Hottest homes in the snow
Swiss Development Group’s 51 Degrees apartments, in Leukerbad
With the summer holidays on the horizon, a small but not inconsiderable posse of holiday property buyers leave Britain to look for the ideal holiday home. They have a whole globe to choose from, with popular destinations including Spain, Florida, Israel and the Caribbean. With the financial crisis still on the tips of everyone's tongues, security of investment has become the key driver behind the property marketing.
If you are one of these buyers, consider raising your eyes to the mountains of Switzerland, where property law is relaxing and the Swiss are letting in foreign buyers. Developers are responding with classy schemes that make the most of one of Switzerland's greatest natural assets: its mountains. One of them has gone a step further and is making much of Switzerland's other great asset: water. It has chosen the resort of Leukerbad, a traditional spa town in the French-speaking Valais canton, where the water comes out of the ground so hot, they have to cool it down before they use it in swimming pools.
Called 51 Degrees (after the temperature of the water), the development consists of slate-roofed structures of stone and timber designed by the architect Michael Graves.
The six-storey buildings include private terraces and balconies which open on to the three great surrounding mountains, the Daubenhorn, the Balmhorn, and the Torrenthorn. Activities include skiing in the winter and walking in the summer. And of course the scheme will have its own spa.
Prices for apartments in the first building start at CHF2.08 million (approximately £1.5 million).