Thermal baths, hot springs, infinity pools spilling over onto glacial mountain vistas. Switzerland knows how to do a good spa.
From luxury hotel spas, including the aptly named Grand Resort Bad Ragaz, to the oh so chic Alpina Gstaad, and more democratic wellness centers such as Sole Uno Wellness-Welt near Basel, Switzerland has it all.
And now a new destination spa has joined its top ranks.
Worth the journey
By car it’s half an hour from Lucerne, one hour from Zurich and three hours from Geneva. And if recent reviews are anything to go by, it’ll be worth the 18 hours from my soon to be hometown of Santiago, Chile.
It enjoys incredible views of Lake Lucerne and the surrounding nature.
The outdoors brought indoors
The resort dates back 150 years and has undergone a massive CHF550m (£440m) renovation.
Its 10,000 m2 spa is at the top of its class, and very much in keeping with its local setting and history. A kidney shaped pool, a popular retreat for stars in its 1950 heyday has been preserved. Oak, limestone, marble, glass and bronze blend with the soft palettes of its natural surroundings.
Floor to ceiling windows showcase the best of what Switzerland has to offer – mountains, fresh air, pristine Alpine nature.
‘Spiritual mountain-top haven’
Its star feature, an infinity pool opening out to panoramas of Lake Lucerne, underlines the spa’s ethos – mind and body wellbeing through a positive connection with the environment.
The Swiss thermal bath heritage
Building on the Swiss thermal bath tradition, The Alpine Spa draws on the healing, restorative properties of water with aroma saunas, steam rooms, Kneipp baths and saline baths using Swiss Jura salt.
Log fires in the winter, outdoor yoga by sunset in the summer. The spa moves in harmony with the seasons.
Luxury beauty brands
Treatments are inspired by the fresh, pure, lush nature of its Alpine surroundings and delivered in collaboration with a couple of my favourite spa brands.
Susanne Kaufmann grew up in the Alps and her cosmetics offer a holistic, results based approach to skincare, with an emphasis on the healing properties of natural, organic Alpine plants.
Meanwhile La Prairie, a luxury Swiss brand popular for its precise and innovative use of science and biotechnology showcases some of the most advanced anti-ageing formulas in the world.
Signature treatments include the soothing Susanne Kaufmann Alpine facial and the La Prairie Diamond Body Exfoliation for an all over glow, as well as relaxing saline baths and energising Vichy shower treatments.
Nourish your body
As for dining, the Oak Grill and Pool Patio is a smart move. No wishy washy whale music or restrictive diets here.
It’s one of the rare places a dairy free pescatarian-cum-vegan like me (please don’t judge) and my carnivorous paleo husband could dine happily together. Fresh fish from the lake and locally sourced meat are grilled with a blend of woods and spices for an intense aromatic flavour and come accompanied by local, seasonal organic vegetables.
This is a restaurant for couples who love food, and their body.
But wait… Expat parents, I know what you’re thinking. ‘Stop rubbing it in. Enough already!’ With our au pair on holiday, our nanny on her break, or worse still, no help at all, this place is off limits.
The Mutzliburg kids club welcomes children from age three to twelve, meaning parents can relax safe in the knowledge that they’re not the only ones having a really good time.
The club costs 20 CHF per hour (only slightly more than Switzerland’s ridiculously overpriced nurseries) and it’s open from 10am to 10pm. Enough said.
Otherwise, if you’ve got a spa seeking teen aged over 16 in the house, they can enjoy treatments too.
The teenager facial, a prescription based formula offering gentle cleansing for sensitive skin or a more thorough detox for acne conditions, makes a lovely gift for Christmas, birthdays or to combat exam stress.
And parents, it’d only be fair to accompany our kids, right?
Couples spa breaks, girls weekends, private groups
It gets better – for a more exclusive experience, private spa suites can be booked. As well as access to their own jacuzzi, sauna, steam room, as well as a fireside living area with tea bar, clients can also arrange their own personalised treatments.
Husbands take note: this is a really, really good Christmas gift idea.
As I write about this relaxing, rejuvenating spa experience, I’m frantically sorting paperwork for my Chilean visa. As soon as I land in Santiago it’s going to be go, go, go looking for houses, schools and other comforts (I’ve been investigating good hair colorists).
My husband and I have made a pact to return to Europe a maximum of twice per year, unless in the case of an emergency, so that we really get to know South America. But there’s a problem – I’ve got a school reunion, a wedding… and now another reason to return.
The Alpine Spa at the Bürgenstock Resort is open daily from 7.00 to 22.00, with treatments available from 10.00 to 21.00.
Entrance to the spa is complementary for hotel guests. A three hour pass can be purchased for 95 CHF from Monday to Thursday, and 150 CHF from Friday to Sunday. A full day pass includes a 100 CHF voucher towards treatments or products and is priced at 220 CHF Monday to Thursday, and 300 CHF Friday to Sunday.
Half year and annual passes are also available, priced from 3,500 CHF.
The kids’ club is complementary for hotel guests and is priced at 20 CHF per hour otherwise.
For further information and reservations, email email@example.com or call +41 (0) 41 612 60 00