St Moritz is all you expect and more – a brassy, in-your-face reminder of the hotshot world beyond the high valley walls. For a century or more, it's been the prime winter retreat of social high-flyers, minor European royalty and the international jetset, who've sparked the creation of a mini-Mayfair of Vuitton and Armani in this stunningly romantic setting of forest, lake and mountains. When the tourist office trumpets the "champagne climate", they don't necessarily mean the sparkling sunshine – although there's plenty of that as well, an unbeatable 322 days of it a year on average.
Not unlike its twin, Vail, Colorado, this can be the kind of town to give money a bad name. It's neither cosmopolitan, characterful nor especially attractive; indeed, after the rural, traditional villages to west and east, even this little place can come across as exhaustingly built-up. Yet presidents and princes, Hollywood starlets, nobility and nouveaux riches clamour to be associated with it, and the town gladly responds, turning on the razzle all winter long with an endless round of banquets, celebrations and spectacles centred on the frozen lake. Summer is downtime, when the hoi polloi arrive to hike and relax in the sunshine.
St Moritz is set amidst some of the world's most beautiful mountain scenery. Once you've arrived, head out as quickly as possible.