The Alpina Gstaad is a new hotel, built into the hillside above the town to make the best of the mountain views. The architecture is stunning, the combination of natural woods, stone and leather create warmth and a sense of comfort and security -- vital in a world that is covered in snow for eight or nine months of the year.
Gstaad itself is quite small and very select. Houses here cost considerably more than houses in London, which may be why it has been home to superstars such as Julie Andrews and Roger Moore.
What’s on offer?
You can get lost in the spa. As it is a Six Senses Spa, we half expected an Asian feel but the concept has been adapted to blend with the the Alpine environment -- think stone walls, sheets of running water, soft coloured cushions and bright flowers.
The indoor pool is 25 metres long, great for a good swim and stretch, or you can just laze in one of the two whirlpools. Huge blocks of limestone and waterfalls running down walls make you feel like you're inside an alpine grotto.
There are single sex heat experience areas in each of the changing rooms, plus indoor pool and whirlpools, and an outdoor pool. There is also a gym and a fitness studio for regular Pilates and yoga sessions.
In the ladies’ changing room there is a steam room, a gently warm sanarium, a hot tub with massage jets, a cold plunge pool, an ice shower (for the brave) and two experience showers. The mens’ changing room has the same but a hot sauna rather than a sanarium.
Tell us about the treatments
We tried a 60-minute holistic massage. Konstantina, my therapist, began the treatment by washing my feet with warm cloths before sounding a bell from a Tibetan singing bowl which gave a deep, sonorous sound that gently reverberated around the treatment room. Konstantina then laid the bowl gently on my lower back so the vibrations could travel along my spine.
I had requested a gentle massage and it was gentle, but no less effective for it. Konstantina did plenty of detailed work on the tense muscles around my shoulders and neck, and some lovely sweeping movements along my back which helped me relax. The head massage was effective, without involving any hair pulling which I am not a fan of. So by the time the singing bowl was sounded again -- to signify the end of the treatment -- I felt completely unwound.
A cup of hot ginger tea with honey in the café area afterwards helped energise me sufficiently to explore the spa facilities.
The spa juice bar offers hot and cold drinks. MEGU, a modern Japanese restaurant, offers ultra-fresh Sushi made to order -- watch chefs create tiny parcels of intense flavour. The main Sommet restaurant offers modern French cuisine: our dish of sole was huge and was deftly de-boned at the table.
Swimming in the outdoor pool early in the morning with steam rising around you from the warm water, while you watch the clouds lift from the valley and reveal the beauty of the surrounding mountains.
The Panorama Suite: Lay back next to an open fire and gaze up at the stars.
A trip to the nearby Glacier 3000: Two cable car rides take you up to the glacier, a huge river of ice on the mountain top. A metal bridge has been slung between two small peaks so you can walk over part of it. Do look down if you dare – the views are fantastic. We could see the Matterhorn with a sea of cloud around it.
Who would like it?
Luxury lovers: The hotel is beautiful and the service impeccable. This is a place to rest and relax, see and be seen; a hedonist’s idea of heaven.
Anyone needing a break: The town of Gstaad is calm and beautiful, while the hotel and spa will allow you to slow down and take stock.