Three of the best
Francesca Syz picks Alpine hotels for the summer season
Being the frst newly built fve-star hotel in Gstaad for a century does not come without its challenges, but the Alpina has risen gloriously above them all. With its strict development restrictions, set in place in the 1950s, this idyllic village feels frozen in time, barely changing over the past century, and only the infux of designer shops and contemporary art galleries nod to moneyed modernity.
The hotel is perched over the village, its wooden mantelpiece already creaking under the weight of its many awards. With 56 rooms and suites, the Alpina is not small, but retains an intimate feel. The winning blend of Alpine antiques and streamlined minimalism works equally well in winter and the summer season (which begins in about a week).
The hotel has two temporary concept rooms. Guests with an artistic eye can stay in the Living Art room, where they can paint using easels or directly on to the wall (they can also admire the owners’ permanent art collection, from local papercuts to work by Tracey Emin and Alex Katz). Couples in the mood for an intimate weekend away can book the Love Suite, designed by the lingerie company Kiki de Montparnasse.
The Alpina’s three restaurants are overseen by head chef Marcus G Lindner. At Stübli you will fnd Alpine haute cuisine (such as champagne and trufe fondue), Megu serves Japanese food, and Sommet ofers Michelin-starred twists on reindeer and Wagyu.
In winter, guests need have no other motive for visiting than the 137 miles of surrounding pistes. Come summertime, there are other distractions: from hiking, sailing and mountain biking, to classical music during the town’s annual Menuhin Festival (this year, July 14-September 3), founded by the violin virtuoso in 1957. Expect performances in churches and outdoor spaces all around town.
Back at the hotel, you can shop at the in-house Graf boutique, see a flm in the 17-seat 3D cinema, or unwind at the spectacular Six Senses spa: retire to a candlelit treatment room for a massage or facial using Ila or Biologique Recherche products, head to the Himalayan salt grotto or, better still, just slip into the outdoor pool and soak up the mountain views.
Come summertime, distractions range from hiking. sailing and mountain biking, to classical music during the Menuhin Festival