As a child growing up in the middle of nowhere in outback Australia, Switzerland had, and has always been a dream destination for me. Everything about Switzerland was the antithesis of my life as a child and it was with eager anticipation that I was excited about visiting Grand Resort Bad Ragaz with my lovely wife. The train ride from Zurich central station was painless, efficient and timely almost to the second (I wish the trains in the UK would take a leaf) and the views along Lake Constance are quite breath taking although admittedly we were blessed with a lovely crisp sunny day.
On arrival, what impressed me (among other things) was the divine scenery and the fact that you can smell the air. I mean smell in the clean sense. It just smells pure and it is very easy to just stand still and simply breathe, breathing in the fresh mountain air hoping that it will last longer than that one breath. A huge bonus to this rarefied air is that standing at the front of the Grand Resort the mountain views are seriously impressive. The Resort is located in a valley on the outskirts of the town of Bad Ragaz. The mountains on either side were snow capped and the village is a lovely little quaint Swiss town with all the effortless charm and sophistication that is Switzerland.
As our arrival at the hotel was a little later than initially expected due to a cancelled flight which resulted in the minor fact that it had taken us about 12 hours to get there (as opposed to the scheduled 4 hours), we thought it best to retreat to our Spa suite. We were on the 7th floor and our 2 balconies had views over the resort’s golf course and each side we had the mountain views that only a location like this can provide. The services were efficient, the TV’s (yes plural as there are 3 in the suite) are Bang & Oulfsen, the shower can be used as a steam room, the bath can be a spa, the beds are movable and the stiffness of the mattress can be adjusted to ease those aches and pains and the lights are dimmable to create a calm ambiance.
After a great night sleep, we woke as fresh as daisies, ready for a day of treatments. We started our 1 day therapeutic relaxation programme with a private pilates personal training session and let me tell you, it will make you lose weight fast and having not done this before, it certainly highlighted my lack of subtlety, flexibility and general fitness. This said, it was hugely satisfying and if we had the time we would do it on a regular basis (as God knows, we, or more specifically I, need it).
Following a short tea break (well thermal water break to re-hydrate after the workout we’d just had), it was on to a “Sequoia ceremony” massage. This is an hour and a half massage from top to toe, or in this case, toe to top as it starts with a relaxing foot bath and foot massage. I wish I could tell you more about it but I think that I spent most of the 90 minute session asleep and dreaming of the mountains and if it was that relaxing, that has to be a good thing. To be honest, it was excellent.
Then it was on to our lunch which we had chosen at our morning introduction. We chose the “Cuisine Équilibreé” which is fundamentally a 3 course meal that is designed and prepared to keep your body in balance. As to the taste and quality of the food, if I had this exact meal for the next week, I would be very happy. It was exquisite and the perfect top up for our afternoon activities planned.
Following lunch it was to the “Thermal Water” and there are many, many different bathing activities and iterations that come under this category and we followed a programme suggested by our morning advisor as closely as we could.
We started with swimming a few lengths in a pool at a temperature of 36.5 degrees. We then had a spa and water shower in the pool, time in a steam room, then a different wet sauna, then dry sauna (showers throughout). Then it was with a little trepidation that we ventured into the “naked” area.
Although I was at first very reluctant to even enter, once you enter this bastion of purity, I was surprised at how liberating it actually is although don’t worry, we were not parading around like Pamela Anderson. In this area we did many of the same sauna type activities with the addition of an ice facial and a final naked dip into a 10 degree plunge pool which needless to say was incredibly refreshing while having other reductive effects on other parts of my body. As an experience it was brilliant and would I do it again, absolutely.
Then it was our last activity of the day which dressed in my pants and robe felt relatively sedate. It was facial time with Nadine. A refreshing young Swiss lady that had worked in the Resort for 7 years and obviously has a passion for what she does. I think she assumed that I knew what I was doing. She asked me what I type of facial I would like, to which I replied, “whatever you think”, she asked me what products I wanted, I said “whatever you think” and she suggested “La Prairie” to which I happily replied, “brilliant” having no idea what I had just agreed to and the facial proceeded.
How was it? Well, I remember some warm things on my closed eyes, a bit of face scrubbing and then what seemed like a few minutes later albeit 45 minutes later, “OK, John all done”. I’d done it again, it was so relaxing that I’d fallen asleep which to be honest, is a little embarrassing but hey ho, I’m the client. It was a fitting and fantastic way to end our treatments. The 9.30am to 5pm seemed to fly by and I, and I know my wife enjoyed every minute of it. What a great way to spend a day and I would recommend this to anyone and everyone.
During the day and in light of the activities/treatments etc we did, we were often and unsurprisingly, quite thirsty. To overcome this issue, the Resort has thoughtfully made thermal water available everywhere which supposedly has healing/healthy effects on the body. Although I don’t actually know if this was true in my case, I was drinking it by the bucket loads, firstly as I alluded to earlier, because I was rather dehydrated by the activities and secondly, I had convinced myself that it was going to make me 10 years younger and I’ll give it a bit more time before I test again.
Wow, what a day and although I don’t know if I actually was medically, any healthier, I certainly felt it and it was amazing how the whole day and our visit as a whole had completely de-stressed us. We have quite a busy life in London and this trip and its activities had taken our minds away from our working lives and given us a complete break from it and if you knew my wife, that is impressive in itself and incredibly worthwhile.
What we didn’t do (among many, many activities and services) which I would have liked to was play golf, go mountain walking, go bike riding, go for a ride on a Harley, eat at the Michelin starred restaurant in the resort, have a flutter in the Casino although we’ll save those for our next trip. Thank you Grand Resort Bad Ragaz and I hope we’ll see you again soon.