They know how to keep it cosy in the Swiss Alps - and just look at those views

The Mont Cervin Palace may be the grande dame of Zermatt's venerable hotels, but its offshoot, Le Petit Cervin, is anything but a poor relation. A complete renovation of the former four-star Hotel Nicoletta, this new five-star baby of the Seiler Hotels group reopened in December, offering 43 rooms - mainly suites - with gorgeous views of the Matterhorn.

The hotel has its own bar and breakfast room, but most facilities can be found in Mont Cervin, accessed via an underground passage, including a fantastic wellness centre with a Daniela Steiner spa, swimming pools and indoor and outdoor Jacuzzis; relaxing in swirling hot water under gently falling snow is not to be missed. There's also a ski room which opens into the Julen Sport shop where you can hire gear.

The bedroom

Think upmarket chalet, which is what you really want in snowy Switzerland rather than cold minimalism. It's all warm pine, tartan fabrics on the walls, thick velvety soft furnishings and luxurious bathrooms. Most rooms have balconies with chairs and tables, and suites have two bathrooms as well as a substantial living room with sofa, comfy chairs and dining table.

Home entertainment includes flat-screen TVs and stereo with iPod dock. The big bathrooms have double basins, strong showers and toiletries by Lanvin. Nice touches include fruit, replenished daily, nuts and chocolate and bottles of water.

The food and drink

Le Restaurant, Mont Cervin Palace's gastronomic dining room, is where half-board guests eat their evening meal. But à la carte is also offered from about £75 per head including wine. Grill Le Cervin is more informal but the quality of the food is just as high. Watch the chef at work at the open charcoal grill, or opt for one of the delicious fish dishes such as turbot with roasted pepper and starters such as langoustines and scallop carpaccio. Two courses, wine and coffee costs about £60.

The access

Guests with limited mobility would find the stairs to the spa difficult. Children are very welcome, and creche facilities are available. Dogs cost €20-€40 (£15-£31) per night, and the hotel provides a dog-walking service.

The bill

Double rooms from Sfr660 (£333) per night, based on two sharing, including breakfast. Suites from Sfr1,200 (£605) per night.

The address

Le Petit Cervin, Bahnhofstrasse 31, CH-3920 Switzerland (00 41 27 966 8888, seilerhotels.ch/ lepetitcervin).

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