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