Some places never go out of style: In 1868, architect Bernhard Simon transformed the Tamina Therme baths and sanatorium in Bad Ragaz into a luxurious spa hotel and introduced health treatments as a new enjoyment. To this day, the Grand Hotel Quellenhof is the epitome of sophisticated luxury, a new sense of well-being, and modern culinary delights.
Times when people drove from Chur to Bad Ragaz “to have a bath” on winter Sundays are long gone. The motivation then had been the magic combination of the water and its healing power. In 1242, fowlers of Pfäfers Abbey had discovered a spring in the Tamina gorge. Paracelsus praised its water for its healing powers in 1535, initiating a number of cures based on 36.5 degree-warm water. He earned the town numerous guests. In the 19th century, stays at health spas combined with social events became fashionable, and health a luxury. “To be here is splendid,” rejoiced poet Rainer Maria Rilke, who could often be seen in Ragaz, and who was only one of many celebrity visitors.
After five months of renovations, the Grand Hotel Quellenhof & Spa Suites has reopened its doors, a new beacon of luxury hotels. The combination of luxury, innovation and a health centre in summer has caused an international sensation.
In close cooperation with interior designers, the Grand Hotel Quellenhof chose a lighting concept featuring handcrafted lights. Each lamp by the Czech design manufactory Sans Souci draws its inspiration from nature and tells its own story. The chandelier in the stairwell, for instance, is made of 2 500 mouth-blown glass balls. Its light effects create the illusion of a seemingly endless waterfall. The chandelier «Falling Stars» surrounding the fireplace in the lobby was fitted with 30 000 Swarovski polished gemstones and combined with 400 mouth-blown glass balls. Above the reception area, mouth-blown glass leaves hover weightlessly and create a link between heaven and earth.
The sophisticated, playful lighting objects at the Grand Hotel, now shining in new splendour, are a perfect mirror for the luxurious hotel’s ambition, generous foresight, and services. “The new Quellenhof was to receive a clear-cut identity, and we wanted it to be in shape to enter a new era,» says Marco R. Zanolari, who became General Manager in 2016. The fact that he managed to settle in at the Grand Resort Bad Ragaz so easily is mainly due to his cooperative and motivating management style. He meets both his team and his guest on equal terms. «The individual person must be the main focus,» explains the 41-year-old Chur native, who is a cosmopolitan and fluent in five languages. The result: The friendly welcome guests receive is stunning, the service impressive, the meals irresistible.
The restaurant played a leading role in the renewal of Quellenhof. Its cuisine, too, was to tell stories and conjure up fond memories. Sven Wassmer, a gastronomic up-and-comer at the 7132 Silver restaurant in Vals, was named “Newcomer of the Year” by Gault&Millau in 2016 and awarded with 17 points. In that same year, he received his first Michelin star – a second one followed just one year later. Wassmer then moved to Bad Ragaz, together with his wife, Amanda Wassmer-Bulgin. As sommeliere, she looks after the Grand Hotel Quellenhof wines, while her husband sounds out the balancing act between nostalgia and avant garde with his cuisine, ringing in an entirely new era in the process.
«Food should be tasty, good for you, processed as little as possible, and it should fit the season», the the starred chef is convinced. As a consequence, being in close contact with more than 20 local producers is part of his and his team’s everyday life – and a source for the stories Sven Wassmer shares through his creations. «We would like to understand our roots, and where we come from. The Alpine cuisine can draw on vast regional resources. There is no need for mangos imported on a plane or South American steaks on our menu.»
The concept is honest and deliberate. Guests will get what they are promised by Sven Wassmer, Amanda Wassmer-Bulgin, and their team: modern, ambitious, and sometimes playful compositions, freshly prepared – and served with magnificent geniality. Guests can dine at the «Memories” gourmet restaurant which features a show kitchen and an impressive interior design or at “Verve by Sven”, the main restaurant. The place conveys a sensation of finally having arrived at the end of the world, where thousands of friendly helpers are ensuring bliss and wellbeing. The Grand Resort team operates unobtrusively, softly, with calm and pride – at the Tamina Therme reception, the six restaurants, the medical centre, and in the show room of the e-bike shop near the hotel’s golf course. Wherever you need them, they seem to be waiting for you, offering help and providing a royal service that makes you feel regal. A royal palace, a fairytale castle, the end of all questions, a request show.
«A breathtaking new interpretation of the 150-year-old building,» writes book author and hotel reviewer Karl Wild. «The fact that everything has been made visible reveals the hotel’s charm and character.»
Our advice: Go and see for yourself. And not to worry: The queen always has a good idea!