bliss.
The restaurant is in keeping with the hotel’s elegant Scandinavian aesthetic, with pale wood floors, sturdy granite tables and a sofa by the fireplace. Chef Tony Rudolph focuses on sustainable regional and seasonal dishes, including Pangea-sized pork chop and delicious raclette.
But it is best known for its creative vegetarian tasting menu, which guests are very welcome to supplement with fish or meat if they want to go off-piste. To paraphrase the famous dialogue between 007 and Auric Goldfinger, “Do you expect me to talk?” “No, Mr. Bond, I expect you to… have dinner!”
After dinner, with our tummies exploding, we took the glass elevator with a view of the twinkling lights of Zermatt, and then headed to our Tower Suite, which is truly a gorgeous hotel. sweet.
The decor is simple and modern, with a large living/dining room surrounded by a semicircular sofa, a polished granite fireplace, a wet bar stocked with complimentary bourbon, two bathrooms, and a king-size bed topped with a king-size bed. Soft marshmallow quilt.
But the most impressive feature is the view. Floor-to-ceiling windows span two walls and lead to a pair of balconies overlooking the valley and snow-capped peaks. The most important of these mountains is the Matterhorn, or so we were told.
On the first day of our visit, a swirling mist sweeps across the lowlands and slides up the slopes, so that the dreamy peaks seem to perform a dramatic dance with the clouds. We only get a glimpse of the Mata Hari Matterhorn, even though we have a telescope in our room pointed at the sexy seductress.
Refusing to be let down by this meteorological cloaking device, I decided to get to the bottom (if not the top) of the mountain’s magic with a visit to the Matterhorn Museum, located a five-minute walk from THE OMNIA.
The entrance resembles a small glass igloo, but like an iceberg, there is much more beneath the surface. The two underground levels include a theater showing breathtaking footage of climbing expeditions, recreating Zermatt as it looked in the 19th century, with rough-hewn wooden structures lining a cobblestone street.
There’s a narrow cabin, a church, and several farm buildings surrounded by a zoo filled with stuffed animals, from the exotic caribou to the humble chicken and even a mule. (If you stand long enough, they stuff it.)
But the most interesting structure is the Historical Alpine Museum, filled with beloved old photographs and actual artifacts from expeditions, including a frayed rope from 1865, in which seven climbers reached the summit for the first time, but lost four of their number. To go down when that lifeline broke.
The adjacent mountain guides’ hut includes a model of the Matterhorn complete with buttons you can press to light up the different ascent routes, as well as plaques listing the names of climbers who have ascended the twisting beast. Many of those who did not survive are buried near the museum in the Mountaineers’ Cemetery, a memorial to these brave men and women.
From Zermatt with love
From here, I suggest a stroll through Hinterdorf, the oldest part of the village, where a collection of charming wooden structures date back to the 16th century.y a century. Then stock up on souvenirs on Bahnhofstrasse, where shops sell basically what you’d expect – outdoor gear and clothing, wine and cheese, Swiss army knives, luxury watches, etc.
But Davis offers something extra that tempts passersby with shiny models of race cars, speedboats and airplanes; Gold and silver jewelry. And cute gadgets like a Steampunk-style bird with moving wings – the perfect gift for the Q in your life.
Robin Siha, whose father Peter opened the store 30 years ago, has seen a significant increase in international visitors over the past decades. “Yes, there are big companies. There’s McDonald’s. But the people are very good at hospitality, and the essence of the village, its roots and its spirit, is still there.”
This spirit is embodied in the famous Matterhorn, and on the day before our departure, we were delighted that they had been so kind as to provide us with an appearance. As the harsh sun burns away the mist, the mountain sheds its gauzy veil, and suddenly, there she is, in all her naked glory.
I’ve drooled over countless Toblerone bars adorning those distinctive cliffs, and the sight of their silhouette against a bright blue sky leaves me breathless.
So, if you’re looking for an exciting view, head to Zermatt. Bond children may come and go, but the Matterhorn will remain forever.