It’s a terrible moment, the realisation that you’ve spawned a monster. Parenthood, it becomes clear, has wiped stylish holidays off the agenda for a good few years. Somewhere like St Moritz, for instance, won’t thank you for polluting its elegant slopes with Bratbot 5.1. Then you stumble across Nira Alpina, and your desperation disappears.
The hotel, its website claims, puts ‘fun before formality’. My partner and I took great delight in tiring out our young son (and ourselves) with the various activities on offer. The ‘high ropes’ course involved walking, wobbling and zip-wiring our way through the Alpine treetops, learning en route that vertigo hits the over-forties far worse than the under-tens. A family cupcake-making lesson in the hotel’s bakery was overseen by the pastry chef. The fact he looked like Javier Bardem kept one of us happy, while the copious amounts of butter in the icing proved popular all round.
During the winter season, the kids’ club is run by the hotel’s staff, though even in summer they’ll happily throw you the keys so you can take Junior there yourself. The club is well-stocked with toys for all ages. There’s also an air-hockey table. Good luck to the kids in getting Dad off that. Other options include taking a specially prepared picnic out on a hike, touring St Moritz and the surrounding areas on hired bicycles, or simply enjoying the cable-car ride to the top of the Corvatsch mountain (the cars stop right outside the hotel). When the snow appears in winter, you and the children can ski in and ski out of the place. All this without lowering the glamour quotient: the bar mixes a mighty fine cocktail, which you can sweat off in the spa downstairs. (Not my sort of thing, to be honest — I prefer a second drink — but my Spa Consultant reported good things.) The restaurant is top-rank, too, and the chefs take care to remember that they’re catering for younger tastebuds: as well as the Thai curries and honey-marinated pork they do a mean spag bol.
The rooms themselves are hip enough that without your child you can con yourself you’re in a Bond film, while if you are holidaying en famille you don’t spend the entire week fretting that a priceless vase is about to hit the floor. In fact my partner and I only had one complaint the whole time we were at the hotel. It came as we were checking out, when the staff noticed a muffled banging coming from the Wendy house in the kids’ club. After an investigation they insisted — however politely — that we take our son home with us.
Rooms start at 315 Swiss francs (just over £200) a night. www.niraalpina.com, www.myswitzerland.com