The Alpina, Gstaad: Ski Widower’s Haven


The Alpina Gstaad — glossy modernity mixed with old-fashioned touches.

Built for a cool US$337 million, the Alpina in Gstaad, Switzerland, is a glamorous hotel perched on a hill above the town, each room with an expansive balcony and views of the town or the mountains.

Calling all ski widowers and snowboard widows — the Alpina Gstaad is launching an outreach programme to ensure your days at high altitude aren’t spent waiting for your other half to finally return from the slopes. Instead, this sumptuous hotel boats an enticing spa, a state-of-the-art cinema, a wellness course, and a gastronomic tour of the world.

Built for a cool $337 million, this glamorous hotel is perched on a hill above the town, so every room has an expansive balcony and views of the town or the mountains, as well as wood fires that turn on at the flick of a switch and state-of-the-art lighting. This glossy modernity is mixed with old-fashioned touches such as cowbells on some of the lights, goat-hair throws and weathered timber from old farmhouses nearby.

So far, so luxurious. But wait until you go to the subterranean spa.

At the Alpina Gstaad you will hear people boasting that they’re an 80, or looking embarrassed that they’re only a 50. It may sound like some sort of secret Swiss skiing code, but it is actually linked to the Six Senses Spa Gstaad, which has launched a wellness programme.

It begins with a consultation that analyses metabolism, heart function, digestion, cell health and stress, and the results are used to create treatment, activity and nutrition packs. Before you leave, a second consultation will check for progress, which means you have no choice but to sample the array of wellness activities on offer.

In other words, your health demands a wallow in the heated outdoor pool ringed by snowy mountains, or a few hours in the Turkish baths, saunas and hot and cold wet rooms. Then there is the Himalayan salt grotto, which is dark pink and designed to recreate the sensation of being in the womb, with deep water beds, a humid atmosphere and small salty pools of water to dip in and out of.

There are also massages, facials, colonics and scrubs on offer — oh, and a Tibetan monk to teach you the art of sleeping well. Which means that if your score hasn’t skyrocketed by your second consultation, you simply haven’t been relaxing hard enough.

That, or you’ve been spending your evenings quaffing wine, eating Michelin-starred food and admiring the art in one the sumptuous restaurants, all of which are under the direction of renowned chef Martin Göschel. There are two Michelin-starred establishments: Sommet, which has an elegant seven-course tasting menu; and Megu, which is Japanese and offers what must be the best sushi in Switzerland. Finally, there is Stübli, which is Swiss themed (on overdrive) and serves local specialities such as rosti, fondues and raclettes.

Feeling lazy after all that melted cheese? Flop downstairs to the vast indoor cinema that offers hundreds of film options, sofa-like chairs and even a popcorn machine.

Feeling guilty for not leaving the premises? Don’t. But luckily while most guests who venture outside of the pristine hotel gates head to one of the 130 miles of slopes in Gstaad (many of which cater for beginners) there are a host of other activities on offer that won’t require the lacing up of a single ski boot. You can take a leisurely horse-drawn carriage ride around Gstaad and neighbouring Saanen, wrapped in furs with a cup of hot chocolate to keep you warm; or even paraglide down the mountain and see the extraordinary beauty of the local area with an even better vantage point than the skiers.

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