Gstaad is where the glitterati comes to play, and it does literally glitter in the snowscape. Do they ski? Who knows… who cares? When I saw Naomi Campbell with her entourage and Claudia Schiffer with her family, neither was suffering from the “just off the slopes” runny-nosed, scarecrow-helmet head that I get blessed with after a day on the slopes. Then again it’s amazing what your own personal stylist can do for your presentation. What I can say for sure is that all that glitters in Gstaad is most definitely gold.
Follow in the footsteps of Roger Moore, Ursula Andress, and Valentino. Breathe in the crisp mountain air, swish swoosh down the gentle slopes, marvel at the opulent chalets and pretty timber architecture and stroll down the enchanting main street, what’s not to like about Gstaad?
My jaunt was via a rather arduous train journey after a stay at the superb Park Hyatt Zurich. The routing was a pain involving two train changes, but my arrival into Gstaad, chugging through the hills and looking out upon a vista of chocolate-box Swiss houses coated in a white fluffy icing of fresh snow, was picture perfect.
The skiing here tends to be gentle. The easy meander through a forest of low-hung pines drooping with fresh snow and into the village perfectly suited this luxury skier. In fact, I happened upon near perfect ski conditions, which is not guaranteed due to the low altitude of Gstaad at only 1,050 meters up, and managed to ski as the fresh powder was falling. The slopes here are empty, other skiers are polite, and lift queues are virtually non-existent. Perhaps a lot of the visitors to Gstaad prefer to stay off the slopes and instead enjoy the fine dining, spas, and designer shopping?
You are utterly spoiled for choice in this super little enclave. Of course, Claudia and Naiomi stay in their own private chalet. But for luxury travelers who can’t quite stretch to buy a Swiss chalet, there are four main choices:
The Alpina Gstaad
Opened in 2012 and the first newly built five-star hotel in Gstaad for 100 years, the Alpina Gstaad offers everything you could want from a ski hotel with sparkly snow-dusted bells on. An impressive art collection, 56 uber chic rooms, and suites many with wood fires, three restaurants under the direction of Marcus Lindner who used to run the Michelin two-star restaurant Mesa in Zurich (they have been awarded one Michelin star, 18 & 16
Gault Millau points respectively), and a huge and impressive Six Senses Spa. Their chic rooms start at £630 GBP per night.
Le Grand Bellevue
A member of Small Luxury Hotels is a sophisticated hotel with a Michelin Star à la carte restaurant, an atmospheric art-deco bar, and a fabulous spa. Rooms start at £400 GBP.
Grand Hotel Park
A member of Leading Hotels describes itself as a home away from home with a modern a sleek finish. Rooms start at around £550 GBP.
Also, a member of Leading Hotels Of The World showcases an iconic palatial building with a glorious history of big-name guests including Liz Taylor, Louis Armstrong, and Mark Chagall. We loved the elegant and traditional Lobby bar. Rooms start at £490 GBP.
I am enchanted – ski or no ski I cant wait to return to this glittering alpine village this coming Ski season.
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