Gstaad may be a difficult word to pronounce for many, yet it is one of the best known mountain resorts in Switzerland, especially amongst the elite.
Like many people, I used to think that Gstaad is only for the rich and famous and somewhat on the snobby side. I was therefore pleasantly surprised to find a very sophisticated, yet relaxed atmosphere in the village of Gstaad, much like in the Huus Gstaad where I spent a couple of nights.
Thanks to my first career in the (luxury) hotel industry, I got to visit many amazing hotels around the globe and I was always particularly interested in their design, which I tend to analyse in great detail. (This in fact is part of the reason I decided to pursue a career in interior design, but that’s a different story). Despite having seen a great variety when it comes to hotel design, I was very intrigued by the design of the Huus Gstaad. It’s far from the lovely, yet fairly common ‘chalet chic’. I was fascinated by the unusual colour combinations and even more so by the odd, yet harmonious mix of materials, not to mention the large collection of quirky items dotted throughout the hotel. Especially the lobby lounge, which was designed with a living room in mind, is filled with unusual collectibles.
In said living room, the heart of the hotel, you will find people of any demographic and any nationality. Some will be sipping on a cocktail, some will be satisfying their competitive streak at a board game, yet others might be catching up on some emails or read a book. Sometimes you will even spot a dog or two, including Charly the Pug and Piet the Frenchie, members of the crew at Huus Gstaad. Everyone is welcome – that’s the message the Huus Gstaad likes to convey.
Personally, I not only enjoyed discovering the countless items on display, but also the many details that form part of the design. I spotted lots of beautiful fabrics, plain and patterned, including some colourful Missoni fabrics. As you’d expect in a Bernese chalet, there’s of course also lots of wood, stone and granite. Most of the furniture is bespoke and specially designed and made for the hotel. The large rock from the local river Saane, which forms part of the front desk, is just one example how “Swissness” was woven into the concept. I also noticed lots of colourful rope, used in many creative ways reminding us of mountain activities, such as rock climbing.
Speaking of activities, I think it’s safe to say that you will not get bored at the Huus Gstaad. There are plenty of activities and alpine experiences in winter and summer, many of which are included in the room rate. Whether you want to jump on a mountain bike, go river rafting or hiking along stunning scenery is entirely up to you. Winter sports enthusiasts will also get their fair share of activities, including igloo building, dog sledding, ice climbing and of course your regular winter sports. After an active day, you can head to the spa, swim a few laps in the indoor pool or simply relax your muscles in the sauna or steam bath. The wellness area, though not quite up to par in terms of its design compared to the rest of the hotel, is modern and welcoming.
True to the Huus Gstaad’s philosophy, there’s also a wide range of activities for children of all ages, including an outdoor playground, playrooms, a kids spa and restaurant as well as a teenage activity room (also pretty popular amongst a somewhat older (male) crowd…).
The hearty buffet breakfast is a great way to start the day and after a full day of outdoor adventures, you can look forward to a delicious and seasonal dinner. The Huus Gstaad features three restaurants – the main restaurant, the Tapas y Vino and the ‘Cheese Chalet’ Hüüsli – offering you a variety of national and international dishes using fresh and mostly local ingredients.
The 136 rooms and suites are generous in size and are designed in the same style as the lobby lounge aka living room. Dark colours and an unusual mix of colours and materials prevail. The rooms boast a big comfortable Hästens bed, a cozy corner bench and table, more than enough closet space and a bathroom with a tub. I loved my room, because it was stylish, yet very comfortable and offered all the basic amenities you’d expect from a 4 star superior hotel. I particularly enjoyed sitting on the balcony at night watching the shooting stars and making a wish… One of them may have been to come back to the Huus Gstaad, but pssst… don’t tell anyone 😉
P.S. If you like the region of Gstaad, you should also check out this little gem – Hotel de Rougemont & Spa!
Gstaad Village and Saanen Village:
I definitely recommend a stroll through the village of Gstaad. Along the pedestrian promenade you will find Prada, Louis Vuitton and the likes as well as plenty of inviting restaurants all housed in authentic Bernese chalets. The village carries an air of sophistication combined with rural authenticity.
The village of Saanen is the nearest village to the Huus Gstaad and not to be missed. It’s a very quaint and authentic little village minus the Prada, but instead chalets dating back to the 15th century.
Depending on your mood and fitness level there are many hiking trails available. I was recommended the hike from Wispile (1907 m), which is easily accessible by cable car, to the Lauenensee (1381 m). Even though the hike turned out to be more ‘challenging’ than it was made out to be (always take things with a grain of salt, when talking to the locals… they have a tendency to downplay distance and change in altitude…), I enjoyed every second of this panoramic hike. The scenery is simply breathtaking and your efforts will be well awarded with a refreshing dip in the lake. The water is rather chilly (freezing if you ask me…), but if I managed to get in, so will you…
Last but not least, I recommend a visit to the famous Gstaad Palace towering above the village of Gstaad. The landmark hotel has been a symbol of Gstaad for more than 100 years. It has served as a backdrop for movies and has welcomed many celebrities and politicians over the years. Their traditionally designed lobby bar is the perfect place to people watch whilst sipping on a cappuccino or a martini, depending on the time of day.
Note: This blog post was created in collaboration with the Huus Gstaad, Gstaad Palace and Gstaad Tourism Office (press trip)