Le Grand Bellevue, Gstaad, Switzerland

Le Grand Bellevue, Gstaad, Switzerland

Summer in the Swiss Alps? Do it in high style by booking a stay at Gstaad’s most glamorous bolthole, Le Grand Bellevue.

in the German-speaking part of the canton of Bern, around a
two-hour drive from Geneva, sits the glamorous ski village of Gstaad. With its 14th-century churches,
traditional chocolate shops, fairy-tale chalets and chic designer
outlets, it’s no wonder that some of the world’s most famous faces
flock here – Elizabeth Taylor, Brigitte Bardot and Grace Kelly were
among those who helped put it on the map.

While there’s plenty to be said for an alpine adventure in the
crisp winter months, a balmy summer’s day in the mountains offers a
level of serenity we didn’t even think possible until experiencing
it for ourselves. Which is where Le Grand Bellevue – Gstaad’s
oldest palace hotel – comes in. Situated just a moment’s stroll
from the town’s pedestrianised Promenade, surrounded by staggering
peaks and lush meadows, the handsome property – originally built as
a Cure House and Spa back in 1912 – was acquired on its centenary
by visionary young Swiss couple Daniel and Davia Koetser. Romantics
will appreciate knowing that the pair actually met at the Gstaad
Yacht Club, located in the hotel’s grounds, and held their wedding
brunch there, too.

Le Grand Bellevue, Gstaad Lobby
Le Grand Bellevue, Gstaad Living Area

The lobby, left, and the living area.

In 2014, following a major renovation project, the design-driven
duo relaunched the 57-room property, its original features
complemented by art deco furnishings and playful touches
throughout. From the thoughtful layout of the building to smaller
elements such as the chandelier installation above the grand
staircase, no attention to detail has been spared.

On arrival at Le Grand Bellevue – having been picked up by a
chauffeur in a 1962 Bentley once owned by none other than Roger
Moore – we’re welcomed with a refreshing cocktail, before being
ushered into the cosy library. In a hotel of this size, it’s not
too often that you find a team that genuinely strives to meet every
request, but this feels more like the home of one giant family than
a pit-stop destination. From the doormen to the waiters, every
individual, it seems, has a magical story to share, spanning starry
journeys on the Orient Express to whispered tales of parties in
little-known Italian alpine towns. Also, you may notice the odd
pineapple knocking about. The reason? The fruit is considered the
national symbol of hospitality – we told you it’s the finer details
that count.


There are 57 light-filled rooms and nine stylish suites to
choose from. Across all room types, interiors carry the same
earth-tone palette: think houndstooth-print cushions, Earl
Grey-coloured linens and chocolate-brown furnishings. We stayed in
a Tower Suite, with curvaceous floor-to-ceiling windows that offer
sweeping views of the surrounding greenery (and on a good day, the
majestic peak of the Matterhorn). A retractable TV, comfy sofa,
handy desk space and enormous built-in-wardrobe make for a
practical living space. Tell us about the beds, we hear you shout…
Put it this way, if we could have carried the headboard home
through passport control with us, we absolutely would have – the
delightful pillows, too.

Turndown looks a little different here. Yes, the team will
undress your bed and draw the curtains, but they’ll also dim the
lights, pop on a soothing jazz soundtrack and place a chilled
bottle of water beside your bed.

With mirrored doors, a twin vanity unit, generous shower head
and huge bathtub stocked with richly perfumed Bamford toiletries,
bathrooms, meanwhile, feel more akin to a treatment room than a
place to come and freshen up. We’re not complaining.

Le Grand Bellevue, Gstaad Tower Suite
Le Grand Bellevue, Gstaad Bathroom

A tower suite on the first floor, left, and the

What’s for breakfast?

Skip past the life-sized tartan camel, Leonard, standing tall in
the lobby, and head straight for one of the outdoor tables. En
route, pause at the buffet (read: banquet) table to load up on
flaky pastries, fresh fruit and yoghurt from the mountains.
Otherwise, opt for a dish or three from the à la carte menu.
Highlights include omelette, avocado on toast and smoked

How about lunch and dinner?

Michelin-starred restaurant Leonard’s makes for sublime Swiss
dining. Walls are painted in a subtle shade of blush pink, and
sage-green ceilings sport neon-orange borders. Tables are laden
with giant bouquets of flowers (shoutout to the in-house florist),
pillars are lined with abstract artworks from Hauser & Wirth
and tasselled pendant lampshades complete the sultry set-up.

Maitre d’ Massimo (be sure to ask him about his stint on the
Orient Express and his role in an upcoming movie) knows how to
deliver the goods. Lunch is a laid-back, lighter affair with
delicious sharing plates, while dinner, on the other hand, requires
an elasticated waistband. From lobster to lamb and seabass to
salad, there’s a dish set to tickle everyone’s taste buds. Save
space for the dessert menu: the tarts, mousses and ice creams are
well worth breaking any diet for. Cheese lovers should order the Le
Grand Regional selection board.

Is there a bar?

Of course. Set in the same space as Leonard’s, The Bar is
rumoured to be the best spot in town for a club sandwich and
cocktail. We can confirm that the rumours are true. Head down when
it’s quiet for a mid-afternoon tipple: that way, you can choose
between a leather bar stool or the Chesterfield banquette


With a nightclub, cinema, state-of-the-art gym, boutique,
mountain-bike hike, car tours and library at your disposal, we’d
say that you’re a little bit spoilt for choice. It’s the
subterranean, 3,000sq m Le Grand Spa, however, that’s the real
showstopper. Decked out in walnut wood and calming neutrals, the
oasis has a large indoor pool and hot tub, 17 different heat
experiences (including a salt grotto and hay sauna) and ice caves.
After successfully peeling yourself away from the wicker egg
chairs, take your time to read the purpose behind each wellness
zone, which will ensure you make the most out of therapies designed
to encourage blood flow and boost metabolism. You’ll find us in the
traditional Finnish sauna, before enjoying one of the treatment
massages – organic Bamford products, here we come.

How about their green credentials?

Squeaky clean, from smaller initiatives such as a locally
sourced and seasonal menu and the organic amenities used
throughout, to bigger eco-friendly actions such as operating on 100
per cent Swiss hydropower, being a responsible recycling member of
SapoCycle and offering guests electric charging stations for
vehicles. Recently, the hotel launched its own app in a bid to
reduce paper wastage – something it has already been working on
with its digital guest directory.

What about accessibility?

There are a handful of specially converted rooms and suites
suitable for those with mobility issues. All public spaces and
bathrooms are also accessible. The attentive staff are on hand to
assist around the clock.

What’s the crowd like?

Achingly cool – and well-heeled. If there was ever a time to
whip out your designer sunnies, it would be right about now. We
spotted plenty of wildly-in-love couples on a long, lazy weekend
trip away. Kids are welcome.

Things I should know

The in-house cinema is well worth a visit. Hop to the reception
and request your preferred showtime and favourite blockbuster. You
can even order nibbles (or a five-course meal) to be delivered
straight to your seat.

Within a short walk I can find…

Lake Arnen. A 20-minute drive from Gstaad, this secluded
Tschärziz valley beauty spot offers one of the most breathtaking
views we’ve ever had the pleasure of laying our eyes on. Hike
around the lake, or enjoy a peaceful paddle in the sparkling

The Lowdown

Doubles cost from £508 a night.

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