Gstaad My Love >>> LWSY Gstaad Palace, Switzerland
Few places have left such an impression in my heart. Last year I was invited to experience The Gstaad Palace hotel during their winter season. This magical hotel set in the hills of the Oberbort district of Gstaad, in the breathtakingly beautiful mountains of Switzerland has become a place very special to me and my love.
Famed for being the most glamorous Alpine hotel in the world, the five stars of the Palace stand for “inimitability, elegance, adventure, memories and recreation…”. I can understand why the motto there is ‘Gstaad My Love’, I for one certainly fell for the place.
Previous guests have included, Sean Connery, Ava Gardner, Sophia Loren, Audrey Hepburn, Frank Sinatra and Michael Jackson to name just a few, Jackson loved it so much, he wanted to buy the place. During the 50s and 60s the hotel hosted gala dinners with the likes of Edith Piaf, Dionne Warwick and Louis Armstrong in attendance, so you can imagine the stories these hotel walls could tell.
In 2014 the hotel celebrated 100 years, and has the good fortune to have been owned this whole time by three generations of the same family.
I met my boyfriend who had flown from Paris at the train station in Geneva. We boarded our first train at the airport, with a quick change of platforms at Montreux and we were on the glass topped panoramic train up the mountain to Gstaad.
With the carriage to ourselves we began our ascent along Lake Geneva. The train hostess brought us Campari sodas and we were beginning to get quite into the spirit of this. Truly the most authentic and romantic way to arrive into Gstaad (unless your PJ drops you off). This trip was going to be rather special.
Passing through the stations along the way to Gstaad Station
As we arrived into the station, we were greeted by the hotel limousine service and whisked a few minutes up the mountain to reach our final destination, The Gstaad Palace.
Entering the hotel was like walking into a film set. The atmosphere, the wood smoke in the lobby bar, and the insanely glamorous families floating through the reception. Little pups in the arms of their owners staff, the fur, the diamonds, even the occasional Hermés scarf tied around the leg casts of the injured guests. It was all too fabulous, and we were loving it.
Time for a bloody mary, so we headed straight to the bar. We arrived at lunchtime following a seamless journey, so if you take a Friday off work, you’ll still have a full afternoon for lunch, a visit to the spa, cocktails and dinner, before you can enjoy a full day on the slopes the next day as we did.
For coffee in the morning, lunch, afternoon tea or pre-dinner cocktails, the Lobby Bar is the place to see and be seen. Settle into a cozy corner and watch the world go by, you’ll arrive and never want to leave.
After lunch we checked into our room, perfectly sized for us for the weekend, with beautiful mountain views ahead, the terrace was below us and spa down to the left, so we could check out if the spa and pools were busy before we ventured down ourselves.
The hotel offers a host of different restaurants from fine dining to fondue and raclette in the Fromagerie. GreenGo nightclub certainly gives the Farm Club in Verbier a run for its money. The hotel has it’s own ski hire shop, indoor pool, outdoor jacuzzi spa, gym and magnificent spa.
With 104 bedrooms, including 74 Single and Double Rooms, 19 Junior Suites, 4 Suites, 2 two-bedroom Tower Suites and the spectacular Penthouse Suite with three bedrooms, the hotel caters for not only the most glamorous guests, but also their personal staff and 4 legged friends who accompany them.
Our Deluxe Room (around 1,310 CHF per night) had recently been renovated by local designer Marina Nickels, (top of the room category before the suites category) and had everything we needed. A giant corner bath complete with soaking salts and natural sponges to soak our weary bodies after skiing, a huge walk in shower, his and hers wardrobes, a great mini bar, 2 terraces, but most importably it was super warm and cosy when it was freezing cold outside. What more could you want when in search of a romantic weekend getaway?
Our late afternoon view above from our room. It was time to head down to the spa. Donning the hotel robes and slippers we were excited to test out the outdoor pool.
When the spa was designed, the main focus was to create an outstanding wellness oasis which blended perfectly into the overall hotel concept. The strong use of timber and stone radiates a magical alpine charm spread over 1800 m². From the moment you arrive into the reception, just hit that snooze button, because ultimate relaxation is just a few steps away.
“One priority was to bring the mountain feeling into the spa. Therefore a 60-metre-long stone wall (above) was built with granite from the nearby Blausee region in the Bernese Oberland. Over 50 tonnes of rock were cut into small pieces and assembled into a stunning architectural masterpiece.”
Including eight treatment rooms, a Private Spa Suite, saunas and steam baths, relaxation areas with incredible views, an indoor pool and outdoor pool with Jacuzzi. The gym is constantly kept up to date and the Pilates Studio offers one-on-one training on request. The hammam experience features strongly at this spa, with 7 treatment rooms.
With this major investment the hotel have created an exclusive and extraordinary wellness centre. You couldn’t wish for any more in a spa if you’re returning from a long cold day in the mountains. If you’re not a guest, you can still enjoy the spa with a day pass for 60CHF (and that’s a couple of Bloody Mary’s at the bar).
The indoor outdoor jacuzzi pool has a James Bond style sliding glass partition, swim under if you dare, or press the button to glide through.
Our afternoon flew by and it was time to explore the hotel by night, pulling ourselves away from our cosy nest of a room it was time to hit The Fromagerie.
Welcome to the Fromagerie. Deep in the basement of the hotel, and through the 1.5m thick fortified bank safe like door you arrive at the hotels most informal restaurant, and by informal I mean the decor and certainly not the dress code. We planned a busy day the next day so had a relatively early reservation. This allowed us to lap up the arrivals of the other restaurant guests. Let’s just say glamour, serious glamour, and understand this is a fondue restaurant. We are at the Gstaad Palace where evenings = show time. It was glitz and glamour, diamonds and leopard print adorning teenagers and their grandparents alike.
Dinner was black truffle & champagne fondue with lashings of local Swiss wine.
After dinner we settled into life up at the Lobby Bar. The perfect spot in Gstaad for a night cap, we were going to sleep well tonight.
Day 2 >>>
We were up bright and early, papers in bed before heading down for a hearty breakfast before our day on the slopes.
Even in the most glamorous of ski resorts, not every hotel comes with its own ski hire shop. So to have the Ski Boutique connect to the hotel means you can leave breakfast in your socks (if you dare at the Gstaad Palace) grab your boots and one of the hotel team will drive you up to the slopes. The shop has everything you need. I forgot my gloves, but managed to pick up a pair while I was being fitted for my skis. The whole process took minutes before we were whisked up to the slopes by the transfer team. Take their mobile number with you, and give them a call to collect you at the end of the day.
We made it, a day on the slopes, and the weather was perfect…
We stopped for lunch at Saanewald Lodge which you can read about here.
After a long day out we made it back tour start point where magically our hotel car was ready to whisk us back to the hotel. We made it back with no broken bones, a miracle!
It was time for a hot bath and a snooze before we had a tour of the hotel, some of the different room categories, and restaurants on offer…
The Tower Suite Bathroom and Study below
The Tower Suite Dining Room
The Fumoir below with glass doors into the main hotel bar and lounge.
Dinner on our second night was at The Alpina Hotel below, sparkling magically at us as we drove up…
Day 3 >>>
Our third day began with a magical carriage ride in and around Gstaad. With our guide we were enlightened into the history of the town, and some of the architectural details adorning the chalet facades. Enormous thanks to Isabelle Knöri our guide, and the hotel for arranging such a treat.
To book your own carriage ride contact Johann Von Grünigen – www.gstaadschlittenfahrten.ch
Arriving back at the hotel and after a speedy check-out, we had a quick turn around to make our Panoramic Train back down the mountain to Montreux…
An unexpected perk to our return journey, but something I would highly recommend. We arrived at Montreux station with some time to kill before getting back to Geneva, so instead of hanging around the airport we locked our cases in the suitcase lock-up on the platform and took a walk along Lake Geneva. We had a snooze on a park bench, grabbed a snack for our train and headed back to the airport. What a perfect afternoon before Etienne flew back to Paris and I tried to race him to my front door in London. He won of course.
Thank you to Tilly at Mason Rose for arranging such a wonderful experience, & Stefanie at Gstaad Palace. Stefanie you were the most wonderfully generous, fun and kind host to us both. We experienced a magical few days and have continued to tell everyone who doesn’t already know we’ve been to stay, how you really do deserve to be the most beautiful Alpine hotel in the world…
Gstaad Palace, Palacestrasse, 3780 Gstaad, Switzerland +41 33 748 50 00
Visit the hotel website here