Think mountain tops poking through fluffy clouds or steamy hot saunas smelling of exotic fruits. Think healthy free food for your kids any time of the day. Or rustic farm life just a few steps away. Think Swiss Holiday Park.
If this sounds like a dream, it is not. The top rated Swiss family hotel, Swiss Holiday Park in the canton of Schwyz, offers all of this – and more. The four in-house restaurants, kids club, outdoor kart track, mini golf course and water park for the little ones complete the dream. And the farm animals teach kids a valuable lesson about where milk is from (no, it does not grow on supermarket shelves).
On a recent fall weekend, we drove to the sleepy village of Morschach at 648 meters above sea. Our hotel for the next two days sits a steep 200 meters above Lake Uri and Rütli where Switzerland was allegedly founded. Prior to our trip, we have heard much about the Swiss Holiday Park, a magnet for foreigners and the Swiss. With its lush surroundings, this is supposed to be a hidden paradise where even grumpy teenagers will put on a smile...
Ready, steady, check in at Swiss Holiday Park in Morschach
At Swiss Holiday Park, you get to choose among a four-star hotel, a three-star guesthouse, one of the 82 apartments or even shared rooms with bunks. They try to accommodate any taste and budget. The check-in procedure is usually quite boring for a two-year old, but this one is fun!
Our little one is encouraged to climb the wooden stairs that lead up to the check-in counter. There, he can observe colorful fish in the aquarium behind, and he is being greeted by a picture of cheeky racoon “Tom“, the hotel’s mascot.
The lady at the check-in is friendly and hands us all kinds of information, plus colorful wristbands to wear during the length of our stay. Our room is not ready yet, but we are in the mood for some instant, splish splash fun.
Soaking in the happiness
In the pool area for families, we are facing a tough choice: There is an indoor and outdoor pool, a thrilling water slide, jacuzzi beds, massage jets, a colorful play area for the young guests and a relaxing steam bath with flavors that change daily.
To experience the precious “away from it all” feeling, there is a large spa for adults, too. It has a calm and relaxing atmosphere with saunas for every taste. I loved the infusion sauna (80 deg C) with its tempting tangerine smell. Time passes so quickly, we have to skip the Roman-Irish baths. But the pictures online look very promising, so I am sure it would be perfect to spend some romantic hours with your loved one.
The only thing we thought was a bit weird was that we could not take our son along in the whirlpool (which is located in the public area). He would have preferred the warm water there over the not so warm 32 degrees in the other swimming areas.
Then, it is time for a Zvieri snack!
It is 3:30 PM and the little one starts to be a bit cranky. We almost forgot it is time for his Zvieri! We hurry out of the swimming pool area straight to the foodie paradise at Restaurant Panorma. This is where you will find a lovingly arranged kids’ buffet which is basically open all day.
There are child-friendly beverages as well as yummy treats, included at no extra charge for any kids staying overnight. The buffet is at the right height for kids, which I thought was cute. The parents can stay in the comfy seats and send the kids to the buffet where they can grab whatever they like. The meals are kept simple but appealing for kids. And not to worry, the dishes are of high quality and made with fresh, seasonal and regional ingredients.
Some fresh mountain air at the Fronalp farm
After the little one is finished with his munchies, we are ready to get some fresh air. Our discovery trip starts at the two Tipi tents just outside. The beautifully carved stakes (Marterpfahl) are especially impressing. The next stop is a big trampoline where even my better half could not resist to show off his jumping skills:
Our destination is "Fronalp", a beautiful small farm only a short stroll away from the hotel. We instantly love the smell of hay in the air. Many domestic animals call this farm their home, such as cows, horses, goats, chickens and rabbits. And those kids that are into horseback-riding can book a lesson to feel like a cowboy or cowgirl.
During our visit, we are able to watch the farmer milking his cows - a nice experience for the little one to watch! There is a dairy vending machine from which pasteurized milk can be obtained at CHF 1.50 per liter. This could be useful if you are staying at an apartment.
A warm welcome in the hotel lobby
We wander back to the reception area with a short break at the playground and the cart track. (It will forever be a mystery how children can be so full of energy all day long.) From outside the lobby, we hear piano music and a soft female voice singing. When we arrive, we are greeted with a smile and a glass of prosecco, apple juice or syrup.
While the little one is making friends, we taste some hearty grilled cheese slices. Only minutes later, we see the kids dancing across the lobby, totally immersed in their own world. In this relaxing environment, we almost forget to pick up our room keys… There is an extra bed for our son in the family room. The room is clean and spacious. For our taste and given that this is a family hotel, it is a bit too business like, missing a soul. But the views of the mountains make up for this.
We are surprised that guests can borrow plenty of useful baby products free of charge. This includes cots, changing pads, bathtubs, bath thermometers, back carriers, strollers or bottle warmers. You name it, they will deliver it. This service is a blessing as every parent knows that if you are traveling with children, you have lots of extra luggage.
In the comfy bed, I feel like kicking back with a good book and have some "me time". But hey, we are on a family trip and we want to make the best out of it! I gather all my energy and we make our way to Restaurant “Panorama“. We like this place with its open and airy feel, and the attentive waiter has placed a child’s seat at our table before we can ask for one – plus some colored pencils and a coloring book.
We thank him with a smile; the little one will be busy for a while so we can choose our meals. We feel content with the organic vegetarian burger in a red curry bun, which comes with avocado sauce, tomatoes, mountain cheese, salad, and French fries. The risotto from the Maggia valley in Ticino is seasoned with herbs and cheese from the “Fronalp“ farm. The last detail to make this experience perfect would have been a play area for toddlers in parents’ line of sight. The playroom is geared towards bigger kids and is too far from the restaurant.
With full bellies, we start our evening program which includes the playroom and the fun factory located in the basement. While walking down the stairs, we pass the cinema where the movie “Heidi“ is playing, but we decide to play some darts and let the little one observe the blinking lights of the pinball machine. With older children, I would surely try out the bowling lane. It looks like the families are having a ball (no pun intended)!
Rise and shine!
It is early morning and we are wide awake. After soaking in the beautiful mountain landscape from our balcony, we are getting really hungry. I will admit that I have high expectations when it comes to hotel breakfasts (I am a real breakfast-person!). And I am happy to say that the Swiss Holiday Park completely fulfilled these high expectations. They have everything I could have dreamed of, from different kinds of bread, cheese, meats, fruits, mueslis, pancakes, waffles and eggs. And very importantly, good coffee which is fair trade certified.
This breakfast orgy is a scrumptious end to a short family holiday that we will not forget too soon...
(For the purpose of this review, Swiss Holiday Park has offered one night in a family room including half board.)
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