Hotel Le Grand Bellevue
If skiing’s on the agenda, head to the Swiss chocolate-box town of Gstaad in the Bernese Alps. But what makes it so seductive? Gstaad is a glam gateway to superb skiing and a firm favourite with the A-listers. Gstaad is old Switzerland, chic & charming, promising fun for families and couples. Here, long-held Swiss tradition is met with alpine modernity. Come here for the ultimate setting of richly forested slopes, snowy Alpine peaks and picturesque old wooden chalets. But, there’s world-class shopping too: a care-free promenade lined with glittering shop windows such as Hermès, Cartier and Dolce & Gabbana. Isn’t it an ideal combination? We thought so.
Need a Swiss ski stay or a books-in-front-of-the-fire winter getaway? Escape the crazy pace of everyday life and celebrate love, happiness and the wonder of nature at Hotel Le Grand Bellevue. Set in the Insta-perfect mountain scenery of Gstaad, this deluxe boutique-chic bolthole offers a world of carefree indulgence, winter wellness, alpine cosiness and gourmet delights.
But why did we pick this place? Hotel Le Grand Bellevue is somehow both sensationally stylish and as comfortable as a cuddle with a puppy. That’s another thing: location. It’s situated right in the heart of Gstaad, amidst the snow-capped Swiss Alps. The service? The service and personal attention are on a level we seldom see. In other words: Hotel Le Grand Bellevue’s always-smiling superstar staff knows exactly how to provide the feel-good factor. We nearly forgot food: the Michelin-starred restaurant Leonard’s, reaching new culinary heights in the ski resort of Gstaad. Oh, but it goes on: a spacious striking spa, sushi bar & take-away, a private cinema for chick flicks, a ludicrously swanky gym and a sumptuously rich club where the Swiss glitterati and hedonistic jetsetters gather for late-night naughtiness. Hotel Le Grand Bellevue in Gstaad, in fact, is really good at an awful lot of things – and that’s why we love it. Just the perfect ingredients for a weekend or week (trust us, you won’t want to leave) to remember.
Very intimate and not so flashy like the other famous exclusive hotels in Gstaad, Le Grand Bellevue defines understated luxury and has a ultra-relaxed atmosphere embracing all generations. Although not so alpine, it reminded us of a cosy & charming estate in the countryside of the Cotswolds. “With the heart of a hotel and the soul of a boutique retreat capturing the spirit of Gstaad, incorporating the bright future and oozing the welcoming feel of a country house hotel”, that’s how the visionary couple & owners, Daniel and Davia Koetser, describe their own dreamy hideaway. We totally agree with them.
Le Grand Bellevue in Gstaad opened its doors in December 2013 after a year-long extreme makeover. It was originally built in 1912 as a Cure House and Spa, and continues to hold the title of the oldest palace hotel in Gstaad. Refurbished by the owners itself, this gorgeous getaway provides a fresh angle with an explosion of colour, mismatched pattern, vivid tones and rich fabrics. We love the huge textured dromedary – as big as a real one -, as well as Swiss’ longest chesterfield in the bar.
What about Bellevue’s rooms? We stayed in 603 – a Deluxe Chic Double Room – set into a neighbouring chalet-style building connected with the hotel itself. Sitting on our terrace admiring Gstaad’s snowy glory and breathing in Swiss alpine air was a blast. It really does wonders for the soul. The for-ski-hotel-standards large rooms are filled with an atmosphere of cocooning. Think of comfy beds that make even the coldest nights feel inviting, heated floors in the luxurious bathrooms, free mini-bars, leather desks and Nespresso machines. Do you want to glam with the fam? Looking for a luxurious version of everyone’s dream Gstaad pied-a-terre? Book one of Le Grand Bellevue’s hotel suites for the pinnacle of exclusivity. If there’s anything to grumble at, it’s that the rooms are a little bit noisy. We were also surprised by the fact that the temperature couldn’t be controlled in the rooms, but only centrally.
Skiing is not just about hitting the slopes, but also about eating & drinking well (and maybe partying hard). Gstaad’s Hotel Le Grand Bellevue is absolutely the perfect place for that. Mornings start with extensive breakfast from the menu or buffet. After hitting the ski slopes, cosy up by the cracking fireplace with a MilkyWay hot chocolate in hand while listing to live piano music from Johnny Baker. Pure Swiss bliss! Afterwards, kick back on the custom-made chesterfield for sipping cocktails in style – ask the barman for advice as he has a lot of knowledge -, followed by culinary delights at Leonard’s hotel restaurant. Some of Leonard’s creations are refined and finger-licking good, while other dishes are simple yet super tasty. Our favourites: Carpaccio with truffle, Prawn Cocktail, Pappardelle with oxtail ragout and Pear Belle Helene. Fancy authentic Swiss specialties? Go to the intimate Le Petit Chalet in Bellevue’s garden for Swiss raclette & fondues. Nice to know: when you book half board it means breakfast and a daily-changing 3-course dinner is included. If you have dinner somewhere else you can use a credit of 50 francs per person for lunch. We think it’s a welcome bonus.
The 2,500 sqm Le Grand Spa providing endless facilities deserves a special mention. Hotel Le Grand Bellevue’s temple of wellbeing – our go-to spot after a ski day – features a Jacuzzi, outdoor Finnish sauna, bio sauna, ice grotto, Turkish steam bath, Himalayan salt room, laconium, herbal sauna, relaxation room with waterbeds and a swimming pool opening up onto a lavender-clad terrace during summer months. How chill is that? Add to that lots of treatment rooms for massages, age therapies, facials, scrubs, wraps, body treatments, bath rituals and much more. Truly, the spa menu is as long as your leg. In Bellevue’s spa, any tension acquired in the designer shops or during your ski adventures can be soothed away by a Bamford hot-stone massage or facial from revolutionary Swiss brand Cellcosmet. Without a doubt, you’ll feel relaxed, rejuvenated and recharged afterwards.
Not in the mood for skiing? If you want to maintain fitness levels or kick-start healthier habits, there are a number of daily yoga and Pilates classes that will get you moving. We particularly loved the Yoga Flow from the Dutch teacher. Personal trainers are also available upon request.
Does life get any better than this? We don’t think so.