At dusk, the lights switch on. Flickering through the car-free village streets, lighting up the arches and eaves of old-fashioned wooden chalets, capturing the soft snowflakes in a golden spotlight as they fall to earth. Streetlamps illuminate the path leading up to the grand Gstaad Palace; a chateau-like 4-turreted hotel perched above the village, which recently celebrated its centenary. Gstaad is a beautiful mountain retreat during the day. At night it is positively exquisite, a storybook setting as if conjured from imagination.
Gstaad has long been a high-altitude retreat for European high-society. It sits at the confluence of two rolling valleys, 2 hours from Geneva, hemmed in by thick pine forests and undulating low-slung mountains. Traditional Swiss Alpine buildings with slanted wooden roofs crowned with snow line the streets of the village centre, although there’s been an influx of international high-fashion stores. There are plenty of boutiques, jewellers, chocolatiers, upmarket restaurants and little gastronomic gems, and bars (but we recommend après-ski at the Palace).
The central slopes suit beginners and intermediates. The Gstaad Mountain Rides’ offer more challenging skiing, with a large 220km area, as well as 165km of scenic cross-country terrain.
As well as the Gstaad Palace, we recommend the Alpina, a newcomer on the Swiss luxury ski hotel scene. This gorgeous boutique has just 56 rooms, and features an impressive wine cellar and Six Senses Spa among its many perks. Lightfoot Travel’s Ski Designers create ultra-luxury ski holidays to Gstaad, tailor made to your exact requirements. Find out what we can do for you.