To succeed as a high-end hotel these days, food and beverage programs cannot be viewed as mere afterthought. More than ever, clientele are coming to these special places specifically for wining and dining. This ongoing series is dedicated to them. We’re circling the globe in search of the hotel bars and bistros that are destinations in their own right. And we’re kicking off under the shadow of one of the world’s most iconic peaks.
The Matterhorn is a majestic crag soaring some 14,700-feet towards the sky. It stands guard over the alpine ski village of Zermatt, a quaint town which banned the use of gas engine vehicles all the way back in 1966. Suspended five stories above those car-less streets—and accessed by way of a Batcave-like portal—is The Omnia mountain lodge.
Although a markedly modern structure, the hotel melds effortlessly into its cliffside surroundings. This seamlessness is owed to the materials and craftsmanship which went into the design, all of it meant to capture the tradition of the Valais region it calls home. Even the furnishings here were custom built in Switzerland. Floor to ceiling windows afford most of the 30 guest rooms unfettered vantages of the Matterhorn. You don’t feel as though you’re looking out at the Alps. You feel as if you’re in them.
Since opening in 2017 the property has devoted itself to food and drink befitting the scenery—as evidenced by the Michelin star it collected after just two years in operation. The newest executive chef, Tony Rudolph, has shifted to a vegetarian-minded menu, where the greens are the centerpiece of any plate and the sustainably-sourced fish and meat are secondary considerations. That being said, he still prides himself on the finest rendering of Wienerschnitzel in town.
While the unique dining experience unfolds in a solitary space—two floors below the lobby—the beverage program at The Omnia benefits from multiple points of operation. The main bar, known as the Board Room, is a modern setting where guests can get up close and personal with the talented staff as they prepare signature cocktails including the Moonrunner, which combines cognac, sauternes, Suze and soda into a beautifully balanced highball.
Adjacent to the Board Room is the cozy Lounge Room, where a cache of rare scotch and Irish whisky is kept amidst bookshelves. Imbibers enjoy digestif here in front of the roaring fireplace, in a setting that feels very more like home library than watering hole. But before they can make it to this part of the evening they must endure one of the most dramatically scenic après-skis of their lives on the Terrace Bar. Afternoons here are spent watching the sun set behind the Matterhorn with Hugo and Aperol Spritzes in-hand. The neighboring hot tub boasts a similarly spectacular overlook. Waitstaff make a habit of delivering Swiss craft beer to waterlogged patrons. There’s nothing quite so relaxing as suds while you soak.
At dinner, an expansive wine list showcases the viticultural exceptionalism of Switzerland, Germany and Austria. A roving schnapps cart arrives after the meal, accompanied by a knowledgeable server who patiently explains the intricacies of this oft-overlooked category of spirit. A dedication to libation even follows you back to your suite, which comes equipped with decanters of bourbon, refilled complimentarily throughout the stay.
After departing The Omnia you’ll undoubtedly be left with fond memories of the food and drink you enjoyed along the way. The fact that you can remember anything else beyond its legendary setting speaks volumes; it turns out it’s not just the Matterhorn but the service that soars here. Room rates start at $415 a night.