Snow, Spa and Sanity in Adelboden, Switzerland
Imagine you’re on a road trip through Switzerland. It’s constantly snowing (good) but the roads you’re driving on are often slippery (bad). You’re with a friend (good) but your GPS is playing tricks on you, you spend much longer on the (slippery) road than you are meant to and you’re starving (bad). In your ideal case scenario you then arrive at a beautiful hotel in the midst of an idyllic village, where everyone smiles at you. The hotel staff has been expecting your arrival. They take your car keys, tell you they’ll do the parking for you and bring your luggage to your room while you check in. You then enter your wonderfully quiet and clean room where an arrangement of exquisite Swiss chocolates and fruit is waiting for you. You take a piece, then look out the window to enjoy the view…
You then walk down to the lobby and into the winter garden, where you sink into one of the comfortable sofas, order a cappuccino and enjoy the panoramic outlook on the village and the mountains it surrounds. You breathe in and and out, then look over to your friend and smile.
This is how my love story with the Swiss village of Adelboden began.
I had mentioned to you before, that I recently had the chance to go out on a road trip through Switzerland to test the Rock the Slope promotion currently offered by Design Hotels. One of the possible destinations within the promotion is Adelboden and out of the four towns we tested, this was definitely our favorite. Everything about this place was magical and 2 days here felt like a whole week.
The Cambrian Hotel in Adelboden is one of a kind. As most Design Hotels do, it excells in elegant yet comfortable interior, friendly service, amazing food and an impressive arrey of amenities. The spacious lobby invites you to hang around by the fireplace, read a book, listen to someone play a tune on the piano, or just enjoy one of those lovely moments of silence that back home can be so hard to come by.
While it’s pretty easy to get comfy at the Cambrian and forget about all the other stuff there is to do, you really want to try one or all of the following things on offer: skiing, snow-boarding, snowshoeing, fondue-eating inside an igloo, attending a chocolate tasting, to name just a few from the list. Out of purely unselfish motivations we tried pretty much all of these for you.
The super friendly staff at the Cambrian was happy to help us set up our first ever snowboarding class. We were excited to try it, but not without a first going on a hike throughout the amazing Alpine landscape….
Snowshoeing is something we had not come across before, but we were most pleased to discover this fun way to wander through even the deepest of snow. You literally get snowshoes attached to your boots which prevent you from sinking in too deep, creating a feeling of flotation on the snow. Mine here are somewhat hiding, but you get the idea…
With these buddies on we hiked through trees and over bridges, past lonely cabins, frozen waterfalls and breath-taking mountain scenery. It may sound cheesy but out here it really is just you, the snow and a stunning bit of nature.
Possibly the best part about spending a day out in the snow are the obligatory breaks inside an adorably old-fashioned ski-cafe, drinking hot mulled wine and snacking on cheeses and cold cuts. They’re usually family-run and everyone knows everyone here, so feeling right at home is easy. If it’s not too early in the day and you feel like you could use something stronger than mulled wine or coffee, ask for their homemade schnaps that is mixed into a hot coffee and served topped with whipped cream – a delight.
The picture below shows a local who was just having lunch when we were there. We didn’t talk at all (mostly because we couldn’t understand one another) but I liked how cool and relaxed he was going about his way. Back home in the big city I get so busy sometimes and everyone around me is just as busy as I am. It’s nice to have a few days where everything and everyone around you steps down a few gears and takes life slowly for a moment.
With hot fluids and some protein in our bodies, we did go back to action and took the ski-lift up to the slope which that day was completely abandoned. It was the very beginning of the season and we were lucky that almost no one was around. That mostly meant no one to run over when riding downhill fast.
In the debate over which is better – skiing or snowboarding my vote goes to the latter . Something about coordinating two boards rather than one that is not for me. Or maybe it was just down to our snow-board teacher Ueli Allenbach from the Ski and Snowboard School of Adelboden, who had the patience of a kindregardener, that we had as much fun cruising down the slope on our colorful boards.
Any type of snow-sports you end up doing will make you hungry and when cold cuts just don’t do it for you, why not try one of the delicious melted cheese fondues at the so-called fondue-igloo which gets its name from the one and only dish served there – cheese fondue. It’s cosy in there but not warm – temperatures between -3°C and 8°C are the norm but you’re safe from wind in there and with the soft furs under your bum and a hot drink in your hand, you’ll soon find it rather heart-warming in there.
While in the past guests had to make their own fondue, from this year you get a hot, already melted pot of delicious cheese fondue served to your table. Along with it come small pieces of bread which you dip into various spices before drowning them in the melted cheese.
Animal lovers will not appreciate that the benches inside the igloo are covered in reindeer furs but we were assured that all furs come from reindeer who had naturally died. Unlike in some parts of Scandinavia reindeer are not a common sight in Switzerland. All the more fun to watch the one living next to the igloo.
There is nothing better than ending a day in the snow with a long hot bath. At the Adelboden your bathtub is a decent-sized heated outdoor pool which keeps you warm, even when above you snow is falling. When the sky is clear, swimming under the stars surrounded by knee-deep snow is a magical experience, not to mention very romantic. Expect a certain amount of loved-up couples making out next to you. Tip: if possible, come here with your partner.
If outdoor is not for you, there is also an indoor pool which is just as nice.
There were a lot of things I liked about the Cambrian and food is high up on that list. Back home I’m happy if i manage to make a semi decent omelette or if my curry at the restaurant turns up alright. Over there, even our half board set menu fusion cuisine sent us dreaming about food all night.
Fore more info on the Cambrian and things to do in Adelboden, click here.