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Switzerland’s Wellness, Spas & Water road trip is the international holiday we all need

Switzerland’s new Grand Tour Deluxe combines wellness, spas and water in a luxury road trip like no other, writes Andrew Conway.

Once in a while, a song defines a destination: Peter Allen’s ‘I Still Call Australia Home’; Frank Sinatra’s ‘New York, New York’. Switzerland now has a new anthem – appropriately called ‘Jackpot’ – penned by Swiss singer-songwriter Bastian Baker and inspired by a Harley-Davidson ride along his homeland’s Grand Tour.

The joyful lyrics of his hit song and video, released in May 2120, capture the essence of Switzerland’s legendary road trip as it meanders past monumental alpine peaks, valleys covered by wildflowers, glistening lakes and quaint chocolate-box villages.

You can almost feel the fresh, crisp mountain air breezing through Baker’s happy-go-lucky ode to his birthplace as he reconnects with old friends and visits places from his childhood along the way.

Tamina Therme thermal spa
Tamina Therme spa in Bad Ragaz © Nicola Fuerer

The new Grand Tour Deluxe

As if the Grand Tour wasn’t quite grand enough, Switzerland has elevated the sensory experience, combining the country’s finest landmarks with 39 exclusive Swiss Deluxe Hotels and top gourmet restaurants to create the new Grand Tour Deluxe, giving visitors something to really sing about.

With four upscale themed routes to choose from – ‘Art Museums & Boutique Cities’; ‘Alpine Mountain Passes’; ‘UNESCO World Heritage Sites’; and ‘Wellness, Spas & Water’ – the new Grand Tour Deluxe offers unique holiday experiences for all road-trippers, whether by car, electric car or motorcycle.

Wellness, Spas & Water road trip

As the world rallies from the pandemic, the tour’s ‘Wellness, Spas & Water’ route offers the ideal road to recovery: a 15-day self-drive itinerary based around the healing and restorative qualities of water, from swimming in the River Aare to viewing the magnificent Rhine Falls and relaxing beside tranquil Lake Geneva.

Hôtel Beau-Rivage Palace
Hôtel Beau-Rivage Palace, Lausanne © Michael Sonderegger

By day, Switzerland’s extraordinary panoramas will unfold, complemented by fine food and wine, delicious sweet treats and boutique shopping.

Each evening, you’ll relax in your choice of 32 Swiss Deluxe Hotels on this particular route, all offering elegant architecture, state-of-the-art facilities, classic Swiss charm, and the highest levels of service and hospitality.

The carefully curated portfolio of grand city, alpine, lakeside and golf retreats offers world-class spa and wellness amenities, treatments and therapies, along with award-winning gourmet dining options and an array of pampering and wilderness activities tailored to each season.

Hire one of Switzerland’s rapidly growing fleet of electric cars – powered by a dense network of charging stations throughout the Grand Tour Deluxe routes – and you’ll be helping to protect and preserve the natural environment at the same time.

Basel, Switzerland

The route

The ‘Wellness, Spas & Water’ route starts in Basel and culminates in Geneva. It stretches 1,750 kilometres in total, but split into leisurely driving days, the longest being the 280-kilometre section from Basel to Gstaad on day two.

The other days allow for a thoroughly relaxed road schedule, with time to explore at your own pace.

The first four days roll from Basel (take a dip in the Rhine River) followed by the glamorous alpine retreat of Gstaad, and on to Interlaken – the gateway to the Jungfrau region – before reaching Bern, the historic and elegant Swiss capital.

The next section leads from Bern’s River Aare to Hallwyl – home to one of Europe’s most important moated castles – and Lake Lucerne, with its historic paddlesteamers and the lakeside Vitznau, your final destination on day five.

Vitznau driving in Switzerland
Vitznau © Mattias Nutt

Board the car ferry across Lake Lucerne the next morning and drive on to Lake Uri, via Brunnen and Schwyz, to Rapperswil and Zurich.

Day seven delivers the Rhine Falls in Schaffhausen, Lake Constance and the thermal waters of Bad Ragaz, followed by three days of lake and mountain panoramas on the road to St. Moritz/ Pontresina and Ticino, and then Ascona via Lake Maggiore, or Lugano.

The last five days offer a peak experience through the Swiss Alps from Andermatt to Crans-Montana, via the Rhône River, and on to Montreux/Vevey, Lausanne and Geneva. Wellness abounds at all of the deluxe hotels, cities and towns en route, featuring holistic spa and health therapies that will have you in instant Zen mode.

Switzerland is a road trip like no other. And as Bastian Baker notes in his song, it doesn’t matter which way you turn, because you’ll end up in a perfect place.

The Swiss Deluxe Hotels en route:

Day 1 – Basel
• Grand Hotel Les Trois Rois

Day 2 – Gstaad
• Gstaad Palace
• Park Gstaad
• Le Grand Bellevue
• The Alpina Gstaad

Day 3 – Interlaken

• Victoria-Jungfrau Grand Hotel & Spa

Day 4 – Bern
• Hotel Schweizerhof Bern
• Bellevue Palace Bern

Day 5 – Vitznau
• Park Hotel Vitznau

Day 6 – Zurich
• The Dolder Grand
• La Reserve Eden au Lac Zurich
• Widder Hotel

Day 7 – Bad Ragaz
• Grand Resort Bad Ragaz

Day 8 – St.Moritz/Pontresina
• Grand Hotel Kronenhof
• Carlton Hotel St. Moritz
• Suvretta House
• Badrutt’s Palace Hotel
• Kulm Hotel

Day 9 – Ascona or Lugano
• Hotel Castello del Sole
• Hotel Eden Roc
• Hotel Splendide Royal

Day 10 – Andermatt
• The Chedi Andermatt

Day 11 – Crans-Montana
• Le Crans Hotel & Spa
• Hotel Guarda Golf

Day 12 – Montreux/Vevey
• Fairmont Le Montreux Palace
• Le Mirador Resort & Spa
• Grand Hotel du Lac

Day 13 – Lausanne
• Hotel Beau-Rivage Palace
• Lausanne Palace

Day 14 – Geneva
• Four Seasons Hotel Des Bergues
• Mandarin Oriental Geneva
• Hotel Beau-Rivage

Le Grand Bellevue Gstaad
Day 2 - Le Grand Bellevue Gstaad © Michael Sonderegger
Park Hotel Vitznau
Day 5 – Park Hotel Vitznau © Beat Brechbuehl
Mandarin Oriental Geneva
Day 14 - Mandarin Oriental Geneva

This article originally appeared in volume 39 of Signature Luxury Travel & Style magazine. Subscribe to the latest issue today.

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