At first glance, the Swiss town of Gstaad seems like the perfect escape for anyone who craves peace, quiet, and simplicity.
Yet in reality, Gstaad is a playground for the uber wealthy vacation-goer. The town of 9,200 has not two, not three, but five 5 star hotels. As a result, there’s a property that caters to whatever type of luxury you’re seeking.
Park Gstaad has differentiated itself by being the destination for discreet luxury. As their marketing manager, Malcolm Wade, told me, “Park Gstaad is for people who want the finest things, but still want their privacy. They want to relax.” (This is in comparison to The Palace– the hotel featured in The Pink Panther– which is known as the venue to see and be seen.)
If there’s one word to describe the lobby at Park Gstaad, it’s ‘warm.’ To the right of the entrance is a library filled with cozy leather chairs, a bar, and a fireplace. It’s the perfect, low-key spot to have a glass of mulled wine. (Which I did, and highly recommend.)
The atmosphere isn’t overtly luxurious, like the entrance to Gstaad’s Alpina– which is a ginormous staircase, decked on either side with flowers.
The lower level of the Park Gstaad contains the spa, as well as the fitness center. Workout fiends will be happy to know that, unlike a lot of hotels, Park Gstaad has some of the most modern equipment available. There’s even a golfing simulator– and they’re not even the only hotel in Gstaad that has one. (Although Malcolm made sure to tell me that they were the first.) You can even get a personal trainer to help you with your swing:
Park Gstaad’s spa doesn’t have as many amenities in their changing rooms as other hotels in the area, like the Alpina. However, their facilities do have one differentiator– their salt water pool. I spent an entire morning swimming about in there, and hanging out on one of the room’s many chaise lounge chairs. I told myself I was going to read, but let’s be real... I took a nap.
One of the last spots that I visited in the Park Gstaad was a place that I would typically never set foot in– a cigar lounge. Yet when I walked in, I noticed that something was different– I wasn’t immediately affronted by the smell of old smoke. Unlike many hotels, the Park Gstaad uses Airkel Technology in their cigar lounge. This fancy contraption ensures that the room constantly circulates fresh air– which makes the cigar lounge a refreshingly clean place to be. While I don’t have a partner who smokes, I could imagine that this would be one the few cigar lounges where I could tolerate being there for longer than five minutes.
Image via Cigar Journal
Alright, enough cigar talk– and onto the room. I could describe it, but this video does a far better job:
The Park Gstaad’s deluxe room is perfect for those who are planning to hit the slopes, and don’t want to pack light. The hallway into the bedroom has an entire wall filled with storage options. No matter how many pairs of ski pants you brought, I can promise that you’ll have enough space.
The bathroom itself isn't anything to write home about… except for one thing. It has its own theme song. Yep, you read that right. If the quiet of the Swiss countryside is getting to be too much, you can push a little button with a music note. I posted a video on Instagram just to prove it:
What’s better than taking a bath while listening to your own personal jazz music?
Side note: even though the bath comes with a variety of aromatherapy body washes, don’t get overzealous when you put the product into the water. I did, and ended up with a whole bunch of bubbles on the floor. Sorry, cleaning staff.
The Park Gstaad is known for their Argentinian restaurant, Chubut– where the entire staff is actually from Argentina.
When you walk in, you won’t need anyone to tell you what their specialty is– the pictures of cows all over the walls will speak for themselves. Chubut is known for its steak.
Guests are encouraged to eat family-style. That is, unless a member of your party has a dietary restriction… like me. Yep, I was the vegan in the steak restaurant. Fortunately, the restaurant was notified in advance, and I didn’t starve. Instead of the many shared steaks and cheeses, I had a tomato soup with croutons and a beautifully plated vegetable medley.
For dessert, I had a plate bursting with different types of fruit. Paired with the wine, I left dinner a happy woman.
If you’re not a vegan, you can expect a creative dessert that represents the spring in Switzerland:
Spoiler: They will cover those flowers with a creamy sauce… just like that warm weather is bound to be interrupted by snow eventually.
The breakfast at Park Gstaad doesn’t include a lot of options that American readers might be used to. Any hot foods like eggs or pancakes could be ordered for an additional charge. While this is a slight annoyance considering the price of a room at Park Gstaad, the included options available were fresh and delicious.
As you can see, I started my day with a kick-ass green juice, some mixed muesli, and a coffee. I definitely went for a second juice after this picture was taken– the Swiss like tiny portions!
During my stay, I also got to check out of the Park Gstaad’s penthouse suites, called My Gstaad Chalet. And let me tell you, it's one of the biggest hotel rooms in Switzerland. I’m talking two stories, its own spa, its own gym, and its own servant’s quarters. (Okay, they’re called “staff rooms.”) While I can’t say exactly how much money this suite costs per night, I can let you know that it’s at least nine times my rent…. Per night. Needless to say, I’ll never be paying for that room myself– but I’m glad I got to see it.
Image via Park Gstaad
Image via Hero and Leander
I wasn't kidding when I said it has its own spa. This suite is so big, I could never imagine staying there by myself. To make a dad joke, I'd probably get lost.
Gstaad is such a beautiful place, I'm sure I could camp there and be totally content. But when I'm on vacation, I'll take luxury if I can get it. That's why the Park Gstaad is perfect. It's upscale, but doesn't overwhelm the natural beauty around it.
See you soon, Gstaad.