We just skirted the centre of town and made the small climb up towards our destination, once we turned off the main road the excitement began. We entered a tunnel like no other which might have been some kind of dimensional portal because we seemed to enter the lair of the type that most Bond Baddies like to hang out in. As we drove along the tunnel, we passed a waterfall followed by a giant sign for the Alpina Gstaad, so we knew that we were on the right track. As we drove along the tunnel we saw the very grand entrance of the Alpina Gstaad. At the end of the tunnel was a giant cavern with enough space for a circle of very plush super cars parked around a huge white Christmas tree sat in the middle, with the very top poking through the roof into the crisp mountain air. It almost looked like my perfect christmas tree with all of the gifts around the bottom.
Cheeky and I were mesmerised, we were not sure if we had actually driven off a cliff and were now in some kind of luxurious afterlife; we must have been good to end up here! We were immediately greeted by Sebastian who made sure all of our belongings were taken care of whilst we were ushered into the foyer. Once again our jaws virtually dropped off at the splendour of the architecture including the beautifully restored painted ceiling from 1780 and the two giant christmas trees either side of the grande staircase. We were met by the entire reception staff plus the charming Managing Director Eric Favre and Patrick Krummenacher the PR Manager; needless to say we felt like royalty. After this wonderful welcome we were escorted to our Grand Luxe Suite on the third floor whilst still in some kind of hypnotised state.
This was not really a hotel room, but rather a luxury apartment. It was the perfect blend of old and new that would please my desire for old Alpine design and Cheeky’s love of the modern. There was so much space, with many places to relax and contemplate how one could convince the hotel owner to let us move in straight away. The hotel opened in December 2012, however it took about ten years in the making. During that time all the timber was gathered up from dilapidated buildings around the surrounding valleys to make sure that the place had some old character in its architecture. Every detail in the room has been thought about long and hard, from the furniture to the textiles, the storage and even the uber comfortable slippers. They have also installed a system to filter the air in from outside, whilst gently warming it and adding humidity, so no sore, dry throats in the morning. My favourite location was in the armchairs supping on a G&T in front of the fireplace. I can categorically say that this is one of the most spectacular places I have stayed or should I say lived in, pure ‘Alpine Chic’. All the rooms are finished to this level of quality with craftsmanship typical to the region. Patrick was kind enough to show us the high end Panorama duplex apartment covering 400 m² with three stunning bedrooms, its own kitchen plus its own spa and gym, this is luxury of the very highest order, completely breathtaking.
It is worth mentioning at this point that apart from the beautiful interiors designed by Hirsch Bedner Associates, that the Alpina Gstaad has the most amazing large art collection as well. With amazing horn sculptures from Ann Carrington, traditional art of découpage by Anne Rosat, amusing images by Matthew Lew, paintings that incorporate braille by Roy Nachum and even a Tracey Emin.
That evening we were very excited to experience the first of the hotel’s three restaurants. After the huge success of the Japanese restaurant MEGU in New York, MEGU have opened a second restaurant at the Alpina Gstaad in beautiful surroundings inspired by an infusion of Japanese and Alpine culture. The food was sublime; we experienced such delights as ‘Carpaccio-Duo’, Maguro Tuna with spicy miso, Yellowtail with Kanzuri sauce, beautifully presented sushi selection, Wagyu beef on stone grill flambeed with cognac and a delectable selection of desserts. This really was quite an experience, to be eating some of the best Japanese food whilst in the mountains of Switzerland, one that I shall not forget. After the exquisite dinner we retired to the Alpina Lounge and Bar. It is an area of total relaxation, with large sofas, beautiful lighting, floor to ceiling views of the terrace, a log fire and live music completing the whole experience. This feels like the heart of the hotel, with such a warm atmosphere I can not think why one would want to be anywhere else especially on the approach to Christmas. Of course we opted for the Espresso Martini with rum and once we had made ourselves comfortable, taken the first sip, we felt any stress of everyday life just evaporate.
The next morning we awoke to the most spectacular views from our balcony, looking over the hotel’s swimming pool, across Gstaad to the mountains beyond. Breakfast was a very laid back affair with a fabulous selection of anything you could possibly want for breakfast. We opted for freshly made vegetable juice to look after our health followed by Prosecco to retox and bring back the balance in our lives, this was followed by a hearty cooked breakfast, strong coffee and the Gluten Free section was to die for with a selection of breads, cakes and biscuits. Bellies full, we were ready to seize the day and what ever it would throw at us. Skiing at Glacier 3000 was on the menu.
That evening we experienced the classic Alpine delights of the Swiss Stübli, It was time for Fondue. The Stübli is an intimate little space, typically cosy Alpine and tucked away in a corner of the hotel, the perfect place to snuggle up and enjoy an old school romantic evening. Once again in the only way we know how we feasted on a selection of meats tenderly cooked in a hot bubbling broth accompanied with all manners of sauce and vegetables.
On the last night we were lucky enough to experience ‘The Love Suite’ by Kiki De Montparnasse. As it says in the title this is a very intimate sanctuary where lovers can explore experiences and create saucy memories together. The suite is a partnership between the Alpina Gstaad and Kiki De Montparnasse the global luxury brand of lingerie, loungewear and accessories for the bedroom to the boudoir. The suite has a selection of gorgeous lingerie and a cabinet of tools for exploration, as well as a collection of film and books to tantalise and tickle the imagination. At this point of the review I am afraid to say that what happens in ‘The Love Suite’ stays in ‘The Love Suite’, anyway this is not that type of magazine!
Throughout our stay at the Alpina Gstaad, every request or whim was looked after, often before we even asked. Every member of staff gave us their time and looked after us, from Josh in the onsite Ski shop to Sebastian in concierge, the Alpina Gstaad has a wonderful team. It seems that even Eric the Managing Director leads from the front, always present to meet n’ greet and help where he can. Still to this day I am not sure if it was all just a dream, or whether we briefly died and went to some kind of Alpine Valhalla. The Alpina Gstaad is one of those very rare places where everything comes together perfectly in design, service and cuisine. If you visit only one place this year, make it the Alpina Gstaad, you will never want to leave.
The Alpina Gstaad