Where to stay in Switzerland

Bold, edgy design and a 3,500-year-old health spa make for two of the best places to stay in the Swiss Alps.

W Verbier

What's so special?

The W hotel chain's latest opening offers the bold design, bright interiors and luxurious rooms the brand is known for. This edgy hotel is a welcome change from the bland hotels that make up most of the Swiss market.

How they rate it

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There are 105 smart red and grey bedrooms, equipped with fires burning biofuel. In some of the rooms, while you take a shower you can enjoy views of the valley snowscapes as the fire crackles in the corner, says Minty Clinch in The Independent.

The hotel has a "daring design, spacious bedrooms, polished service and attractive communal areas", says James Bedding in The Daily Telegraph. It is made up of four chalet-style buildings linked by bright glass atria and is conveniently located for skiers, "just metres from the main gondola at Mdran".

The menu

The main Arola restaurant and Eat-Hola tapas bar both "reflect the Catalan origins of the culinary director, Sergi Arola". The "superb" cuisine ranges from "reinvented Spanish classics to Swiss dishes highlighting local suppliers".

The cost

Double rooms start from £342, including breakfast. For more information, visit the website at www.wverbier.com, or call 00 41 27 472 8888.


Kulm Hotel, St Moritz

What's so special?

St Moritz has been a health and well-being destination for more than 3,500 years, thanks to its ancient spas. In 2012, Kulm Hotel, the oldest hotel in the resort (it was founded in 1856), spent £8m on developing a new spa, which overlooks St Moritz lake and the Alps.

How they rate it

"The view is spell-binding, and a rejuvenating start to any visit," says John O'Ceallaigh in The Daily Telegraph. The spa's facilities are extensive and include "an open-air pool where guests can recline on bubbling waterbeds while taking in an unimpeded view of the surrounding peaks".

The hotel itself remains true to its roots: it is made up of "three interconnected buildings all slightly different in style my room was decorated in a Belle Epoque style, finished demurely in creams and yellows and featured a view of the mountains and lakes, its crowning feature." And while the resort may be mostly associated with winter sports, there is also a nine-hole golf course.

The menu

The hotel's main eatery, Le Grand Restaurant, serves up "consistently good" food and a "nightly dessert buffet should be a welcome conclusion for anyone not taking their spa visit too seriously".

The cost

A double room costs from £397 on a half-board basis (00 41 81 836 8000, www.kulm.com).


Three holiday ideas for Chile lovers

A South American safari experience where you can spot pumas and rheas, rather than the lions and elephants of an African safari is on offer at Awasi, the newest lodge (pictured) to open in Chilean Patagonia.

It sits on the edge of the Torres del Paine National Park and "looks out across tooth-like peaks and the glistening waters of Lake Sarmiento with 12 cabins that stand staggered up a hillside", says Laura Holt in The Independent.

"The tailor-made excursions with a private guide and driver are where the resort really excels."

Three nights cost from £1,280, per person, all inclusive. See the website at www.awasi.cl.

Wine-lovers should head to Casa Silva. It's the oldest vineyard in the Colchagua Valley, growing sauvignon gris and

Cabernet grapes in rows that reach out beneath the Andes, says Holt. The old family home is now a "gorgeous little guest house, snaked by courtyards and terraces".With other vineyards nearby, this is a great base for a wine tour.

Double rooms cost from £183 see www.casasilva.cl.

For a cultural city break, try Lastarria, a 1920s townhouse in Santiago's "bohemian barrio" of the same name.

It retains the original parquet flooring, grand period windows and a sweeping marble staircase.

Double rooms cost from £126, on a room-only basis. See www.lastarriahotel.com.

Ruth Jackson-Kirby

Ruth Jackson-Kirby is a freelance personal finance journalist with 17 years’ experience, writing about everything from savings and credit cards to pensions, property and pet insurance. 

Ruth started her career at MoneyWeek after graduating with an MA from the University of St Andrews, and she continues to contribute regular articles to our personal finance section. After leaving MoneyWeek she went on to become deputy editor of Moneywise before becoming a freelance journalist.

Ruth writes regularly for national publications including The Sunday Times, The Times, The Mail on Sunday and Good Housekeeping among many other titles both online and offline.