Waldhaus Flims - Forever Young in Switzerland
Founded in 1877 the Waldhaus Flims since had a long and moving history. Today it’s a modern 5 star luxury hotel in the Swiss Alps and member of the Leading Hotels of the World. I visited this winter hotel on a summer weekend this year.
Fred Ballinger: So I've grown old without understanding how I got here.
Doctor: Do you know what awaits you outside of here?
Fred Ballinger: No. What?
Parts of the 2010 movie Youth with Michael Caine were filmed at the Waldhaus while the whole cast was living there. Let’s see whether I came back younger after a night in the Waldhaus…
This wonderful place breathes 19th century “Belle Epoque” alpine spa for the wealthy of the time. Today it combines this with a modern spa and renovated rooms.
The Waldhaus complex is today the largest "hotel park" in Switzerland, with a total foot-print of 200,000 square meters, and around 24 separate buildings.
My room was an upgrade of one category from the lowest. It seemed a little cramped on the first look, especially the ridiculously narrow bathroom next to the entrance. Reason for this must be the age of the main building, where I was located. Stepping outside I realised that the hallway was as broad as my room. An impressive hallway was apparently more important in the 1900s than a big bathroom. The same goes for the tiny balcony…
… if they hadn’t tried to put huge loungers and a table on it. All other aspects of the room were up to the expected standard and Swiss cleanliness together with a very comfortable bed.
The spa is the pride of the Waldhaus Flims. Recently undergone a major renovation it’s really something. They integrated a natural pond as the cool-down part of the sauna experience - nice idea! Both indoor and outdoor pools in the non-nude part of the spa were nice with views of the forest and mountains (just a little small).
There was one problem I had, though: the wood-burning sauna was nice while you were inside it, but the smoke and especially the smell from the chimney was actually blowing above some of the seating and lying area. That really is a turn off when trying to relax under the sun.
Of course there are a few restaurants on premise. I tried the Epoca for dinner, which was a great kitchen with well deserved 14 Gault Millau points.
Breakfast, on the other hand, was not as flawless. The smoked salmon tasted strange somehow and the eggs didn’t amaze either. Coffee was good, at least.
Before I left, I decided to have lunch in the resort. I discovered that they held a Sunday BBQ - which was amazing! It might have been a financial loss for them, because I was the only guest together with another single mom and her two kids. For me it meant: I got half price and felt like a VIP. Most importantly, the main course, steak and homemade sausage of my own choosing, that was served was impeccable! Additionally, you could choose different starters and desserts from a sumptuous buffet.
Please, Waldhaus management, continue this Sunday BBQ in summer, even if it was a financial failure - you definitely left me impressed!
Of course it’s normal to expect serenity when going to the mountains. But I want to point it out in particular this time: it was just quiet. Sitting on the terrace, eating a wonderful BBQ with only one other table there. It was quiet when going to sleep, not hearing a sound outside, just the light of the stars. It was quiet in the pool. And at the pond.
My bed was comfortable, service was flawless and the BBQ ended my stay on a high note. I am sure they can do better on the breakfast front. I’ll be back some day. In their main season of winter they offer a lot of additional services, like a ski shuttle to the huge skiing area of Flims-Laax-Falera.
I surely left the Waldhaus a little younger than before…