The Riverhouse Andermatt

A winter weekend in The River House Andermatt

Advertising: Contribution in cooperation with Responsible Hotels of Switzerland

In recent years, Andermatt has undergone rapid development from a former insider tip among freeriders to an internationally renowned ski resort. These two worlds – or so it seems – meet at the latest at the après-ski in the bar “Di Alt Apothek”. Here in the old village centre of Andermatt, however, you don’t just eat and drink where medicine once went over the counter. The popular restaurant is part of the boutique hotel The River House – a founding member of Responsible Hotels and a hot accommodation tip for fans of charming, owner-managed boutique hotels.

We checked into the pretty 300-year-old building on a frosty January weekend and in this post we show you what makes The River House stand out.

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Newly founded at the beginning of 2022, the Responsible Hotels of Switzerland hotel group has to date comprised 33 establishments that are committed to ecological and social sustainability, ranging from down-to-earth 3-star country inns to exclusive 5-star hotels. These include hotels that we have already tried and tested, such as the Hotel Belvedere Grindelwald, the Schloss Wartegg, the Valsana Arosa or the Cervo Mountain Resort. The aim and purpose of the association is to promote the exchange of experience and knowledge transfer among its members, while at the same time giving greater importance to responsible travel. In cooperation with Responsible Hotels of Switzerland, we will introduce you to other member hotels we have visited here on the blog in loose succession.


Check-in in historic buildings

The contrasts could not be greater. If you arrive in Andermatt by train, you will be greeted by a modern “transport hub” these days. A spacious underpass guides you either directly to the new Gütsch gondola lift via ticket machine or to the station forecourt by means of comfortable escalators. Our destination is located just 600 metres from this link between the newly built resort around the “Piazza Gottardo” (with an interesting history) and the old village centre of Andermatt with its traditional wooden houses on brick substructures, directly on the banks of the Lower Alpreuss.

Andermatt village centre

The River House with its striking red façade forms the prelude to the stately historic row of houses along the Gotthard road. Due to the way The River House is built, it is believed that the main house was built before the devastating village fire at the end of the 18th century. It is also documented that today’s bar was in operation as a pharmacy from 1900 to 1972. At the beginning of 2006, Kevin Obschlager and Sarah Keller acquired the property that had been advertised for sale and converted it in stages into today’s boutique hotel with eight rooms and the bar.

From the very beginning, emphasis was placed on sustainable, resource-saving operation. The existing building fabric was preserved as far as possible or, where necessary, supplemented or repaired in compliance with ecological criteria. Heating is provided by means of geothermal probe heating systems created in cooperation with the canton – and only as much as is actually necessary.

Finally a hotel room that is not “too warm”! Since I also heat very sparingly at home, I am always surprised how hot it is in some rooms. The reflex to open the window does not occur here. Very good drawing. Otherwise, we immediately feel at home in this homely room with creaking beams and a great view of the striking church tower of the parish church of St. Peter and Paul.

Boutique Zimmer im The Riverhouse Andermatt
Zimmerausblick The Riverhouse Andermatt

The perfect winter’s day in Andermatt

The fact that “sustainability” is not just an inflated buzzword at The River House Andermatt is confirmed the next morning by the small but exquisite breakfast buffet. Homemade jams, hearty spreads, our own natural yoghurt creations as well as bread and cheese from the valley – the perfect start to a sporty winter’s day.

Frühstück im The Riverhouse Andermatt

While the other hotel guests swarm out towards Gemsstock or Gütsch after breakfast, we follow the winter hiking trail towards the valley floor.

Andermatt Realp

On signposted paths, you can trudge through the snow for nine kilometres to Realp. Or – and that’s exactly what we intend to do – cover the same distance on cross-country skis. If, like us, you travel to Andermatt without your own cross-country skis, you can rent them conveniently and easily in the Nordic House, which is located directly on the cross-country ski trail. However, due to a change of ownership, it is unclear whether the Nordic House (which is the golf course’s clubhouse in the summer) will still be around next year or where the cross-country skiing centre will be relocated.

In particular, I found the short 2-kilometer “sea” circuit ideal as a beginner. By the way, Kevin Obschlager recommends a kind of cross-country skiing safari with a detour to Goms. On the way back, you can then get off in Realp and take the Realp-Andermatt route downhill to top it off.

Loipen Andermatt
Winterlandschaft Andermatt

For us, after five completed sea laps, a change of location is imminent. We want to use the second half of the day for a detour to the Gütsch. With the Japanese by The Chedi and the “Gütsch by Markus Neff“, there are two excellent restaurants to discover at an airy 2,300 metres above sea level. Since the menu of the Gütsch with a fine winter salad with grilled goat cheese as an appetizer and handmade spaghetti with Périgord truffles immediately appeals to me – the decision is easy for us.

Andermatt Nätschen
Gütsch Aussicht

The conclusion: Our combination of an active morning on the cross-country ski trail, followed by an enjoyable (and promising) afternoon on the mountain, can definitely be imitated!

Alternatively, the Andermatt Trail starts right next to The River House, a sporty snowshoe trail.

Après-Ski Treffpunkt

As the afternoon progresses, “The Old Pharmacy” fills with life. Instead of regular live music events, which – as Kevin Obschlager says somewhat wistfully – are only financially viable in isolated cases due to the rising hotel prices in Andermatt, cocktails are now increasingly being drunk in the popular bar. This is one of the changes that is directly related to the development of the resort (and the changing guest structure that comes with it).

The Riverhouse Andermatt Blue Hour

In the old pharmacy, however, not only the thirst is quenched, but also fine food is served.

What catches my eye is the appeal on the menu to prevent food waste. This is also one of the many ways in which a restaurant/hotel can actively contribute to more sustainable tourism. The clearly arranged menu also includes a few really fine dishes. My favorite: the braised celery with Ticino polenta rosso and dried pears – delicious! The burgers (both vegetarian and meat) are also highly recommended.

Abendstimmung in Andermatt

By the way: It’s worth making a reservation! Space is limited and tables are particularly popular on Friday and Saturday evenings.

More tips for your winter weekend at the Boutique Hotel The River House Andermatt

  • If you travel to Andermatt by public transport, you save CO2 emissions and thus contribute to more sustainable tourism. From Zurich, Andermatt can be reached by train in two hours with a single change.
  • Room rates at The River House vary depending on the season and category and start at around CHF 240 per night in a double room including breakfast.
  • The trail between Andermatt and Realp is suitable for cross-country skiing beginners. The equipment can be rented directly on site at the Nordic House.

In my opinion, a detour to The River House Andermatt is not only worthwhile in winter. In summer, Andermatt is the perfect base from which to explore the Urseren Valley. Varied hiking trails such as the Nepali Highway, the 5-lake hike, a visit to the source of the Rhine at Lake Toma or flowing mountain bike trails such as the Urseren Höhenweg await you here.

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