Even though I consider myself more of a beach person, I love panoramic mountain views, filling my lungs with fresh alpine air and that feeling of a pleasant physical exhaustion, only a day in the mountains can offer. Recently, I felt as if my ‘inner Heidi’ was calling so I decided to take a short break and headed to Adelboden.
Adelboden is a picturesque Swiss mountain village, which lies at an altitude of 1350m and offers a wide range of winter and summer outdoor activities for the athletic as well as not so athletic. In summer, you have numerous mountain bike routes, some 300 km of hiking trails and more. So whether you wish to rock climb, hike up a next to a waterfall or walk on a flat plateau, which is even doable with strollers and wheelchairs, you will find your bliss. In winter, there are 72 skiing lifts, more than 210 skiing slopes, as well as 40 cross country skiing trails. Regardless, of the route or activity you choose, you are guaranteed some spectacular views.
On their website, The Cambrian Adelboden, a boutique hotel with 71 rooms and suites, also promises stunning views and I can assure you, you will not be disappointed. It offers a central location in the village, giving you easy access to restaurants and shops, as well as the buses and cable carts. However, I mostly chose The Cambrian, member of Design Hotels and Mr & Mrs Smith Hotels as my alpine getaway, because even though I am an outdoor person and like to get back to nature, I do like to do it in style… (There is a reason I refer to myself as a design addict…) On the other hand, I also have a weakness for spas. After all, what’s better than pampering yourself with a soak and a steam after a long and strenuous hike or a day in the snow, taking care of those sore muscles?
The Cambrian ticked all my boxes…
This may sound a bit odd, but as a design addict it gives me a special kind of thrill to walk into a hotel for the very first time. In some cases, I literally hold my breath and my heart skips a beat as I allow my eyes to wander and absorb every single detail around me. As an ex-hotelier (in my ‘first’ life…), I have a special love affair with hotels. I enjoy walking around, discovering and photographing everything that catches my eyes, but also observing every single detail not only in terms of design, but also in terms of the service.
Walking into The Cambrian, I was not disappointed. The hotel, which was taken over by Welsh investors in 2007 (Cambria is the Latin name for Wales), claims to have taken a ‘modern approach to alpine style’ and I couldn’t agree more. The building itself has a history of its own. Initially built during the ‘Belle Époque’ dating back to 1902, it was destroyed by fire after WW II. Later on it was rebuilt and run as ‘Hotel Regina’ for several years. During the 7 months renovation in 2007 many of the original architectural elements were maintained and the modern additions seamlessly integrated. Peter Silling & Associates, who were responsible for the interior design, used mostly local materials, such as slate, wood and stone, creating a harmonious background of natural and earthy colours. Splashes of bold and vibrant colours and timeless designer furniture from B&B Italia, Knoll International and Foscarini, to name a few, complete the scheme.
I was very impressed with the lobby area, the hotel bar, the spa and pool facilities, because it is obvious that a lot of love and passion went into it.
The rooms are modern and comfortable, even featuring an original Barcelona chair, but unlike other areas of the hotel, they are somewhat lacking the attention to detail. As a 4-star superior, the hotel offers spacious rooms with a reasonable level of comfort, including room service, a safe, free WIFI, a flat screen TV, DVD player and DVD library, a daily bottle of water, a comfortable bed and reading lamps above the bed. Personally I missed the presence of a minibar (only available in some room categories), kettle and coffee machine, so that I could enjoy a drink whilst admiring the breathtaking views from my balcony. Having said this, I would definitely recommend booking a room on the south side of the building and during the summer months, one with a balcony.
The restaurant, which is also where the breakfast buffet is served, will apparently undergo a renovation in the near future, enhancing the ambiance of the area. On a sunny day, however, which I was lucky enough to experience, you will want to have your breakfast on the beautiful terrace facing the splendid panorama.
Another place, from where you can admire the beautiful mountain range, whilst having the water jets massage your neck, is the heated outdoor pool (32 – 34 degrees Celsius!). During the colder months and for those wanting to get a few laps under their belt, there is also a lovely indoor pool with a water fountain feature and lounge chairs facing the mountains.
The spa is at the heart of the hotel and certainly worth spending some time in, but as a seasoned spa goer, I did miss a comfortable area connecting the pool to the spa area, which is a nude only zone. The spa is designed in a circular shape, featuring Bisazza mosaic tiles, comprising a sauna, steam bath, experience showers and Kneipp-style footbaths. There are also 5 treatment rooms for massages and beauty treatments as well as a relaxation area.
When traveling for leisure, I usually don’t pay much attention to the often times boring meeting rooms in a hotel. Not so at the Cambrian, where I was pleasantly surprised with the conference area, featuring spacious meeting rooms facing the beautiful panorama with plenty of daylight and a very funky lounge area decorated in an eclectic mix of rustic and old English cigar lounge style. I could almost see myself sitting there, sipping on a hot chocolate on a cold winter evening…
The Cambrian has been on my ‘hotels to see’ list for a while now, so I went there with very high expectations. As an interior designer I am very critical in terms of design, as an ex-hotelier in terms of service. I may be used to destinations, such as Dubai, Thailand and Mexico, where a simple smile seems to come a lot easier than around here… As Maya Angelou, a famous poet and writer once said: ‘I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.’
The Cambrian does hold a unique charm in a unique setting and I can certainly imagine spending a few days during the winter months there…