In the 1890s, when Klosters (or Davos Klosters) was still a hamlet, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle made it his temporary home. Amazed by its quiet charm, he predicted that Klosters would become the haunt of British upper class. His prediction did come true, but not before Klosters first became a Hollywood-hangout in the 1950s. Today, Klosters in Switzerland’s Graubünden Province with Davos as its celebrity neighbour, hosts a mix of Hollywood A-listers and Europe’s royals who simply love winter-time here, thanks to its fabulous ski slopes and respect for privacy.
From Sir Arthur Conan Doyle to Audrey Hepburn to Prince Charles, Klosters has hosted them all. But its reputation goes beyond the fabulous pistes – Klosters remains tight-lipped about its guests. Here, the guests can feel at home, without an annoying, camera-wielding public in their face. In March 2018, Prince Charles celebrated four decades of skiing in Klosters and the fact that Princes William and Harry learned to ski right here is probably the best commendation for a village, if any.
A village with class
Klosters is unmistakably classy and an exclusive hideout, given the standing of its visitors. Interestingly, there are no five star hotels here, only exclusive chalet-styled hotels that are “like home” for their loyal guests. Klosters is in no competition with the fancier St Moritz or Verbier, in fact there is nothing to compare between them. No luxury fashion boutiques, no roaring Porche or fur coats. Nada. Zilch. Klosters is all about antique stores, gift shops and ski-rentals, complete with snow shovels, brooms and seeds piled to the roof, a place where you might just find the King of Sweden shopping for groceries.
Go back in time at Chesa Grischuna, Kloster’s most famous meeting point, which has hosted Gene Kelly, Greta Garbo, Paul Newman, Gregory Peck, Lauren Bacall and Audrey Hepburn in the past and continues to host famous personalities during winter. The only thing that has changed here is the addition of WiFi. There is a faded leather covered guest book containing signatures and doodles from Winston Churchill, Deborah Kerr, the Queen of Holland, Prince Charles, and famous writers. The piano, on which Audrey Hepburn reportedly danced, stands in a corner, waiting patiently for its winter guests to arrive.
Klosters is markedly different even in architecture from Davos. The rooftops in Klosters are distinctly Walser-styled but in Davos they are uniformly flat, making it unique in every sense of the word.
Everywhere you turn, you are assured of understated elegance. Narrow chalet-lined streets are bereft of vehicles, and filled with people walking elegantly and with a purpose. No window-shoppers or bargain hunters, or the presence of curious tourists peering into neat gardens around flower-adorned chalets is comforting.
Not many Alpine resorts can lay claim to celebrity patronage, glamour and old money as do the ones in Klosters. Here it is about skiing – just that. In winter, the resort village provides fun on the pistes, cross-country trails, ice fields and toboggan runs at night. Rosti rules the menu here in winter. This dish of sliced and diced fried potatoes is a hot favourite. A cheese platter and Buendnerfleisch, an Alpine style air-dried beef, is another must try.