Last month I was invited to Switzerland with a group of talented bloggers and photographers to experience the Gstaad Palace. Nestled in the mountains of South West Switzerland, The Gstaad Palace is actual fairytale dream come true. With a nod to old school glamour and a rich family heritage, it’s a hotel like no other. Perched on top of the Gstaad town, the palace shines down on the onlookers below. The palace houses a mix of 95 different rooms, corner suites and penthouses spread over 6 floors depending on budget and requirements; there’s a little something for everyone.
The journey to the palace is part of the adventure, winding around the glistening Lake Geneva and meandering up through the snow covered mountains, are gorgeous sights you can expect in March. Stepping into the palace you are transported back to a world of luxury and enchantment. The warm hues of the decor and the warmer “welcome” from the staff allows guests to feel immediately at ease.
With swift ease, check-in unfolds and and my luggage is sent to my room before I arrive. The level of service and attention does not go unnoticed.
On arrival to my room on the first floor, I was pleasantly surprised at the size of the space. My entrance equipped with multiple built in wardrobes unfolded into a double sink bathroom with a bath and separate generous sized shower. Don’t worry if you forget your tooth brush, or bath salts or natural exfoliator, it’s all there waiting for you. The room then opens up to reveal an oversized kings size bed, sitting area with desk, and two sets of double doors that reveal an impressive terrace. But the view from the terrace with it’s jaw dropping mountains is what really takes my breath away. Oh the glorious mountains, how I could stare at you forever.
Whether you prefer to tantalise your tastebuds with the elaborate array of choices at the breakfast restaurant, or stay in your room and order in, breakfast is a highlight when staying at the Gstaad Palace. I must say, I felt pretty glamorous being able to sit in my robe and dine on a feast of breakfast delicacies delivered right to my room. And with this backdrop, what more can you want.
The spa area evokes the interiors of a Swiss ski chalet, fire roaring, lashings of dark earthy woods and guests mingle anonymously in robes and slippers. The space is lavishly spread over 1800 sq.m including a Hammam, private spa suite, saunas, indoor and outdoor pool and jacuzzi. I was treated to a Jardin des Monts Signature massage which was a delicious mixture of vigorous massage by hand and the use of a wooden rolling pin. The products used are sourced and produced locally which adds to the already luxurious experience. The result was sublime relaxation. As a frequent spa goer, my expectations are quite high, but I have to say it was one of my favourite treatments to date.
At the Palace there is no real reason to leave for dining experiences or night time entertainment. You have the choice of 5 restaurants that include a mix of local tradition as well as international cuisine, the lobby bar and a nightclub which has been frequented by stars and celebrities a like. I had the opportunity to dine at their Italian Restaurant, Gildo’s, which I was pleasantly delighted with the quality of food and presentation. Don’t expect oversized bowls of pasta and pizza, instead, imagine this Italian dining experience to the soundtrack of a live band and waiters whisking up elaborate dishes right at your table. The space is intimate, cozy and the souffle is a must.
The Palace is surrounded by a variety of activities that change as the seasons roll on by. From reindeer sledge rides in the winter and 200km of ski terrain, to hiking, swimming and fishing in the summer, there is plenty at offer for the holidayer. We rode the gondola up to Glacier 3000 for a chilly altitude walk and some tobogganing in the snow. Claire, Jacinta and myself ran up and down the hill like we were little kids, laughing until our bellies hurt as we attempted to ride the toboggans down the slope.
Renown as a playground for the rich, famous and fabulous, the streets of Gstaad are lined with the likes of Cartier, Louis Vuitton and Dolce and Gabanna. Without actually visiting, it could seem a little pretentious. But each store is like a cute ginger bread house, something I’d imagine out of Hansel and Gretal. Spend an afternoon window shopping, tasting the famous Swiss chocolates or people watch at a cafe.
Returning to my room each evening, the corner of my bed awaits my arrival and classical music fills the room. A small chocolate in scripted with “there’s always a good reason to come to the palace” left at my bedside for just-in-case. As I slip into the oversized king size bed, I sink into a sweet slumber. The peaceful silence of the mountains kissing me goodnight.
My stay at Gstaad Palace was such a special experience, the only thing I wish is that I got to stay a little longer. The fresh air, the mountains, the warm hospitality and feeling like I was a movie star, even if it was for just a few days.
Gstaad Palace can be accessed by car from Geneva airport and it’s approximately a 2 hour drive but I’d highly recommend getting the train up to Gstaad as it enriches the journey 100%. From a skiing destination to a wellness weekend escape, Gstaad I’m sure I’ll be back sooner than later. For more information on rates and availability, please visit theGstaad Palace website.