Would you like to awaken to this Swiss panorama?
Stunning. We arrived to Saas-Fee after dark so we were unable to see very much beyond the twinkling lights of the village... but the next morning, THIS was our phenomenal view from room 304.
Before we wax poetic about the remarkable and unique wellnessHostel4000, let me first ask, have you ever been to Switzerland? I had not. Switzerland is so pretty and so epic that it seems like a fairy tale. Driving past the steep hillside vineyards overlooking the shimmering lake, feeling awestruck by the alps' grandeur, delighting in the charm of its alpine chalets, bright pink lupine, wild forest, well you get the idea.
We wound our way up a narrow, curvy (sometimes hairpin turn) two lane road toward the village of Saas-Fee, elevation 13,000 feet. The village is nestled up against the alps so you will take the same road back down to leave. Known as a ski village not too far from the Matterhorn (30 km as the crow flies), Saas-Fee is also beautiful in the summer time. Nature lovers, tree huggers and eco travelers, you will always find endless soul-satisfying activities here!
If driving, the only way to enter the car-free village of Saas-Fee is through one of the cleanest, most scenic parking structures I've ever seen. You can pull up to the front for luggage unloading and then drive to find a parking spot with unbelievable views. Even the restroom was sustainable, try it and you'll see what I mean. Switzerland, your sustainability is impressive.
A hostel for all seasons
As you can see from the photos, wellnessHostel4000 is sleek, modern, and as we'll discuss, ecologically designed. The lobby lounge is a cozy place to relax fireside and the spacious dining area offers a comfortable space to eat and enjoy the view.
We were kindly welcomed even though we were late arrivals (read on for our cautionary road tale) and we headed to our private room with en-suite bath. We were pleased to find a pristine room complete with a modern table for two generously set with fresh fruit, bottled water and healthful energy bars. This was especially appreciated as we were two tired and hungry travelers!
Eco inside and out
Named after its elevation at 4000 meters, wellnessHostel4000 was built with great consideration for environmental standards to fulfill the Minergie Eco standard. Accordingly, the hostel was built using readily available raw materials including the use of low environmental impact and recycled materials. The Minergie Eco standard also dictates that electricity usage be minimized in favor of natural daylight and solar power, and that indoor air quality be improved by minimizing building material pollutant emissions and limiting ionizing and non-ionizing radiation. In 2015, wellnessHostel4000 was the recipient of the "Watt d'Or" award for exceptional achievement in energy reduction.
This is a hostel?
We enjoyed a crisp, clean and delightfully quiet private room with very comfortable beds. Unlike other hostels I have experienced, this was one of the best night's sleep I have ever had. Dorm-style accommodation is also available and the room/bed rates are very reasonable, especially for Switzerland.
The immaculate, high-design spa and wellness center are of very special note and are available at an additional fee. Complete with a high-tech workout gym, indoor pool, hydromassage showers and saunas with a vast forest view, you'll have health and wellness at your fingertips no matter the weather.
Select your hydromassage shower in the themes "summer rain," "freezing fog (!)," "mountain stream" or "waterfall." Also available is an herbal steam bath, foot bath, whirlpool, relaxation room and massage therapy. A full-sized pool offers activities and classes for all including little ones.
Wonderfully family friendly, the hostel was bustling with families during our visit. The included morning buffet breakfast in the communal dining room offered a self-service coffee and juice station, a variety of cereals, fruit, yogurt, and other hearty fare to ensure we were well nourished!
A sister organization to our Collective member HI Hostel Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco, CA, wellnessHostel4000 also carries an eco ethos and offers superior value in a glorious location.
Plan your trip
The hostel was all booked up for certain nights in late July when we were selecting our date and is quite popular at ski season, so we would suggest booking in advance. With the "Citizen’s Pass" in summer, guests enjoy complimentary use of the cableways and PostBus in the Saastal valley, a lovely addition.
*A word of wisdom: We entered via France and realized about 30 minutes in that without a paid motorway sticker we were risking a large fine from the highway patrol. We highly suggest you do not enter Switzerland without having purchased this motorway 'vignette' pass (36.50 euros) in advance or make sure you purchase one in the correct lane at border entry (which is not clearly marked). Although they are supposedly available for purchase at gas stations, every gas station we passed was either closed (it was a Sunday) or sold out. It took us hours to find one but we finally did!
Thank you kindly for reading and a big thank you to Swiss Hostels for their hospitality and sponsorship. For more detailed information and to book your trip visit HI Hostel International or Swiss Youth Hostels.
Stay tuned for more of our eco travelogues and all things eco-ethical travel related! Please feel free to share, comment and join us in celebrating kind travel around the world. Cheers!