Half Board at the Resort Hotel Alex in Zermatt – a Hotel Review Part 2

A half board program is frequently offered in European ski resorts which cater to skiers and I found them to be great value at times. Prior to skiing in Europe, I am not a fan of all-inclusive resorts and have found some full-board programmes at the Portillo ski resort in Chile to be low in terms of value. However in Europe with the high cost of dining in the ski resorts, it makes the slightly higher prices of a half board program much more worth it. In general, expect to pay around CHF25-30 for a nice meal with drinks for lunch and CHF40-50 for dinner at ski resorts in Switzerland. While some hotels go further to provide a full board, I did not want to spend the time to go back to the hotel for lunch when I ski. Thus I would always pick a half board over a full board when available, and would rather not pay for the full board which tends to include lunch and a snack after skiing (before dinner).

Liquor trolley
Dining at Alex Grill in Zermatt

Breakfast

In the morning, breakfast is served in the ground floor storey beside the lobby. While not as large as the Alex Grill restaurant, it was never full during my stay.

Breakfast room
Breakfast room
Breakfast nook
Breakfast nook at Resort Hotel Alex

There is an extensive buffet breakfast served here and guests could also order eggs made to their liking. It was no problem for me to order sunny side up which was cooked perfectly. Other made-to-order options includes pancakes, poached eggs, omelettes and porridge (which is essentially oatmeal).

Made to order breakfast items
Made to order breakfast items
Egg, sausage and bacon
Egg, sausage and bacon for breakfast

On the buffet counter, there was scrambled eggs, sausages and bacon along with waffles. The other usual items like assorted buns, croissants, cereal was also available for diners.

Buns and croissant
Buns and croissants
Cereal from the dispenser
Cereal from the dispenser

Cold cuts and cheese are also available since this is Europe, and there was even a section for salmon and other cured fish along with pickles and various condiments that makes it easy to make your own gravlax for breakfast. This was a very nice spread for sure!

Cold cuts
Assorted cold cuts
Smoked salmon and condiments
Smoked salmon and condiments

And the sweet options includes several different type of yogurt along with fruits and berry compote. My favourite part was the selection of wild honey they have that can be dispensed over crispy pre-packed toasts. Alternatively small sachets of Nutella or Ovomaltine are available to spread over these crispy treats.

Yogurt and fruits
Yogurt and fruits
Honey dispenser
Honey dispenser
Honey over crispy toasts
Honey over crispy toasts

Finally no breakfast area is complete without an espresso machine and a juice section. They have still and sparkling water along with some sparkling juice for breakfast as well to fizz up the start of the day.

Espresso machine and juice dispenser
Espresso machine and juice dispenser

Dinner

While I had dinner more than once, I would just do a review for one of the excellent meal at the Alex Grill restaurant. There was variations in the menu day to day and on one of the days, they even featured an appetizer buffet, rather than provide a single appetizer dish. A sample menu would be as follow:

Dinner menu
Dinner menu

Dinner is a 4-course affair with a salad buffet where guests could help themselves to the salad bar. On one of the day, they have various appetizers and cheese on the salad buffet as well. The appetizer buffet features mainly seafood with a whole fish and a cocktail prawn. There was some cold cuts and seasoned tartars as well.

Seafood buffet
Seafood buffet in the salad bar on one of the day
Cocktail prawn
Cocktail prawn as part of the appetizer buffet

Other times the salad bar consists of numerous vegetable choices with various toppings and sauce. There are also some pre-made salad mix that diners could help themselves too. As a mountain resort, it was nice to have a wide variety of fresh vegetables like beets, broccoli, corn and tomatoes.

Salad bar
Salad bar with fresh vegetables
Salad bar
Salad bar with beets, broccoli and noodle

The salad bar also contains starch items like cous-cous, croutons, and noodles. There was also toppings like sesame seeds, bacon bits, pine nuts and olives and that allows diners to truly create a tasty salad they would like. In fact, the salad bar was one of my favourite feature of the menu at the Alex Grill and certainly recommend it.

Appetizer and salad bar
Salad bar with corn, tomatoes and pre-mixed salad
Salad condiments
Salad condiments

And if you’re still not filled with the vegetables, there are always bread from the salad bar!

DIY Salad
Make-your-own salad plate

The dinner that I enjoyed during the stay has an appetizer of parsnips cream soup which was served warm and creamy. There was some hazelnut bits in the soup which added a wonderful aroma and nuttiness to the flavour. Overall it was rich for a vegetable soup and I enjoyed it after my salad.

Parsnips cream soup
Parsnips cream soup with pear and hazelnut espuma

After that rich creamy goodness and the salad buffet, I was actually feeling quite full. It was nice that the set meal included a palate cleanser in the form of a lemon sorbet with thyme granite. This would not count as part of the 4-course as it was a small cup but it was again enjoyable and works very well to whet my appetite once again. There is really nothing like some fresh citrus to sparkle the taste buds once again in between meals.

Lemon sorbet with thyme granite
Lemon sorbet with thyme granite

Maybe that is why I liked the main course as well. There was two choices for the entrée and diners could choose between a seafood dish or a meat dish. That night, I ordered the simmental beef fillet ragout, which is akin to a beef stew. It is usually not something I would order but the dish surprised me with the tender texture of the beef and till this day, I lingered over that taste. The dish was served with a buttery plain tagliatelle pasta that I used to mop up the remaining sauce in the place. It was honestly that good, even though it might not be some fancy meal!

Simmental beef fillet ragout
Simmental beef fillet ragout stroganov style
Tagliatelle with butter
Tagliatelle with butter

While there was no dessert buffet, the ending for the meal that day was a deconstructed tiramisu. As a fan of traditional tiramisu, I was happy to get that for my dessert and I figured the lack of a dessert buffet is the better for my health. Instead of a cake, the tiramisu consists of a coffee ice cream served over a bed of cookie crumble with cream and chocolate sauce and nuts sprinkled over it. A chocolate piece with the hotel’s branding completes the dish. It did not really have the authentic tiramisu taste but the presentation certainly won it marks. And I was already satisfied with the dinner at this point, so this was just like a bonus treat, and I still enjoyed the coffee ice cream.

Tiramisu deconstructed
Tiramisu deconstructed

This was actually my favourite dinner and meal throughout this whole trip but I do have to caution that some of their meals are not always like this as the other meal I had in the restaurant was less enjoyable. But if they do serve a beef fillet ragout or stroganov, I would certainly give that a try. From my experience of the half board program in two European ski resorts, I find it can sometimes be a hit like this particular dinner or a miss. The lack of choices might be a drawback but the convenience of just going down for dinner instead of walking out in the snow in search of a restaurant can be valuable especially when it is snowing outside.

Snow on the patio
Snow on the patio at Resort Hotel Alex
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