Three years after my first visit to Vals (read here: Food and Hiking in Switzerland), I returned to this typical village in Grisons, but this time in winter.
Although only mid-November, the village was already covered under a nice layer of snow. We returned to Brücke 49 (http://www.brucke49.ch/), a Nordic inspired bed and breakfast, offering a home away from home. This time we stayed in the room Zervreila, the smallest (and most budget friendly) of the four rooms. The room is tiny, but still comfortable and with a lovely balcony where you have a gorgeous view on the mountains. But since the guests at Brücke 49 can benefit from the whole space in the house, a small room is not so much of a problem. There are two bathrooms and two toilets to be shared among the fours rooms. The bathrooms are simply gorgeous, all white and minimalistic with two showers each and lovely Aesop products. During the day or the evening you can hang out in the living room, read in the comfy chairs or pour yourself a glass of wine with cheese or a gin and tonic from the bar. Upon departure, you simply indicate what you consumed. You can even use the beautiful kitchen to prepare some small meals should you decide to stay in that night. In the mornings, breakfast is served on the big wooden table you share with the other guests. Bread, cheese, homemade jam, granola, Bircher müsli, eggs, avocado and freshly squeezed orange juice will make for some delicious breakfast accompanied by a good coffee or tea.
There was (almost) nothing to complain about in Brücke 49, except maybe for the homogenous clientele: during our weekend, we were four couples all aged between 25 and 35. A little more of a social mix would have been welcome.
In Vals there are basically two things you can do. Bathing and hiking/skiing. Although already opened 20 years ago, the Therme designed by Peter Zumthor, is still as modern looking as in 1996 and offers stylish relaxation in a gorgeous setting. It is heaven to fall asleep in front of the snowy mountain all snuggled up in your bathrobe on a chaise longue. Do not forget that all guests that stay in a hotel in Vals benefit from a preferential rate on the entrance fee. With a horrendous price of 80CHF this is definitively welcome (you’ll pay only 45CHF).
Hiking/skiing around Vals is also a great idea! In winter, hiking routes are obviously more limited, but it’s still worth it. For a nice and easy hike, go to Leis (about one hour from Vals) and have a drink or lunch/dinner at restaurant Ganni. Ganni offers delicious regional cuisine, for example Pizokel a typical regional specialty. Brücke 49 staff will be happy to advise you on any other hiking routes that suit your wishes.
One more note about the restaurants in Vals. For a big splurge you can visit Silver Restaurant, the two Michelin star restaurant in the Therme. They also have a less chic (but still rather pricy) alternative, Red Restaurant, as well as a pizzeria Da Papà. The latter is perfect after the baths, the pizze are good (not the best one I have eaten but perfectly recommendable) and the service is welcoming. We also ate at the Alpina, in the middle of the town, offering regional and seasonal kitchen. Although not bad, I found the cuisine a little bit uninspired. Moreover, I did not like the setting as it made me think of a modern retirement home.
All in all, Vals and in particular Brücke 49 is worth the trip!