Generally, we visit 1-2 Swiss Historic Hotels per year. For some reason we ended up visiting 4 this year.
The first one we stayed at this year is one that is fairly new on the list. We booked a room at the Türmlihus in Fideris. Nestled in the hills of the Prättigau, the village of Fideris is somewhat off the beaten track. Up until the 1930s, Fideris was a well known place to take the waters. In 1967 a storm and the resulting flood washed away all the buildings and the baths no longer visible. But it is possible to walk back to where they once were. It is difficult to imagine a once bustling area with bath houses and cafés. There is a small ski area above the village and when there is enough snow it is possible to sled and ski down to the village. Unfortunately we had to forgo that experience due to the lack of snow all the way down to the village.
The house was built around 1600 and has modern and antique elements. The wood paneled living room with its large warm wood burning stove is reminiscent of the rooms built and designed during the 17th century. Dinner is prepared by the owner and is either served in the cozy salon off the living room or with the other guests at the long table in the “great hall” which has a magnificent fire-spitting stove.
We had a nice conversation about the history of the house and the area and after mentioning my love for old architecture and antiques she offered to ask the owners in the large house across the street if we were allowed to see the inside of their restored patrician house which was once the post office and a place where men came together to manage and discuss business dealings.
While spending Easter in Santa Maria, Val Müstair, we stayed at the where we spent a fair amount of time in front of the crackling fire drinking spirits such as a schnapps made from the Swiss stone pine and listening to the interesting stories our host, who is quite a character, had to tell about past guests. The hotel has housed many important politicians, musicians, and writers since opening in the late 1950s. It’s like staying in a museum with interesting and valuable pieces of furniture around the house and rooms which will surprise you with musical instruments or old carriages and sleighs. There is even a little chapel within the house.
The owner is the host’s son and the chef of the restaurant in the house. He cooks with copper pots and pans, has a wood burning range which also has two gas plates and an electric oven which is not fan-forced. His specialty is polenta which has been cooked for hours over the wood burning stove. The food we were served for dinner was delicious every single time.
After hearing so many good things about the Grand Hotel Bella Tola in St. Luc, we decided it was time to go and booked a room for early September. The hotel was opened in 1884 and judging by the entries in the guestbook, has visitors returning year after year. One steps into the hotel which is decorated with furniture from the time when the hotel opened along with a hint of alpine chic. It is worth mentioning that the Grand Hotel Bella Tola is one of the initiators and founding members of the Swiss Historic Hotels.
There are small personal touches everywhere you look, a handwritten welcome note in the bedroom, fresh flowers on side tables and the owners kindly stop for a chat on their way by. The staff is polite, helpful and nice. There is a relaxing air and not only in the fantastic spa area. The weather was nice on the day we arrived and then the rest of our stay it was foggy so we spent the majority of our time in the spa and in the salon playing cards. The seasonal menu offered delicious options which could be combined into 3 or 4 course menus. It goes without saying that it was difficult to decide and everything we ate was a dream.
Our last stay of the year was at the Landvogthaus Nidfurn. A bit similar in style as the Ritterhaus, it is a living museum. The best part is definitely that you get to eat and drink from antiques, things you only get to look at and not touch in museums. It is a very intimate setting and if requested, the owner will cook you dinner and/or take you on a tour of the house. There is just something special about being in an old house that was built around 1600 and is filled to the brim with antiques. The creaking floor boards, warm rooms and cool hallways reminded us that we were in an old house indeed. We enjoyed our stay immensely. There are only four guest rooms, so be sure to book well in advance! You might also get lucky and be served the house’s signature spiced cake which is also featured the the newest Swiss Historic Hotel book, I reviewed on the blog. If you’d like to see what the area around Nidfurn looks like, check out my post about walking along the Klöntalersee.