A Luxurious New Winter Resort in Gstaad, Switzerland
It’s not every day a new luxury hotel lands in Gstaad. In fact, it’s barely every century. Which is why the recent debut of the Alpina Gstaad has been greeted with such grand fanfare. The first newly built top-end hotel to open here in more than a hundred years, the chalet-style Alpina brings a dose of modern—but no less authentically Swiss—chic to this ever-so-discreet and oh-so-luxe ski retreat.
The Alpina’s pleasures prove plentiful: the contemporary art collection (Tracey Emin, Terence Koh, et al.) curated in tandem with the Joseph Nahmad gallery in New York; the Swiss outpost of the New York sushi mecca Megu, designed by the young Frenchman Noé Duchaufour-Lawrance; the reclaimed local wood and stone, and tooled-leather fittings in the 56 balconied rooms and suites. And then, for the more sybaritic of us, there’s the 21,500-plus-square-foot Six Senses Spa, including a skylit pool grotto, designed by the Bangkok-based P49 Deesign, as well as the cigar lounge modeled on one in Havana’s Partagás factory. Even the hotel’s position, atop the ultra-haute Oberbort neighborhood, aspires to impress—it overlooks the snow-covered roofs and picturesque streets where Liz and Dick once après-skied the afternoon away, season after glorious, fur-clad, vodka-soaked season
But the top attraction here, notable amid even all this splendor, is the Panorama Suite, a two-story penthouse on the Alpina’s fifth and sixth floors. Designed as a sort of home away from home within the hotel, the 4,300-square-foot, richly earth-toned and deeply textured space offers three bedrooms, each with its own balcony, sitting area, king-size leather-upholstered bed (covered with a light-as-a-feather, warm-as-a-furnace duvet), and working fireplace.
The smoky smell of a crackling fire, in fact, is the first thing that strikes your senses upon arriving in the suite, thanks to the huge wood-burning hearth—one of only a handful in the hotel—set into a stone wall in the open plan living/dining area. Hand-painted armoires and chests, some dating from as far back as the mid-18th century, pop up here and there, and art ranges from antique Swiss cut-paper decoupage to contemporary black-and-white Alpine photography by Michel Comte. A full kitchen outfitted by the Swiss manufacturer Zbären hides behind a salvaged-wood-paneled wall, while the sweeping terrace opens out to the town below and mountains beyond.
It’s climbing up to the second level, however, that reveals the suite’s most stunning surprise: A private spa sits beneath a steeply pitched ceiling, with a 360-degree, glass-enclosed fireplace at its center and six huge skylights flooding the space with natural light. Through the French doors, a terrace and steaming hot tub awaits. It may well be the very best place in Gstaad—if not all of Switzerland—to watch a slope-side village twinkle in the starlight as the snow gently falls.