Last Call For X-mas

High Design in the Swiss Alps

Vals, a Swiss Alpine village notable for its healing mineral waters, has become a mecca for architecture enthusiasts as well as spa junkies.

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Peter Zumthor’s spectacular thermal baths were classified as a national monument soon after completion in 1996. Slender layers of raw concrete and quartz are slotted into the hillside — a monolithic tribute to the primeval beauty of the Vals valley. The highly mineralised water that bubbles up at a deeply relaxing 30 °Celsius from St. Peter’s spring is channelled into a network of soothing pools and grottoes.  

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To soak up the spa’s stark mystique check into 7132, the design hotel next door, which recently completed an ambitious renovation. The 7132 Hotel Deluxe may have the five-stars, but it’s the 4-star House of Architects that features understated but headline-making rooms designed by four of the world’s leading architects: Peter Zumthor, Tadao Ando, Kengo Kuma and Thom Mayne.

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If you stay in one of Kuma’s stone- and oak-panelled Penthouse Suites, you’ll be picked up by the hotel’s private heli or limo, floating above or gliding through the snow-covered Grisons in ultimate style.

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There are plenty of other perks for guests. Freshly baked nut gateau and pear bread for breakfast. Three knock-out restaurants where you can taste wild herbs, forest berries and mushrooms hand-picked that morning. A stunning design boutique to ease the pain of Christmas shopping. Jazz musicians from New York playing at the Blue Bar every night.

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Thrice weekly, the spa is also open for night swimming – a mystical experience, as the subtle lighting ripples across the healing water.