The Unfolding Of A Mountain Escape
Above the village of Flims, high in the mighty Swiss mountains, is Waldhaus Flims Alpine Grand Hotel & Spa. The hotel, it can be said, is perfect. It exudes magnificence and sophistication while also feeling like a true country retreat. If the hotel gets it right, it’s because it’s had over 140 years to refine its art of hospitality.
In 1877 two men from Chur, a neighboring alpine town, decided they would build a hotel for the future. It had the basics required for the time: 120 beds, a sawmill, a post office building with stables, a pub room, laundry, crow shed, and a water supply for running water in the kitchen. But it had one amenity no other hotel had at the time: a spa. It was a small bathing facility on the Caumasee, a sparkling nearby lake that was rumored to contain magical healing powers.
The hotel has changed since it was first built, redefining itself for every era. The Roaring Twenties brought plumbing, while the ‘60s introduced a curling rink. In the 1970s the The Art Nouveau hall in the casino was extensively restored. But at every turn the hotel maintained nods to its former lives. In the lobby, for example, still hangs the “Flimser Panorama” masterpiece custom-made for the property by Giovanni Giacometti in 1904.
Waldhaus Flims Alpine Grand Hotel & Spa is a feast for the eyes but also the stomach.
A Culinary Full Circle
Inside Waldhaus Flims Alpine Grand Hotel & Spa is a feast for the eyes but also the stomach. Numerous restaurants serve an array of delights. At Epoca local alpine fare is served under a beamed roof and by candlelight. Siam is a sleek, sexy eatery that serves Thai food so authentic it transports diners across the world for an evening.
But even with an excess of exquisite restaurants, the hotel wanted to do something that honored its past. So it started holding meals inside the original kitchen from 1877 and taking guests back to that simple, innocent age.
It’s a rare treat for a hotel to have its own museum that documents its history. But the Museum Belle Époque does just that. Located under the casino, in a narrow hall with pipes sticking out of the wall and stone floors, it portrays famous paintings and artwork linked to the property. It is in this space where champagne is served. Music is also played from the La Belle Époque transporting everyone back in time.
Diners are surrounded by antique china and serving dishes. There are ceramic mugs that have lost their color with wear and elegant serving pitchers hardly existent today. The pots and dishes are used throughout the evening. While the meal is informal, aimed to please an intimate group of friends and family, the service is top-notch. White gloved servers cater to your every need, the same way they did in the golden days. Even some of the recipes hark back to that age.