While I would have preferred to stay at Grimentz, there seems to be better choices at Zinal so that was where I ended up staying for the last ski trip of the season. Grimentz and Zinal is now linked by the gondola at Sorebois, so it is possible to ski both areas and both are fantastic to ski at with Zinal being slightly smaller. Zinal is also unique being the last ski resort at the end of the valley giving the village a more isolated feeling. With the village being surrounded by crowns of 4,000m peaks, it is an experience to stay here.
Taking the bus, I actually missed the stop in Zinal and had to continue on with the bus to the end stop which serves the chalet and vacation rentals. Guests heading to the SwissPeak Resorts which is the largest resort in Zinal should stop at the main central stop, which is one stop after the gondola terminal. SwissPeak Resorts is easy to spot with the main reception building being a modern construction, though it is a bit of a walk from the main bus stop.
There was a very welcoming reception lobby which has very tall ceilings and large square poufs decked in red and white. It does have a Swiss design theme in the lobby, befitting the brand. The reception was slightly different from a normal resort as it requires me to pay the taxes for my stay upon check-in with the cost of the stay being pre-paid. Next the receptionist also mentioned the counter would not be manned 24 hours, so guests checking out early need to deposit their keys just outside at a box. The reception area is also a place where guests could borrow utensils like a fondue set, or cleaning equipments like vacuum cleaners.
A total of 5 buildings form the resort and I was assigned a studio in building 4 which is just directly behind the large building that houses the supermarket. Each building had their own parking area with ski room, so this resort has been set up mainly for local skiers who drives to Zinal, as it can be slightly difficult getting to your room with the luggage.
Room No: 405 Category: Studio with Sofa Bed
Studio is modern and new with a shoe mat for winter boots. Useful since cleaning is only done upon check-out and having the shoe mat prevents guests from messing up the floors inside the unit.
Upon entry into the unit, there is a kitchen with an induction hob and oven but it was lacking a dishwasher. There is a small fridge on the corner which is somewhat similar to the one I had in the AirBnB. Utensils are provided but it was lacking a wine and can opener. No washing machine or dryer could be found in the unit either, and there was no common laundry area either.
Next to the kitchen was the closet which is a standard size and it contains the comforter, duvet and pillows for the bed upon check-in. The door to the bathroom is also next to the entryway.
As a newly built unit, the bathroom is modern, featuring a walk-in shower stall with no bathtub. But it has sturdy sliding door panels to prevent water from splashing all over. There is sink beside the entrance with a ledge along the mirror to hold your toiletries.
The shower stall also features a rain shower head, with a Euro-style toilet on the side. The bathroom is a bit on the small side compared to a standard hotel room and that was the main downside.
Over in the bedroom area, there was a sofa that can be converted to a bed along the wall. There was a wooden side table that functions as additional storage space.
Across from the sofa, there was a small square dining table with 2 chairs. The space was somewhat small and can be easily taken up with all your snacks and foodstuffs. A flatscreen TV is mounted by the wall but there was a lack of English language programming here.
On the table there was a porcelain dish that holds one single Nespresso capsule, a single tea bag and 2 sachets of sugar. Considering I was staying for 6 nights, the supplied coffee and tea was a bit lacking. There was no housekeeping of any sorts and neither was the capsules or tea replenished.
The space inside the studio was not large by any means but the addition of a kitchen made it practical for a longer stay. However there was a lack of furnishing for casual seating and there could have been more storage space for ski gear like gloves and helmets. Outside of the studio, there is a balcony space with 2 chairs and a round table. Being on the ground floor, the balcony is open direct to the village.
Ski Room and Facilities
As a ski resort hotel, at the base of each building, there are ski rooms and each guest will have access to their own locker with the number that corresponds to their room unit number. The lockers can be opened by the keycard that allows access to the room as well.
Larger units in the resort have access to the larger ski lockers as they can accommodate more people. Smaller units like the studio has lockers that can fit in 2 pairs of skis and boots. There are benches placed around the ski room for guests to change into their ski boots here and the space is comfortable and brightly lit.
Because the ski locker in Building No. 4 was located in lower ground than the main street, guests could take the covered ‘magic carpet’ to access the ground floor or use the flat ski tracks by the creek to get to the gondola station. There are no ski-in/ski-out lodging in Zinal though with most chalets and hotels easily within walking distance to the gondola terminal, this is not a deal breaker. Buses also run past the closing times of the gondola so it was still easy to get around the village. The covered magic carpet also serves the sledding slopes that is popular with children staying with their parents.
Dining and Other Facilities
Breakfast is not included in the rate but guests could head to the Bistro in the main building for light bites throughout the day. The space is more like a casual cafe rather than a full service restaurant. However there was a couple of restaurants around the village where guests could sit down for a meal, with a bakery located along the main street for breakfast before heading to the slopes.
Aside from the Bistro, there was a couple of multi-purpose rooms like the Games Room and Kids Room in the Main Central Building, while there was a Reading Room in Building 4 which was empty and inaccessible during my stay. They might use that room for events or meetings as scheduled during the summer season.
Guests are also given a departure checklist stating they had to clear garbage and return pillows to the closet so the service in this resort is close to non-existent. It is basically like renting an apartment for the ski week. However the cost was one of the best value since the total for my 6 nights stay was just CHF370 (~$380) inclusive of taxes.
For families looking for a clean and modern place to experience the Swiss Alps would find this resort to provide them with one of the best value. There is the convenience for families who rents a car and can drive to Zinal with no added cost and the location in a charming ski village means it is an affordable way to experience Swiss life in the mountains, literally as you need to make up your own bed and clear your own trash.