Weekend Away - Grand Resort Bad Ragaz, Switzerland
Sampling the healing thermal waters at a Swiss wellness escape, Alexandra Delf immerses herself in timeless bathing tradition.
Through the ages mankind has experimented with water and its healing powers and also remained fascinated by its somewhat mythical properties. Since ancient times through varying cultures including the Egyptians, Pre-Hellenic civilizations and of course the Romans to name just a few, we have utilised the healing powers of thermal waters. Bathing was a ritual and social experience, with vast and beautiful public baths constructed with the finest of materials as a temple to bathing and the sacred waters within. One location with such a history based on wellness by water is Bad Ragaz.
Since the discovery of thermal water at the Tamina Gorge in 1242 when two hunters from the Benedictine monastery in Pfäfers came upon warm water gushing from rocks, guests have visited Bad Ragaz to take advantage of the water’s healing properties. Grand Resort Bad Ragaz is strategically placed to make the best use of this. Renowned as Europe’s leading medical health and wellbeing resort, Grand Resort Bad Ragaz encompasses 12,800 square metres of spa space, a medical centre with more than 70 doctors and therapists specialising in a variety of fields and a dedicated rehabilitation clinic.
The thermal water forms the basis for a number of treatments and therapies at the resort. Nestled amidst the foothills of the Alps in Eastern Switzerland, it is just an hour’s drive from Zurich and the perfect destination for a romantic weekend filled with relaxation.
We wished to take in as much of the healing power of the thermal waters as possible and chose to stay at one of two five-star establishments which make up Grand Resort Bad Ragaz, the Grand Hotel Quellenhof & Spa Suites and the Grand Hotel Hof Ragaz. We chose the modern, exclusive Spa Lofts Deluxe tower which houses the Spa Suites due to the additional privacy it offers due to a separate entrance and reception area. This area offers a comfortable and open space in which to relax, with one side dedicated to a bespoke water menu. This may sound unusual, as surely all water is created equal, however in this case, prepare to be educated. From the usual suspects including Evian and Perrier to Black Charcoal Water the water menu was a real revelation of not only taste but also an interesting insight into the properties of waters from around the world.
In addition to stunning mountain views, the Spa Suites offer a private wellbeing oasis as you can enjoy the healing thermal waters at your leisure from the suite. The water coming directly into the Spa Suites is the 36.5°C warm, healing Ragazer thermal water.
Grand Resort Bad Ragaz is vast and offers no less than seven restaurants providing exquisite culinary delights, with a total of 59 Gault Millau points between them and one Michelin star, as well as a sushi takeaway, a bistro and a café. In addition, the resort also boasts two golf courses, a meeting and events centre, the public Tamina Therme thermal spa and even its own casino should the fancy take you. Every meal we had was outstanding, however we loved the traditional Swiss breakfast at Zollstube, hidden away from the main breakfast area which can get busy. This alternative breakfast option offers a more intimate breakfast experience which we went back to many times for a delicious start to the day.
During our stay, wellness was very much the theme and we sampled two treatments, the magnesium massage and one of the exclusive haki® rituals in a brand-new, specially designed treatment suite. The magnesium massage was a deeply relaxing experience, however the haki® grounding ritual for couples was a totally unique treatment and ideal for a romantic break. Personally, the ideal weekend away should leave me ideally feeling balanced and centred from an emotional and physical perspective as well as offering an ideal opportunity to relax with my husband. The haki® rituals have been created with exactly that in mind. Featuring several steps the couple’s treatment we enjoyed involved a sensory room, the washing any of negative energy away in the Rain Hall, a warm, full-body haki and a period of calm and creativity which we both found relaxing and balancing.
Being surrounded by the beauty of the Swiss countryside we had to get out and explore and if you can drag yourself from the beauty of the resort, the town of Bad Ragaz has a lot to offer. We were there during Bad RagARTz which sees the largest sculpture park in Europe spring up throughout the grounds of Grand Resort Bad Ragaz and through the town. 2018 saw 450 sculptures by 77 artists from 17 countries. In addition, you can also take a trip to the nearby Tamina Gorge to see the source of the healing waters.
The mystical gorge, which according to legend has housed dragons in the past, has been lit up over the last few years in celebration of the healing powers of the thermal waters. Known as Light Ragaz, cutting-edge technology is used to project 3D effects onto the gorge’s towering structures and formations. The nightly transformation of the 1,000-metre-long gorge takes guests on a visually stunning journey into the mystical world of spring water and the power of the elements. Interactive explanations of the history of the gorge are showcased alongside the legends surrounding it.
The art installations change on a seasonal basis and it makes for a wonderful visit for all ages.
Seeing the source of the thermal waters and the history behind it evokes a sense of wonder at the history of Bad Ragaz and the wealth of tradition behind the resort itself. However as always time marches on, and with it a fantastic selection of medi-spa offerings are now in place for those looking for something a little more than the traditional bathing rituals.
Grand Resort Bad Ragaz is also due to undergo an extensive refurbishment in early 2019, to coincide with the resort’s 150th anniversary in July 2019. These planned developments will take five months to complete and we think this will be the perfect excuse to return for another romantic wellness escape to see the next phase of this storied property.
For further information and reservations visit resortragaz.ch.en
Grand Resort Bad Ragaz AG CH-7310 Bad Ragaz, Switzerland
t:+41 81 303 30 30 e: firstname.lastname@example.org