Lucky me: I had the great fortune to be invited to stay at the newly renovated and reopened Swiss Youth Hostel in Crans-Montana.
The village, or rather the twin villages of Crans and Montana, are known for their skiing in the winter and music festivals in the summer. And while there is no iconic mountain like the Matterhorn or a chain like the Alpstein, the Alps in this part of the Valais are equally as impressive.
Crans-Montana is a piece of history at 1500 meters above sea.
The building which houses the youth hostel is officially called the “Bella Lui”, which translates to "beautiful light" in the old Valais dialect. It reminds me a great deal of the Haut-Lac summer school in Les Sciernes d’Albeuve in Canton Fribourg, where I taught for three summers.
During my research for this story, I found out that the two buildings were erected around the same time and both served as sanatoriums. When it opened its doors in 1930, the Bella Lui was a luxury health clinic serving the well-to-do of the time as they regained their health in the fresh mountain air at 1500 meters above sea. Since then, the building has been used as a spa and a holiday hotel.
The Crans-Montana youth hostel is a furniture lover’s delight.
Today, the building is an official historic monument and the renovations have restored and maintained the unique architectural features. These are accented inside by the beautiful furnishings with 20s-style armchairs, sofas and shelves.
There is even a room on the main floor which has remained unchanged since the 1930s!
It’s a perfect place to work and relax.
The bedrooms at the youth hostel have been beautifully redone with comfortable, modern beds and a wall unit shelf. The high desk allows for comfortably working on a laptop.
I came to Crans-Montana midweek to spend two glorious days working uninterrupted on my projects. (They were perhaps the two most productive days of the month.) In case you are wondering, the WiFi connection here is excellent.
The large loggia with the sun loungers faces south, providing breathtaking vistas. There are also three terraces on different floors from where you can enjoy the mountain sunrays, beautiful views, cool drinks or a good book.
The meals in the Youth Hostel are also nicely prepared - and a real bargain.
The breakfast offerings are plentiful, and there is a meat and a vegetarian option at dinner. The furnishings in the dining hall also match those of the rest of the building. The room is airy and filled with light. And despite being on the lowest floor, the views are lovely.
Those looking to vacation in Crans-Montana will find everything they need at the Bella Lui. Whether for skiing in the winter or hiking in the summer, it is an excellent space to retreat for a few days. This is especially true for all those digital nomads who are looking for a reason to escape the city for a few days...