Although I had travelled through Switzerland several times as a child, driving to Italy with my parents, I had never actually spent any time in this beautiful country. So when I had the chance to visit the quaint mountain village of Vals, after a long weekend in the much busier Davos, I was thrilled!
As you can tell just by looking at the website, Hotel 7132 is a design hotel with striking architecture and contemporary interior design. The new owners that took over the hotel in 2014 (it used to be named Therme Hotel Vals) clearly care about every tiny detail, making sure the hotel fits in with the breathtaking view of the surrounding mountains, that were covered in snow while I was there. The food was of extremely high quality, the service impeccable yet very friendly and the spa with the thermal baths was simply amazing. That word is overused, but it is the only way I can describe the experience. Now, all of this does come at a price that is quite steep for almost anyone that is not Swiss!
Every room comes with complimentary access to the Therme, as the spa baths are called, but other than that the rooms vary greatly. The hotel commissioned no less than three different star architects: Tadao Ando, Kengo Kuma and of course Peter Zumthor, who also designed the spa, but more on that later.
I had the chance to see all the different types of rooms and the overall style is definitely minimalist. Still, each architect added his own unique taste and feeling, as you can tell by the pictures.
The Kengo Kuma suite is the highlight, with lights, heating and bed operated by remote control and iPad, an enormous bath tub next to the floor to ceiling window and the famous Japanese Toto washlet, the Tesla of toilets. For approximately $2,500 a night, all this is yours including a roundtrip transfer by helicopter to and from any location in Switzerland!
Hotel 7132 offers the ideal combination for all winter sports enthusiasts, with both an excellent spa and high-altitude and perfectly groomed skiing slopes. What better excuse can there be to head to the hotel spa after an active day on the slopes?
My favorite spa up to now had been Aire Ancient baths in New York. Because of the tranquillity, the decor, the service and the unique location in busy Manhattan. The spa of 7132 has replaced Aire as my personal favorite, especially after the unique experience of the Sunday night ‘silent swim’ when only hotel guests are allowed, but nobody dares to speak… it was an enlightening experience under the moonlit stars!
The spa was designed by Zumthor and built from no less than 60,000 plates of Valsian quartzite, the local rock. It gives the entire place a dark, intimate vibe with various types of pools and baths in every nook and cranny, varying from very large (the outdoor pool) to very small (the ice bath). The steam rooms are also wonderful and the entire experience is just so overwhelmingly relaxing. And obviously, this being Switzerland, it is the cleanest spa I have ever seen…
I love a good, healthy brekkie and the breakfast at the 7132 deserves special recognition. For 60 CHF, which is about $60 or 55 EUR, there is a champagne breakfast in Silver. It is served by the same staff and uses many of the same ingredients and suppliers that got Silver a Michelin star in its first year of operation, a very rare accomplishment. But if you think that is the breakfast I am raving about, you’re wrong: for that price, a breakfast should be spectacular.
No, the breakfast that I found truly amazing was served in the more affordable restaurant Red! The bread, the preserves, the eggs, everything possible is supplied by local vendors that make it the freshest breakfast you can possibly think of. There are little touches that stole my heart, like the option to make your own cereal out of your favorite wheats and the huge display of a wide variety of Swiss cheeses.
We were so thrilled by the breakfast that we decided to try Red for dinner as well and we were not disappointed! The very knowledgeable and friendly staff presented us with many different options, from meat to fish to vegetarian. My appetizer, fresh salmon, was sliced from a giant fresh salmon and just like my pasta, prepared expertly at our table.
I can’t wait to go back to Vals, stay in a Kengo Kuma room and float in the spa, wondering what dinner at Silver is going to be like!
For more information about Hotel 7132, visit the website here