Stayed here in early March with a ski group of about ten, for a long weekend.
It's a pretty hotel, painted white, vaguely chalet-style, on about four or five floors, situated in the little village of Flims-Waldhaus. Crucially, it's about ten minutes walk uphill from the ski lift in Flims - not a trek you'd want to do in ski boots. There's a hotel shuttle bus down to the lift, driven by an exceptionally grumpy Swiss man who doesn't speak English. It starts running from about 8.30 but only takes about 12 people so you need to get out there early if you want to be one of the first on the lifts (which start at 8.30). It is meant to do the return journey every 10 minutes in the afternoon, but we had to wait for 40 freezing minutes one afternoon because the driver had gone off to do something else... If you want to go out in the evening to Flims or Laax, you'll have to get a taxi - I dread to think how much that would cost.
The general vibe is quite conservative and seemed targeted at the locals (Swiss, some Germans) - one way you could tell is that most of the signs and literature (eg the list of spa services) were in German only. Having said that, all the staff except the bus driver spoke good English and were very welcoming to our group.
The public areas are comfortable and pleasant without being special: a cross between corporate and traditional design. This is not a hip boutique hotel, nor a cosy chalet with an open fire! My only complaints about layout were that 1) I couldn't see anywhere you could sit outside in summer or on sunny winter afternoons- I suspect because the back of the hotel faced east and 2), there was only one small lift which led directly into the lounge, but did not go all the way downstairs to the wellness centre. So you had a constant stream of people in bathrobes trailing through the lounge to get to the sauna.
The hotel's meant to have an excellent reputation for food, but I don't think it was quite deserving of that reputation. Dinner was fine: a set four course traditional menu each night, with three options for the main course - one night we had a salad, followed by a strange soup buffet (including a cold pink soup that looked like cherry yoghurt), some steamed pike-perch with roast potatoes, and a very good plum strudel with creme anglaise. What let it down a bit for me was the tinned stuff that cropped up: tinned sweetcorn on the salad buffet, tinned peaches at breakfast, for example; and also breakfast in general. I have never ever been to a ski hotel anywhere which doesn't offer porridge for breakfast - very strange, and the so called 5 minute boiled eggs were hard as rock. The service was friendly but very slow, which was hard to understand given the restaurant wasn't even half full when we ate there. I also thought it was very cheeky that the hotel tried to charge us CHF 19 a head for a thrown together platter of cold cheese and meats on our first night (we arrived slightly after assigned hours for dinner), despite the fact we'd paid for half board. I thought it was also a bit cheeky to charge an extra CHF6 for afternoon tea - most four star ski hotels and chalets I've been to include this in half board.
There's weekly programme of activities.... on Saturdays it's a man playing cheesy music on an electric piano, with a small dancefloor in the middle of the lounge where a couple of older couples were dancing very sedately. There's also a blackjack cards night, and a fabulous torchlit walk through the nearby woods, led by one of the hotel staff who tells you all about the geology of the region. We thought it was very Lion Witch and the Wardrobe! There's a small, quiet bar with a friendly Swiss barman who speaks excellent English - good for pre dinner drinks but not an apres ski venue in its own right.
My room was fine, if a little oddly shaped: spotlessly clean, with the usual wooden furniture and fittings you get in ski hotels. As common in Austria and Switzerland, the double bed was actually two twins pushed together, with separate duvets and sheets.
There was a TV which I didn't try, and a minibar, which I also didn't try although I later seriously regretted it, because one of our group told me on the way home that it was that Silver Unicorn of hotel minibars, a minibar whose contents were completely free and restocked every evening (can this be true???) The bathroom was small and clean. It had a nice deep bathtub with a shower attachment over it. Towels weren't exactly fluffy, but they got you dry OK. Only basic bathroom amenities are provided: you'll need to bring all your own stuff.
Finally, there's a small wellness centre in the basement, split over two floors. There's a mixed gender sauna, a small plunge pool, a tepidarium type room, a small fitness room with a few weights and an exercise bike that wasn't plugged in anywhere. Because space is so cramped, there's no locker room, so people tended to go down to the wellness centre already in bathrobes, which meant trekking through the hotel like that.... If you want massages, the hotel can call in two masseurs by appointment. The prices, for Switzerland, are actually pretty reasonable although decoding the list of treatments in German was challenging.
I'd definitely recommend the Sunstar to older couples and groups who are happy to stay in the hotel in the evenings and aren't bothered about apres ski and going out on the town. Personally I found it a bit frustrating, having to wait for the shuttle bus to go back, dump my skis, and go back to look round town or go into Laax for the evening - I would probably try out one of the hotels in the centre of Flims or Laax near the lifts if I went back, where there's a bit more action.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Sunstar Alpine Hotel Flims, in an idyllic, peaceful location on the edge of the forest, is within walking distance of the popular Lake Cauma. First built over 100 years ago, and with a Jugendstil facade, the hotel blends perfectly into its beautiful setting. The interior is decorated in typical cosy Graubunden style, with lots of warm wood, tastefully enhanced by some Jugendstil (Art Nouveau) features. The comfortable rooms vary in size and have views in different directions, with those in certain categories having a balcony. Tasty treats are served in the half-board restaurant, at the bar and, in summer, on the sunshine terrace. You can enjoy fondue and other Swiss specialities in the homely "Carigiet-Stubli". For soothing relaxation, there's a small but stylish spa area: try the leisure pool with its bubble bench, massage jets and waterfall, or the sauna or steam bath. The rest room with its heated benches (tepidarium) is another perfect place to relax. To keep you fit, there's even a little weights room. In the varied scenery of the Flims, Laax and Falera region, there are all kinds of different activities to enhance your relaxing stay in our hotel. ... more less
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