La Val – The Most Charming Swiss Surprise
La Val Hotel & Spa
Looking for a boutique hotel with one of the best wellness areas in Switzerland, but not the place where everybody goes? I really have the best tip! I hope you can feel my enthusiasm while reading the description of La Val Hotel & spa in Brigels, because this place is a gem, and, incredibly, not that well known abroad.
When people around the world think of Switzerland, they mostly imagine it like Grisons. Sunny spots on idyllic mountains, breath taking nature, pretty villages of chalets only, cows, active people doing many different sports, perfect hospitality industry and organisation, locals having fresh milk and eggs delivered in front of their houses instead of supermarket packages. The only thing is: people rarely know that all this is happening in Brigels (in Grisons, or Graubünden in German, or Grigioni in Italian. Grisons is the only canton of Switzerland with three official languages: German, Romansh and Italian), and in particular in La Val.
A Sunny Terrace
Blessed by its sunny position and always on top of charts for its sunlight hours, Brigels is small and calm but has it all. The multi award winning La Val Hotel & Spa is in the centre of the village – a chalet with a touch of modern architecture.
The first things I noticed as I entered were some vintage skis, skates and mountain accessories hanging on the walls, pleasantly mixing old and new. The crackling fire and live music – every day after 5 pm – felt so romantic, that I put my luggage on the floor, and sat for a moment to soak it in. The stone walls and chunky wooden tables felt warm and welcoming, but again they perfectly mixed with the more modern bar and restaurant, featuring a glass corridor with walls filled with local and international wines. I also immediately spotted the cigar lounge and the library with its rocking chairs, perhaps the cutest part of the hotel. We had a welcome drink, checked in and entered our beautiful family suite.
Totally Relaxing – Being Active
Since this was our last weekend in the mountain before Antarctica Marathon (that we will run the 22 March), we decided to both fully relax and train outdoor, of course. So the first day we went to explore the area and had a hike with our dog Simba – by the way, the hotel is obviously dog friendly and family friendly. And lovers friendly, because the Spa is amazing! but I am side-tracking now…
The hike was a really pleasant surprise. Open views, a lot of sun, a great mix of people greeted us during the power walk. There was a cool mama followed by her two young children, holding skis and snowboards. They were walking so energetically, that I had to go faster not to be passed. Then I saw another woman holding a kid on a trike motorcycle – also a bit unusual to me. Finally, we met some young couples and some locals, relaxing and walking slowly. I seriously kept wondering why I didn’t know this village before.
The best value for money in Switzerland
But the highlight was the Spa – well deserved after our hike, I think. Its shiny mosaic mixed with traditional stone walls, wooden panels, lit candles and bales of hay has the cosiest and most stylish atmosphere. I was lucky to find a moment without people so I tried everything: Finnish sauna, herbal sauna, private sauna, themed showers (that are fun because of their LED coloured lights), steam rooms, relaxation room and of course the warm pool with bubbles beds, and the outdoor Jacuzzi. There are also massage rooms and treatment rooms, for a total of 680 square meters. A day at the Spa, if you’re not staying at the hotel, costs CHF 60. Fairly priced to say the least – especially for Switzerland – this place is a real find.
Dinner was another highlight, again offering both elegant dishes and more rustic, mountain kind of foods, like a traditional cheese fonde. Multiple award-winning chef Rudolf Möller prepared for me a deliciously crunchy salad, a truffled-infused soup, and a vegetarian curry.
Ingredients are all local even if the cooking style is global – another harmonious mix of opposites. What a shame we are training and not drinking, my husband would have loved to try some of the local wines he already knew and appreciated in the past. With such a big choice, he ended up only filming the see-through cellar and hoping to come back once.
A little surprise of the evening was seeing Reto Engler, the hotel Director, passing through the tables to check that everything was fine, and even serving people. I loved how hands-on everybody in the team is, and how they made us feel that the atmosphere, albeit one of luxury, was …how shall I put it? Normal, cool and easy going. No pressure to wear logo skiwear or be snobby, here. La Val is definitely the new luxury.
Another day in Paradise
The second day of this outstanding weekend was a bit more active: we went for a run and enjoyed some more sun and heart warming views. A little trip to the spa, then it was time to check out.
Before going away, I asked Reto if he could send me some pictures showing the hotel at the height of winter, with beautiful high snow over the roofs. He smiled and said that he preferred not to, and that he would be happier to show La Val exactly the way it is right now, with little snow.
We prefer to be authentic and show how beautiful the hotel is in every season – you should see it also in Summer!
No hotel director has felt so authentic to me before. That moment he got my trust, and my wish to make a super positive review for La Val, a hotel immersed in so much beauty and run with so much passion.
La Val, arrivederci! Or as they say in Romansh, a revair!
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