Trains in Switzerland are said to be always on time. Travelling from Bern to the picturesque city of Gstaad in the so called “Saanenland” only takes about one hour – connections are guaranteed, travelling could not be more relaxed. Those who want to travel the world-famous winter destination do not need to have muse to do so, but most certainly require a sense for the essentials. For example, enjoying the scenery and majestic peaks of the Alpine mountains in a Bentley Continental “stuck” behind a slow driving farm tractor before arriving at the Alpina Gstaad Hotel (TOPHOTELPROJECTS Nr. 3090). A typical grand hotel with the distinctive silhouette of a past century top hotel such as the Waldhaus Sils-Maria. With only 56 rooms and luxurious suites this hotel project reveals its most elegant side – the 350 year old wooden decor elements and building structure create a cozy ambience, in combination with modern interior design and trend-setting technology.
The hotel will open in time on 01.December 2012. In July the General Manager Mr. Niklaus Leuenberger and Mr. Onno Poor already moved into the pre-opening office, both will supervise the completion by the end of September and will completely furnish the building in only 2 months. The making of new luxury hotel cannot be more existing.
The building is extraordinary, being one of the most re-known new construction buildings in the Swiss Alps, as it is outrageously expensive totaling a € 300 million investment. All 14 apartments in the Alpine Palace are already sold for approx. 60.000 Swiss Francs per square meter. This exceeds the property rates in London, Paris and New York.
The two private financiers Marcel Bach and Jean-Claude Mimran were able to buy the 20.000 square footed property of the 90 years old Alpina hotels many years ago. However, the historic building could not be saved. Only an ancient garden shed has been refurbished and will remain on its original place. After many years of planning and coordination with the local community – in Switzerland major touristic development projects are subject to a very democratic election process – the construction began three years ago: The entire rock was carved out, filled with concrete to make it earthquake-proof, a legal necessity in the Valais district where it is reported that the earth shakes four to five times a day.
The visible result is an Alpine hotel with towers and battlements, having banned all parking places underground and not renouncing on any technical sophistication. All indoor areas are equipped with floor heating; its energy is sourced from the nearby wood-pellet-powerhouse. As the entire boutique hotel building is made out of ancient wood fire safety regulation is a serious and highly important aspect. The technical innovation of the Swiss specialist Contrafeu called “High Fog” sprays a foggy and dense water cloud, extracting the oxygen from the fire and extinguishing it within seconds.
Guest can expect coziness with lots of wooden elements, the finest furniture and crackling fireplace. The rooms and suites are furnished with white beds and chaise longues, antique wooden commodes dating back to the year 1604 or cabinets from 1730 – with an integrated minibar. All woodwork is produced by the local manufacturer Chaletbau Matti. The simple but elegant design concept for rooms and suites by Hirsch Bedner Associates includes eye-catching elements such as a cow bell shaped bedside lamp, in reference to the agricultural character of Saanenland. This hotel design concept has remained down to earth; it has not been the aim to create a new shrine or temple of hotel design.
Hotel rate is not talked about (for the moment). The Alpina Gestaad, against the usual regional practice, shall be open for eight months throughout the year. Only for the months of in April and May as well as during October and November the respective closing time were announced. 120 employees have already been recruited for the opening winter season 2012/2013. As well as plenty of staff for the leisure activities, including a paraglide instructor offering tandem flights in the Alps.
Food & Beverage is the soul of each top hotel. It is therefore not surprise that the Alpina Gstaad will host one of the most prestigious in-style restaurants in the world. The first European “Megu” branch, the leading gourmet cuisine for Japanese cooking, will open in Gstaad. The “Megu” flagship in SoHo New York recently received the important “Six Star Diamond Hotel Award”. Two further restaurant facilities will complete the F&B offering: in the a-la-carte-restaurant breakfast will be served in the morning and international cuisine for lunch and dinner. In the Swiss Speciality Restaurant regional meals such as the famous “Fondue” (Swiss cheese dish) or “Rösti” (Swiss potato dish) and a selection of Swiss wine are being served. The aperitive can be enjoyed in the Cuban cigar lounge with its own walk-in humidor or on the terrace with is spectacular mountain-view. By the way: mosquitos do not exist up here.
The Alpina Gstaad will be the first hotel in Switzerland with a Six Senses Spa and invites its guests to enjoy the highest level of wellness services currently available in the hospitality industry. The “Tree of Life” theme is visible throughout the entire spa facility. In the grotto, made from carved Jurassic stone, a 25 meter long swimming-pool, a hammam as well as a floating pool with salt water can be used. Of course an outdoor pool will also be available. The Alpina Gstaad Spa offers for example the known Ayurveda treatments, securing leisure activities even during bad weather periods.
For the opening ceremony on 01. December the hotel expects to welcome approximately 600 guests of honor. All presale activities and press work are professionally managed by the hotel cooperation Preferred Hotels, the travel agency network Virtuoso and in Germany’s Grande Dame of PR, Sabine van Ommen.