Victoria Jungfrau, Interlaken
14 August, 2018
Whether you're heading to Switzerland to take advantage of its many health spas, embrace adventure sports or simply eat your weight in Swiss chocolate, the day should start the same way for all - sipping coffee on the balcony of a palatial hotel with a view of snow-capped mountains in the distance. Nestled between two pristine lakes and surrounded by soaring peaks, the 150-year-old Victoria Jungfrau Grand Hotel & Spa is the place to do just that, before either joining the daring paragliders who land in front of the hotel almost every five minutes, or making a beeline for the luxury spa downstairs.
During the belle epoqué period, this grandiose hotel in the heart of the Bernese Oberland drew creatives, intellectuals and even royals from around the world, and the century since has done nothing to diminish its appeal. Sophisticated restorations have taken this grande dame firmly into the 21st century, but the charm of its heyday still shines through in gilded mirrors, crystal chandeliers and stucco finishes. Wander the halls and you'll find innumerable bars, salons, spiralling staircases and a billiards room, while guest rooms are opulent but understated and all come with a view, guaranteeing that Instagrammable morning coffee in your fluffy bathrobe.
Elegant and timeless, 216 rooms come in varied shades and designs but all overlook either the mountains or the picturesque cityscape of Interlaken. While the neoclassical furnishings might suggest otherwise, the generous rooms are fully equipped with every modern amenity - including USB chargers for when you realise your European adapter doesn't work in Switzerland.
What's for breakfast?
Head down to the La Terrasse restaurant and you'll feel like you stepped out of Switzerland and right into a sophisticated French orangerie, surrounded by leafy palms and gilded parrots. If you're too hungry to notice the décor, the buffet spread offers up hot and cold breakfast fare, with plenty to fuel a long day of exploring the surrounding countryside.
What about lunch and dinner?
Post explorations, don your best holiday heels and head back to La Terrasse for sophisticated French cuisine. Prefer something a little more casual? Ristorante Sapori serves up a lengthy list of wood-fired pizzas alongside other classic Italian dishes - alternatively, nibble small plates of antipasti with a glass of rosé in hand.
Is there a bar?
In the summer, find a seat on the sun-drenched terrace and watch the world go by. If you can't even see the terrace for snow, a lounge in the cosy (and indoor) Victoria Bar might be more to your liking.
Within a short distance you'll find…
Plenty - this is one of the most scenic regions of Switzerland and an excellent public transport system will take you anywhere you want to go, from the quaint town of Thun nearby to the towering peaks of Jungfrau. But honestly, if you make it any further than downstairs to the gorgeous spa, complete with a heated pool, steam baths, massage options, beauty treatments and outdoor hot tub overlooking the mountain behind the hotel, we'll be impressed.
Things you should know
As well as helping guests unwind after long days of exploration, the 5,500-square-metre Spa Nescens offers up a range of programs, from romantic spa days in private steam baths to week-long health and wellness treatments that will take care of everything from your diet to cosmeceutical procedures.