Gstaads Le Grand Bellevue is so spoiling, the skiing takes second place to indulgence, says Andrew Barker
The hotels grand main entrance
If you ask Le Grand Bellevues owner Daniel Koetser, a long-term Gstaad resident and Old Etonian, why theres a life-size tweed camel in the lobby, his answer is a simple Why not?
The same applies to the hotels Bentley (former owner Roger Moore), which will save you the 100m schlepp to the hotel from the station, and the bespoke 17m Chesterfield in the Soho House-esque bar.
Over the past three years, Koetser has modernised the 100-year-old hotel, introducing smart dcor and polishing up the parquet, but his values remain perfectly old-school.
Youll find him greeting his guests by name each evening, as they sip Hendricks and tonics while weighing up whether to dine in the hotels Michelin-starred restaurant, Leonards, the on-site four-table fondue chalet, or whether to forget food altogether having indulged in the spectacular afternoon tea on offer each day and head straight to the cigar lounge.
A bedroom at Le Grand Bellevue
At Le Grand Bellevue, skiing is almost an afterthought. The spa has eight steam rooms, from a hammam to a Himalayan salt room, with plenty of treatments to choose from. The large gym and even larger pool benefit from natural light.
Alternatively, after multiple trips around the breakfast buffet, there are the nearby branches of Cartier, Ralph Lauren and Louis Vuitton to tempt you. If you do make it on to the slopes, I recommend going an extra half an hour by shuttle bus to Glacier 3000, where the runs are steeper and the Alpine views even more staggering. But many guests at Le Grand Bellevue dont. And who could blame them?