Thursday, 11 August 2016 18:34

Dressed by Nature - Bad Ragaz

The luxurious Grand Resort Bad Ragaz will pamper you with the finest while making sure that wellness gets its king-size share says Arati Thapa.

Grand Hotel Quellenhof and Spa Suites, Bad Ragaz

"I would like to have an ice cream drizzled with cola please," my friend Adishwar Puri said to the young waiter who was serving us at the fine dining restaurant Bel Air, while Neeta and I pored over the menu. For a fleeting moment a puzzled expression and then quickly a composure on the waiter's face. "Yes sir, I will just get it and I must also give it a try," he smiled and disappeared into what must have been a huge labyrinth of a kitchen. Minutes later he arrived carrying a beautiful crystal bowl with the order and Adishwar tucked in with pleasure. On this pleasant note of hospitality let me begin to write about my stay at the Grand Resort Bad Ragaz, well-known wellness and health resort in Switzerland known for its bounty of thermal water. The stay-experiential was an invite from the resort for that was most definitely hard to resist.

My travel from Zurich took me a pleasant and relaxed one and half hour to reach Bad Ragaz in the Canton of St Gallen in the north eastern Switzerland with a population of 6000 people and beautifully dressed by nature. The tiny clean station welcomed me with metallic life size sculptures and a black car that was ready to take us to the resort.

Life-size art installations like these are found all around the quaint village

Two monstrous looking Harley Davidsons parked next to The Quellenenhof & Spa Suites where I was booked to stay at the junior suite caught my eye. "It's for the guests to ride whenever they want to," I was told by the doorman. At the reception me and my friends were greeted with a warm smile and glasses of thermal water."It's good for the skin and as a detox liquid" said the receptionist.

The Resort

Luxurious Royal suite Wohnzimmer Nahe; for a regal feeling.

The resort lives up to your expectations, with its luxury, five star amenities, several thermal pool for hotel residents and the locals, the amazing food that they serve and the magnificent landscape and the fresh air. After a quick walk-through of the gorgeous properties and my encounter with the first ever water bar which is looked after by two lady water sommeliers, and coffee with the beautiful Kathrin Boerger Bechtold, Director of Business Development and member of the Executive board at Grand Resort Bad Ragaz and her colleague, Martin Leiter, Director of PR & Corporate Communications, we were now ready to plunge into the thermal pool.

The stunning pool at the resort with thermal water, the source of which is the Tamina Gorge

The source of the pool is the water from the Tamina Gorge discovered accidentally in 1240 by monks. The stunning pool 36.5 degrees Celsius is allowed to guests throughout the day. Its normal to find families with grand-parents soaking in the therapeutic water for the entire duration of the stay there. The locals too are allowed their share of the miracle water which is built in the open exclusively surrounded by the wonderful mountains and attached to the hotel. If you are a guest here, my strong recommendation would be to visit these pools which are complimentary and accessible in your bathrobe discreetly through the hotel if only to swim in the open with towering mountains giving you company.

The gorgeous thermal pool for the locals surrounded by stunning mountains

Tamina Gorge

If you are the type that needs to get to the source,  then a hike on a sunny day to the Tamina Gorge is most pleasant. In fact it is a highpoint here. You can also take the only bus allowed by the government here if mountain walking is not your idea of sport. At the Gorge, you will find yourself walking on a narrow bridge through the tunnel interiors of a rock and reach the spring source where you can snap chat with the gurgling sound of the spring, the natural steam emitting out it. If you are lucky feel the beautiful sun rays bouncing on your head through the natural cracks from the rocks above. It’s a magical experience for nature lovers. We took the bus but walked it down to the resort enjoying nature in all its glory.

An artist's impression of patients being lowered for treatment by monks at Tamina Gorge; Tamina Gorge now

Health and wellness

The spa here is a must. It's beautiful with a small part of it built actually to replicate the Tamina Gorge itself, this is the area which takes you to a private space marked "nude area" where obviously phones are a taboo. The other part of this huge area have special treatment rooms where you can try one of the massages after choosing from their exhaustive spa menu. The clinic is popular with the locals as well as international guests here. You could just bump into celebrities from all over the world or famous sports personalities who come for quiet and effective treatments. There are beautiful spas suites that can be booked in advance here.

A beautiful guest indulges in the healing properties of the thermal water

During the day the Resort resonates with the church bell every now and then from the elegant Evangelical Church, whose steeple shooting into the blue sky makes a pretty picture for your camera. Bad Ragaz is a quaint quiet village where everyone knows everyone. For exploring the nearby towns take a train to the Heidi Village in Maienfeld, or take one of the numerous bicycles the hotel lends on a complimentary basis and cycle around the town. Stop at the beautiful boutique shops with fantastic window display and shop for their world famous cheese and chocolates or just walk around the town which displays stunning life size art installations on the streets and enjoy a pizza and a cup of fragrant coffee.

You can also stop at the vineyards and indulge in delicious wine tasting at a town nearby. Most towns are about four to five minutes by station if you do not want to cycle. Fyi, the hotel also lends one of its Porsche to guests for the pleasure of driving around. So make sure to carry your driving license and fill it up with gas.

Author, Arati Thapa poses with the monster, Harley Davidson; Guests can ride this beaut during their stay

Fine dining

The Bel Air Restaurant

Olive d'Or gives you an excellent view while you enjoy your meal

The resort has fabulous fine dining restaurants that takes you on a cherishable culinary journey. While the Bel Air is all about jackets and formal seating in beautiful interiors, it’s the Olives d'Or that’s like a magnet for the guests for its light Mediterranean cuisine. Most importantly for its outside seating with stunning landscape. I would rush to the restaurants for an early morning breakfast for the variety of fresh fish and the delicious display of many amazing yogurt flavours.

Wartenstien Schloss, in all it's beauty

Don’t miss out on the Wartenstien Schloss, the hotel's restaurant at the hill top overlooking the Wazrtenstien castles ruins and the gorgeous view of the Bad Ragaz village, but more importantly for the friendly couple who runs the restaurant serving the best food and ice cream you can think of. The resort provides a shuttle in case you feel like dining here. While you get a killer view from the restaurant the other attraction is the happy pricing on the menu. So go right ahead and gorge on the delicacies it offers.

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