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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Die Kosten der Halbpension wurden vom Hotel nicht berechnet