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…
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.
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.
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.
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..
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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”.
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!
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 ;-)
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…
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…
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!
Potentially, US Golf Pro‘s rangefinder reviews can come in handy at this point…
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 :-)
Grand Resort Bad Ragaz
7310 Bad Ragaz