Reviewed exclusively for Holidays in Heels by travel pros Laura Brown and Laura Snook of LawrenceTravel!

Valsana Hotel and Apartments, Arosa, Switzerland

On the edge of a forest line of pine trees, the newly opened Valsana Hotel and Apartments greets visitors with a young and inspiring vibe. The hotel has decided on a new hotel concept where healthy choices are at its helm. As soon as I walk into the sliding doors, the reception hands over my access card to just about everything – the card resembles an 80’s cassette tape, a hint to what comes next.

The Welcome

With this access card you become the resident in your own stylish, and eco-friendly I might add, abode on any of the five floors. The interior style could have easily been featured in your own take of a western movie mixed with an alpine ambiance of materials and prints. Valsana’s message is clear: nature is near and you better take care of your surroundings to enjoy them.


Sweet Suite

The room is airy and cosy with rustic wooden floors and colourful carpets, furniture is in leather or natural colours plus plenty of metal elements to make it a sturdy and cool concept, definitely a style to keep in mind for the redesign of my own place.

The bathroom is pretty and pure, with emphasis on Mother Nature – no added plastic shower caps or paper tissues yet fair-trade soaps, body wash and shampoos in dispensers with the most delightful natural ingredients and smells. The balcony either gives access to views towards the main street of Arosa, a Swiss town cornered by a ridge of rugged mountains – summer the lakes and meadows call for long walks and picnics, or highlight the pine tree covered forest at the back  and in winter the slopes are plentiful and covered in perfect snow.

My room serves me views towards town and, as snow is falling, the roofs are covered in thick blankets of snow, hardly recognizable in just a few hours. And for those who love to linger in their country style retreat (or bathtub), the gramophone and selection of records with the little famous crackle sound when the stylus traces the spiral grooves, offer the best atmosphere added to the space.

I cannot help thinking whether I should swap some records with my neighbours, as I am sure the Valsana collection is broader then just the vinyls in my room, yet I decide to head down and socialize in the epi-centre of the hotel: Twist, the restaurant.


The Food

Downstairs in restaurant Twist, where the healthy concept is adopted throughout the menu and seating is set up for mingling. Intriguing flavours, holistic ingredients and daring food combinations are served up in bowls during the day and at night.

All the while, healthy drinks are made fresh and the grape comes from a selection of bio and local Swiss vines. Service is casual yet ever so friendly – an added bonus to the total conscious lifestyle Valsana so dearly admires. Here, I meet locals, sports enthusiasts, travellers and nature lovers all around the fireplace and have midnight conversations (and wholesome snacks) – the place invites you to do so, and inspires you to blend in.

The Spa

The spa is as calming as a spa should be; yet with their new concept of the silent spa you’re entering a new level of consciousness. The treatment rooms are relaxing and modern, without the soothing tones of music from the speakers and it actually is nice to indulge in your own silent thoughts for a change.

The spa menu is small yet very focussed on the outdoor activity mind of the guests – full body massages, sports massages, neck and back massages and those aroma therapies with a hint of forest scents. The yoga studio and pool both offer panoramic views of the surroundings – surely the place to be for an afternoon rekindle with peace and quiet. Their new concept of R1 Sportsclub offers private group classes, free to the Valsana guests – just sign up at reception or through your in-room Ipad, where you train from the deepest level of the core, integrating: movement, nutrition, recovery, and reflection. I opted for a private R1 session as I was not familiar with the concept – after an hour of stretching, tightening and exercising I have to say the blend of yoga moves, pilates insights and strong breathing techniques where your own body weight is used as resistance comes as a welcomed activity at the end of the day. Every month Valsana highlights their Experiences, where a mix of indoor with outdoor pleasure and purely focus on wellbeing is at the helm. As Valsana Hotel and Apartments is part of the Tschuggen Group, some of the listed Experiences offer access to the Tschuggen Bergoase – literally meaning mountain oasis, located on the edge of Arosa in the Tschuggen Grand Hotel, part of the same hotel group, and the name surely fits what is on offer – a oasis of wellness.


The Outdoors

The stunning terrain surrounding Arosa is known as the Schanfigg Valley, a train ride from Zurich or Milan. Actually, I hopped on the train in St. Moritz and took the scenic route through the UNESCO heritage site of the forest covering 169 bridges and plenty of mountain tunnels. The area of the valley is shaped as a horseshoe flanked by mountains, which makes the area known for its comfortable weather  – sunny and protected from the wind. The scenery of mountain surrounding you is picturesque near the bottom with charming Swiss villages, such as Arosa, yet rugged and (to be) tamed near the top. All mountain huts up the hillside are along hiking paths– herbal teas and chocolates with the whole family is a must, or enjoy the lakes and colourful meadows full of alpine flowers and herbs – perfect for picnics!


Enjoy singing ‘the hills are alive’ in this bright outfit perfect for Spring in Arosa!


Swiss Miss



BA SH yellow dress
905 AED –

Loafer shoes
78 AED –

Chloé chloe purse
6,575 AED –

Post earrings
77 AED –

Mac cosmetic
64 AED –

Marc Jacobs fragrance
375 AED –

Gel nail polish
110 AED –


Guest Post by Rupert Wright of Ashbright
Paris holds no terrors for well-heeled travellers, who can check into one of the city’s eleven palaces such as ­ the Georges V, Plaza Athénée, Le Bristol or my favourite, Le Meurice. But for those on any kind of budget, finding a decent place to stay in the French capital can be a challenge. Bedrooms smaller than a bathroom, bathrooms smaller than a bidet, we’ve all stayed at one of them and lived to regret it. So, it’s with great pleasure that I have found almost the perfect Parisian hotel – and you don’t need to be a tech billionaire to afford it. The Bedford has been family owned and run for more than a hundred years, combining Swiss roots, French flair and English tradition. It benefits from strong leadership, attention to detail, and a staff eager to look after you. With just 140 rooms, it is large enough to intimate, but not so large that you are anonymous. It’s a 4 star, but deserves more.
The rooms
Parquet flooring; high ceilings; comfortable beds and pillows; keys rather than plastic cards; and best of all, real switches, that turn the lights on and off. The Bedford has sensibly ignored many of the technical traps that can make staying in a hotel room more challenging than setting up your own satellite transmission site. The result is a place that combines understated elegance with modern touches and old school service. Some rooms overlook the rue de l’Arcade, others look over a courtyard, but all are a decent size and a muted colour. There is air-conditioning too, which is a relief when the summer strikes.
Breakfast is a buffet in a glorious belle époque room, boasting stucco reliefs and a glass roof. Dinner happens here too, French cuisine and fairly formal. There’s also a relaxed bistro/bar that serves meals and cocktails.
A stone’s throw from the Place de la Madeleine, the Place de la Concorde and the Tuileries Gardens, and the Opera, this is one of the best areas to stay in Paris. (Marcel Proust used to live just around the corner). It is a lively area, with great boutiques, wine bars and an eclectic mix of restaurants, Japanese, Italian, Chinese, Korean, Lebanese and French too.
Don’t miss
The Bedford knows that many people like to travel with their pets, so they are allowed to stay too.
HOTEL BEDFORD, 17, RUE DE L’ARCADE 75008 PARIS Tel. : +33 (0)1 44 94 77 77 Fax : +33 (0)1 44 94 77 97 More information at
Rooms from €250; Suites from €450


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Sara Hamdan

Welcome to a magazine editor’s guide to luxury hotels and what to wear when you’re there! My work has appeared in: The International New York Times, Rolling Stone, Variety and CNN Travel. I’ve held editorial roles at VIVA Magazine, Dubai Magazine and Stylist Arabia.  Now, I freelance for the likes of Google, CNN and Savoir Flair!

Editing travel pages was always my favourite part of working for lifestyle magazines. I started this blog out of a love of beautiful hotels that provide the fairytale escape of a day as a princess where breakfast is a buffet and chocolates appear on my pillow.

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