HedgeBrunch and Family Office Brunch Ski Day 2017 was a delight and boy, we can’t wait to return next season. We headed to the Swiss alps for this year’s instalment and found a haven of stylish tranquillity and world class hospitality in the chocolate-box town of Gstaad.
After a dream-like train journey from Geneva to Montreux and up through the meandering foothills (honestly worth the trip alone) we arrived at the stunning Grand Bellevue Hotel, our home for the next few days. Gstaad is a noted favourite of the rich and famous and the Bellevue is its oldest hotel. It’s not a stuffy and old-world experience though, as you might expect with such lineage and location. Le Grand Bellevue manages to combine the glamour of its past (our concierge arrived in Roger Moore’s Bentley no less) with razor sharp future-now style and service.
We were welcome by owner and operator Daniel Koetser who has masterminded a recent redesign, bringing the entire 57 room hotel up-to-date. “My wife and I have a great affinity with Gstaad” says Daniel. “We love it for its traditions and age-old institutions but feel there’s room for innovation and a dash of sassiness. Our dream is to create a buzzing destination in the heart of the village that captures the spirit of Gstaad but looks to its bright future too. We want the hotel to feel understated and effortless yet imaginative and spoiling”. Well, they’ve achieved what they set out to!
Shown up to our penthouse suite where there was a bottle of Ruinart waiting on ice for us, we were delighted to find a bright, modern space which managed to retain that mountain feel whilst succeeding in being both vibrant and youthful. The little touches count for a great deal; the concierge left us in excited peace and as she closed the weighty door behind her a soft tinkling of after-dark jazz grew from the impressive in-room sound system. We popped open our champagne and felt instantly at home.
After freshening up in a fully Bamford loaded bath suite it was onto LEONARD’s, the hotel’s signature restaurant. A classic Negroni (replete with a full history of the drink from one the best-informed bartenders we have ever met) preceded an ever-more classic and fabled sauteed veal aux champignons et rosti. Truly, this is a dish that is so perfectly placed in this environment we were tempted to have it for dessert too. Collectively the past two hours experiences, especially after six hours travel from London, had been transformative. To bed, perchance to dream of fresh snow in the morning.
As our guests assembled to hit the slopes we ventured down to get ready for the day. The Grand Bellevue will not only sort all your passes and transfers out they have a friction and stress-free ski solution in-house as well. It took us just 10 minutes to go from no-kit to full-kit and we were ready to go. Once again, the little things make a big difference.
Now, Gstaad is not the highest of resorts and its season is one of the shortest in the region but it’s oh-so pretty and quite diverse. Its “Super Ski Region,” which is comprised of some six sectors, over 70 lifts and 150 miles of trails, offers both treelined and open cruising throughout, which is a joy. There aren’t many options for the most advanced of snow bunnies but for a social trip like HB and FOB Ski it was perfect. We spent the day bouncing between late season moguls, igloo bars and cosy beer-halls in the spring sun, it could not have been better.
Once home, we hit the quite astonishing 3,000sqm Le Grand Spa, a world-class sanctuary for wellness. Working in partnership with organic English brand Bamford and revolutionary Swiss facial brand Cellcosmet, the spa invited us to indulge in a fully comprehensive range of treatments, remedies and retreats. Extensive facilities include eleven spacious treatment rooms; seven heat therapy rooms including Turkish hammam, Himalayan salt inhalation grotto and outdoor Finnish sauna; a fully equipped gym; yoga & Pilates studio; beautiful relaxation areas with water beds overlooking the mountains and a swimming pool opening up onto a lavender-clad terrace during summer months. It’s safe to say it was hard to not be relaxed and happy and every turn on our short stay.
That evening we finished our day with rustic, intimate experience at Le Petit Chalet, a traditional chalet nestled in the hotel’s grounds catering for just 18 guests with a menu of hearty Swiss dishes. Fondu and raclette lovers eat-your-heart-out. Whilst the modernity of Le Grand Bellevue is wonderful, no trip to the mountains is complete without a little bit of this fare and the fact that Daniel et al have maintained this homage to their history is a testament to their understanding of how to bring skiing in luxury up to date.
HedgeBrunch and Family Office Brunch Ski Week will return in 2018 with prices starting from just £3000. To register your interest for this event please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information and to book the Grand Bellevue Hotel Gstaad please click here