7132 Hotel in Vals celebrates time. Time to relax, unwind, enjoy the view, and take the waters. They also offer fine dining at Silver Restaurant, recently awarded its first Michelin star. There is also one of the most beautiful spas we have ever seen.
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They know all about luxury at 7132. If you book into one of their new suites, the luxury experience begins when the hotel contacts you to arrange your transfer from anywhere within the borders of Switzerland.
We chose to depart from Basel Airport and were delighted that the weather was perfect for our transfer by helicopter. A brand spanking new Airbus EC 130 T2, in jet black with the hotel logo discretely displayed on the doors. The views of the mountains and valleys were overwhelming and breathtaking. The flight was over too soon, but we were met at the airfield by a chauffeur-driven Mercedes for the short drive into the village.
Style & Character
Strolling through the subtly lit lobby decorated in restful shades of blue and black, we wafted straight up to be checked-in in our fourth-floor suite. On the way, we encountered the butler, who offered to unpack our cases. The view through the huge picture windows continued the dreamy tone of our adventure. As we watched the electrically operated windows slowly open, we had to laugh at the quintessentially Swiss sounds of cowbells and alpenhorns playing across the valley.
It was an unbelievably beautiful scene that improved further when the room service trolley arrived a few moments later with complimentary vintage Pol Roger Champagne accompanied by canapés tailored to our special dietary requirements. The rosti with caviar was superb and complemented the bubbly perfectly. I doubt there has ever been a better arrival and transition experience at any hotel.
As you would expect, the suite included every conceivable convenience from fluffy gowns and slippers perfect for schlepping around the spa, an in-room safe large enough for three laptops, cameras, and all the usual essential stuff we cart around with us. A huge wet-room style shower with Aesop toiletries, twin washstands, top-of-the-range Toto Washlet toilet, massive comfy sofas, wonderful flower displays, and two iPads (one for surfing the internet, the other controls the room!).
The electrically operated bed was an unexpected feature. At the touch of a button, it folds itself slowly into a sitting position for reading. Want your feet up a little higher, toggle the button on the bedside remote control. Sheer indulgence. The Wi-Fi was super fast, as is usual in Switzerland. The mini-bar was stocked with a sensible range of complimentary soft drinks and snacks. We enjoyed sitting out on our expansive terrace, sipping the delicious bubbles, and anticipating dinner, though before eating, we needed to do some serious unwinding in that spa.
Service & Facilities
The spa building is rectangular and built from 60,000 blocks of quartzite from the Vals valley. Peter Zumthor’s design won the most prestigious architectural award in Switzerland in 2010 and suits the local material perfectly, creating a wonderful labyrinth of pools and hidden spaces where the water is kept at different temperatures.
Some of the small rooms work as reverberation chambers, and it is really hard to resist gently humming to set the walls singing. There are steam rooms aplenty, including one set for naked use and several differently styled relaxation areas, some of which have views of the valley. The centerpiece is the outside pool surrounded by high walls with gaps strategically placed to frame the view. The outdoor pool is heated to 36C in winter and 30C in summer. We went early on our first morning at 7132 to swim in the mists created by the warm water in the cold mountain air. Simply divine and the perfect prelude to a wonderful breakfast in a red restaurant.
Food & Drink
First, though to that gorgeous shower and dinner in Silver. As we can eat no beef or dairy products and one of us is gluten intolerant, we had an individually crafted six-course menu with wine pairings agreed upon with the English Sommelier at each course. Her knowledge was incredible, and she had sourced some very fine wines from various small estates. We tasted local Pinot, French Meursault, and an unfortified sherry wine from Jerez. Meanwhile, the poached char from just up the valley was superb in a surprising Shoyu Dashi jus. We were wowed by Bündner mountain potatoes with their waxy texture and earthy scent. Breton turbot, succulent local venison, and grapefruit sorbet with barrel-aged Negroni came and went in a blur of pleasure and conversation. Everything was fabulously presented, and the service was perfect. If only I lived closer, I would be a regular. After dinner, we relaxed in the huge sunken bath, breathing in the crisp mountain air, before spending the night under our cosseting duvet with the large open windows.
Breakfast the next morning in Red restaurant was equally delightful. From some of the best fresh fruits, we have ever eaten, through the uniquely inventive do-it-yourself muesli blender, local honey, homemade preserves (we took home two jars of the rhubarb jam), omelets did to a T, and the staff understood the importance of the provenance of the food. They had so many stories to tell about the ingredients on display. It was too soon to meet our chauffeur and head back to the landing ground for our helicopter journey back to Basel.
7132 takes its name from the postcode (Postleitzahl in German), and it is undoubtedly the most significant place in this tiny alpine town of 1,000 inhabitants. There are also apparently 1,000 sheep on the hills and 1,000 hotel rooms in Vals. Tucked away in a deep river valley at about 4,000 feet and just a few miles from the border with Italy, Vals is equally popular for summer hiking and winter sports but justly famous for the natural hot springs. The current owner, a native Valser has great ambitions to make 7132 one of the top 5 hotels in the world.
7132 is a superb center of excellence in hospitality in a country that has long led the world in hotel management. This is the perfect hideaway for stressed execs and a wonderful place to recharge the soul. We will be back, and even at £1700 GBP for a night in the suite (including helicopter and limousine transfers), it felt like good value.
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