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Published on Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Once upon a time, in a luxury Swiss hotel




Vicky Power feels like a fairytale princess when she checks into a luxury Swiss hotel that's just had a multi-million pound renovation.





First impressions: Wow factor abounds at Waldhaus Flims, a grand 19th-century hotel which sits imposingly on manicured lawns fringed by skyscraper pines and framed by snow-dusted alpine peaks. It's pretty much a Swiss fairy tale come to life and last year's £33 million refit of the hotel has restored it to its former Belle Epoque glory. The exquisite decor by renowned designer Peter Silling mixes wood, leather and plush fabrics with opulent chandeliers of glass leaves. Waldhaus is in fact three hotels - alongside the main five-star-superior Grand Hotel are the four-star superior country house Villa Silvana and ski-style Chalet Belmont, the latter currently under renovation, all connected by covered walkways and underground tunnels, so - bonus - you can wander from your room to the spa in your robe.

Location: Cocooned in alpine greenery in Switzerland's eastern Alps 140km from Zurich, Waldhaus is a tranquil haven set in 50 acres of parkland in Flims. The quaint, immaculate hamlet attracts a well-heeled ski crowd to its slopes, part of a 188km ski area that includes Laax and Falera. When the snow melts, the glorious Sound of Music-style soaring scenery lured us outside for hiking, lake swimming, all helpful in counteracting the hotel's lavish breakfast buffet. Take the Flims cable car up the Tschingelhorner slopes to admire storybook views, have a coffee and enjoy a bracing stroll back down. A quarter of an hour away on foot is the Cauma-See, a startlingly bright turquoise lake surrounded by woods and snow-capped peaks where we spent an afternoon paddling and splashing about on pedalos.

Facilities: Guestrooms are super-luxurious oases of comfort, decorated in hues of honey, blue and gold, with glass and chrome fixtures and elegant dark wood furniture. Impressive touches in suites include giant flat-screen TVs that swivel between beds and living area. Well-appointed bathrooms have walk-in rainfall showers and toiletries by Swiss brand Ananne, and most rooms have balconies that look out onto soaring peaks. Across the lawn is the Belle Epoque-style Pavilion, featuring a beautifully decorated period ballroom with sparkling chandeliers for concerts and weddings, plus conference rooms, restaurant and wood-panelled bar. The spa alone is worth the trip to Waldhaus: an inviting state-of-the-art complex of stone and glass where the cares of the day can be soothed away in range of saunas and steam rooms. Swim in two inviting pools - one indoors, one out - or brave the natural swimming pond open even in winter. In myriad treatment rooms - including a private day spa suite with its own sauna and hammam - massages and facials using local ingredients are on offer. The Herbal Stamp massage uses fragrant herbs and a soft leather sponge to ease tired muscles.

For families: The hotel's free Kids' Club offers daily childcare for little ones aged two and up from 8am to 6.30pm and boasts a separate playroom full of toys and a cyber room with Wii and PlayStation. Crafts, singing and reading aloud are also part of the programme, and The Kids' Restaurant, next to the Kids' Club, offers them a nutritious lunch and dinner.

Wining and dining: No need to head to town to find decent food, with Waldhaus boasting four on-site restaurants, providing guests their pick of cuisines. The handsome Grand Dining Room offers relaxed grandeur with spectacular views - try the irresistible Friday seafood buffet, Saturday Asian buffet, or go a la carte. The hotel's first-rate breakfast is served here, too: it's a smorgasbord of sturdy breads, cheese and meats, plus fresh pastries, fruit juices and eggs any way you like. In winter, Il Tschaler offers traditional mountain food of raclette and fondue, while Pomodoro provides traditional Italian dishes. The wood-panelled Epoca puts a modern spin on local classics - don't miss the chard-wrapped cheesy delight that is the Capun, or gorgeous fired pike-perch on champagne cabbage. The Chadafo bar boasts a pianist playing pop classics and a quirky menu of historical cocktails, plus a separate smoking room.

Highs: Too many to mention: the recent refit has given this historic hotel a stylish edge, from the glass lifts to the unusual light installations. But the sleek new spa may be Waldhaus's piece de resistance: the pools offer a range of cosy indoor and bracing outdoor activity.

Lows: A bit out of the way if you're taking public transport, but otherwise it's hard to think of a downside to this Swiss oasis.

Verdict: Waldhaus exudes olde-worlde glamour and cocoons guests in comfort, with discreet service. In a storybook setting, it's a luxurious destination for a special Swiss break.

Price: Two people sharing a Superior Double Room in the Grand Hotel on a B&B basis is £360 (CHF459). Chalet Belmont and Villa Silvana are cheaper.

 

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