In, gosh… 2011 (how long ago it sounds!) we received a smartbox as a wedding present that would let us stay one night in a number of fancy hotels or wellness centers in Switzerland, eastern France or northern Italy.
During the winter of 2011/12 we put off deciding when to go because we thought it would be nice to go in the summer and spend one night in the mountains camping and then another night in the hotel. Then we would really have a full weekend to utilize the long journey time by train.
When summer 2012 rolled around we finally sat down and decided which hotel we wanted to stay at but because it was really a wellness hotel with a sauna and steam room, Kay thought it sounded like more a winter activity and he wanted to wait until it was cold to go.
Well, here we are in January and the smartbox was expiring soon! Without waiting we finally booked the hotel last week and left for Mörel early Saturday morning.
Mörel is around 2.5 hours from Zürich and originally I wanted to spend two nights in the hotel, but Kay wanted to save some dough so we just planned to go early Saturday, spend the day snowshoe walking and then later enjoying the wellness center and then on Sunday we would head back.
We got to Salina Maris hotel around 9:30am. They were pretty surprised when we told them we walked up from the station. I didn’t read the reservation email thoroughly, but apparently they would have sent a driver to pick us up from the train station for free! Oh well… it was only a 10-15 minute walk up the hill.
The hotel generously let us check in early (9:30 is pretty darn early!) and rented us snowshoes and poles. We dropped our thing in the room, rearranged our backpacks for hiking and were off.
As you can kind of tell, the mountains were pretty gorgeous. When we first arrived it was really sunny and we had blue skies, but we did experience some clouds and fog throughout the walk.
Snowshoe walking is also, by the way, pretty fun. Tromping around like a little kid in the snow is great!
I ended up just wearing long underwear under my normal trekking pants. I had puffy $10 snowpants from Kohls in my backpack, but I didn’t need to use them because it was warm enough walking.
After a few hours of walking the trails, we headed back down the gondola to Mörel again and prepared ourselves for wellness time!
In the wellness area we spent several hours using the sauna for 15 minute increments, taking a rest outside, using the steam room for 10 minutes, resting and repeating. At the end we jumped in the salt pool and enjoyed the jacuzzi.
At 18:00 there was an apero for guests and we met the other guests (all Swiss) in the hotel for some white Walliser wine. Everyone at the apero was very friendly and I had a nice time trying to keep up in Swiss German.
One of the couples at the apero ended up going to the restaurant as well so we actually enjoyed our complementary three-course meal with a pair from the Biel region! It was not as “romantic” as we had planned, but I was surprised and delighted to have much such open, friendly Swiss. It is really not common to just sit down and eat dinner with complete strangers here, but they were so much fun to talk to.
The next morning we got up and enjoyed the delicious brunch before enjoying the sauna and steam room one last time. When we headed back to the train we were both extremely relaxed.
I can highly recommend the hotel rooms at Salina Maris. They are very large, have nice, clean bathrooms and even kitchnettes and fridges to use for the weekend. The ski slopes were also practically empty, in case you were looking for more reasons to go. 😉