Switzerland – Hotel Firefly

Apart from its big, shield-shaped sign, there is little to make the Hotel Firefly stand out on this quiet street in the southern part of Zermatt. Its public areas – the slate-floored reception, the bar lined with chesterfield sofas, the hi-tech games room – are pleasant but unremarkable. Nothing on the ground prepares you for the design indulgence upstairs of the hotel’s owners, Maria and Michael Kalbermatter.

The 14 bedrooms are styled as apartments (they have kitchens because there is no hotel restaurant, although breakfast is served in the rooms). Each has a decorative theme based on fire, water, air or earth. Distinctive features include walls of polished Veneziano plaster, in big primary-colour blocks, yellow, oiled-wood floors, and furniture which is an effective mixture of new pieces made from reclaimed timber and modernist classics. Decorative devices are restricted to orchids, extravagant lighting and – the one concession to cosiness – real fires behind glass screens (in nine of the rooms).

The bathrooms are ultra-modern, with bulbous basins, shapely baths, and taps which deliver a wide, smooth-flowing ribbon of water. The stainless-steel indoor pool, with its glass roof and shifting patterns of coloured lighting underwater, is one of the most distinctive in the Alps; and the hewn-granite steam rooms of the spa (including a ‘Schnapsbrenner sauna’) are equally unusual.

Source: cntraveller.com