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The Best of Europe: The Riffelalp Resort Review

Zermatt, Switzerland  |  Matterhorn

Resort Website:

Trip Advisor Review Link:


The Best Kept Secret in Europe - With the Best View in the World The Riffelalp Resort at 2222 meters 

Zermatt, Switzerland


Review of: Riffelalp Resort Suite 2222


Snapshot Quick Overview of: The most amazing view in Europe, of the

iconic Matterhorn. Resort is above Zermatt.


Views of Sunrise and Sunset: Located half way up the Gornergrat, it has the best view of the western sky and sunset than anywhere in the region. The Matterhorn is in the foreground.


Bar: Cozy bar with nightly wood fire.


Restaurant: Fantastic breakfast buffet, and separate fondue restaurant

Al Bosco with the best fondue in the area.


Dining: Casual to fancy dining, with incredible fondue.


Service: Great service, as you expect in a high-end resort.


Snapshot Dress Code: Mountain casual at breakfast, and at Ristorante

Al Bosco (and Sun Terrace), Mark Twain Lounge (Sun Terrace), with

nicer dress in the five start Restaurant Alexandre. In the winter,

Walliserkeller is open downstairs.


Breakfast: Located in Alexandre, a very satisfying buffet is set up,

along with made to order entrees.


Food Quality: Fondue amazing, cheese fantastic, most other food great,

the only exception was the cheeseburger (not a fan of poor tasting

European beef).


Resort Location: Best location and view in Europe. This resort is a classic.


Getting Around: Walking and small electric rail car from resort to

Gornergrat station. Hiking from resort. Short cogwheel train to top of

Gornergrat, or back down to the main station below in the village of



Booking Reservations: By website or email reservations.


How To Get There: Zermatt is accessible by rail, then take the cograil

up the Gornergrat. Get mountain pass for seamless travel around.


What Worked: Check-in and out fantastic. Service was great. Location

fantastic. Very attentive staff. You’ll feel like you’re at home.


What Needs Improvement: Trying to get reservations at the limited

seating Al Bosco (for fondue) was a hassle. Plan ahead since this is

the only restaurant you can get fondue, and it is closed Monday and

Wednesday. On weekends, it fills up fast.


The Experience: Amazing. I traveled in September and like the cool

fall weather. Was full of sunshine.


Website Experience:


Cost Per Day: $500-$1,000+


Summary: This will be the fourth time I’ve been at The Riffelalp

(since 2004), and it just keeps getting better and better. The resort

recently went through a complete renovation, and the results are

spectacular. Let me start off by saying that this is one of my most

favorite resorts on Earth. While I’m not a skier, or fan of cold

weather (I live in Wisconsin USA), trekking to the alpine regions

after a hot summer in the midwest, is fantastic. Hiking and riding

cable cars, followed by a nice swim in the outdoor pool, while

enjoying the ever-changing mystique of the Matterhorn as the clouds

dance amongst its peak, provide an appetite that is only partially

satisfied by the sweet aroma of cheese fondue as it is prepared table

side. This resort has the best Europe has to offer, from the location,

view, and service. Enjoying Swiss cheese fondue, while watching the

sunset behind the Matterhorn, is unequaled anywhere in the world. Most

alpine resorts are located in a valley, where you can’t enjoy the

panoramic view the Alps have to offer. The Riffelalp takes advantage

of its plateau above Zermatt, to offer a stunning view of the Alps.

Even more so, the resort offers its guests the iconic Swiss immersion



Overall Impressions: You don’t have to wonder very long to figure out

why you’ll fall in love with The Riffelalp. It challenges your senses.

Take night for example. If you’re lucky enough to travel during a

partial or full Moon, the Matterhorn and village of Zermatt far below,

is bathed in a cool white glow. Even better, if it’s a bit cool

outside, and you have some clouds below (which at times obscure the

village of Zermatt), you feel like you are in the sky. It’s amazing. I

travel around the world, and like to experience the dance between the

Moon, the Sun, and the ever changing weather (clouds) which make up

the colors of a sunrise, and sunset. The Riffelalp gives you that

experience, and more.


Compared To Other: Most resorts are located in a valley, or in a

village, which obscure the amazing panorama that the Alps has to

offer. I seek out resorts that take command of the view, and offer it

up in all its glory. I’m there to see the mountains, the peaks with

snow, the clouds and beautiful contrast between the sky and peaks.

Check In: The hallmark of a epic resort, is the seamless check-in,

check-out, and service. This resort excels in all those areas.

Full Review: While there are plenty of new resorts to sample, I find

myself always coming back to The Riffelalp. It’s one of those places

that feels like home, where you can truly relax, enjoy the Alps, and

fantastic fondue. I don’t know about you, but for me location and the

view is everything. I’ll trade-in almost every other wish, for a great

view. In this case, it’s all about the Matterhorn. One of the most

majestic mountains in Europe (and the world), The Riffelalp has taken

every advantage to keep this stunning mountain in view as much as



I arrived at The Riffelalp after a overnight flight from the USA, and

cleared customs in a matter of minutes in Geneva, then hopped on an

awaiting train at the airport. Planning ahead, I purchased a Swiss

Transfer Ticket online, which allows you to travel to your destination

resort and back for one price, and least amount of hassle. Since my

stay was only to visit The Riffelalp, this worked perfect. The price

is CHF 247 round trip (1st class) and available for nonresidents.

Swiss Rail (SBB) offers other ticketing options, including unlimited

travel for days or weeks (or even a year) at a time. The about four

hour train to Zermatt included only one transfer, and was a fantastic

way to relax and enjoy the scenery from the lake region, into the



Upon arrival at Zermatt, the main train station is across the street

from the Gornergrat Bahn station, which also allows you to purchase

ticking for the various modes of alpine transportation. Typically, you

will be greeted by a porter with the resort, who will give you a one

way ticket from Gornergrat station and help with your luggage, up to

the Riffelalp station by cogwheel rail. The cogwheel rail has

turnstyles to get onto the train, and exit the station, so hold on to

your ticket. Here is a great tip if you plan on riding the many cable

car lifts up to the peaks in the area: buy a Peak Pass in advance. A

four day pass (which allows you unlimited rides on all mountain

transportation) is around CHF 221 which is a great deal, compared to

adding up all separate lift passes. For example, a Gornergrat ticket

is CHF 47, and a Matterhorn lift is CHF 57, and Rothorn is SHF18. When

you’re traveling back and forth to Zermatt, and taking lifts to hiking

trails, this quickly pays for itself. If you have some type of

reduction card, you will need to purchase at the station, versus



Summer Schedule Until 23 September (check timetables online): The

Gornergrat Bahn leaves about every 24 minutes from either station

(Zermatt or top of Gornergrat) with last train leaving Zermatt going

up around 9:50 pm to the resort. The earliest departure from Zermatt

going up is 7:00 am.


On the ride up, you’ll get a beautiful view of a waterfall on the left

side of the train, and go through wooded alpine forests. The ride up

to the Riffelalp train stop is about 20 minutes. Once there, you can

board the small electric rail car that the resort has, or just walk

the beautiful wood path (it’s flat) to the resort which is about 5-10

minutes). The train is great, and worth a ride at least one while you

are there. It’s definitely one of the hallmark features of the resort.

Upon arrival at the front desk, you are seamlessly greeted and shown

to your suite. Once again, the service at the resort is excellent.

After I settled in, and had some lunch, I took a tour of the property,

and was shown the renovations, upgrades, and some rooms which I had

never seen before (including a bowling alley and games room). The

resort is great for couples and families.


My room, Suite 2222 was the larger of the suites, with a kids suite

(bunk beds and separate bathroom), large living room, dining room

table, huge master suite and beautiful master bathroom. Of course, the

view of the Matterhorn was amazing. You can leave the shades open at

night, and look at the Matterhorn, as it shows its many moods, while

being caressed with Moonlight as the peak dances with the clouds.

When making travel plans, note that the resort closed in mid

September, so be sure to get there before they close for the summer

season. I like to travel in the shoulder seasons, to avoid crowds, and

you have better room options. My favorite time to travel is in

September before they close for the season.

I have some favorite parts of the resort, but overall you won’t be

disappointed in any suite.


Favorite Restaurant: In the summer, Al Bosco, which is where you can

sit outside and eat a pizza for lunch, or inside at night, with a wood

fire, to warm the nights mountain chill, while eating fondue. This is

the only restaurant at the resort where you can order fondue and

raclettes, so be sure to make reservations as it has limited seating,

and closed two days of the week. The first time visiting in 2004, I

had the pleasure to dine at the basement restaurant Walliserkeller,

which has to be hands-down, the most cozy, romantic restaurant in the

world. Unfortunately, it’s not open in the summer season. The fondue

and raclette operations have been moved out to the separate building,

at Al Bosco.


Favorite Bar: The Mark Twain Lounge has a wood fired fireplace, which

is the best place to relax after a long day of hiking, our touring the

peaks by cable car. Since the Al Bosco has limited hours, and you need

reservations (due to its popularity), I ate a few dinners here, since

I was traveling alone for the first part of my stay. Service is

excellent, and they’re very accommodating (if you want casual, just

eat dinner at the bar). Drinks are great, bartenders are very

attentive. But the best part is just relaxing, and watching the

fireplace as the wood pops and crackles, while the flames dance.


Favorite Pool: There is a inside and outside pool. The outside pool is

more like a large plunge pool, and heated so that steam comes off it

if it’s cold outside. The backdrop is the Matterhorn. Doesn’t get any

better than that.


Favorite Walk: The Riffelalp is situated half way up the Gornergrat,

so you have lots of fantastic hiking options. But just take a stroll

before dinner, around the reflecting pond, and take in the amazing

vistas around you.


The resort has a spa, and excellent masseuse, to calm those travel stresses.

I was able to get reservations for the Al Bosco fondue experience

after my friends showed up (one of my friends who is also a pilot from

Madison relocated to Switzerland to fly the Gulfstream IV around

Europe). The fondue was worth the wait. Creamy, rich, the best Swiss

cheeses the region had to offer (and raclettes too).


The only disappointment during the entire stay, as the cheeseburger I

had for lunch at Mark Twain (outside terrace). The meat was awful,

couldn’t eat it. If I was the resort food chef, I’d import beef from

abroad, to avoid the poor selection locally. Other than that,

everything else I had was great.


Summary: The Riffelalp is truly a world class resort. It sets the

standards for other resorts to follow. There are two resorts that I

will go back to again and again, one is The Riffelalp in Switzerland,

and the other is The Brando in French Polynesia (South Pacific). I

hope to add other resorts, as I continue my world travels, but these

two hold close to my heart, and provide an experience that you look

forward to every time you visit. The view is everything. The service

is amazing. The resort becomes your home, away from home. Experience

it.         End of Review - fair winds and happy travels.