Tucked away five minutes from the famous Swiss ski town of Lenzerheide, the chalet village Guarda Val offers a casual holiday in a very natural environment with great experiences, five-star service – and an award-winning gourmet restaurant.
The how-it-happened story of “Guarda Val“ is quite a charming one: A Swiss couple with five children venture out on a hike from the well-known ski resort of Lenzerheide to a neighboring hamlet. And walk straight into a run-down ensemble of 300-year-old Maiensäß huts being run as a hotel. They immediately fall in love with this property and almost on the same day, they buy it from the owner. A new kind of hotel experience was about to be launched.
Since then, Fredy Gantner and his wife Cornelia have completely renovated and spruced up the mountain village. It now accommodates more than 100 guests (spread over 50 rooms and “stailettas” – that’s Rhaeto-Romance for “lodge”) and – during high season – employs around 70 people. Those who are familiar with the hospitality industry know: this ratio is quite unique and you can roughly imagine how the guest is pampered here.
At some point, the Gantners asked themselves: what do guests seek when going on a vacation at over 1,600 meters above sea level? The answer is easy: They want to relax – with many, lasting experiences preferably in nature. After all, the wellness area of the Guarda Val consists primarily of the surrounding mountains, which picturesquely frame the ensemble of the stunning Maiensäß huts.
The location of the Guarda Val could not be more fitting. In summer, you can have breakfast outside on the terrace of the gourmet restaurant with a view of the peaks of Lenzerheide and then opt for a myriad of activities. Experience manager Grace Henecka invites guests to ice swim in a neighboring lake in the mornings, go mushroom picking together, enjoy a herb walks or just go for a very classic mountain hike.
In winter, there is a shuttle bus that takes guests to the huge and very challenging ski area. If you are even more sporty, you can strap on your touring skis in front of the house and go straight to the top with your skins. Or take part in a guided snowshoe hike (delightful).
There are a total of 50 rooms at Guarda Val. During our visit, we stayed in the only building that was actually newly constructed. In a two-story gabled room (“Giebelstube”). Beautiful. Downstairs, the bathroom is set in a lounge area complete with sofa, armchair, minibar and coffee maker. Upstairs, on the gallery, a heavenly bed (extra brownie points for the bedding at Guarda Val) with lots of reclaimed wood, and behind it, an en-suite bathroom with whirlpool and sink. The most beautiful suite at Guarda Val is located in one of the historic Maiensäß huts. The stailetta. It consists of a fireplace, balcony, private whirlpool, a sauna under the glass dome and a beautiful view from the bed.
The Guarda Val is spread over several houses. The one with probably the most beautiful location, directly on the slope, doubles as the culinary epicenter of the hotel: the Guarda Val. It is a gourmet restaurant where you are partaking in a tasting menu at star level. The new chef Salvatore Frequente dishes out wonderful, small delicacies all created with regional products. Everything is expertly served and accompanied by top regional wines.
Of course, you don’t have to dine at the gourmet restaurant every night. For casual lunches and dinners, there is the Crap Naros restaurant diagonally across the street. Think picture-book mountain hut and you get the idea. Here you can order cheese fondue and other rather “normal” dishes. Of course, there is also something for the children.
Next to the main house with a small reception and village store is the Guarda Sana. You walk in your fluffy bathrobe from your room across the village square to the log cabin sauna, immerse yourself in the cool mountain air and then meander over to flower meadow and soak in a wooden tub filled with whey. Of course, you can also book massages and treatments with essences of medicinal herbs, and then relax in the relaxation room with a view of the mountains.
For those who don’t know Lenzerheide, it is a truly picturesque landscape both in summer and winter. The ski area is one of the best in all of Switzerland. Not with the same glitz like Sankt Moritz or Gstaad, but rather sporty. From Guarda Val itself it is about five minutes to the gondola (there is a shuttle bus). In summer you can start directly from the house for a mountain bike tour or hike. Since Guarda Val is already at 1,600 meters, it also becomes high alpine right away. And beautiful.
A week of total relaxation in one of the most beautiful nature parks in Switzerland.
The Guarda Val is a house of old style, but with the hosts Bettina Arpagaus & Philip Arnold and their very attentive staff you immediately feel like being part of a big family. Everything is very cordial and casual. At Guarda Val, all generations mix. The guests appreciate the staff and they appreciate the guests.
Double rooms from 296 euros including breakfast. The suites cost from about 605 euros per night. At Guarda Val all excursions and all drinks in the minibar, a packed lunch to take home and the cake buffet in the afternoon are included.
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