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Alpina Gstaad Hotel

First Look - Climb Ev'ry Mountain: Alpina Gstaad
December 12, 2012
By , Galavante Contributor

A ski playground for the rich and famous back in the ‘60s, Gstaad is where the likes of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton spent chic (and no doubt tumultuous) winters. But as you may have gathered from the time it takes to accumulate seven engagement rings, that was a long time ago. These days, Gstaad is more of a playground for the rich and low-key, who discreetly hole up in their Swiss chalets. A luxury hotel has not opened here in 100 years – but that’s about to change with the new Alpina Gstaad.

Alpine Gstaad
Set atop a mountain in Oberbort, in the heart of Switzerland’s Bernese Alps, the landscape looks like a scene out of “The Sound of Music” minus the troupe of harmonizing adolescents. And though the hotel is a modern take on alpine style – there’s a whole lot of glass – they didn’t shun their roots. Under the watchful eye of design firm Hirsch Bedner, antique timbers were sourced from old farms and stone from the mountains. Also, no two of the 56 rooms and suites are alike, except for the fact that they all have floor-to-ceiling windows and terraces with drop-dead views of the Alps. Hirsch Bedner went out of the box, though, with the hotel’s super-cool subterranean entrance. After descending into a covered drive, the porte-cochère is all natural stone, waterfalls, and skylights. Your eyes will have to adjust after taking in those blindingly white snowcaps.

Alpine Gstaad
Pampering is taken to another level at Gstaad’s first branded spa, the 21,500-square-foot holistic Six Senses Spa. And, apparently Gstaaders are serious sushi lovers because the hotel also features the first European outpost of Japanese sensation Megu. But, you came to Switzerland for the cheese, and for that there’s the traditional Swiss Stübli serving fondue and raclette. Or, dine on alpine cuisine around a fire pit on the outdoor terrace of Restaurant Sommet, helmed by Michelin-star chef Marcus Lindner. And let’s not forget the 1930s Havana-inspired cigar lounge and 1,700-bottle international wine cellar. Who says the Swiss have an early bedtime?

But the real heart of the hotel is the Alpina Lounge & Bar, with cushiony leather chairs, bird's-eye views of the Swiss landscape, and potent cocktails. Our suggestion: Curl up under a goat-hair throw and propose some extra-special “après-ski” activities. It’s cabin fever in the best possible way.

(Photos courtesy of Alpina Gstaad)