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Splashing and feasting at the Grand Resort Bad Ragaz

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The name of the Grand Resort Bad Ragaz already hints at what an awesome facility it is. Designed by a superb architect, blessed with a natural thermal bath whose water is naturally heated to an ideal 36.5 degrees, this is the perfect place for splashing around in for a weekend!

The Grand Resort Bad Ragaz Wellbeing & Medical Health Resort consists of two five-star hotels, the Grand Hotel Quellenhof & Spa Suites and the Grand Hotel Hof Ragaz, as well as the Hotel Palais Bad Ragaz and, since 2016, the Hotel Schloss Wartenstein.

 

This time we are staying at the Hof Ragaz. It houses us warmly in earthy color hues and with noble furniture.

 

If you really want to go for the ultimate in lodgings that let you take the relaxation afforded by the resort’s own thermal spa right in your room, try to score a stay in the Spa Suites Tower! Some of the suites have their own in-room saunas. You can have the water burble into the bath tub at a temperature that’s just right for you…

The Spa Suis living room

The Spa Suis living room

Grand Resort Bad Ragaz, Spa Suites Tower

Grand Resort Bad Ragaz, Spa Suites Tower

Tamina Therme

But rest assured, this only gives you a taste in your own lodging of what’s to come. Because right below there is the Bad Ragaz Therme, also known more wildly romantic as the Tamina Therme. The water is piped here 4.5 km from the adventure-filled Tamina Gorge where in the year 1242 they discovered the “blue gold.”

The spa’s striking architecture only adds to the bathing experience.

Entrance to the public thermal baths Bad Ragaz

Entrance to the public thermal baths, the Spa Suites at right

As long as you are already in Bad Ragaz, do yourself a favor: do not miss out on the “Light Ragaz”, the 3D multimedia show that nightly illuminates the Tamina Gorge. It is truly mind-boggling!

 

Read our related travel notes on the multimedia light spectacle on the Newly Swissed Blog.

Incidentally, the Kneipp foot bath in the Therme imitates the Tamina Gorge: as demonstrated here by Katja “canyoning” in the spa.

Bad Ragaz Resort Spa

Katja wades in the spa’s hot spring water

Thermal Spa Grand Resort Bad Ragaz

Ice plunge in the thermal spa of the Grand Resort Bad Ragaz

In addition to two nice steam baths and the full complement of sauna facilities, the Grand Resort also shines with the Helena Bath. That’s Helena as in Grand Duchess Elena Pavlovna Romanov of St. Petersburg.

Helena Bath Grand Resort Bad Ragaz

Helena Bath: Europe’s original covered thermal bath

Conceived in 1872 by the visionary Bernhard Simon, founder of what is today the Grand Resort Bad Ragaz, it was Europe’s first covered interior thermal bath. He was a prize-winning architect who had achieved fame in that Russian city.

Europe’s beautiful people and the rich already in those days thronged to Ragaz for spa tourism. The village actually changed its name to “Bad Ragaz” in 1937, after surviving forty lean years during the two world wars and in between.

For more background, here is an interesting history of the Tamina Therme.

Restaurants of the Grand Resort Bad Ragaz

After all the splashing around in pleasantly warm water, you bet you’re going to be hungry.

It’s not a problem, believe me. Because restaurants the resort has plenty of. The difficulty is more likely to be in having to settle on one. To help ease the agony of choice, here is our little guide to its seven restaurants and one cafe:

Restaurant IGNIV – by Andreas Caminada – my favorite

Let me hammer home the point without dilly-dallying: What young star chef Silvio Germann and restaurant manager Francesco Benvenuto lay down here, I mean dish up, of course, is simply crème de la crème!

Their sharing concept actually originally came from even more-starred chef Andreas Caminada. But obviously Germann stood long enough at his elbow to let him now in turn take off into lofty gourmet spheres. You absolutely must go there!

Here is my IGNIV review complete with Katja’s fainting spell..

Silvio Germann and Francesco Benvenuto of the IGNIV

Chef de cuisine Silvio Chef de cuisine Silvio Germann at left and restaurant manager Francesco Benvenuto

IGNIV nuggets on the etagère

IGNIV nuggets on the etagère

You will eat one Michelin star and 17 Gault Millau points here.

Restaurant Namun – for that Asian touch

Originally conceived as “Italian”, in the end it turned into “Asian” following the decision maker’s travels in Asia. It is kind of unexpected here in the eastern Switzerland “Heidiland” vacation mecca, but that takes nothing away from the crispy taste and the fitting ambiance.

Restaurant Namun Grand Resort Ba Ragaz

Namun chopsticks nicely packaged

 

Restaurant Namun Grand Resort Bad Ragaz

Restaurant Namun: stylish table settings in red and gold

Get ready to consume 13 Gault Millau points here.

Olives d’Or – an “Italian” with a French name

If you’re staying in the Grand Hotel Hof Ragaz part, Olives d’Or offers the nearest breakfast buffet. It follows all the rules for abundance and opulence and it comes with a large patio.

Breakfast in the garden of Restaurant Olives d'Or

Breakfast in the garden of Restaurant Olives d’Or

But they also fix delicious dishes for lunch, with a Mediterranean touch, and sourced from the restaurant’s own wellness kitchen. They call it the “cuisine  equilibrée”. Could it be because the concept is foreign to Italian?

Be it French or Italian, the head sommelier René Blanco Müller, a German-Spaniard, couldn’t care less, and he decants Swiss wines.

To do so, he looks deep into your eyes through his big eyeglass lenses, inspects the dish you chose, inhales deeply and then disappears without a word but with a portentous glance into the expansive wine cellar.

He reappears shortly and pours for a tasting. Now the words flow also. He waxes eloquent about terroirs, acidity, and finish. I wonder if he has discussed every single grape with the winemakers in the nearby Bündner Herrschaft wine region and all the others, too?

At all events, slightly besotted by the wine accompaniment, Katja and I sing the praises of the individual wines he chooses for us.

Jumbo shrimp on hummus with black sesame

Jumbo shrimp on hummus with black sesame

 

Walter with head sommelier René Blanco Müller

Walter with head sommelier René Blanco Müller

Blanco Müller puts on a grandiose show! No wonder they call it the “Grand Resort” ;-)

Restaurant Bel Air

The Bel Air in Grand Hotel Quellenhof comes in red and blue, that is, a red or blue carpet. It is the most traditional of the restaurants. In the blue part, men must wear a jacket. That naturally makes the whole thing vintage and a bit stuffy.

 

The hotel director Marco Zanolari having made it his mission to rejuvenate the resort (and his clientele), the Quellenhof is slated for renovation in the near future.

Starting in July 2019, it will then be up to Sven Wassmer (awarded 2 Michelin stars and 18 Gault Millau points) to give the Bel Air a new and, above all, a more contemporary gastronomy concept.

Café Therme

For a little something in between, we recommend the public Café Therme. Not just those taking the baths enthuse about its excellent coffee, but so do coffee lovers from near and far!

Entrance to the thermal cure bath "Tamina Therme" and its café

Entrance to the thermal cure bath “Tamina Therme” and its café

Gladys Golf Restaurant

If you are going to engage in sports, step out of the Café Therme and across into the Gladys Golf Restaurant. With a view of the first tee on the golf course, you will be rendering homage to its 14 Gault Millau points and to Miss Gladys Thomson. She was a women’s golf pioneer who won the 1908 and 1909 Bad Ragaz “Ladies Challenge Cup”.

Club House of the Bad Ragaz Golf Club

Club house of the Bad Ragaz Golf Club with its “Gladys” Restaurant

Schloss Wartenstein

Schloss Wartenstein Hotel joined Grand Resort Bad Ragaz in 2016.  Reigning 250 meters above the Rhine valley, it is a close by excursion destination next to the Wartenstein Castle ruin and the Cristo Redentor (Christ the Redeemer)statue. 

What Cristo is doing up here is connected with a Saudi Arabian patron of the arts and Art Ragaz open-air sculpture exhibition (to my review on the Newly Swissed Blog)…

The view from here – taking in the statue, the Bad Ragaz spa resort with its local Guschakopf mountain, the panorama of the Churfirsten peaks, Sargans municipality, and the Bündner Herrschaft wine growing region all the way to the Prättigau Valley – naturally is nothing less than…magnificent!

Ruin and Schloss Wartenstein with Cristo Salvador

Ruin and Schloss Wartenstein with Cristo Salvador

Cristo Salvador watches over Bad Ragaz

Cristo Salvador watches over Bad Ragaz

View of the Guschakopf and the Churfirsten

View of the Guschakopf and the Churfirsten

Cristo Salvador on high

Cristo Salvador on high

As in the IGNIV, they are also sharing-happy at Schloss Wartenstein: the dishes come divided into small portions suitable for sharing. Also quite accomplished, as we ourselves determined  ;-)

 

Restaurant Zollstube

In case it’s been a while since you’ve had down-to-earth Swiss hash browns or consumed a fondue: in the Zollstube (English: “customs house”) you can go for your Grisons barley broth and indulge in Zurich veal ragout.

Also, you can choose from 15 different kinds of craft beer from small Swiss breweries, including the house beer, 36.5 Quell. They brew this one with thermal spring water from the Tamina Gorge. Rest assured, they serve it colder than that…

36.5° Quell beer brewed with thermal spring water

36.5° Quell beer brewed with thermal spring water

Corner booth in Restaurant Zollstube

Corner booth in Restaurant Zollstube

Bad Ragaz Golf Course

Bad Ragaz has not one but two golf courses, the somewhat shorter and easier “Heidiland” and the demanding “Golf Club Bad Ragaz.

Because the Swiss Seniors Open had just been played on the latter course, the grass had been cut extra short for the pros and made extra-hard for them. My amateur game suffered a bit accordingly. On the details, the genteel minstrel will keep quiet…

At least I got in some valuable learning with club pro Mario afterwards. Stern but fair, the pounded some tips into me…

Golf pro Mario gives Walter a lesson

Golf pro Mario gives Walter a lesson

During the currently ongoing open-air Art Ragaz (to my review on the Newly Swissed Blog), by the way, it pays to play straight down the middle of the fairway. Otherwise, be prepared to go looking for your golf ball among the sculptures!

The "Earth Signs" sculpture by Roger Rigorth at the fairway's edge

The “Earth Signs” sculpture by Roger Rigorth at the fairway’s edge

 

Golf Course Bad Ragaz

The flag at hole 11

"Guardians of Time" by Manfred Kielnhofer at the Bad Ragaz Golf Course

“Guardians of Time” by Manfred Kielnhofer at the Bad Ragaz Golf Course

Our thanks go to…

… Grand Resort Bad Ragaz, especially Frau Anna Kristina Bichsel, Director of PR & Corporate Communications, for the generous invitation to their “Wellness Destination” (Swiss Tourism Seal of Quality) and putting a terrific program together for us!

A big thank you also to the PR team’s Marianne Kusterer and Luana Wüstiner for the warm welcome and the exciting guided tour of the resort. We enjoyed our stay immensely :-)

Addresse

Grand Resort Bad Ragaz
Bernhard-Simonstrasse
7310 Bad Ragaz

Website: resortragaz.ch
E-Mail: reservation@resortragaz.ch

 Front side with entrance of Grand Resort Quellenhof

Front side with entrance of Grand Resort Quellenhof

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About Author

Walter Schaerer’s extensive background in the travel industry, passionate enthusiasm for photography and a firm belief that luxury destinations can also be affordable; were some of the main factors that motivated him to create the travel blog travelmemo.com. In his day job Walter is an online marketing manager based out of Zurich, Switzerland.

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