For a clue about what to expect of Grand Resort Bad Ragaz, look to the name. Not the “Bad” bit, rather the “Grand”. This Swiss wellbeing and medical resort in the foothills of the Alps enjoys a setting that reinvigorates purely by sight. Wooded peaks slope down towards vineyards, while the fresh mountain air is a revelation after London’s diesel-saturated streets. Add to that the presence of a natural thermal spring in the Tamina Gorge, a 15-minute drive from the village of Bad Ragaz, and you have all of the ingredients for a world-beating spa resort.
Benedictine monks discovered the spring in 1242, and the first bathers had to endure a 70-metre descent into the gorge in straw baskets before they could take a dip in its 36.5ºC water – not the most relaxing start to a spa visit. In 1840, the waters, known as “blue gold” for their precious healing powers, were piped into town, turning Bad Ragaz into a spa destination (bad means bath in German). Then, just over 150 years ago, the Grand Hotel Quellenhof was constructed, accepting its first guests on July 10, 1869.
That property was to become the first part of the puzzle that makes up the extensive Grand Resort Bad Ragaz, which comprises a further three hotels – Grand Hotel Hof Ragaz and Palais Bad Ragaz within the resort and the more rustic Hotel Schloss Wartenstein, perched on a hillside on the edge of the village – plus two golf courses, two spas (a public one and one for guests only), a medical centre, eight restaurants, four bars, a bistro, a café and a sushi takeaway. Taken together, they form an intriguing hotchpotch of architectural styles dating from different eras, all interconnected. Getting lost is almost inevitable and always interesting.
Located only 90 minutes by train from Zurich through spirit-lifting, classically Swiss scenery, the hotel reopened in July last year following a SFr 45 million (£35.2 million) refurbishment under the helm of Swiss interior designer Claudio Carbone. The revamp included new furniture and furnishings, dramatic lighting with a natural theme and thermal fountains installed throughout.
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