The Cambrian

Adelboden, Swiss Alps, Switzerland Book from

Reviewed by Tom Bell
Cool spa hotel high in a pretty village with fabulous mountain views - sun terrace, sitting room and swimming pool all look the right way
Adelboden sits at the end of a wide valley surrounded by forested mountains. It’s a great little place for some Alpine fun, not least because of the wonders that wait inside The Cambrian. This is a stylish design hotel, though walls of glass everywhere draw your vision away from cool interiors and out into the valley beyond. Expect striking slate walls in reception, open fires and contemporary art, a glass pod that doubles as a sitting room with rather good views, then a hot pool below the terrace from which you can gaze on the valley. If you want to be busy in the mountains during the day and return to the lap of luxury at night, you’ll love it.

And out on the mountain you’ll find excellent skiing - the FIS World Cup passes through in the second week in January - while summer is no less exhilarating, with hiking and biking trails to suit all levels. Back at the hotel, there’s a fully loaded spa for some well-earned recuperation - indoor and outdoor pools, saunas, treatments galore. Bedrooms above have lots of style: low-slung beds, crisp white linen, signature red blankets and fancy bathrooms. Many have balconies, those at the back have the view, all have Barcelona chairs, while bigger rooms have sofas, too. There’s a cool little bar, a restaurant for good Swiss food, and a buzzing village at night.


  • The spa, with its outdoor pool and big views over the valley, makes a great spot to unwind after a day in the mountains
  • The range of activities, and its position in the middle of town, make The Cambrian a great year-round base
  • South-facing bedrooms with balconies and views over the valley are hard to beat
  • The landscape here is deeply beautiful, a picture-book pretty Alpine resort - with some excellent après-ski, too
  • You don’t need a car - fly into Bern and catch the train, it only takes an hour


  • This is Switzerland - design hotels with chic spas don’t come cheap!
  • Service can be slow in the restaurant (which is closed on Sunday night, off season)
  • Towels in the bathrooms are quite small: not what you expect in a chic spa hotel
  • Breakfast - included in the price - is fine, though probably not the best you've eaten
  • The outside pool isn’t huge and with 71 rooms in the hotel, it can get a little busy

Best time to go

If you want to see the FIS World Cup, come in the second week in January, though be warned - the population of Adelboden inflates from about 4,000 people to nearer 40,000. However, it’s the biggest week, the town has a lot of fun, and some of the skiers stay here.

Like most skiing resorts, the lifts close in early May and don’t reopen until June (as does the hotel), then the lifts close again in early October until early December (but the hotel stays open). This puts the tops of the mountains out of reach of all but the most intrepid, so if you want to ski or hike or mountain bike, you’ll probably want to come when the lifts are working. However, the hotel has a lovely spa and as prices are at their lowest when the lifts are shut, those who prefer looking at mountains rather than going up them may well want to come during this period.

Our top tips

Fly into Bern - it’s a mere hour away by train. And perhaps stop here for a couple of nights and check out Switzerland’s cool little capital city and its UNESCO World Heritage medieval centre.

Great for...

Great Outdoors
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 71
  • Restaurant & bar meals (daily)
  • All ages welcome
  • Closed: 17 Apr 2017 - 1 Jun 2017
  • Pools
  • Spa
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Pool Table
  • Bicycles Available


Lovely rooms and suites come in the same smart style - wooden beds, white leather heads, cow-hide stools and black leather Barcelona chairs. You get warm colours, sleek wooden furniture, flat-screen TVs with DVD players, and good art on the walls. Chic bathrooms have creamy mosaic tiles, lovely walk-in power showers and robes to pad about in.

The big 3 factors to consider are: the view; the size of the room; and whether it has a balcony. More than half the rooms overlook the valley - sometimes Deluxe Rooms do, sometimes Junior Suites don’t, so it’s not just the type of room (or price) that decides this, though south-facing rooms are your best bet (and worth the premium). It’s the same with balconies - some rooms at the front have them, some rooms at the back don’t, and while the view at the back is infinitely more impressive, the view at the front over town and up the mountain isn't bad either. In short, prepare to pay more for a bigger room, a little more for a balcony or a view, and a little more again for both.

Deluxe Rooms may be the smallest rooms, but they’re fine for a couple of nights and several have balconies and the view. Junior Suites are altogether bigger, about twice the size, with sofas and armchairs in the sitting area, too. Family Suites have a second room for children (sometimes on a mezzanine), and they’re up in the eaves with cathedral ceilings and white-painted beams. The Cambrian Suite is awesome, with 3 balconies, 2 bathrooms (one with a bath) and a separate living room.

Features include:

  • Bathrobes
  • Central heating
  • Cots Available
  • Dvd player
  • Extra beds
  • Hairdryer
  • Phone
  • Radio
  • Safe box
  • Terrace
  • Tv
  • WiFi
  • Wifi internet


Breakfast - included in the price - is served downstairs in the smart restaurant, or on the terrace in good weather. It’s a help-yourself buffet with fruit salad, freshly baked bread and croissants, plates of cheese and ham, bacon and eggs if you’re hungry.

There’s a cool little bar with leather banquettes and cow-hide stools where they serve food throughout the day - soups, steaks or salads, burgers, pasta or platters of cheese and charcuterie with some very tasty wild-boar salami. You can also eat at sofas in front of the fire in the reception hall, with the valley on display beyond the windows. There’s afternoon tea too - served on the sun terrace in summer - and a small room service menu: salads and sandwiches, burgers, cheese and salami platters.

Dinner in the airy restaurant is the main event. The food is as local as possible and in summer, you can eat on the terrace with the valley spread out before you and the swimming pool to one side. As for the food, you might find Provençal terrine with a fig marmalade, breast of duck with wine-infused shallots, then chocolate fondant with fennel sorbet.

If you want to eat out, there are some good restaurants to try, though most are likely to involve a combination of cow bells, wood cabins or cheese fondues! For the latter try the lovely rustic Alte Taverne; for excellent Italian head to Trattoria Alfredo. Both are popular in the skiing season, so make sure you book. Finally, for those who want something a little different, head up the mountain for a candlelit fondue in an igloo restaurant.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Restaurant
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Room service


  • The Swiss love to play on their mountains and Adelboden is no exception, with a full menu of Alpine activities, from plain old skiing and snowboarding to snow tubing, cross-country skiing, tobogganing or sledging with huskies, even snowshoeing (winter hiking) or climbing up an ice face. The 72 ski lifts serve 210km of pistes and the winter ski pass - costing CHF 310 in 2014 - covers all areas, with good reductions for families. In town you can go skating, try your hand at curling, or watch the ice hockey
  • The locals' appetite for mountain adventure is undiminished in summer. Hiking is excellent - don’t miss the Engstligenalp and its spectacular waterfalls, or the Aeugi-Lowa trail for its magnificent high Alpine views. There’s something to suit every level, with blisteringly beautiful landscapes of soaring peaks, waterfalls, deep gorges, flower-strewn meadows, the odd hanging bridge
  • The hotel's spa is a big attraction and comes with a cool indoor pool, a hot outdoor pool and views across the valley. There’s a steam room and sauna, then 5 separate rooms with a vast range of treatments on offer
  • Mountain biking is popular, with over 80km of signposted trails - you can even bike down the FIS World Cup course. There’s family fun on scooters, too, with 45km of downhill runs, pony trekking, even llama trekking
  • Or you can saddle up and horse-ride through the valley, and try your hand at mountain climbing, abseiling, hang-gliding, paragliding or zip-wiring across the river. There are guided tours of the valley and its villages, too, with a stop for a good lunch on the way

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Hiking
  • Horse-riding
  • Ice skating
  • Mountain biking
  • Paragliding
  • Plantlife / flora
  • Pool table
  • Private guided tours
  • Skiing
  • Snowshoeing
  • Trekking
  • Well being


Children are very welcome - there are extra beds for Junior Suites, or Family Suites with 2 bedrooms (1 double, 1 twin). There’s a children’s room with table football and a few other games, DVDs for children at reception, the swimming pool, and a pool table for older children. Ski school is available, too, and there are lots of family-friendly activities on offer in the valley in summer.

Best for:

Teens (over 12)

Family friendly accommodation:

Cots Available, Extra Beds Available, Family Rooms

Kid Friendly:

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