Switzerland is known for its spas and wellness resorts, so much so that Hollywood stars used to disappear for a discreet wellness retreat there and emerge looking thoroughly refreshed. Since the turn of the 20th century, its wellness industry has catered to discerning medical wellness tourists. The Swiss tourism board even advertised Switzerland as the sanatorium of the world in the 1940s.
Thanks to unspoilt alpine views, clean air and water, and thermal springs known for their curative properties, the number of resorts and guests have mushroomed. These typically combine a hotel, a health spa, medical facilities, restaurants and bars set high up in the mountains or somewhere with stunning lakeside views.
Swiss resorts uniquely blend luxurious pampering with high standards of innovative medical care for wellness programmes, aesthetic treatments and comprehensive medical check-ups. The best part about the country is the ease of connectivity – most resorts are less than an hour away from the airport. Plus, Switzerland is a VTL-designated country and doesn’t require pre-departure or on-arrival testing (at print time).
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1. CLINIQUE LA PRAIRIE
Located in Montreux with a view of the Alps on the shores of Lake Leman near the vineyards of Lavaux, the ultra-luxurious Clinique La Prairie was founded in 1931 by Professor Paul Niehans, a pioneer in the science of longevity. Over the years, the resort has established itself as a world-renowned medical clinic with five-star hospital facilities, advanced medical equipment, and a medical team of over 50 specialists.
Enhanced in 2021 for the clinic’s 90th anniversary, the signature one- week Revitalisation programme includes DNA testing and a comprehensive medical assessment by a doctor. A unique approach to longevity includes treatments focused on metabolism, inflammation, anti-ageing, and strengthening the immune system.
On top of the proprietary CLP Extract, honed over the decades, guests get two new supplements developed by life science experts. This is complemented by customised anti-inflammatory menus designed by dieticians for gut health, stress reduction therapy, and IV infusions for mind and body well-being. Anti-ageing facials at Clinique La Prairie’s award- winning spa are included in the stay for fans of the skincare brand.
Also available are alternative medicine, specialist medical consultations, surgery, and centres for aesthetics, dentistry and sleep. The stem cell facial, which uses your stem cells to rejuvenate your skin, is one of the most popular aesthetic treatments.
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2. GRAND RESORT BAD RAGAZ
One of the largest in the country, the sprawling Grand Resort Bad Ragaz comprises two five-star hotels – Grand Hotel Quellenhof & Spa Suites and Grand Hotel Hof – as well as the boutique Palais Bad Ragaz. Besides the hotels, the resort has seven restaurants with 76 GaultMillau points and five Michelin stars. Two of the most highly acclaimed are IGNIV by Andreas Caminada and Memories. Two golf courses, the Kursaal Meeting & Events Centre and a casino round off the offerings.
Also on the premises are the Swiss Olympic Medical Centre, and Clinic Bad Ragaz where the renowned Valens Clinics is a medical partner. Both outpatient medical services and an inpatient clinic for rehabilitation are available. Developed by the resort, the proprietary wellness programme promotes mental and physical balance, helps maintain health, prevents diseases and improves the quality of life. Packages centre around six lifestyle elements that help to transform and maintain balance by integrating new behavioural patterns into your daily life for sustainable change.
Helenabad Thermal Spa – one of the oldest around – was built in 1872, and along with public thermal spa Tamina Therme, extends over 5,500 sq m and 12 different pools. The healing waters of the resort’s thermal spring, paired with holistic medical expertise and five-star luxury amenities in an alpine setting, makes this a fine choice for an extended retreat.
3. LA RESERVE GENEVE
On Lake Geneva within a park, La Reserve Geneve has over 100 rooms and suites, and four acclaimed restaurants. Families with younger children love the jungle-themed rooms with teepees, soft toy animals and games. While the adults enjoy the 2,500 sq m Spa Nescens, which specialises in anti-ageing, preventive medicine and cosmeceutical and aesthetic treatments, and has indoor and outdoor swimming pools, a fitness centre, a hammam and a sauna, the children will love being at La Petite Reserve, complete with menus for little ones up to 12 years.
The unique aspect of La Reserve Geneve is its focus on personalised physical therapy delivered by a team of trained osteopaths and physical therapists. In every session, an in- depth analysis identifies and corrects any imbalances. This holistic approach and deep understanding of the body’s mobility and postural habits can minimise aches and pains and help joints regain mobility.
The Tse Fung has the distinction of being the only Michelin-starred Chinese restaurant in Switzerland. Chef Frank Xu has elevated the restaurant with a menu that offers the best of Cantonese cuisine. The resort is just five minutes by car from the Geneva airport or 10 minutes from the town centre of Geneva by the La Reserve private boat.
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AWARD-WINNING EATS AND DRINKS BEYOND THE RESORTS
Two up-and-coming chefs and a bartender are blazing a new trail for F&B in Switzerland.
The always-packed Widder Bar, which is on the 50 Best Discovery list, is located at the Widder Hotel in Zurich’s historic old town. Whatever your drink of choice, the Widder Bar has it – there are 1,000 bottles of spirits from the rare to the everyday. With 12 whisky flights and a Rarities list that includes bottlings dating back to the 1950s and special editions bottled exclusively for the Widder Hotel, its whisky selection is impressive.
Named best bartender in Switzerland at the World Class Competition by Diageo in 2021, Matteo Moscatelli’s experimental cocktails have been winning critics over. As a member of the next generation, he thinks bartenders now need to learn about global trends and incorporate sustainability into their work. A growing trend for low-ABV cocktails and an easy-going bar experience is taking the mixologist experience out of the picture, he shares.
This article originally appeared in thepeakmagazine.com