Cloaked in swish timberland in Alpine jap Switzerland, Waldhaus Flims commands storybook views from its fine appointed young woman Époque-style rooms.
It also offers an outstanding spa, four varied restaurants, and top-notch breakfasts. Cocooned by skyscraper pine trees that offer occasional glimpses of the dramatic Tschingelhörner summits and the concertina-esque Flimserstein cliff face, the historic Waldhaus is hidden in a gated park close to Alpine resort Flims. It is delightfully tranquil, yet only minutes’ walk from local amenities.
You can ski down to the hotel at the end of the day. Arranged between three buildings: the 19th-century Grand Hotel, turreted Villa Silvana and discrete Chalet Belmont – all connected by underground passages and covered walkways. The Waldhaus emanates an aesthetic of historic class with oodles of wow factor. A lavish £32million renovation has resulted in a luxurious palette of gold, caramel, and chocolate arranged in layers of leather, velvet, and wood.
Glistening chandeliers, delicate light installations, and stylised motifs complement this high-end Belle Époque feel. While the look is no-expense-spared, the ambiance is lived-in, thanks to clever arrangements of seating that spill out from the restaurants.
The staff makes an outstanding impression with their attentiveness, Hollywood smiles and eagerness to make stays pleasurable. Managing director Peter Schoch is equally friendly, and can often be found laughing and joking with guests. No less impressive are the facilities. There is a jaw-dropping Art Nouveau pavilion with a decorative ballroom that hosts weddings and classical concerts; an elegant library; a large ski room; and a regular ski shuttle. The spa is a destination itself. Arranged across a series of stone and Perspex cubes – among them a stylish glass box containing the indoor pool – are saunas and steam rooms of varying temperatures, foot baths, a hammam, two private spas, and a modern gym.
The warm outdoor pool with jets has dreamy views, but the standout feature is the natural swimming pond. In winter, it has an ice hole – brave it, then warm up in the ‘earth sauna’, a grotto heated by a wood-burning stove.
There is also a good range of treatments. For buttery soft skin and relaxed muscles, the Ananné Mountain Crystal treatment employs all-natural products in a papaya scrub followed by a soothing massage with rose quartz. The 142 caramel-toned rooms and suites are an either deluxe or superior category, but the level of quality is universal. All are opulent, with high ceilings, plush carpets, fresh flowers, and glass, wood and chrome fittings. Art Nouveau-style easy chairs arranged around huge television screens add to the high-end feel. Essentials are done extremely well: beds are so comfortable it’s hard to get up – they even have good pillows, which can be rare in Swiss hotels; there is plenty of space; and bathrooms are pleasing, with separate tubs and generously-sized toiletries by natural Swiss brand Ananné.
Welcome extras include kettles and melt-in-your-mouth chocolates. The best bit? Almost all the rooms have a balcony – many south-facing – where you can soak up the sun and listen to birdsong. There is something for everyone. The Grand, a plush space with tubular lighting and huge windows, offers international à la carte options and an excellent buffet. The seafood buffet featured salmon with red wine fennel and dessert comprising berry cheesecake and gooey truffles.
A stroll across the lamplit parkland is Pomodoro, which does Italian classics. For hearty local fare, including fondue and raclette, opt for Il Tschaler. Meanwhile, an artistic take on regional recipes is available in classy Epoca: splendid flavors characterize dishes such as pikeperch with beetroot and raspberries or succulent lamb with goat’s cheese dumplings. Chefs will go off-piste to cater for any dietary requirements.
Breakfast, served with a view in The Grand, is excellent. As well as a copious continental buffet, there is leaf tea, freshly pressed fruit, and green juices, and eggs cooked to order. Cozy evenings can be enjoyed at Chadafö, where there is an open fire, easy-listening live music, and cocktails based on recipes from 1800 to 1930. The Summit bar, great for post-outdoors drinks, rounds off the selection with its chatty ambiance. Double rooms from 410 Swiss Francs (£329) in the Grand Hotel; or 360 Swiss Francs (£289) in Villa Silvana. Breakfast, newspapers, minibar and spa access included. Free Wi-Fi. Accommodation is available in connecting rooms and corner suites, which have two bedrooms and a sitting room. There is a daily kids’ club free of charge, a playground, a children’s restaurant, and babysitters.