Cresta Palace Hotel in Celerina

Celerina, the village where the Cresta Palace is located, is only a few kilometers away from Sankt Moritz, but just like Pontresina and Silvaplana, it is known as an independent village only in Switzerland or southern Germany.

Mitten in Celerina weist ein Markierungsstein auf die Nachbarorte hin / © Foto: Georg Berg
In the middle of Celerina, a marker stone points out the neighboring villages / © Photo: Georg Berg

Switzerland promises travelers above all a wonderful experience of nature, and in the Upper Engadine there are also particularly rugged mountains in close proximity. I wonder if this is what the Roman legionaries thought when, instead of retreating from their Germanic campaigns, they simply stayed here in the narrow valleys? Their vulgar Latin is still the Rhaeto-Romanic spoken in Switzerland today as the fourth official language of 40,000 people.

Die Fahne des Kantons Graubünden besteht aus drei Teilen und erinnert damit an die drei Bünde, aus denen der heutige Kanton hervorging. Der schwarze Steinbock als Emblem des Gotteshausbundes, das geteilte Feld für den grauen Bund und das Blau-gelbe Kreuz für den Zehngerichtebund / © Foto: Georg Berg
The flag of the canton of Graubünden consists of three parts and thus recalls the three confederations from which the present canton emerged. The black ibex as the emblem of the covenant of God, the divided field for the gray covenant and the blue-yellow cross for the ten-court covenant / © Photo: Georg Berg
In der Schweiz ist auch das Rätoromanische, das nur von wenigen Menschen gesprochen wird, eine wichtige Sprache / © Foto: Georg Berg
In Switzerland, Romansh, spoken by only a few people, is also an important language / © Photo: Georg Berg

Magnificent history of the Cresta Palace

At the turn of the century, when vacations in the mountains became popular and the Engadine became more easily accessible by rail, it was decided to build a magnificent hotel in the immediate vicinity of Celerina’s new railroad station. At that time, the town consisted of two small districts, which had since been practically united.

Von der Straße aus ist die Fassade des vom Architekten Jost-Franz Huwyler-Boller entworfenen Cresta Palace kaum noch hinter den hohen Bäumen des Parks zu erkennen / © Foto: Georg Berg
From the street, the facade of the Cresta Palace, designed by architect Jost-Franz Huwyler-Boller, is barely visible behind the tall trees of the park / © Photo: Georg Berg

The turn-of-the-century style is still evident in many places inside the hotel today. In the early years, the clientele was international. Mainly English people appreciated the fresh air with weather without fog, especially in the winter season.

Zum Empfangsbereich des Cresta Palace gehört ein breiter Treppenaufgang und heutzutage selbstverständlich ist auch ein Personenaufzug / © Foto: Georg Berg
The reception area of the Cresta Palace includes a wide staircase and nowadays there is also a passenger elevator / © Photo: Georg Berg

It was only relatively late in the second half of the 20th century that automobile traffic brought about structural changes that are still visible today. For a long time, people despised the car as a luxury vehicle for idle sportsmen. But when in 1912 the German emperor did not want to spend his vacation in the Engadin only because of the strict ban on cars, a slow rethinking began. Ten referendums were necessary before cars could be allowed, the road network expanded and parking spaces created.

It is precisely the mixture of reminiscences of the past and the leisure activities on offer that makes the Cresta Palace a soothing oasis in the midst of the magnificent Engadine landscape.

Die Jugendstil-Halle im Cresta Palace ist fast unverändert erhalten. Zwischen imposanten Säulen informiert man sich auch heute noch über das Geschehen in der Welt. Hier gehört das Rascheln von Zeitungspapier nicht zu den ausgestorbenen Geräuschen / © Foto: Georg Berg
The Art Nouveau hall in the Cresta Palace has been preserved almost unchanged. Between imposing columns, you can still find out about what’s happening in the world today. Here the rustling of newsprint is not one of the extinct sounds / © Photo: Georg Berg

Relaxation and feasting at the Cresta Palace

The large spa area features everything from an indoor pool to various saunas and a room with fitness equipment, as well as several treatment rooms for individual massages and beauty treatments.

Das Wasser im Hallenbad hat angenehme 29°C / © Foto: Georg Berg
The water in the indoor pool is a pleasant 29°C / © Photo: Georg Berg
Der Saunabereich ist in ein angenehm natürliches Licht getaucht / © Foto: Georg Berg
The sauna area is bathed in a pleasant natural light / © Photo: Georg Berg
Die Fachkompetenz der Masseure ist besonders hervorzuheben. Hier erspürt und behandelt Andrea Solinger individuelle Schwachstellen und gibt nebenbei noch Hinweise, wie sich im Alltag die Verspannungen am besten vermeiden lassen / © Foto: Georg Berg
The expertise of the masseurs is particularly noteworthy. Here Andrea Solinger senses and treats individual weak points and also gives advice on how best to avoid tension in everyday life / © Photo: Georg Berg

The evening dinner is taken either in the large dining room under large chandeliers as a menu of the day or in the à la carte restaurant Giacomo.

Abendessen unter Swarowski Kronleuchtern / © Foto: Georg Berg
Dinner under Swarovski chandeliers / © Photo: Georg Berg
Tuna Tataki im Sesammantel mit Wasabi-Limetten-Creme fraiche und süß-saurem Gurkensalat / © Foto: Georg Berg
Tuna tataki wrapped in sesame seeds with wasabi lime creme fraiche and sweet and sour cucumber salad / © Photo: Georg Berg

The seared tuna appetizer at Giacomo captivates with its subtle roasted flavors and truly refreshing green crème fraiche. The beef tartare marinated with Armanac is also convincing. In combination with green and black olive earth, it is possible to play finely with the spiciness.

Rindstartar mit Armanac / © Foto: Georg Berg
Beef tartare with Armanac / © Photo: Georg Berg

For the süessi Troim: pillow menu à la carte

If you have already breathed deeply during the day in the healthy mountain air while hiking and biking, the bedtime heaviness is further supported at night with that special something. The Cresta Palace offers its guests a selection of different pillows filled with blends that have different effects.

An den Füllungen der Kopfkissen kann vor der Auswahl probegerochen werden. Ein Musterkoffer macht das Kissenmenü sinnlich erfahrbar / © Foto: Georg Berg
The fillings of the pillows can be tried before choosing. A sample case makes the pillow menu sensually tangible / © Photo: Georg Berg
  • A rose slumber pill ow has a wound-healing and harmonizing effect.
  • The powerful power blend in the Energetic pill ow is able to relieve insomnia, nervousness and headaches.
  • Enriched with powerful mountain herbs, the power pillow promotes concentration.
  • The headache relief pillow gets its effect from the refreshing effect of mint.
  • Restful sleep and good dreams are promised by the Betonika dream pillow, which is filled with original spelt husks and Hildegard herb.
  • The shavings of the high alpine Swiss stone pine (which is also called Swiss stone pine outside of Switzerland) spread a soothing resin scent that helps you sleep more deeply by lowering your pulse. In addition, the Swiss stone pine pillow reduces sweating in the neck and head area.
  • During colds, the Atemfrei cold pillow with eucalyptus, thyme, mountain sage and lime blossoms ensures clear airways.
  • The mixture in the Glückskräuter dream pillow provides for mood lightening: Elderflower, St. John’s wort, Lord’s wort, mistletoe, betonica, wild mint, rosemary, hibiscus flowers, cinnamon, cloves, orange and rosehip peels.
  • Particularly active people can calm their cardiovascular system with the mixture from the manager pillow: Arvenhobelflocken, Betonikakraut, Tghymian, mint and sage.
In Deutschland und Österreich kennt man die Zirbelkiefer unter dem Namen Zirbe. Nur in der Schweiz heißt sie Arve und in Celerina auf rätoromanisch Dschember. Bevor das Kauderwelsch aber zu kompliziert wird, ist man auf dem Arvenkissen schon eingeschlafen / © Foto: Georg Berg
In Germany and Austria, the Swiss stone pine is known by the name Swiss stone pine. Only in Switzerland it is called Arve and in Celerina in Rhaeto-Romanic Dschember. While you are still thinking about the gibberish, you have already fallen asleep on the Swiss stone pine pillow / © Photo: Georg Berg

Mountain railroads, bikes and wellness

Already upon arrival, the guest receives a ticket at the reception, with which all means of transportation in the area are available for free use. This relieves the vacation budget considerably, especially with the mountain railroads.

Mal eben zum Apéro-Konzert auf dem St. Moritz Jazz-Festival? Mit dem Bus dauert die Fahrt von der Haltestelle Cresta Palace in Celerina nur fünf Minuten / © Foto: Georg Berg
Just to the aperitif concert at the St. Moritz Jazz Festival? By bus, the journey from the Cresta Palace bus stop in Celerina takes just five minutes / © Photo: Georg Berg

The hotel is the ideal starting point for all leisure activities. Bus and train start in front of and behind the Cresta Palace. This makes it easy to reach all destinations, and the effectiveness of Swiss transportation is unparalleled anyway.

Auf Schienen fährt die Drahtseilbahn zum Muottas Muragl. Von dort oben hat man eine phantastische Aussicht und kann zu ausgedehnten Bergwanderungen starten / © Foto: Georg Berg
The cable car to Muottas Muragl runs on rails. From up there, you have a fantastic view and can set off on extensive mountain hikes / © Photo: Georg Berg
Aussicht von der Bergstation Muottas Muragl: Links unten im Tal liegt Pontresina, wo Angela Merkel sich regelmäßig von ihrem Amt als Bundeskanzlerin erholt hat. Im rechten Tal entlang der Seen aufgereiht die Orte Celerina, St. Moritz und im Hintergrund Silvaplana / © Foto: Georg Berg
View from the top station of Muottas Muragl: Down in the valley to the left is Pontresina, where Angela Merkel regularly recuperated from her stint as German Chancellor. In the valley to the right, lined up along the lakes, are the towns of Celerina, St. Moritz and, in the background, Silvaplana / © Photo: Georg Berg
Da staunt der Hoteldirektor auf dem E-Bike. Einen Reisenden, der hoch zu Ross Graubünden durchquert, sieht auch er nicht alle Tage / © Foto: Georg Berg
Even the hotel director on the e-bike is amazed. Even he doesn’t see a traveler crossing Graubünden on horseback every day / © Photo: Georg Berg

In addition to the mountain bikes provided free of charge by the hotel, e-bikes can also be rented for an additional fee. Kai W. Ulrich is the hotel director at Cresta Palace and doesn’t miss the opportunity to guide us to some spots that are best tackled under your own steam.

Through a large contiguous mixed pine-larch forest we reach the Lej da Staz, which is one of the most popular bathing lakes for the locals.

Vom Steg in den Lej da Staz zu springen ist in der sonst so mondänen Gegend um St. Moritz ein echter Geheimtipp / © Foto: Georg Berg
Jumping from the footbridge into the Lej da Staz is a real insider tip in the otherwise so sophisticated area around St. Moritz / © Photo: Georg Berg

On the way to the Morteratsch glacier, the climate-induced melting of the glacier is impressively documented. Hotel director Ulrich finds it frightening that Switzerland’s most important drinking water supply is also disappearing with the glaciers.

Bis zu dieser Stelle füllte der Morteratsch-Gletscher noch 1970 das Tal aus / © Foto: Georg Berg
Up to this point, the Morteratsch glacier still filled the valley in 1970 / © Photo: Georg Berg

Statiun da Basa – base station at the hotel

The starting point for all outdoor activities at the Cresta Palace Hotel is the Statiun da Basa. Here at the base station, as the Rhaeto-Romanic term translates, there is not only the equipment for all activities. The staff can help plan tours and also arrange courses in climbing, biking, golf or tennis for professional athletes and amateurs.

Die Sicherheit beim Klettern beginnt schon vor dem Aufstieg: mit den richtigen Knoten / © Foto: Georg Berg
Safety in climbing begins before the ascent with the right knots / © Photo: Georg Berg
Auch wer noch nie so steile Felsen bezwungen hat, lernt ungeahnte Fähigkeiten an sich kennen / © Foto: Georg Berg
Even those who have never conquered such steep rocks will learn unexpected skills about themselves / © Photo: Georg Berg
Das Abseilen vor dem Massiv des Piz Palü ist die Belohnung am Ende des Kletter-Einführungskurses / © Foto: Georg Berg
Abseiling in front of the massif of Piz Palü is the reward at the end of the introductory climbing course / © Photo: Georg Berg

Meditation on the alp

On Tuesday morning we have to get up early, because a special kind of nature experience awaits us. Dressed warmly, we board the chairlift to Alp-Languard in Pontresina before the normal passenger service. At the top, the group lays out some blankets on a separate patch and begins an hour-long meditation with a view of the Bernina massif.

Höchste Konzentration auf den Bergen mit Meditationslehrerin Barbara Tuena / © Foto: Georg Berg
Highest concentration on the mountains with meditation teacher Barbara Tuena / © Photo: Georg Berg
A beauty of a beast. Der Bulle staunt nicht schlecht. Was die Menschen auf seiner Alp so alles anstellen ... ? / © Foto: Georg Berg
A beauty of a beast. The bull is amazed. What people are doing on his alp … ? / © Photo: Georg Berg

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Die Kosten der Halbpension wurden vom Hotel nicht berechnet

Travel Topics on Tellerrand-Stories

Our mode of operation is characterized by self-experienced, well-researched text work and professional, vivid photography. For all stories, travel impressions and photos are created in the same place. Thus, the photos complement and support what is read and carry it further.

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