Everything you need to know about Gstaad, the upscale ski resort in the southwest corner of the Swiss Alps …
“Come up, slow down” is the official tagline of Gstaad, the upscale ski resort in the southwest corner of the Swiss Alps and the subject of a new book by Assouline: Gstaad Glam.
I once worked in the resort and loved its unadulterated glamour, picture perfect location and cheesy delights (from raclette to fondue), which has attracted (cashmere-clad) celebrities including Grace Kelly, Julie Andrews, Valentino and Stavros Niarchos. Elizabeth Hurley is another regular visitor who says, “Gstaad oozes glamour and style and is as picture-book pretty as anywhere on earth.”
With 124 miles of slopes, visitors can participate in skiing, snowboarding and sledding in the winter months and hiking, biking, polo and golf in the summer. Central to Gstaad’s appeal is a trio of posh hotels including Le Grand Bellevue, The Alpina and the family-run Gstaad Palace, (pictured) which opened in 1913 and belongs to the Scherz family. This impressive five-star hotel has 90 rooms and suites in addition to five gourmet restaurants and its own nightclub – the GreenGo which has been known for its legendary parties and has rarely changed since it opened in the 1970s. Its spa, one of the best I’ve ever visited, has recently introduced a high tech CBD wellness experience with ID Botanicals, a Swiss neuro cosmetic brand and also delivers expert treatments using Sisley, Jardin des Monts, The Organic Pharmacy and Shiva Ananda; www.palace.ch.
While Gstaad does have star appeal it also has a down-to-earth vibe too. I’ve stayed at the central four-star Hotel Bernerhof (a favourite with snow sport enthusiasts) which has a notable wellness area with saunas and steam baths for relaxing tired muscles and a refreshing “Kneipp” basin for helping jump start the circulation; www.bernerhof-gstaad.ch.
Photograph by Bob Martin, Getty Images, featured in Gstaad Glam.
After a day on the slopes, my recommendations include enjoying a hot chocolate and people watching at Charly’s (www.charlysgstaad.ch). The centre of Gstaad is pedestrianised so promenading is a key activity for residents and Charly’s enjoys a prime position for this – look out for Va Va (Valentino) and his entourage; the designer has a chalet in the village. For delicious Swiss specialities enjoyed in a cosy log cabin Le Petit Chalet at La Grand Bellevue Hotel doesn’t disappoint for dinner; www.bellevue-gstaad.ch. Don’t leave without a drink in the Pinte Bar, in Hotel Olden, a former haunt of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton – whose diaries make reference to Gstaad and are a great accompaniment to any stay in this glossy spot; www.hotelolden.com.
Photograph by Claire Menary, featured in Gstaad Glam.
If you’re yearning for a trip to the Alps, it is possible to replicate the glamour of Gstaad at home. Channelling the (literal) fresh air beauty of this location, I am a fan of Valmont skincare, also Swiss – and recommend the expert facials delivered by Olga Kochlewska using Valmont products; www.skinbyolga.ie.
And for a cheesy New Year, The Triggerfish Cookshop, Blackrock, in addition to its impressive range cookware stocks a Swiss Fondue Set, €149; www.triggerfishcookshop.ie. Pick up some Raclette Savoie cheese from Sheridans €11.52 – €21.60; www.sheridanscheesemongers.com. A very glossy raclette enthusiast recommends the Tefal Raclette & Grill. To source, try the Home & Cook store at Kildare Village described as “Tefal heaven” or order online from www.markettown.ie, €89.90. To be entirely authentic serve with a dry white Swiss wine such as a Petite Arvine by John & Mike Favre, from Chamoson-Valais €33.95, available at www.thecorkscrew.ie. As for music, as a lover of vintage cheese, playing September by Earth Wind and Fire always takes me back to a memorable evening at the GreenGo – the details of which are another story entirely … Happy New Year!
Gstaad Glam, Text by Geoffrey Moore, Assouline, €95.
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