When you sit down with your first coffee of the day and look out the window, what do you see? I see a desolate grey sky, bare trees and my neighbour hectically scrubbing the frost off their windshield. As I look down at my oversized snuggle slippers, I realize I’m in a bad mood. I’d love to flee to a Pacific island to escape this dreary, cold. But that’s not exactly around the corner and can’t be reached by train. But what’s an alternative? I’m definitely not just going stay at home. I decided to look for an environmentally friendly option and come across a concept that even makes a winter grouch like me find a white snow landscape appealing: whitepods.

ICE AGE –
WHITEPODS FOR THE WINTER BLUES

Category: Travel     Text: Nina Brehl

Photo: Whitepod hotel & restaurant
When you sit down with your first coffee of the day and look out the window, what do you see? I see a desolate grey sky, bare trees and my neighbour hectically scrubbing the frost off their windshield. As I look down at my oversized snuggle slippers, I realize I’m in a bad mood. I’d love to flee to a Pacific island to escape this dreary, cold. But that’s not exactly around the corner and can’t be reached by train. But what’s an alternative? I’m definitely not just going stay at home. I decided to look for an environmentally friendly option and come across a concept that even makes a winter grouch like me find a white snow landscape appealing: whitepods.
ENERGY EFFICIENT PODS
In the fresh snow at an altitude of 1400 metres, the dome-shaped tents in Valais in Switzerland look just like igloos. Although it might sound chilly, it has little to do with camping and is in fact, a natural and luxurious alternative to a classic wellness hotel. Each of the fifteen domes of the Whitepod Eco-Luxury Hotel accommodates a room with bathroom and is in no way inferior to a conventional hotel. On the contrary, the freestanding pods offer their inhabitants a lot of peace and quiet, including a panorama window with a breathtaking view of the mountains. The snow globes are held together by a robust mesh of triangles, which gives them their characteristic igloo shape. Thanks to its high surface to volume ratio, this geodetic construction method is particularly resource conserving. Therefore, it not only requires a minimum of building materials, but it also uses less energy to circulate the air inside of the pod to maintain a stable temperature. Each pod is equipped and heated with its own wood stove and the wooden furniture and muted colours provide an especially cosy atmosphere – I could get used to this.

Photo: Whitepod hotel & restaurant
A SNOWY WALK TO BREAKFAST
The eco-luxury hotel also focuses on sustainable solutions outside the pods and wants to prove that hospitality and environmental protection can coexist. In the hotel kitchen, local and seasonal products are used for the menu and their efforts to reduce packaging materials and choose their cleaning agents wisely etc. really shows an impressive and conscious approach to environmental issues. Their employees walk to work and even in the warehouse the car usage is limited. The visitors have to walk the last fifteen minutes of the way to their cosy igloos and are challenged to a morning walk through the snow to the Whitepod House at the centre of the igloo village, where breakfast is served. But don’t worry, if you’re not up for trudging through the snowflakes so early, you can even have your meals delivered to your pod, room service style.

Photo: Whitepod hotel & restaurant
WALKING IN A WINTER WONDERLAND
Experiencing nature is definitely meant to be a part of not only your stay in the whitepods but also at the resort in general, as stated in their motto, “Nature is our luxury”. Although it is tempting to spend the whole day in front of the wood stoves and let your soul unwind, the range of offered activities entices even a freezer like me to leave my comfortable hut. In addition to hiking and private ski runs, you can even race through the snow with sledge dogs. With its sauna and massage area, the Whitepod-House also offers a wide array of possibilities for warming up after these frosty activities. And if you haven’t had enough of an experience with tobogganing, paragliding and a visit to the Ayurvedic spa, you can sign up for one of the themed pod suites. For example, the 007 suite with its sleek design, will delight all fans of the classic films. The swiss suite and the forest suite are more on the rustic, natural side, while the zen suite, a new addition, provides a protected, calm space for breathing deeply, particularly made for the yogis among us.
It all sounds like a picture perfect winter getaway, and I would love nothing more than to escape this grey city and visit the igloo village. But of course, every luxury has its price. A night in the Whitepods costs an impressive 500 euros or more. Maybe a little bit steep for glamorous camping? This year I ended up going for a classic skiing vacation, with grilled marshmallows and hot cocoa. But the Whitepods in the Swiss mountains are definitely on my wishlist for the next winter, and the excitement and anticipation are already sweetening my cold days.

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