Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 3 April 2020

Executive Travel: Swiss mountain resort whose spring waters have been sought out since the 13th Century

Grand Resort Bad Ragaz counts tennis ace Martina Hingis as an ambassador

Aerial view of the Grand Resort Bad Ragaz, Switzerland. Guests have flocked to a spring at the nearby Tamina Gorge since the 13th Century. Image courtesy of Grand Resort Bad Ragaz AG
Aerial view of the Grand Resort Bad Ragaz, Switzerland. Guests have flocked to a spring at the nearby Tamina Gorge since the 13th Century. Image courtesy of Grand Resort Bad Ragaz AG

Healing thermal spring water, Michelin cuisine, and an opportunity to woo prospective clients in an environment that’s focused on balance and rejuvenation, is what Grand Resort Bad Ragaz is all about.

Situated in the Swiss canton of Gallen, just over an hour’s drive from the country’s financial capital, Zurich, this historic five-star establishment is one of Europe’s most renowned.

Its health and well-being facilities are considered some of the best — former World No 1 Swiss tennis ace Martina Hingis is an ambassador and even married here in 2018 — and the history of the area it belongs to is remarkable.

It is said that huntsmen discovered a spring deep within the nearby Tamina Gorge as far back as 1242 and it was within this gorge four kilometres from the resort that health seekers bathed, many of them believing the waters had healing powers. Today, the body-temperature spring water is piped into the hotel and spa (it has done since 1842) with guests travelling thousands of kilometres to experience it. According to experts, thermal water is good for our health as it increases stimulation and kicks the healing and immune systems into gear.

The resort’s 5,500 square metre on-site Tamina Therme spa has 12 different pools and is open to in-house guests and off-site visitors and members, with an accredited medical centre part of the set-up.

Water from the springs at the nearby Tamina Gorge, which is said to have healing powers, is piped into the resort. Image courtesy of Grand Resort Bad Ragaz
Water from the springs at the nearby Tamina Gorge, which is said to have healing powers, is piped into the resort. Image courtesy of Grand Resort Bad Ragaz

While most of those who travel for business often don’t find the time for spa treatments and wellness, Grand Resort Bad Ragaz offers a number of event and meeting spaces that provide guests privacy and the right amount of luxury in tranquil, nature-filled surrounds.

There’s an impressive selection of culinary offerings, too, most of them ideal for impressing colleagues or potential business partners. Michelin restaurant Igniv by Andreas Caminada is the standout, and although on the small side (which is a big part of the appeal), the cosy establishment is big on creativity and flair. Expect theatre on a plate with a sitting costing from 158 Swiss Francs (Dh504) per person. If that’s a little too steep, there are seven other restaurants, four bars, a bistro, cafe, and snack-style sushi bar to choose from.

Breakfast is available at a number of the outlets. We have ours in Olives d’Or (Mediterranean) and verve by sven (health-focused). Both have alfresco and indoor seating options. The buffet at Olives d’Or is full of fruits, cheeses, cold cuts, fresh juices, pastries and hot dishes, while verve’s à la carte menu has a health skew with dishes including granola with bee pollen and tomato jam and organic eggs on sourdough toast, as well as a selection of detox juices and green smoothies.

The reception area at the Grand Hotel Quellenhof at the Grand Resort Bad Ragaz. The hotel is one of two at the resort, with the neighbouring Grand Hof Hotel geared more towards families. Image courtesy of Grand Resort Bad Ragaz
The reception area at the Grand Hotel Quellenhof at the Grand Resort Bad Ragaz. The hotel is one of two at the resort, with the neighbouring Grand Hof Hotel geared more towards families. Image courtesy of Grand Resort Bad Ragaz

When it comes to the accommodation, the resort has two options — Grand Hof Hotel Ragaz and Grand Hotel Quellenhof — the former is more family-friendly and leans towards simplistic comfort and classic luxury, while the latter blends sophistication with elegance and highlights the 120 acres of mountainous/garden landscape it calls home.

Rooms and suites resort-wide are spacious and comfortable, my Grand Hotel Quellenhof junior suite, which is within the main building, has views over the resort entrance and the beautifully manicured grounds beyond. During my stay, I have my own terrace, separate lounge area, a sizeable desk, dressing table and king bed. The bathroom is elaborate and has dual vanities, one at either end of the large soaking tub and a separate shower and toilet.

A guest terrace of one of the king suites at the Grand Hotel Quellenhof offering views of gardens and mountains. Image courtesy of Grand Resort Bad Ragaz.
A guest terrace of one of the king suites at the Grand Hotel Quellenhof offering views of gardens and mountains. Image courtesy of Grand Resort Bad Ragaz.

When the day’s work or conferencing is done, there are two golf courses on which to play a round (one 18-hole the other nine-hole); a selection of boutiques including Huber, La Prairie, and Cadeau; and you’re just a 10-minute walk from town, which has its own collection of restaurants, cafes, and shops to enjoy. For a closer look at the famous Tamina Gorge spring, it can be hiked to, or there’s a local bus that does the rounds regularly for a small fee.

Whether visiting in summer or winter, Grand Resort Bad Ragaz will almost certainly impress. There is not much to complain about, except perhaps the lack of attention to detail at one of our breakfast sittings, but otherwise it’s worth the outlay and a great place to work, rest, and play.

Rates across the property start from Dh1,607 per night, while junior suites like the one I was in cost Dh3,383 per night and include breakfast, Wi-Fi, return transfers from Bad Ragaz station and back, weekly receptions in the lobby, and taxes.

The writer was a guest of the hotel

Updated: February 7, 2020 12:52 PM

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