It's not all about sliding down mountains. At the Tschuggen Grand, in the Swiss Alps, the spa's the star

When it reopened in 2000, the Tschuggen Grand was just another nine-storey hotel in a small Alpine village. Huge panoramic windows were all very well but there was nothing much inside to keep skiers off the slopes. How that's changed since 2004 when Carlo Rampazzi ripped through the building in a whirl of colours, scattering cushions and sofas in all directions and upgrading the rooms to a stellar degree of comfort.

This year it's been the turn of Mario Botta, the design guru who recently refurbished La Scala in Milan. Botta's Bergoase Spa, connected to the hotel by a glass bridge, outdoes Rampazzi for sheer brio and comfort. This is what is really putting Tschuggen Grand on the alpine ski map.

The Bergoase is a fantasy on four levels lit by nine "light trees" that cast natural light down into the building and illuminate the slopes by night. At the topmost level guests enter the Arosa Mountain Grotto passing through a curtain of water. Here they are soothed by different seasons of rain, while an artificial stream has been constructed to impart the alleged benefits of wading through running water. The spa has a heated infinity pool with fantastic mountain views.

The spa opens on 1 December, the same day that the hotel unveils its revolutionary Tschuggen Coaster. This unique venture is the newest, greenest way to transport skiers to the slopes. It's a battery-powered car that seats six and travels up the slopes while leaving no fuel emissions whatsoever. The Tschuggen has been able to dispense with noise and ugly cable cars. Hooray.

The location

On the edge of Arosa is a remote village, deep in the alpine Graubünden canton of south-east Switzerland. A two-and-a-half-hour train ride from Zurich to Chur is followed by 60 steep scenic minutes in a mountain train.

The comfort factor

The rooms are vividly painted with beds topped by leather or multicoloured fabric headboards. Flat-screen TVs slide out from the walls, and the sofas are deep and comfy.

The bathroom

Double sinks in marble or granite and their own toiletries exclusively made for them. They look and smell like Bulgari, but aren't.

The food and drink

La Vetta is for fine dining. Two courses cost from SFr58 (£24.50) per head. La Provence has panoramic views and is ideal for a lunchtime tagliatelle. In the basement there's a wood-lined Bündnerstube which offers raclette and fondue at SFr525 (£10.50) and after-dinner bowling.

The people

A lot of neighbouring Liechtensteiners come over for Nordic walking. The hotel is also popular with skiers from Chur. There are also a fair number of Americans encouraged by Tschuggen's status as one of the Leading Hotels of the World.

The area

This corner of Switzerland is well known for resorts such as Klosters and Davos, but visitors also spend time in the wine-growing town of Chur, famous for its 12th-century cathedral.

The access

External ramps for wheelchair users can be provided by the hotel if notice is given. Inside, doors are wide enough for wheelchairs. An all-day kindergarten and supervised dinner service are available for children. Some pets allowed.

The damage

Double rooms start at £344 per night, b&b.


Tschuggen Grand Hotel, CH-7050 Arosa, Switzerland (00 41 81 378 99 99;

Adrian Mourby travelled as a guest of Swiss (0845-601 0956; which operates daily flights to Zurich from £84 return.