Some hotels wear their name like a badly tailored suit, others have it stitched into their DNA. Mama is the latter. An homage to the grandmother of owner Sandrine Julen, it’s the third incarnation of a hotel that’s been in Zermatt’s famed hotelier family for three generations. The 26-year-old has honoured this heritage, without descending into sentimentality – returning the ceramic fireplace to where it stood during her grandmother’s tenure, and slipping dishes like ‘granny style’ waffles into its bistro menu.
In a departure from the status quo (for Zermatt at least) – the property’s rooms span every budget – from cosy singles to whirlpool suites, where corporates, snowboarders and families can all bunk down. This inclusive ethos extends to the hotel’s stylish co-working area (already a hit with the local ski school), which doubles as the breakfast bar and events space during low season. “I want to break things down and make it less formal,” explained Julen.
The hotel thinks outside the Toblerone box when it comes to décor, too. It’s more about global eclecticism than sheepskins and chalet chic – from the metal latticework adorning the bar and facade (inspired by the owner’s brief stint living in Dubai), to the Italian-made armchairs. Adding some local spin are Valaisian materials like wood and stone.
Texture is also a touchpoint, stimulating a sense that’s all too often forgotten in today’s tech-forward hotels. Dovetail leather place mats, felt forest green cushions and the bedrooms’ fabric wallpapers, right this wrong.
What its 29-herringbone parquet-floored bedrooms lack in square footage, they compensate for with statement furniture like leather trunk minibars (complete with electric fondue sets), and bespoke upholstery, printed in Swiss pastoral scenes. In stark contrast, the bathrooms channel an urban vibe – washed in charcoal and black, with chrome accents and geometric lines. Mama’s penchant for yin and yang is catching…
FROM THE CONCIERGE
Pop goes the cheesecake
Even the bistro taps into the hotel’s textural tendencies; a case in point is its cheesecake, presented in an enamel mug and topped with berries, meringue and popping candy. Warm up for the explosive dessert with a sharing platter of veggie tempura, baked Dolly sheep cheese with boiled potatoes and veal tartar served on Zermatten walnut bread.
Yes, it’s personal
The spirit of Mama lives on in the ground-floor shop, where you stock up on Italian deli-style treats like speciality pastas and retro-packaged olive oil, own-brand sunscreen, floral motif Swedish Birchwood trays and even the hotel’s own bespoke scent. In a thoughtful touch, Mama sends you home with a gift from here, handpicked by Sandrine herself.