SWISS ALPINE DIARIES
Business Traveller India|November 2021
Exploring the picture perfect Swiss towns of Engelberg and Zermatt
AKANKSHA MAKER

Cooped up at home since a few months, when I got the opportunity to visit Switzerland, it's safe that I jumped on it. The country was one of the first to open up to Indians – and those of us who are double vaccinated with Covishield can enter without an RTPCR test.

And it fits; Indians have loved this country since decades. I remember my grandparents telling me stories of their times in Switzerland and how Bollywood movies played a key role in catalysing the Swiss love affair.

My second visit to this gorgeous country came with a lot of anticipation and excitement. Boarding the Lufthansa flight to Frankfurt (I flew Business Flex on the Mumbai-Frankfurt-Zurich route) — I slept my way through the night flight, only to wake up fresh and ready for my adventurous week. Landing into Zurich Flughafen (airport) felt like homecoming; spotting Coop and Migros (the popular departmental stores of Switzerland) put a smile on my face as I reminisced my previous travels here. The signs of SBB: Swiss Federal Railways instantly a enlivened me to hop onto the quintessential Swiss train journeys again! Boasting of precision and high frequency, the Swiss train system is perhaps the most ideal way to explore the length and breadth of the country. You can access every corner of the nation via only a few train a changes. It's also extremely simple to navigate. Get the SBB Mobile app on your phone and you're good to go. Do always try to find a window seat; as every rail journey is an exhibit of classic panoramas; grazing cows amid lush landscapes with mountainous backdrops, sweeping views of tranquil lakes, architecturally vivid chalets and a charming mix of cityscape and the countryside.

My first stop was Engelberg, an alpine town situated in central Switzerland and also the access point for Mount Titlis. Since I was there in the middle of autumn (end of September), the weather was just lovely. There was a nip in the air in the afternoons and evenings got quite chill and I wasn't complaining as it was a wonderful getaway from the Mumbai heat! Arriving at the station, a buggy from the recently opened (June 2021) Kempinski Palace Engelberg Titlis - Swiss Alps was waiting for me. Driving through the village, I instantaneously fell in love with its alluring character defined by Swiss-style chalets, homely cafes and petite by-lanes with the magnificent, snow covered Swiss Alps in the backdrop.

Checking into my Premier room at Kempinski Palace, I was enamoured by its modern Swiss design and the picture perfect views of the alps and chalets around. The raw luxury of the room effortlessly complements this alpine village, making it a comforting sanctuary for your time in Engelberg.

An evening high-tea at the Wintergarden tea salon was an ideal way to begin my Swiss sojourn. As the sun slowly set in this quaint village, I sipped on some jasmine tea alongside deliciously curated nibbles that were light and delicious.

Since I was quite exhausted with the travel, I decided to spend some time by its indoor swimming pool that overlooks the mountains — unwinding done right.

Dinner at the hotel's in-house Swiss restaurant Cattani was an indulgence with its “farm-to-table” concept that amalgamates high-quality ingredients with intricate culinary compositions to create a scrumptious journey through Switzerland.

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