Five Best: Mountain Spas

Louie Jones finds the classiest places to relax after a tough day on the slopes


Bagni Vecchi, Italy

Praised by the Roman scholar Pliny the Elder, the hot water in the Bagni Vecchi has been delighting Italians since the first century AD. Joined on the outskirts of Bormio by upstart Bagni Nuovi in 1836, the historic spa complex offers over 60 different places to unwind - including the original Roman chambers, mud and steam subterranean grottos, waterfalls, and 11 outdoor pools. A huge range of massages and treatments is also available. Leonardo (da Vinci, not DiCaprio) was a guest of the Bagni Vecchi hotel, a castle perched on the cliffs; the Bagni Nuovi is a much grander affair. But you don't have to ski in Bormio to take to the waters; the baths are just 35km from Livignio and an easy day trip from St Moritz/Engadin.

Bagni Vechhi, Bormio, Italy (00 39 342 910131; www.bagnidibormio.it). Open 10am-8pm, until 11pm on Thursdays. Entrance from €30 (£20). Doubles from €208 (£140), including breakfast and admission.

Therme Vals, Switzerland

Church bells from the valley below echo off the quartzite columns surrounding the outdoor pool; petals float across the flower chamber; heat radiates from the adobe walls in the fire room. Ten years old, this arresting take on classical baths is hewn out of the local black stone. Thermal pools are complemented by a sauna and steam room; relaxation rooms peer out onto alpine meadows. The spa is easily accessible from Flims/Laax.

Therme Vals, Vals, Switzerland (00 41 81 926 8080; www.therme-vals.ch).

Open daily 11am-10pm. Entrance SFr30 (£12.80) adults, SFr20 (£8.50) children. Doubles in the Hotel Therme Vals start at SFr208 (£89), including breakfast.

Aqua Dome, Austria

This giant, airy spa satisfies families, design buffs and serenity seekers alike. Fed by the Längenfeld spring, the glass-domed indoor swimming pool and elevated outdoor jacuzzis are dominated by the looming Ötztal Alps. In the sauna complex, it's strictly voices down and clothes off. Towel-toting Austrians trot between earth, hay and herb saunas, steam rooms, an ice grotto, volcano waterfall and the outdoor pool. The slopes of Sölden, Obergurgl and little Oetz are close by.

Aqua Dome, Ötztal Valley, Austria (00 43 5253 6400; www.aqua-dome.at). Open daily 9am-10pm. Entrance from €13 (£8.80) for adults, €6.50 (£4.40) under 15s (plus €2 (£1.35) supplement on weekends and holidays); €7 (£4.70) extra for admission to the sauna complex. Doubles in the hotel from €250 (£170), half board.

Ten Thousand Waves, US

At the southern tip of the Rockies, little Santa Fe Ski Basin boasts one of the highest base elevations on the North American continent, along with dry-as-the-desert powder and bright sunny days. Halfway between the no-frills resort and the adobe walls of Santa Fe is this tribute to the Japanese onsen, an serene outdoor complex of private hot tubs. Each affords views across the desert hillside; super premium tubs have their own saunas. Pretty pagodas serve as therapy rooms; 12 elegant cottage suites are located in the grounds. Book in advance for a tub at the end of the ski day.

Ten Thousand Waves, Santa Fe, New Mexico (001 505 992 5025; www.tenthousandwaves.com). Monday, Wednesday and Thursday, 10.15am-9.30pm, Tuesday 4pm-9:30pm, Friday to Sunday and holidays, 9.15am-10.30pm. Private tubs from $20 (£11). Double rooms from $99 (£53).

Caldea, Andorra

Resembling a Seventh Day Adventist temple from the outside, this tower of glass contains a watery theme park within. The giant thermal lagoon is like a leisure pool turned up to 11, busy with whirlpools and water massage jets. Outside, the snaking thermal river and hot tubs are a calmer affair, as the surrounding mountains work their peace-bestowing magic. Elaborately-themed saunas, hammams, ice pools and footbaths slow the pace another notch. Adults wishing to escape the hubbub entirely pay extra (from €73/£50, depending on treatment) to enter the club level, an upper floor of massage rooms, relaxation areas and smaller pools and saunas. The spa is on the edge of Andorra's capital city, la Vella, making it a short drive from most of the principality's resorts.

Caldea, Engordany, Andorra (00 376 800 999; www.caldea.ad). Open daily from 9.30am-11pm (last admission at 9pm), Saturdays from 9.30am-12 midnight (last admission 10pm). Entrance from €29.50 (£20), 5-12 year olds €22 (£15).

The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations

News
Richard Dawkins dedicated his book 'The Greatest Show on Earth' to Josh Timonen
newsThat's Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome
Life and Style
fashionLidl to launch a new affordable fashion range
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
music
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
News
Tim Vine has won the funniest joke award at the Edinburgh Festival 2014
peopleTim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award, has nigh-on 200 in his act. So how are they conceived?
News
people
Life and Style
techApp to start sending headlines, TV clips and ads to your phone
Arts and Entertainment
Taylor Swift crawls through the legs of twerking dancers in her 'Shake It Off' music video
musicEarl Sweatshirt thinks so
Life and Style
tech
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Oracle 11g SQL 2008 DBA (Unix, Oracle RAC, Mirroring, Replicati

    £6000 - £50000 per annum + Bonus+Benefits+Package: Harrington Starr: Oracle 11...

    Recruitment Consultant (Graduate Trainee), Finchley Central

    £17K OTE £30K: Charter Selection: Highly successful and innovative specialist...

    SQL DBA/ C# Developer - T-SQL, C#.Net

    £45000 - £55000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Working with an exciting ...

    Sales and Office Administrator – Sports Media

    £23,000: Sauce Recruitment: A global leader in sports and entertainment is now...

    Day In a Page

    Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

    A descent into madness in America's heartlands

    David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
    BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

    BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

    Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home
    Lauded therapist Harley Mille still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

    Lauded therapist still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

    Australian Harley Miller is as frustrated by court delays as she is with the idiosyncrasies of immigration law
    Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world. But could his predictions of war do the same?

    Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world...

    But could his predictions of war do the same?
    Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs: 'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

    'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

    Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs
    Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities, but why?

    Young at hort

    Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities. But why are so many people are swapping sweaty clubs for leafy shrubs?
    Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award: 'making a quip as funny as possible is an art'

    Beyond a joke

    Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award, has nigh-on 200 in his act. So how are they conceived?
    The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

    The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

    Sadly though, the Lawrence of Arabia star is not around to lend his own critique
    Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire: The joy of camping in a wetland nature reserve and sleeping under the stars

    A wild night out

    Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire offers a rare chance to camp in a wetland nature reserve
    Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition: It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans

    Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition

    It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans
    Besiktas vs Arsenal: Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie

    Besiktas vs Arsenal

    Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie
    Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

    Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

    As the Northern Irishman prepares for the Barclays, he finds time to appear on TV in the States, where he’s now such a global superstar that he needs no introduction
    Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to Formula One

    Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to F1

    The 16-year-old will become the sport’s youngest-ever driver when he makes his debut for Toro Rosso next season
    Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

    Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

    But belated attempts to unite will be to no avail if the Sunni caliphate remains strong in Syria, says Patrick Cockburn
    Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I would end up killing myself in jail'

    Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I'd end up killing myself in jail'

    Following last week's report on prison suicides, the former inmate asks how much progress we have made in the 50 years since the abolition of capital punishment