Monday, December 7, 2009

Therme Vals

I need to preface this post and just let you all know friends and family are keeping us very busy through the holidays. Plus, other prospective "work" options have blossomed for this hausfrau (keep your fingers crossed). I am doing my best to get caught up on our adventures before the next batch gets to town. I promise loads of stories at the beginning of the year. Til then, I apologize for the sparsity.

Our mother/daughter trip to Vals, Switzerland was a long one in the making. My mom and I have been drooling over the idea of a spa trip for the last couple of years, but something always kept getting in the way -- Mom being a regional Hadassah president, moving from California to Texas...oh yeah, and then moving again but this time to Zurich. Now, some people might look at this as a negative and give up the fight, but not us. Eventually this spa trip was happening and even better now, we could do it Euro-style.

There is this very fancy, well-known spa in the Heidi-Land of Switzerland known as Therme Vals. Prices of course are high, but luckily a very good friend was kind enough to pass along the details of a spa package from Hotel Alpina Vals (Thanks, Kristi!). There are a bunch of small, boutique hotels all throughout Vals. So, there is no need to stay at the Therme Vals Hotel. Save some dough. Go to the baths for sure, get a massage or two, and then relax with a short walk back to your less expensive room (smiling the whole way knowing how much you just saved yourself).

I can't say enough good things about the Hotel Alpina. Highly, highly recommend. I have to give them a little shout out here. They are about a 10 minute walk from the baths and our package included both breakfast and dinner. Our room was massive even by American standards. We even had a sitting room with a couple windows looking out towards the mountains. And, the food was 5-star. Dinner was a 4-course meal which they easily adjusted for my mom who is diabetic and vegetarian when she eats out. Our server even wrote out the menu in English on the second night so that she could explain the menu. They really went above and beyond to make our stay feel like being at home.

As for the baths...I was a little surprised. I don't know exactly what I was expecting, but it was no Lake Austin Spa. Don't take this the wrong way. I am not being negative. It just would have been nice to know exactly what to expect when you arrive there. The Therme Vals are a handful of pools each with a different temperature ranging from 14° C (57.2° F) to 42° C (107.6° F). There is also a steamroom, sauna, and the naked room. Sorry. No. I did not go in this last room. All of this is pretty straightforward, but know that you aren't given any extra amenities like shampoo, robes, slippers, or even towels. You pay 40 CHF to use the baths. Also learned that you should make appointments early before you arrive to Vals. That includes going to the baths. We lucked out that we went mid-week so the baths were easy to get into, but were only given the options of a bubble bath, exfoliation, or foot massage for spa services.

Before I give you my cheat sheet for going to the Therme Vals baths, I have to tell you one more story. Mom and I get to the baths on our first day, all excited to finally be spaing. Come to find out we were supposed to bring our own towels. I end up renting a couple for 3.50 CHF. We change and start jumping from one pool to the next. Having the best time finally being at a spa. What an experience. And, to be doing this SWITZERLAND. Awesome. After we are substantially pruned, we go to grab our towels and get ready to head back to the hotel for our 4-course dinner. Wait. Where did our towels go? Seriously. Someone stole our towels. Mom still says someone accidentally mistook our towels for theirs, but I don't buy it. We ended up semi-drying off each with our own scarfs. This was not a pretty picture. Not a good way to end the day at the spa and thus my reason for the cheat sheet.

Cheat Sheet: Necessities for Bad-ing

  • Bathing suit (a couple true Europeans had to by bathing trunks before entering, not cheap)
  • Flip-flops (if desired)
  • Robe or multiple towels (towels should NOT be white. bring a bright, ugly towel that doesn't look like anyone elses. Trust me on this.)
  • Shampoo, conditioner, brush, etc.
  • 2 CHF for each locker needed
  • Ugly Migros bag to put everything into (again, the uglier, the better)
We learned our lesson for sure and the second day we watched our towels like hawks. Looking forward to going again now that I am a seasoned pro.


  1. did you happen to see the underground house while in vals? and it will not let me put the link in here :( ...but google 'incredible underground residence in switzerland' if you want to see it!

  2. I did not know about this little secret. Very cool. I guess I have another reason to go back. Thanks.


    Now you see it...I think we maybe saw this from the outside...looks kind of familiar.

  4. The spa in Baden is not the most modern, but they do wrap you in a free warm towel after you get out of the spa. And the entrance is only CHF 16. I'll take it!

  5. Dear "Peterthals"
    Although its been years ago since you ve written your review about Vals and Hotel Alpina Vals we still would like to thank you for your review and positive feedback!

    Maybe you will get again the chance to visit vals and our Hotel Alpian in Vals!

    Best regards

    Familie K├╝hne

  6. lagi di daerah mana tuh? indah bgt, siapa tau kapan2 bisa maen :D


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