In some respects, trying to review the National is a little difficult because I had spoken to people familiar with the hotel before I went, and they always described it in superlative terms. That could set me up for a disappointment, and while very, very good - and in many ways it was perfect for a ski vacation in the Alps - I would not use phrases like "the best", or "the most amazing" which I had heard others use in describing different aspects of our stay at the National.
Location: It is very nicely located. It is about a 7 minuted walk from the Zermatt train station, although the most direct route from the station to the hotel goes down a very narrow and busy road that was covered in ice. We discovered it was far more pleasant to walk through the main village and take about 12 to 15 minutes to walk between the station and the hotel. The National is also directly across the street from the funicular and ski lifts to the suenegga ski area.
Service: The staff at the National are friendly and helpful. I have no complaints about the staff, but they do not really go above and beyond as at some top rated hotels. For example, they will happily book the hotel shuttle to get you and your belongings to the train station, but they seem reticent to let you know that such service is available if you do not ask. This is a minor thing, but these minor things pile up. If one is paying five star prices, one hopes to have more than four and a half star service. The cleaning staff were also a little too efficient: on our check out day, they had the room cleaned up while we were at breakfast and we felt we were being pushed out of our room a full two hours before we needed to be out.
Food: They serve very, very good food at the National. Again, though, expectations had been built up to a ridiculous level. One acquaintance had told me unequivocally that the National's breakfast buffet was the most amazing spread I would ever see. It was great, but not quite as good as some such as the breakfasts at the Kirchbuhl in Grindelwald.
Rooms: The rooms, like the entire hotel, were comfortable, clean, and provided a feeling of coziness that was just right. The room - in fact the entire hotel - was devoid of clocks. This did contribute to a certain sense of sensory deprivation because it was so dark in the room once the lights were turned out for the evening. This only really mattered because in January when you need to be off the mountain by about 4 each afternoon, you do like to get started with your day on time. In some rooms, the noise from the Gortnergrat train starting up at 5:30 each morning also disrupts sleep.
One complaint we did have, and which we heard echoed by other guests, is that the temperature in the rooms and the common areas of the hotel was way too high. They really keep the heat cranked up, and the only way to get the room cooled down is to open a window. One really does not expect to go to a ski resort in the middle of winter and wake up each night drenched in sweat.
The National also needs to upgrade its WiFi service. Too many areas - including the rooms at the end of the hallways - had poor and intermittent internet service.
Overall, we had a good stay. For a ski vacation, it was close to perfect. It just wasn't the GREATEST as we had been told.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- WITH US... ...you reach within 20 footsteps the fastest ski lift - within 3 min it takes you up to the first slopes (immediate connection to all neighbouring skiing areas) ...you can experience a level of service that will astound you ...you can enjoy a panoramic view every morning - all 54 of our rooms have a south-facing balcony, 41 of which offer an unimpeded view of the Matterhorn ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- National Hotel Zermatt