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Laax is the “marketing name” for the Flims-Laax-Falera ski area. It’s quite large, one of the largest ski areas in Switzerland. We didn’t like the skiing at all – poorly laid out lifts, thin runs or cat tracks from one lift to another. All above the tree line. Could be good off-piste if there’s a lot of snow cover. Massively crowded, long lines everywhere,  and the most expensive place we’ve skied in Switzerland. Popular with snowboarders. Das Elephant is the place to eat on the slopes (reserve well in advance).

Flims

Flims is the more traditional place to stay in the area, home to the historic **Waldhaus Flims. The 140-year-old Swiss resort was renovated in the best Marriott style (it’s a Bonvoy property, and feels it). There’s a Thai restaurant (Siam) that looks very high end, and we had good burgers/sandwiches in the bistro. I’d definitely recommend staying here if you have an excess of points, though the $700/night + price tag seems a little excessive.

We especially liked the rather cute little museum in the basement of the hotel – a collection of various hotel artifacts (cooking implements, phones, furniture, etc.) from over the years. The setting and views from the hotel are some of the best in the area.

The town itself lacks much of a “center” – it’s more of a long road lined with shops. 

Other dining/lodging options:

  • **Cooma Flims is adjacent to the lift. It’s styled like a 1990s Mexican restaurant, which I kind of loved. The food (sushi) is not amazing, but bonus points for hard working and enthusiastic staff.
  • *Hotel Adula: we wouldn’t stay here again, though it’s a decent relatively affordable option (compared to the Waldhaus). The rooms are large and comfortable. Spa is okay, separate adult and kid areas. Food in the casual dining area is acceptable. It’s a big place, packed with kids, service ranges from good to absent.
  • ***Hotel Restaurant Chesa: one of the nicer restaurants in town. Very well executed Swiss-Graubunden standards. “Top 5 Cordon Blu” according to Galen.

Ilanz

**Museum Regiunal Surselva is very good – a large historic home with a broad collection of historic farming and home implements. There are quite a few historic photos of families in the region.

Take the time to walk around the historic center of the town and admire the well-preserved architecture.

Laax

Laax appears to cater to the younger set, with a variety of large/hip new developments. In the old town, there’s more of a family-home feel, less touristy (though still busy).

*Museum Laax is a skip – it’s not really a museum, rather a home that is open to the public occasionally.

Vals

To get to Vals, pass Flims and continue up the valley. Vals itself reminds me of Evolene (and shares a Walliser past), which a modern architecture twist. There are many restaurants and hotels and it looks like a good summer (hiking) and winter (spa/skiing) destination. There’s a small lift at the far end of town. Brucke 49 (https://www.brucke49.ch) was our other favorite hotel, from the outside – very cute and recently redone.

We stayed in the House of Architects wing of the ***7132 Hotel, which is where most stay. The spa lives up to the hype – really grand and impressive. You can see the spa in this particularly terrible Janet Jackson music video. The rooms (we stayed in a lower end one) are very small, but with classic modern design. Everything is very expensive. The food (we ate at 7132 Red) was good, small portions.

Do take the time to visit the hotel gift shop, which has a small gallery of before and after photos of the whole construction project. It’s also worth driving to the end of the road (Lake Zervreila / a big dam) for great views.

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