The popular ski resort of Val d‘Illiez is not only well known for its connection to the adjacent “Portes du Soleil” ski area, but also for its unique array of spa bathing facilities. Those who decide to spend their holidays in this small Valais village therefore benefit from the best of both worlds: immediate access to one of Europe’s largest ski areas, and an extensive range of “wellness” facilities at the “Thermes-Parc”.
At an altitude of 950m, Val d‘Illiez is situated just 4km down the mountain from the resort of Champéry, which is also the lower station of the gondola cableway up into Portes du Soleil itself. To reach Champéry, holidaymakers can make use of the historic rack-and-pinion railway that links the two villages. Thanks to a recent extension of the line, passengers can now change directly from train carriage to gondola at Champéry, in order to continue their journey towards the ski area.
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Without doubt, the no.1 off-piste highlight at Val d‘Illiez is the hot baths, the history of which stretches all the way back to the 1940’s. This said, the spa facilities have changed substantially since the first well was sunk in 1948, particularly in their size and scope. Today, the village is primarily defined by these facilities, but nevertheless blends flawlessly into the alpine landscape, thanks in no small part to the typical regional architecture of the chalets themselves. The “Thermes-Parc”, spread over an area of 11 hectares, appears as a kind of spa oasis, nestled between the lofty peaks of the Swiss Alps. After extensive restoration, the baths reopened in 2012, providing all the facilities you would expect of a modern spa centre. Children as young as 4 are welcome in the Thermes-Parc, which also makes it the perfect destination for families.
Both the indoor and outdoor areas of the centre are equipped with a large pool, bubble pools and a large Jacuzzi. In addition, the indoor area boasts a hammam, sauna, and spa area, while the outdoor area features a naturally warm flowing stream. This stream flows throughout the year, bringing warm water from 1200m below the surface, with a temperature between 20°C and 32°C, straight from the ground into the hot pools. The high levels of Calcium, Magnesium and Sulphur content in the water gives it therapeutic properties for various ailments, including dermatological, cardio-vascular and joint problems.
The Thermes-Parc also offers a range of gastro-attractions. The “La Bergerie” restaurant, with its large fireplace on the inside and attractive terrace on the outside, invites its guests to sample the local cuisine, both at lunchtime and in the evening. The spa’s snack bar is always there to provide on-the-swim refreshment for visitors, the terrace of which offers a unique view of the Dentes Blanches summit. The ground floor of La Bergerie also features a wine bar; the perfect place to relax together, over tea and cakes in the afternoon or over a glass of wine in the evening.
Val d‘Illiez offers holidaymakers the chance to spend an all-round chilled-out ski holiday right in the Thermes-Parc. 4 holiday complexes, comprising of a total of 160 apartments, offer everything you need for a comfortable stay, including lifts, ski rooms, car parking, internet connection, bed linen, hand towels, cleaning services and much more. If required, you can even book for full-board, half-board or just breakfast at the spa restaurant “La Bergerie”.
Anyone planning to spend a day outside of the ski area should be sure not to miss a trip to Lake Geneva. The castles of Aigle and Chillon, just 25 and 30 minutes respectively by road from Val d‘Illiez, lie along the route to Lake Geneva, and are also well worth a visit.
In the middle of the famous vineyards of Chablais, Aigle castle stands in splendour over the region. The castle, which dates back to the 12th Century, has its own fascinating museum, telling the story of wine production in the area.
Chillon castle is one of the most beautiful water-fortresses in Switzerland, occupying a rocky outcrop on the eastern shore of Lake Geneva. At over a thousand years old, this impressive structure has captured the imagination of countless artists such as Rousseau, Hugo, Delacroix and Courbet, and is the most visited historic building in all of Switzerland.