The full house of five-stars is headed by the Gstaad Palace, complete with turrets that make it look a bit like Sleeping Beauty’s castle. In addition to the bedrooms and suites are a couple of two-bedroom tower suites and a spectacular penthouse. The sumptuous spa features indoor and outdoor pools and a state-of-the-art fitness centre. The hotel also houses five excellent restaurants, including award-winning Le Grill and the world-famous GreenGo nightclub.
The luscious accommodation is matched by the Grand Hotel Park, which was rebuilt in 1990 in sleek modern style yet retaining the hotel’s Edwardian heritage. It houses a Louis Vuitton boutique, a private ice-rink in the garden, and four restaurants including the Asian-inspired Marco Polo. You can also work off the after-effects of last night’s Krug in the spa that offers a wide choice of health and beauty treatments.
Having rested on its laurels, at the end of 2012 the resort launched its first new five-star hotel for 100 years. The Alpina is a contemporary interpretation of traditional Swiss architecture, finished with ancient fir. The three in-house restaurants include Megu, featuring modern Japanese cuisine – from the finest fish and Kobe beef to hand-made tofu and delicate wasabi. Other highlights are a Six Senses Spa with two pools and myriad holistic treatments. Also recently renovated is Le Grand Bellevue, which has just been bought by a British-educated Swiss and completely transformed.
Four-star hotel Le Grand Chalet is a charming hotel with traditional wood-beamed bedrooms and hand-carved furniture; it also has two restaurants. Hotel Olden is a boutique hotel with the ambience of a simple inn. It has an attractive frescoed exterior and 16 rooms, yet it houses an excellent restaurant and is a popular night spot. Hotel Christiania is another small and personal place in which to stay. It has been run by the same family since 1953, and has 14 individually-designed bedrooms and a cosy restaurant.
In Saanenmoser there’s a cool spa at Romantik Hotel Hornberg. It is well suited to families, with children up to 16 years old staying free when sharing their parent’s room. For something a little different you could venture into the Igloo Dorf, which sleeps up to 50 people and offers a choice of standard, romantic (double sleeping bag and heart carved into the wall), or romantic-plus (private sauna and en suite bathroom) igloos. All have sheepskin rugs and lighting by candles.
Ermitage Wellness & Spa, in the suburb of Schönried, is large yet surprisingly cosy with wood-panelled rooms and a good spa. Highlight is the piano-bar, One Million Stars, decorated with a million Swarovski gems. Less showy is four-star Hotel Bernerhof, which is a firm favourite among families and is set conveniently close to the railway station. It houses four eateries: Chinese, Swiss, classical and one specialising in fresh pasta.
Newly affordable Gstaad
As well as all the luxury hotels, Gstaad has a growing selection of nice three-stars – and some guesthouses too. They make an excellent option for those seeking comfort at affordable rates. Hamilton Lodge is a rustic little place on the Rinderberg in Zweisimmen. It looks a lot like a chalet and is in a convenient ski-in ski-out location. Hotel Spitzhorn is a newly designed three-star with 50 rooms offering family-sized accommodation, and a good spa. The pampering continues with fabulous home-style cooking and superb wines. The former Z’Loft Hotel reopened in 2012 under the new name of Saanewald Lodge. This 1960s lodge is located on the slopes just above Saanenmöser village, has 30 rooms and a terrace which provides the perfect spot to taste the local cuisine. The resort’s oldest hotel is three-star Posthotel Rossli, which opened as a post office with rooms in 1845 and was later bought by the Widmer family in 1922 – and they still own it today.