A Peaceful Haven: Victoria-Jungfrau Grand Hotel & Spa, Interlaken – Hotel Review

By Anwer Bati

7 months ago

One of Switzerland’s great hotels


With the idea that mountain air is good for you, Switzerland has been synonymous with health for over a century, with several towns and resorts becoming renowned for their spas and clinics – Davos, for instance, in the case of Thomas Mann’s novel, The Magic Mountain. Interlaken, in the Bernese Oberland, a tourist destination since the early 19th century, has always been one of the most popular, with its good transport links, lakes, access to the nearby mountains – and its grand hotels. Today, none is grander than the Victoria-Jungfrau Grand Hotel & Spa, now over 150 years old, since the Pension Victoria hotel opened in 1856, and then merged with the neighbouring Hotel Jungfrau in 1899. It reopened in its present form in 1991, and it’s a hotel in which the spa is, for many guests, just as important as the luxurious accommodation.

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Hotel Review: Victoria-Jungfrau Grand Hotel & Spa, Interlaken

Victoria-Jungfrau Grand Hotel & Spa

STAY

The Victoria-Jungfrau has superb views: facing a row of mountains, including the Jungfrau itself, the Eiger and the Mönch. Fronting the hotel is the large open expanse of Höhematte park, a popular landing site for paragliders, adding to the sense of space.

The junction between the two original hotels is marked by a domed central section, under which is the huge atrium, unexpectedly modern given the hotel’s grand façade. But to either side, you walk through Belle Epoque splendour of mirrors, chandeliers, stucco and plush furniture. And the exemplary service throughout the hotel is suitably classic.

Deluxe Double Room at the Victoria-Jungfrau Grand Hotel & Spa

Deluxe Double Room

The 216 sizeable rooms and suites in the main building all exude understated luxury, decorated in subtle hues, and furnished with a mix of traditional and modern furniture and weighty fabrics.  The marble bathrooms have twin basins and Molton Brown amenities. You’ll be delighted if you go for a room at the front – particularly if you have a balcony. There’s nothing more invigorating to wake up to than the mountain view. The suites by the spa are markedly more minimalist and contemporary – with gym equipment and a fitness mat to keep you in the right mindset.

EAT

A lavish buffet breakfast is on offer at La Terrasse, bright with big windows and mountain views, and outside tables for summer. The grandly decorated space converts into a brasserie for lunch and dinner, serving a mixture of Swiss, French and the odd Asian dish. It’s also the spot for the hotel’s tempting afternoon tea, and the famously generous Sunday brunch.

Sapori Restaurant

Sapori Restaurant

The Victoria-Jungfrau’s flagship restaurant is Radius, a calm space of just ten tables, only open for dinner, where chef Stefan Beer (who oversees all the hotel’s food) serves vibrant, beautifully presented modern gastronomic cuisine – with all the ingredients for the set menu from within a radius of 50 kilometres.

Sapori is the place for easily the best Italian food in town (and very competitively priced to draw in diners from outside) with an Italian chef and staff. Excellent pizzas come from a stone oven. It’s roomy and rather majestic but welcoming, and has a mountain view.

The Victoria bar (with a terrace) is a stylish and cheerful place for an aperitif or a snack. There’s live piano music in the evening. Next door is a Davidoff cigar bar.

La Terrasse

La Terrasse © stefanocandito.com

DO

The Victoria-Jungfrau’s sparklingly state-of-the-art Nescens spa is one of the biggest – at 5,500 sq metres –and best in Switzerland (and that’s saying something). It’s one of the key reasons for staying at the hotel for many guests, with both indoor and outdoor pools (the former with a plenty of daylight, the latter with a mountain view), and every conceivable beauty and anti-ageing treatment (there’s also a hairdresser). There are weight-loss programmes, and wellbeing is covered in most ways, including physiotherapy and medical care. The spa has its own bistro serving healthy food during the day. And the pool has a bar.

There’s also a huge gym – where you can book a personal trainer – with 36 machines of all types, as well as free fitness classes including Pilates and yoga. If that doesn’t keep you fit enough, the two indoor tennis courts, with coaching if you want it, might help.

There is also a kid’s club for children from three to 12 years old, with plenty of activities and classes to keep them busy.

Sapori Terrasse

Sapori Terrasse © stefanocandito.com

Interlaken is a quiet town, with many shops – particularly if you like watches – ranging from luxury to craft and outdoors. The Victoria-Jungfrau is on the main shopping street, and there’s a market right in front of the hotel on Sundays. The hotel’s own shop sells a range of goods including scarves, cosmetics and souvenirs. In an echo of Interlaken’s past, neighbouring the Victoria-Jungfrau is the town’s casino, once a famous clinic.

It’s an attractive town to walk around but for more serious walkers you can hike (or bike) in the surrounding countryside and the mountains. The nearby lakes of Brienz to the east and Thun to the west offer not only lovely scenery but also boat trips.

Winter sports opportunities are, of course, not far away in the mountains; and even if you don’t want to ski, take the two hour train ride to Jungfraujoch, the highest station in Europe, surrounded by glaciers, for the breathtaking views.

THE FINAL WORD

One of Switzerland’s great hotels, the Victoria-Jungfrau is not only a perfect base for winter sports, or for admiring the spectacular surroundings at any time of the year, but also a peaceful haven in which to spend a few days relaxing. And its spa is a destination in its own right if pampering or fitness is what you want.

BOOK IT

Double rooms at the Victoria-Jungfrau Grand Hotel & Spa start from £525 a night B&B. victoria-jungfrau.ch

Fly to Zurich (Swiss International Airlines has several daily flights to Zurich from Heathrow   swiss.com) and take a train to Interlaken West station, a 10 minute walk from the hotel. The fastest trains take around two hours.

A Swiss Travel Pass, available from the Swiss railway (SBB) website, allows unlimited travel on public transport (including boats, trains and cable cars) and free or reduced entry to museums.