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How To Do Gstaad in Style: The Ultimate Travel Guide

Everything you need to know about this skiing haven

In need of an alpine escape? Explore the snowy peaks of Gstaad, the ultimate skiing destination. From hotels and restaurants to packing essentials, Felicity Carter presents you with a comprehensive guide to this luxe location.

Read the C&TH Responsible Tourism Guide

How To Do Gstaad in Style: The Ultimate Travel Guide

STAY

The Alpina Gstaad

Large mountaintop hotel in the Gstaad hills.

A luxurious 5-star hotel in Gstaad, The Alpina is built in a signature Swiss Alpine style and features natural materials such as aged wood set against slick marble. Offering three restaurants, Michelin-starred Executive Chef Martin Göschel supervises Sommet, Megu, and Swiss Stübli all of which incorporate the finest produce and reflect an attention to detail. There is also the Alpina Lounge & Bar, a Japanese Whisky Bar, and a Cigar Lounge that boasts 60 different types of cigars and channels a glamorous 1930s vibe. All the rooms and suites have balconies offering mountain views, and some suites also feature an open fireplace for a cosy feel. For those who want a dose of welness, the hotel is home to a Six Senses Spa with a range of holistic treatments as well as pools, a fitness room and a relaxation area.

Gstaad Palace

Modern skyscraper hotel in the middle of the Gstaad mountains,

Set on a slope overlooking Gstaad, Gstaad Palace offers spectacular views of the Swiss Alps. Known for its discreet approach and elegant look, it’s also a place for luxury, relaxation, and dining; there are five restaurants offering everything from traditional Swiss dishes to Italian and gourmet cuisine. Head to the lobby bar, Bar du Grill, for a casual drink, or the famous GreenGo nightclub. Set across 1800 square metres is the health club and spa with eight treatment rooms, a private spa suite, steam baths, relaxation areas complete with mountain views, pools and a state-of-the-art gym, as well as a squash court and tennis courts (home to the infamous Roy Emerson Tennis Weeks).

Le Grand Bellevue

Grand hotel with snow-covered roof and sloping windows.

A family-owned, 5-star hotel, Le Grand Bellevue can be found within the heart of Gstaad. As well as a range of eateries including the stylish LEONARD’s restaurant (awarded 15 Gault and Millau points), you can find Le Petit Chalet, a sweet Swiss mountain cabin, and The Sushi Bar. The Bar dons an Art-Deco aesthetic, offers a range of cocktails,  and is complete with a piano player in the evenings. There’s also an exclusive wellness centre and spa spanning 3000 square metres, plus a private on-site cinema for when you want to kick back and relax.

DO 

Gagosian

White gallery with light wood-panelled ceiling and abstract prints on the walls.

Artworks © Mark Grotjahn. Image credit: Julien Gremaud, Courtesy of Artist & Gagosian

Take in some art at Gagosian Gstaad. On show until the 1 April is Backcountry, a new body of work by American painter Mark Grotjahn, which is inspired by the natural world – expect white paint that may suggest the feeling of a snowy mountain. Very apt for the Gstaad setting.

Shopping Mile

 

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As you might expect, Gstaad is a place to burn through cash with help from the leading fashion houses. You’ll find the best of the best here, including Louis Vuitton, Hermès, and Moncler, along with independent boutiques such as Bach Sign – all perfect for picking up an après-ski party look.

Maddox Gallery Gstaad

Chalet art gallery with decorative flowers around the two large ground floor windows.

Housed in a traditional Alpine chalet, Maddox Gallery can be found on the main Promenade of Gstaad. It is open for the duration of the ski season, and currently on show is A World Elsewhere by British contemporary artist Will Martyr.

WELLNESS SPOTS TO KNOW

Glacier 3000

Cable car with Tissot brand and advertising.

Glacier 3000 is a popular destination all year round thanks to its incredible panorama setting and range of activities. Here, visitors can ski, snowboard, hike, and take part in the glacier walk. This starts with a cable car from Col du Pillon (a famous mountain pass) to the Glacier 3000, and the walk begins directly at the Scex Rouge mountain station. It takes about an hour, and the aim is to reach the Restaurant Refuge l’Espace on the edge of the glacier. Rest up and dine looking out onto to the Derborence Valley and Valais.

Wispile Hike

Lake with a wooden rowing boat on one side and hills beyond.

Image credit: Destination Gstaad & Yannick Romagnoli

Wispile is Gstaad’s local mountain and is popular among many hikers. Take the cable car to the mountain restaurant Wispile – standing 1907m up – and start your hike from there. Continue along the ridge to the highest point for views over Saanenland, then onto Chrinetritt where there is a steep decline to Chrinepass (1659m). This is followed by another ascent of about 100 meters, before you hit the peace and tranquillity of Lake Lauenen (1381m) and its nature reserve. If you’re tired, you can hop on the bus back to Gstaad.

Lauenensee Loop Trail

Lake with pine trees and hills in the distance.

Image credit: Destination Gstaad & David Birri

If you want to skip the hike along the mountain ridge, take an easier 1.9-mile trail around Lake Lauenen. It takes approximately 45 minutes to complete and is only a 10-minute drive from Gstaad. It’s an easy way to get out and enjoy some fresh air and stunning scenery.

EAT

La Bagatelle

Within Le Grand Chalet, a hotel that sits 1100m above sea level, is a revered restaurant, La Bagatelle. At the helm is Chef de Cuisine Steve Willié, who has curated an à la carte menu along with daily lunchtime and evening menus inspired by the Mediterranean. Regarded as one of the best restaurants in the Berner Oberland for the past 30 years, it is consistently awarded three toques and 16/20 points in the Gault and Millau guide.

Posthotel Rössli Restaurants Stübli und Alti Post

A traditional restaurant set within an Alpine chalet, here Chef Hannes Schlögelhofe offers classic Saanenland dishes. It’s a charming and cosy location just off the Promenade and a must-visit whether you’re wanting lunch, dinner, a quick coffee or a beer outside in the sun.

LEONARD’S

Chalet restaurant with grey chairs, white table cloths and large panelled windows looking out onto the mountain.

Image credit: Utopian Hotel Collection

Leonard’s balances modern bistro and fine dining, and is headed up by Chef Francesco de Bartolomeis at Le Grand Bellevue hotel. Whether in the dining room or terrace of this elegant eatery, enjoy dishes such as red prawn carpaccio, tartare, meats, regional cheeses and the rich Le ‘Grand’ Fondant.

HOW TO GET THERE 

If you’re heading to the French and Swiss Alps, look to Aero to get you there. Offering first class, semi-private jets, it’s the ultimate way to travel. Aero flies from London Farnborough Airport to Sion (and Geneva), and from there you can reach Gstaad in under two hours. It’s swish and it’s stylish.

One-way flights with Aero start from £990. aero.com

WHAT TO PACK

Photo 1 of
Clutch bag with 'Gstaad' print in red, orange, white and blue

Olympia Le Tan

Gstaad Clutch, £1240, olympialetan.com

Paris-based brand Olympia Le Tan is known for its head-turning, limited edition clutches in a bookish style. They all feature intricate embroidery and this one is dedicated to Gstaad, with white, blue, red and orange felt. Take a peek inside at the unique Liberty print lining.

Black ruched midi dress with sweetheart neckline

Self-Portrait

Power Cutout Mesh Midi Dress, from £50.57; available to rent for 4 days at selfridgesrental.com

For an upscale dinner, Self-Portrait has a range of fashionable dresses including this ruched Power Cutout LBD, and what’s more, it is available to rent at Selfridges.

 

Dark denim flared jeans with white tank top

WARP+WEFT

Mia High Rise Flare, £82, warpweftworld.com

A size-inclusive denim brand, WARP+Weft offfers various styles and sizes to suit body shapes and preferences, including these on trend flares. Slightly more than a bootcut, but not as OTT as ‘70s flares, these jeans strike the perfect balance. The style is available in five colourways, from white to dark blue. The brand proudly owns its manufacturing process from fibre to finished garment and uses energy-saving technology to reduce its environmental impact.

Black shift dress with pockets.

Jane Atelier

Opaline Shift Dress, £380, janeatelier.com

If you’re wanting to go for a ’60s look, Jane Atelier perfectly channels this, and so, cue the Opaline Shift Dress. It’s made from wool crepe and velvet to play to plush Alpine vibes. Team it with the cute Micro Dot Sheer Rip-Resist Tights by Sheertex to continue the retro look.

Suitcase made of corrugated black plastic with top handle.

TUMI

Extended Trip Expandable 4 Wheeled Packing Case, £775, tumi.com

This expandable packing case by TUMI features a recycled polycarbonate shell, meaning it’s lightweight, flexible and durable.  The four-wheel system allows for a smooth and quiet roll. Even better: for every item purchased from the TUMI 19 Degree luggage collection, the brand will donate 1% of the sales to the 1% For the Planet movement.

 

Black snow boots with white sole.

HUNTER

Women’s Insulated Recycled Polyester Snow Boots, £90, hunterboots.com

These practical waterproof boots can be brought out every autumn and winter, as they’ve been designed to keep you warm in temperatures as low as -22°C. They’re made from recycled polyester and feature a vegan microfleece lining, a shock-absorbing sole and a cushioned OrthoLite® footbed for comfort. 

White pump bottle with Barbara Sturm logo.

Dr. Barbara Sturm

Dr. Barbara Sturm’s Ski Cream, £275, drsturm.com

It may be chilly but it’s always important to protect your skin with a high SPF. This Ski Cream with SPF 50 from expert Barbara Sturm protects against UVA and UVB rays as well as wind, cold and extreme weather.

 

Puffer jacket in dark green with black top panels.

The North Face

Women’s Diablo Down Jacket, £290, thenorthface.co.uk

This classic jacket is one you can bring out every time the temperature drops, thanks to its 700-fill insulation, responsibly sourced down and practical, robust ripstop fabric. It has elasticated cuffs and an adjustable hem to keep in your body heat, and it’s available in various colourways including this Thyme-TNF Black.

Black leather mid-calf leather boots with pull on tab at top.

Tamara Mellon 

Easy Rider Mid-Calf 35 Boots, £736, tamaramellon.com

One of Tamara Mellon’s most-loved styles, this all-weather Easy Rider boot is an absolute classic. They’re cool, they’re hardy, and they look great with jeans. As with all TM shoes, these pairs are crafted in Italy, combining soft black leather and a chunky rubber tread.

 

Cat-eye sunglasses with tortoiseshell frames and gold logo.

Linda Farrow

Senna Cat Eye Sunglasses, £380, lindafarrow.com

These contemporary cat eye sunglasses are perfect for Gstaad strolling and apres-ski. They feature a tortoiseshell acetate frame which wraps around to meet the LF signature 22 carat gold-plated eyelet, completing the theme of Gstaad luxe.

Khaki green fleece with yellow piping around cuffs and collar.

Barbour

Berrington Sweatshirt, £79.95, barbour.com

Ideal for layering, meet this new-season khaki Barbour sweatshirt-meets-fleece. Expect a funnel neck for warmth, stud fastenings and a contrasting yellow edging. 

Black sports shorts with floral pattern in the corners and black and white 'Freya Active' waistband

Freya

Freya Player Short, £20, freyalingerie.com

If you’re heading to Gstaad in the spring or summer, and hitting the trails or a tennis court, pack these shorts. They’re super lightweight, breathable, the fabric wicks moisture away from the body and the loose cut allows ease of movement. The style is available in black, khaki, and blue, and features a wide elastic waistband, and two side pockets. Check out their great sculpting leggings too.

Black padded gilet worn over short-sleeved black t shirt.

Falke

CORE Thermal Women Waistcoat Stand-up Collar, £199, falke.com

This slightly padded, body-hugging vest suits a range of outdoor activities that you may be planning in Gstaad. Not only does it protect against wind and cold, but it also offers ventilation via the mesh insert at the back, as well as reflective elements for visibility.

Salmon pink padded down cape jacket worn with white trousers and a yellow bucket hat.

Colmar

Hooded Down Cape, £309, colmar.com

This lightweight jacket is a great transitional item as we head into spring. Made from recycled fabric with a water-repellent treatment, it’s padded with natural down. As for shape, it offers a subtle A-line fit and three-quarter sleeves, plus a hood.

Blue snow boot with white sole.

The North Face

Women’s Vectiv™ Exploris II Hiking Boots, £155, thenorthface.com

Introducing the latest walking boots from The North Face. These are lightweight, sturdy and comfortable, making them ideal for everything from Gstaad trails to more strenuous mountain hikes. They’ve been designed to combat changeable conditions with high-performance, sweat-wicking fabrics and innovative technology to suit all terrains.

 

Black sculpting sports leggings.

Alo Yoga

7/8 High-Waist Airbrush Legging, £105, aloyoga.com

A best-selling item from activewear brand alo yoga, these leggings come in at a 7/8 length and are available in a whole host of colourways, from classic to vibrant. They’re also smoothing and sculpting for comfort.

 

Backgammon with 'Gstaad' printed in the middle of the board and mountain peaks for the triangle sections.
MAISONGAMES
Gstaad Backgammon, £200, thegoto.com
For the perfect themed backgammon set, this Gstaad one features mountain peaks against a green background with blue and white playing pieces. A must-have for any Gstaad enthusiast.

Featured image credit: Logan Gouget, Unsplash