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When walking among the spectacular scenery of the Alps, the steep trails and rugged terrain can take a toll on a hiker’s body. As fatigue sets in, most hikers dream of their aches being massaged away by gifted hands grappling with their tired muscles. But to be honest, spa treatments aren’t widely available on the trail. However, when an alpine village does have a resort with a spa, it’s hiker’s heaven. Here are some of Alpenwild’s favorite places to work the kinks out of trail-weary muscles.
Hotel Swiss Diamond, Lugano — Luxurious Spa at the Shore of Lake Lugano
After an energizing ramble among the foothills surrounding Lake Lugano, relax with a “Half-day Spa” treatment at the Hotel Swiss Diamond’s Spa and Wellness Center prior to dinner. You’ll be revitalized by a body scrub, aroma therapy, seaweed wrap, and an energetic body massage with essential oils. Take full advantage of their two large pools, including the breathtaking outdoor pool that overlooks Lake Lugano and the village of Morcote, voted by the Swiss as the most beautiful town in Switzerland. The hotel's indoor pool highlights a beautiful waterfall mid-lap where you can be splashed and regenerated for another lap or two. The steam bath is worth a visit, as it is infused with essential oils and perfumes making you feel extra-pampered. Before calling it a night try their jacuzzi and allow their jets and bubbles leave you perfectly relaxed.
Hotel Belvedere, Grindelwald — Pampering in the Heart of the Jungfrau
Hiking the Panorama Trail from Männlichen to Kleine Scheidegg in the Bernese Oberland offers some of the most breathtaking scenery in the Alps. Although it’s a gentle trail it’s still almost two hours of walking. You face the Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau. After you return to Grindelwald, you’ll want to relax in one of the most beautiful and well-equipped spas in Switzerland at the Hotel Belvedere. For starters, try the invigorating salt water jacuzzi. Then swim a few laps in their beautiful heated indoor pool. You may want to conclude in the steam bath or Finnish sauna. Then you’ll be ready for a customized massage by one of their Dutch-trained massage therapists who will create a special treatment to help you get your desired results in wellness.
Hotel Bella Tola, St Luc — Rejuvenating Treatments High in the Alps
Hiking the Cascades above St Luc is one of the most thrilling walks in the Alps. You hike through forested terrain adjacent to a tumbling waterfall and rushing stream for the entire walk. But the trail is understandably steep and you may feel a little fatigue and some soreness when you finish. No worries. Your aches from this tough trail will melt away at the Hotel Bella Tola Spa. Located in this meticulously preserved historic hotel, you feel you have walked into the Belle Époque. Their luxurious heated pool takes you even further by reminding you of a Roman bath. Lounges on the deck allow you to soak up the sun while enjoying views of the Matterhorn and Weisshorn. Be sure to ask for their signature treatment, “The Ritual from Anniviers.” It begins with a pine-scented steam bath, then you enjoy a scrub with yarrow flowers, a clay body wrap, and is completed with a massage with mint-infused oil. If your feet are a little tired, you can add a foot massage. Pure heaven.
Hotel Beatus, Merligen — Luxuriating on Lake Thun
After conquering the trails of the Bernese Oberland, you deserve a chance to kick off your boots and relax. Sailing across Lake Thun aboard a steamship with the majestic Jungfrau as your backdrop is the perfect beginning to your rejuvenating spa retreat at this lakeside gem, the Hotel Beatus. Upon entering, you'll notice that each public room has a distance personality with a colorful flair. And they all face the water. The outdoor salt water pool is a delight with bubblers, waterfalls and a few other surprises.
When you set aside time for your healing spa experience, go exotic with the Chocolate Treatment. It is not what you expect; it's so much more. It begins with a rough scrub with crushed cocoa nibs suspended in cocoa butter. The aroma is subtle but unmistakably chocolate as it evokes the scent of brownies baking n the kitchen. After a warm shower rinse, the expert hands of your masseuse will unkink your muscles with rhythmic strokes lubricated by cocoa butter and other natural oils which heal your skin and invigorate your spirit. Your spa treatment is capped off as you are bundled in a soft spa robe and given a cup of hot chocolate at the perfect sipping temperature to relax and watch the sailboats float by.
Hotel Kurhaus, Cademario, DOT.Spa — Wellness above Lake Lugano
From a ridge in the Malcantone Mountains, dangling 1900 feet above Lake Lugano is the century-old Hotel Kurhaus Cademario. Its sunny south-facing exposure is ideal for sunbathing, swimming, and strolling. Their indoor/outdoor pool allows you to swim from inside to outside without having to get out of the pool. The warmer salt-water pool is nestled in a grotto setting with colorful subdued lighting. Their award-winning restaurant, "La Cucina," definitely deserves an evening visit.
Simple in its architecture and natural in its appeal, the Hotel Kurhaus is inviting and restful after you’ve hiked all day. Their "Dot" spa offers a wide array of treatments for both relaxation and beauty. You may want to set aside a block of time to rejuvenate yourself with the "Body & Soul" treatment. Starting with an herbal-scented salt scrub (request the special lavender, melissa, lemon and rose combination) and progress to the herbal wrap. While you are enrobed in leaves and flowers to absorb the herbal essence, you’ll be treated to a mini-facial applied with a special feather-like applicator. A warm moist towel in then placed on your face and the scent of the lavender emerges. After a rinse, you settle in for a robust massage with warmed natural oils enriched with lavender. A cool finishing lotion brings the experience to a close. You are offered a cup of herbal tea to enjoy in the special treatment lounge area.
Hikers can combine the most scenic trek in the Alps—the Chamonix-Zermatt Haute Route—with the good life. They superb accommodations, a rest day, delicious cuisine, and some pampering touches at day’s end. Alpenwild’s Deluxe Haute Route includes two of the above spa experiences as part of the tour, while staying in St Luc and Zermatt.