The Spa at Kempinski Grand Hotel Des Bains St. Moritz
Swiss hoteliers are know for innovative services that secure customer satisfaction and return on investment. To a point, were Swiss Hospitality Management has become a fix term that worldwide stands for precision, discretion, innovation, professionalism, immaculate presentation. Paired with respect for the customer, plus rigour and attention to detail.
Hospitality has a long and rich history in St. Moritz in Switzerland. In 1864, the Parkhotel Kurhaus was built, right at the start of St. Moritz’ golden age. The resort attracted international travellers in first only summer, and a few decades later in winter too.
Royalty, aristocrats and millionaires travel to St. Moritz for the healthy climate and alpine adventures.
The Spa at Kempinski Grand Hotel Des Bains St. Moritz
When looking at the spa facility we need keep in mind that the core of the building roots in the 18oos. Of course the Kempinski, that was opened in 2002, has undergone many major renovations and manages to blend the opulent past with modern standards well. Yet it is always much easier to run a modern spa in a modern and purpose-built facility.
The spa is said to have just under 3000 square meters, of which I felt at least half of is wasted space.
The layout is confusing and complicated, there is no natural flow for the guest when moving around. Steps up, steps down again, several levels in different parts of buildings… not easy. For example, you have to walk across a treatment room area to get to the spa reception. The latter resembles more a hidden little open office space in a corner. And the first thing the guest sees on arrival to the spa is the back of a computer screen.
I did like the minimalistic design in a grey colour scheme, which does very well without kitchy spa decor.
Gym and Studio
The 24/7 gym is surprisingly spacious and provides the expected Technogym Cardio equipment.
Across the corridor is a workout studio with free weights, mats, and other accessories. I did not see any activities offered, this may be reserved for winter season only?
In the studio I found sufficient space to roll out my yoga mat. I would have liked a more suitable room, more tranquil and with nicer atmosphere to support my yoga practise.
Initially I had hoped to be able to do some yoga outdoors (and the beautiful park in front of the hotel would have been my preferred choice), however the climate is not highly suitable for this kind of outdoor activity. The grass was simply too wet in the early morning.
Let me say it right away: excellent massage! but….
I had chosen a 60 minute Alpine Tonic Massage. The spa menu reads: “a massage as unique as you are! After a one-to-one conversation with your therapist, your specific massage needs will be determined along with a customised product choice that meets you requirements.”
I was met at the spa reception by the manageress (I think that is who she was as she did not care to introduce herself), which offered a refreshing ice tea and made me fill out the consultation form. As I did this, she tried to engage me in a conversation and asked rather personal questions above what is necessary for my treatment or polite conversation, which actually made me feel pretty uncomfortable. When some other guest arrived, she thankfully turned away, even without saying good-buy or wishing me a nice treatment.
My therapist for the day took over, and I was pleased to be serviced by an excellent professional, who not only did know his trade, but also had a very pleasing personality.
He took a short time to ask about any pains or requirements with regards to the treatment and confirmed the pressure, however there was no extensive one-to-one conversation or choosing of a customised product as promised in the menu.
One of the best massages
Having said that, I still think that I have received one of the best massages by Mladen (a male, after I had been given the choice to choose between male and female).
I enjoyed a good strong pressure, intuitive moves, a uninterrupted flow of strokes, and a variety of advanced techniques, with some long strokes that reminded me of a Kahuna.
My therapist ended the excellent service by offering me a nice refreshment. Unfortunately the facility was a little awkward, I sat in the entry lobby of the entrance for day spa guests. Hence I assume that there is no dedicated quiet room for post treatment relaxation.
Pool and Wellness Area
This Kempinski Spa offers one indoor heated pool with a size of about 7×15 meters; just about large enough to swim laps. There are unfortunately no water features such as underwater massage jets etc. The temperature was lovely at about 29C. Most of the time during the 4 days of my stay, I had the pool all to myself, maybe one or two more people with me.
There were about 20 loungers placed around the pool, and I wondered very much how a tranquil and relaxed environment can be upheld during a busy winter.
I found two relaxation rooms in the pool area with about 6 relax loungers in each, so again, not very spacious for busy days.
The wellness area with the heat experiences is split in two: a small ladies only area, and the larger unisex wellness area, both with a variety of saunas, steam baths, and relaxation areas. The main wellness area offers indoor and outdoor Kneipp, the latter in a cute little garden, that is unfortunately pretty exposed.
The Kempinski Spa Concept
The Kempinski Spa concept is ‘seasonal’. The Spa journey is inspired by the European cycle of the seasons. Drawing on the elemental wisdom of nature, their treatments are said to invoke and restore the body’s natural equilibrium.
I find the Kempinski spa concept ok, however miss a more unique or surprising element. I believe that the spa concept can well do with further development in the near future in order to stay competitive.
The Kempinski Hotel in St Moritz, standing on the grounds of a former cure bath facility, has some great opportunities to connect to the former cure bath glory, by offering some of the traditional and indigenous treatments that bathers have enjoyed centuries ago. I would have expected a more customised spa concept here.
I enjoyed the spa facilities as I was lucky enough to have them most of the time to myself. Not sure I would say the same in busier times.
Gym was adequate, I was missing a quiet and beautiful corner for my yoga practise.
I am happy to recommend my well-trained and experienced therapist, he is obviously passionate about what he does.
PS I have paid for my treatment at the Kempinski St Moritz myself, which has no impact on my honest opinion and experience.
Have you seen my review of the Luxury Mountain Spa at the Kempinski Das Tyrol in Kitzbuehel/Austria yet?