Spa and architecture fans will appreciate 7132 Hotel, in the Swiss village of Vals, which is built around the award-winning thermal baths designed by architect Peter Zumthor. Using the recently coined name the Temple, the complex features not only 33 hotel rooms designed by Zumthor, but also—in a separate building known as Selva—13 new rooms designed by Japanese starchitect Kengo Kuma, 17 by local architect Andreas Schmid, and 20 more by Peter Zumthor (called Stucco). Sizes of rooms vary, and while on the small side, they all ooze comfort and quality. The spa is a definite highlight of any stay here, though the hotel’s restaurant is a close second. And yes, hotel guests get free access to the thermal baths.
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The hotel and baths are in the village of Vals, which has a population of less than 1,000 and is an excellent base for skiing as well as walking and hiking. Though small, Vals has some great restaurants, bars, and shops. For a rustic vibe and traditional food, head for Glenner. For something more modern and refined, try Alpina. And for a totally unique experience, book yourself in a local alpine hornblowing course.
Need to Know
Rooms: 83 rooms, 3 suites. From $367. Check-in: 3 p.m.; check-out: noon. Dining options: The hotel offers a buffet breakfast each day in the Red Restaurant, while lunches and dinners are available in both the Red and Silver restaurants. The former offers traditional, modern, and French cuisine (vegetarian options available), as well as light à la carte dishes; the latter is a gourmet affair run by award-winning chef Sven Wassmer, who serves cuisine with Mediterranean influences and regional ingredients. The restaurant has its own bakery that makes fresh Alpine croissants each morning. The Schnyder Café serves snacks and lunches, while the Blue Hall offers blues and jazz music in the evenings. Spa and gym details: The baths, created from 60,000 pieces of quartz, are located directly at the source of the thermal waters. The first such structure in Switzerland to be designated a protected monument, they’re not only beautiful but comprehensive too, with an indoor pool and outdoor pool, blossom bath, sound grotto, cold and fire bath, and steam baths.
Who it's for: Architecture aficionados and design addicts, foodies, spa snobs, and anyone seeking a quiet, relaxing retreat. Our favorite rooms: Kengo Kuma rooms are beautifully minimal. And they’ve now been outdone by the architect’s three new top-floor suites, available in late summer 2015. Indulge yourself: Try the spa’s Hot Stone massage. Therapists employ valser stone—the same stone used for the main spa building.