Alpine hotels tend to fall into two categories: luxury spa retreats with pristine views and a price tag to match, or run-down relics that still sting your wallet. Some of these relics retain an element of charm, and some are situated so perfectly that style seems to barely matter.
But in the publication Great Escapes Alps, we get to take a journey through some of the boundary-pushing hotels spread across Central Europe. It carves out a new category of hotel where success is defined by little touches of magic, a dedication to tranquillity, or a serious consideration of interior design.
In this contemporary take on alpine chic, history and modernity live in harmony. Wood panels are respected and encouraged, yet furniture may come from Vitra. Breakfast birchermüesli is likely to come with organic milk and locally sourced apples. Rooms might have WiFi but still, creak underfoot.
The finest hotels in the Alps
Each hotel has its own version of alpine life. And for that reason, you’re never likely to get bored exploring these spots. More often than not there is a visionary behind each hotel's concept, whom author Christiane Reiter introduces us to.
There is the eleventh generation of the Unterberger family who runs the Taxhof, the food connoisseur Joschi Walch in charge of the three restaurants at Rote Wand, and the Albers of the Miramonti Boutique.
In Great Escapes Alps, expect a glimpse behind the scenes rather than a run-down of room rates. (That’s what websites are for, right?). All descriptions are presented handily in English, German and French.
You also get a book recommendation for each stay, which is a nice touch. Ample space is given to spectacular photography covering spectacular locations, and the minute details that make a hotel special.
The publication covers France, Bavaria, Italy, Austria, and - yes, Switzerland. One must feel for Slovenia whose alpine views rival any of its neighbors, yet apparently doesn’t have the hotels to match. (I’d love to disprove that.)
5 alpine hotels for your bucket list
I have handpicked five hotels in (or near) Switzerland that are simply too appealing. If I don’t stay in at least one of these hotels one day, then what even is life?
🇨🇭 Brücke 49 for some hygge in Helvetia
It’s the immaculate approach to the mid-century modern aesthetic that makes the Brücke 49 hotel so desirable. Expect contemporary cool within touching distance of Flims Laax, freshly baked bread, and Danish furniture.
🇨🇭 Maison Bergdorf offers a good blend
All you need to know about Maison Bergdorf is encapsulated in the book’s description: “eclectic, rather sophisticated, and trendy, but also cozily rustic.” It sounds like a great spot from where to explore the Bernese Oberland.
🇨🇭 Maiensässhotel Guarda Val is an alpine farmer’s idyll
You can reach the Maiensässhotel Guarda Val on a delightful hike from Lenzerheide, and enjoy a beer on the sunny terrace. Or you can treat yourself and stay in one of its utterly inviting bucolic rooms or apartments. I know which I choose.
🇨🇭 Hotel Fex for some peace and quiet
Val Fex holds a kind of mystic quality, a reputation as the ultimate alpine escape. To stay in the middle of that magic, arriving by horse-cart and enjoying the charms of Hotel Fex would be enough to relax anyone.
🇦🇹 Lesehotel to “book” your vacation
Bad Goisern am Halstättersee, Austria
Having time to read without feeling like you should be doing housework is one of the great pleasures of hotel stays. So why not go the whole hog and stay in the surrounds of a book hotel with a view of Lake Hallstatt to boot? It’s not in Switzerland, but surely we can make an exception with the HALLSTATT HIDEAWAY Mountain Lesehotel?