The mountain village of Vals in the Surselva district of Grisons (Graubünden) is best known for its famous “Vals” mineral water or the legendary Vals Thermal Baths. And if you love masterpieces by Swiss architect Peter Zumthor, be prepared to fall for Hotel 7132.
From outside, the 7132 Hotel built in 1970’s style will not strike you as the typical design hotel. But once you learn that the best work of star architects from all parts of the globe in on display inside, you will not be too surprised by how fascinating a place it is. After all, it’s what’s inside the package that counts!…
Oh, yes, and for anyone puzzling over the hotel’s unconventional name “7132” we couldn’t make heads or tails of it either at first): it’s simply the Vals postal code. Well, of course! All clear now?
The rooms in Hotel 7132
You quickly realize why the hotel is also called the “House of Architects” because international big-name architects collaborated to put their stamp on the hotel’s interior. It starts with the unfussy almost puristic Zumthor rooms and goes on to rooms by the Japanese artist Tadao Ando, who let himself be inspired by Japanese tea house design. But also the Stucco rooms with their bold color hues or the Kengo Kuma rooms designed in warm oak paneling that create a comforting “cocoon” ambiance are very popular with guests.
The Kengo Kuma suite
Te most spectacular and exclusive rooms are the suites by Japanese architect Kengo Kuma that just opened in September 2015. Located on the top floor in the main building, their nearly 1,000 square feet of space take your breath away! Enormous picture windows give the guest a brilliant view of the Grisons Mountains and the idyllic mountain village of Vals. The room appointments are done in a minimalist luxury style. The native Vals quartzite used in the thermal baths here is staged with locally-sourced wood to create a sophisticated contrast.
A little note of caution: a night in the suite will set you back a hefty 2,480.- Swiss Francs. To put it in perspective, it is only fair to mention that included in the suite price is transfer to and from the hotel in the hotel’s own brand-new Airbus EC 130 helicopter from anywhere in Switzerland and close-in foreign parts (as well as impromptu excursions during your stay). Guests who prefer to go the overland route can travel by limousine (also included in the suite price) So, yes, it is spectacular if you have the necessary “change” jingling in your pocket!
Here are a few moving impressions of our arrival by helicopter:
We swooped serenely over the Alps with veteran helo pilot Daniel Diethelm at the controls. Weather permitting you can even customize the flight route!
Epicurean delights at 7132
From the culinary standpoint as well, Hotel 7132 has much to offer: In the elegant “Silver” Restaurant, lovers of good food let themselves by regaled by Sven Wassmer who understudied with Andreas Carmina among others. Not long after our visit, Sven was honored with 17 Gault Millau points and the title of “Newcomer of the Year.” Hearty congratulations!
If a little more “casual” is your thing, let yourself by entertained in Restaurant “Red“. Here, too, by the way, architect Zumthor’s signature concentration on the essential finds expression: you’ll find no bric-a-brac on these tables. By contrast, the dishes are prepared with loving attention to detail. And our truly charming and attentive server Edina helps us feel totally at ease and enjoy the evening to the hilt. We can wholeheartedly recommend the butter-soft beef filet!
Naturally, we did not want to let the weekend pass without a “gourmet treat”. and so on Sunday morning, we let ourselves be spoiled by a Restaurant Silver à la carte breakfast. Well, what can we tell you? Best set the typewriter aside and let the camera tell the story…but we note in any event that the breakfast easily made it into our “Breakfast in Paradise” Pinterest collection!
The Vals Thermal Baths
The unique wellness landscape of the Vals Thermal Baths, rewarded already with at least 20 architectural prizes, is made with 60,000 slabs of Vals quartzite. With them, Peter Zumthor created an homage to the ancient world of the Vals valley. Here, too, the architect reduced the bath experience to its essence, with several interior pools at different temperatures, a flower petal bath, sweat and steam rocks and a large exterior pool with a view of the idyllic mountain landscape.
Hotel guests, by the way, can enjoy the thermal baths exclusively every morning until 11 o’clock. Occasionally, “night bathing” is also arranged from 11 P.M. until half past midnight. It means bathing in absolute silence — and possibly under a full moon. Simply mystical!
Want to get active and explore the mountain world? We recommend the spectacular panorama route from Gadastatt to the Zervreila reservoir, which we report on here in word and picture.
In our report, among other things we cover the mail coach: If you feel like getting to the hotel by public transportation, you have the option of taking the legendary mail coach. The best way is to take the train to Ilanz and transfer to the yellow mail coach there. After a winding ride, you arrive in Vals, with your stop located practically in front of the hotel!
Our thanks go to…
Many thanks to Tamara Löffel, Head of Sales for Hotel 7132, for the generous invitation and hotel tour!
Great thanks also to helicopter pilot Daniel Diethelm for the safe and impressive flight and to limo driver Stefan for taking us home. It just does not get any better!
A very big thank you also to Manuela Weber of Cinnamon Circle for arranging our stay. Cinnamon Circle provides marketing services to the hotel.
And here are a few more of our impressions: