Wellness is taken very seriously in Switzerland. People pay good money for pharmaceuticals, wrap scarves around their throats to signal they are sick as a courtesy to others, and employers are very generous with sick days. But more than that, ritual bathing and visits to mineral-rich springs are de rigeur for promoting wellness and good health.
Throughout the country you will find a variety of wellness retreats and thermal baths. Some may include a spa for massages and treatments, others might have a fitness component, though the real focus is mostly on relaxation and refreshing the body. The Therme Vals is best known for its architecture. It was completed in 1996 by architect Peter Zumthor and was quickly named an architectural landmark. Zumthor later won the Pritzker Prize and received cult status among elite conceptualists.
His design relies on local quarzite, sensory experiences, and a harmony with the natural surroundings. The design is minimal and sleek, with sharp edges and gorgeous sight lines. Just walking around the thermal bath was inspiring and a treat in itself, especial for those with an appreciation for exceptional aesthetics.
Adam has always wanted to visit Therme Vals and this past weekend was the perfect opportunity as Monday was a national holiday and also the last day of the winter season for the bath. We booked the Kengo Kuma room at 7132, the hotel that is attached to the thermal spa, as a last-minute indulgence and decided to make a night out of it.
There are several different styles of rooms available and they are all unique and interesting. Adam loved the curved lines and cozy vibe of Kengo Kuma and it had a rustic pine smell to it that really brought the outdoors in. Plus, that shower (!!) is pretty cool.
This is always a funny season to be a tourist here because most of the winter snow has melted but it’s not late enough in the spring for the grass to really green and flowers to blossom. It’s generally pretty brown and gray, but we didn’t mind: the landscape was still beautiful.
Our night there was such a special treat. It was so lovely to just rest and relax and soak in all that beautiful wellness. The thermal waters, which are rich in calcium, magnesium, sulphates, chloride, alcalia, and fluoride, help loosen sore or stiff muscles, relieve itchy skin and eczema, boost circulation, improve sleep, and even reduce irritability. Healing indeed! There are warm, hot, cool, and cold baths for a variety of benefits and moods. I especially liked the indoor-outdoor pool because it was one of the warmest and the view of the mountains was extraordinary.
On Sunday night we were able to take part of the midnight silent swim, which is offered only to hotel guests. It was a magical night of swimming in warm water underneath the stars.
Before we left on Monday we walked around Vals, which is a sweet little town. We stopped for lunch at a tiny Alpine restaurant and just cruised the deserted streets.
Valser water is collected and bottled here. You can drink from public fountains throughout the entire country, but the water in this village was especially delicious and clear.
I loved this quick getaway. It’s no surprise that I love lounging and resting and Vals Therme and the 7132 was a supreme indulgence. I’d highly recommend it as a romantic weekend trip for any kind of special occasion.
Have you ever been to any thermal baths? We visited Leukerbad last year and really enjoyed the experience. I’ve also been to a Turkish bath in Istanbul, but that was a little crazy.
p.s. The swimsuit I wore at the bath is my new favorite thing! (I have it in the brown motif)
(images of inside the bath via Hotel 7132; all others our own)