I was introduced to Davos in Switzerland, when I attended the last two editions of the World Economic Forum (WEF) along with Colin Dyer, president and CEO of JLL Inc. The city, which has gained fame as the venue of the annual WEF, has a well-defined skiing culture and skiing buffs thronging the beautiful mountain slopes every year; they’re there for the thrills of their sport, set against the backdrop of the breathtaking Swiss Alps, and couldn’t care less about the political and business elites of the world.But don’t be misled by the heavy accent on the après-ski flavour of the place; Davos has a lot to offer for everyone, regardless of their skiing abilities.
I drove in to Davos from Zurich, and will never forget the views during the two-hour trip. It just gets better and better all the way. Davos can also be reached by train, which most tourists prefer, though it actually takes an hour longer. Once there, the best way to get around is to hire a local cab, though I was told that there are regular bus tours too.
During the last WEF, I stayed at Hotel Cresta Sun, which is located at a walking distance from Davos Congress Centre. But, of course, Davos is replete with accommodation options with more than 40 hotels to choose from, across a fairly democratic range of budgets.
The one must-see attraction at Davos is the Kirchner Museum on Ernst Ludwig Kirchner Platz. It is an amazing place, with the world’s largest collection of the German expressionist painter Ernst Ludwig Kirchner. I was invited to join a group who wanted to visit the Winter Sports Museum—a repository of assorted winter sport equipment—but I gave it a miss. I did visit the Zügenschlucht, which has a magnificent view of the valley overlooking the railway track.
For gastronomes, Davos is a veritable treat. I was a frequent visitor to Hotel Meierhof’s restaurant, which has the best of Swiss cuisine and an excellent wine cellar. Be sure to drop in at the Romeo and Julia Trattoria in Steigenberger Grandhotel Belvédère, which serves amazing Italian cuisine.
Finally, to get a full taste of Swiss mountain grandeur, do take a ride on the Glacier Express for unmatched views of the famous Matterhorn along the way.
If you are a tourist with no particular liking for skiing, avoid winter time in Davos as it experiences extremely heavy snowfall. Regardless of the time of year, take a lot of warm clothing along. Also, if you don’t speak German, be sure to hire a multi-lingual tourist guide or things may get tricky.
Anuj Puri is chairman and country head, JLL India
(Coordinated by Jasmine Wang)