For mountaineering and high-mountain enthusiasts, Arolla, the last village of the Val d’Hérens at an altitude of nearly 2000 meters, is this mythical place of the « true mountain ».
As early as the middle of the 19th century, at the instigation of Thomas Cook, a pioneer of organized travel, wealthy Englishmen arrived in Valais in search of clean air, a healthy climate and beautiful alpine landscapes. The golden age of mountaineering also began with the conquest of the prestigious peaks of the Valais Alps.
Once a zone of mayens and alpine pastures and the gateway to the high mountains at the foot of the glaciers, Arolla is becoming a tourist mecca with the construction of hotels. The Grand Hotel Kurhaus evokes this epic of mountain tourism.
Did you know that at the time, it took more than 4 hours to reach Arolla?
2 hours by a carriage road from Sion to Les Haudères and another 2 and a half hours by mule track from Les Haudères to the hotel. A hell of a trip that delights the « tourists », happy to stay in such places. One can imagine the discovery, the change of scenery, the enchantment after such a long journey.
And 150 years later, what about 150 years later?
Even if the arrival of downhill skiing in 1968 changed tourist habits. Arolla has been able to go through the ages keeping the same face, far from the codes of the ski industry. Arolla has remained that small high altitude village resort at the foot of the glaciers, that corner of paradise where mountain lovers meet, that enchanting place that does not exist anywhere else. The hotel, too, has retained its charm of yesteryear, its character of yesteryear and proud to be part of the Swiss Historic Hotels, it tells 150 years of stories.
150 years and nothing has really changed! The mountains, the scenery, the pure air, the scents of the forest… everything is there … a mountain paradise at 2 hours from the big cities of French-speaking Switzerland, Geneva, Lausanne, little more than Bern or Zurich and only 45 minutes from Sion, the capital of the Valais. A beautiful asphalt mountain road has replaced the long mule track and on arrival, always the same wonder, the same emotion. You come here by car, on foot during a summer trek in the Val d’Hérens… and with the postal bus!
Ah the postal bus, a real « Swisstainable » adventure! A journey from the plain to the mountains. All year long, summer, autumn, spring, winter, the mythical yellow bus crosses the pyramids of Euseigne, criss-crosses the roads of the valley, passes through the picturesque village of Evolène, sounds its 3-tone horn and drops you off at Arolla, facing the Mont-Collon, 5mn on foot from our hotel!
Whatever the season, treat yourself to the luxury of a trip without a car! Free yourself from constraints and breathe the art of mountain living. If you still believe that the mountain is synonymous with skiing in winter and sports trekking in summer… then forget all your preconceived ideas and let yourself be carried away by the 5 commandments of the inhabitants. Summer and winter :
- Laze on a high altitude terrace
- Walk the trails effortlessly
- Meet the locals
- Taste the mountain terroir
- Contemplate the landscape, sitting on a bench
We forget everything, we let go, we take the time to discover, to stroll, to recharge our batteries …
Life in the mountains is a bubble of tranquility, an eulogy of slowness where contemplation gives way to action.
Far from the crowds and the big tourist resorts, Arolla is a nugget surrounded by glaciers and peaks with an alpine life that is punctuated by the seasons. 365 days to admire the beauty of the landscape. We never get tired of it, we love it and above all, we love to share it with you, to concoct you a mountain break #LostInTimeInArolla.
See you soon to share a winter break? Or do we meet again this summer?
GHK, your Swiss Historic Hotel