With a history dating back to 1751, when it operated as a local inn, Hotel Bären Gonten knows a thing or two about hospitality. The venue oozes rustic Swiss charm before you even set foot inside, thanks to chalet-style décor that gives the hotel a seriously inviting air.
Once you do step inside, things just keep getting better. The 25 rooms and suites are full of traditional touches that nod towards the hotel’s rich history, combined with modern design flourishes to keep things contemporary and utterly comfortable. And if you’re travelling with children, there’s no need to sacrifice any of that comfort, thanks to Bären’s cosy family room. Set just apart from the main hotel building, the family room comes equipped with the same first-rate facilities and two well-sized bedrooms.
Kids will also love the chance to run wild in the verdant Appenzell countryside that’s literally on the doorstep of the hotel. Rolling green hills, deep blue lakes and cavernous valleys are everywhere you look, making the perfect setting for all kinds of adventures, whatever your age.
If you want to go a step further and map out a day’s activity, there are 1,200km of hiking trails, including Switzerland’s first ‘geological walking trail’, mountain hikes and a family-focused ‘barefoot walk’ – where kids can shed their shoes and truly experience the landscape – plus an 18-hole golf course back in Gonten. If you’re staying at Bären in winter, there are 25km of ski runs to enjoy, from family-friendly runs to cross-country quests – in fact, a cross-country route runs directly by the hotel, meaning you can practically roll out of bed and on to the slopes if you’re keen to start early.
Alongside the outdoor activities there’s also prime sightseeing to be had at the famous Aescher and Wildkirchli cave networks. The area is easily reachable from the hotel and offers an invaluable photo opportunity, as you can see from the caves appearing on countless Instagram feeds over the years.
When it’s time to head back to the hotel after a busy day, relaxing won’t be difficult, particularly if you drop-in to Bären’s spa oasis and make use of the steam bath, Finnish sauna and multi-sensory showers. Afterwards, keep indulging at one of the hotel’s two restaurants, both serving up regional dishes made using local produce. Post-dinner, we strongly recommend retreating to the Smithy bar to keep warm by the crackling fire and enjoy a dram of Bären’s in-house whisky or a glass of something plucked from the hotel’s wine cellar.
With so much to offer, it seems that those centuries of innkeeping have clearly paid-off for Hotel Bären.