The Swiss have been responsible for some of the best spas in the world for centuries, so the sudden boom of the global health and wellness industry must make them wonder what took everyone else so long to catch on. A good soak to ease the muscles after a day of skiing or hiking in the Alps is just common sense, but these days you don’t need to have been in the mountains all day to yearn for a spa – city life can be equally exhausting. With stressed-out city folk running to the hills to chill out, it’s no surprise that the spa industry in Switzerland is in rude health. Here are some of the best places to book a transformative escape.
Uber-modern mountain spa worthy of a Bond villain
Where? Tucked among the handsome ski chalets in the Urseren Valley, a two-hour drive south of Zurich.
What? A wellness paradise that offers vast, low-lit bathhouses with steamy infinity pools decked out in expanses of granite and wood. The Chedi is an example of a thoroughly modern Swiss spa, with influences from its Kuala Lumpur architect Jean-Michel Gathy. There’s also a state-of-the-art gym and personal training alongside Asian- and Hungarian-inspired massages and treatments. Go big and opt for the Omorovicza Golden Body Treatment: an invigorating exfoliation with a golden sugar scrub followed by a blissful massage using fragrant oil enriched with gold particles to heal daily micro-damage to skin. The spa has a carefully curated range of beauty products, including brand-of-the-moment Tata Harper, which uses 300 all-natural ingredients from 68 countries to create a range of highly concentrated creams.
Gotthardstrasse 4, 6490 Andermatt; +41 41 888 7488
The Dolder Grand
A spindle-towered castle with futuristic genome treatments
Where? Sitting high above Lake Zurich with a view over the water and the Alps hazy on the horizon, the Dolder has been the grand dame of Swiss hotels since 1899.
What? The Dolder is part city resort, part art museum and lavish spa. Walls are adorned with works by Warhol and Dalí and there’s even a two-Michelin-star restaurant. The multi-award-winning 4,000 square metre spa channels old-world charm and is unique for many reasons, one being the SWAMI GenoType service, which analyses your genetic make-up to provide a bespoke nutrition plan determined from more than 90 pieces of personal information. When testing is complete, you receive a simple colour-coded guide and a handy app showing which foods are good for you to eat and which to avoid. If the hotel was less discreet, the staff might brag about their long list of illustrious past guests including Winston Churchill, Nelson Mandela, Albert Einstein, Elizabeth Taylor and huge Dolder fan, Leonardo DiCaprio – but of course, they wouldn’t dream of it.
Kurhausstrasse 65, 8032 Zurich; +41 44 456 6000
A sail-shaped subterranean retreat wedged into the Swiss mountains
Where? Start your journey to the Tschuggen Bergoase by riding the hotel’s futuristic pod-car mountain railway, which brings visitors up to more than 200 kilometres of the region’s best skiing and hiking routes. At the top, starchitect Mario Botta has designed a spectacular spa adjacent to the Tschuggen Grand Hotel in Arosa, a bucolic Alpine resort in the Schanfigg Valley.
What? Spanning four floors and 5,000 square metres, it’s a sanctum of pools, saunas, steam baths, treatment suites, relaxation spaces, fitness zones and medical treatment areas. Distinctive steel and glass windows, like boat sails jutting out of the mountain, flood the space with natural light. The use of materials such as Duke White granite from the Alps, Arosa stone and Canadian maple helps bring a feel of the great outdoors inside. But the highlight? The outdoor thermal bath, where you can drink in the incredible vista of the mountains of Graubünden while soaking in steaming hot water.
Tschuggentorweg 1, 7050 Arosa; +41 81 378 9999
Instagram-worthy whirlpools overlooked by the Alps
Where? One of the most renowned spas in Europe, you’ll find Bogn Engiadina in the Alpine town of Scuol, where mineral water has bestowed health benefits on locals since 1369. The springs are the result of a tectonic window and the water is a precious resource for both drinking and bathing.
What? The spa features six indoor and outdoor pools, with serene interiors and sweeping views of the Lower Engadin region. One of the unique treatments here is the Roman-Irish bathhouse. This ancient bathing tradition encompasses 10 stations where your body is gently warmed to purge toxins, and then cooled to a state of total relaxation. It takes around two-and-a-half hours to complete the cycle, after which you can luxuriate in fluffy white robes, tasting regional Swiss delicacies while admiring the majesty of the surrounding Alps.
Via dals Bogns 323, 7550 Scuol; +41 81 861 2600
An old-school spa with ultra-modern therapies
Where? The spa overlooks the mountain scenery of the Bernese Oberland, in the centre of Switzerland, it’s only a 50-minute drive from Bern.
What? During the belle époque this majestic hotel was a hotspot for dignitaries, artists, academics and writers from all over the world. The residual charm of this era infuses the atmosphere here, until you reach the acclaimed 5,500-square-metre Spa Nescens where state-of-the-art modernity takes over. The spa is grounded in the scientific and medical expertise of the Nescens brand, which was founded more than 15 years ago by Professor Jacques Proust, a pioneer in the field of anti-ageing science and the biology of ageing. They offer everything from better-ageing programmes and osteopathy to nutrition coaching and body treatments.
Höheweg 41, Interlaken, 3800 Bern; +41 33 828 2828