The health-giving properties of thermal springs are beyond dispute. Since the Tamina spring was first discovered, the thermal waters in what is now Bad Ragaz have drawn visitors from far and wide. The jewel in its crown is the magnificent Quellenhof Hotel, which opened its doors in 1869. It is easy to imagine its Victorian guests being charmed by the warmth of Swiss hospitality and the beauty of the surrounding mountains.
By 1872, guests could plunge into the warm waters of Europe’s first thermal indoor pool. By 1936, the town was firmly on the map as a health destination and Ragaz parish was renamed Bad Ragaz spa town in recognition of that fact. “A visit to Bad Ragaz still revolves largely around the enjoyment of the health-giving thermal waters but it has expanded to include so much more,” says CEO Patrick Vogler. “Recent investment has allowed us to exploit our biggest asset in many more ways to address a widely diverse clientele.”
The focal point of this investment has been the Quellenhof hotel itself. A 45 million-euro refurbishment was completed last year when the Grand Hotel reopened on 1 July to great fanfare. “Grand Hotel Quellenhof is an iconic hotel and the flagship of Europe’s leading wellbeing and medical health resort,” says Mr. Vogler. “Refurbishing it was a huge undertaking.”
To create an appropriately grand vision for such a grand hotel, the resort enlisted the help of famed Swiss interior designer Claudio Carbone. He delivered a concept that centered around both the hotel’s history and its thermal waters. Three new thermal water fountains were installed throughout the resort during the renovations.
The designer’s lighting choices also reflected the hotel’s connection to water, a theme that reaches its zenith in the new 16-meter-high chandelier in the lobby descending across four floors. Made up of 2,500 hand-blown clear and blue glass spheres, the similarity to a flowing waterfall is entirely deliberate.
The refurbishment was not just limited to changes to the décor. Two new restaurants have been added: Memories and verve by sven, both of which were designed and conceived by the hotel’s culinary director Sven Wassmer. Memories celebrates contemporary Alpine cuisine at the pinnacle of fine dining while verve by sven puts its focus on health and lifestyle. They bring the resort’s complement of restaurants to eight and bars to four. Another new addition is the King Suite, introduced to complement its existing four luxury suites.
“We had the vision of bringing our hotel into a new era of luxury hospitality, and we have succeeded,” says Mr. Vogler. “The goal of the renovations was to preserve the history of the Grand Hotel Quellenhof and allow it to continue to grow while at the same time supporting both the preservation and further development of the Grand Hotel Quellenhof in the future.”
The grand reopening last year was all the more special because the hotel also celebrated its 150th anniversary at the same time. “We are now well-positioned for the years to come,” says Mr. Vogler. “But it is important that we continue to move with the times.”
This is particularly important in light of how competitive the wellness and spa sector has become. With 800 staff, the resort caters to its guests’ every need. This also extends to the medical center where 30 doctors and other qualified medical personnel offer a range of beauty treatments, rehabilitation therapies and health retreats, many of which are based around the healing effects of the thermal waters. “We want to cement our position as the leading well-being and medical health resort in Europe,” states Mr. Vogler. “Our advantages are the variety within our services and facilities and, of course, our fantastic team. My job is to continously push the strategic direction but also to be just as hands-on with the day-to-day job of giving our guests the best possible experience.”