Review: The Alpina Gstaad, Switzerland

Mountain Spa - The Alpina Gstaad

The Alpina Gstaad occupies a commanding position on a hill overlooking the small resort of Gstaad in the Bernese Oberland in Switzerland. It’s an award-winning luxury property for the discerning wellness guest. Built into the side of a hill, the hotel façade presents the traditional look of a Swiss Alpine hotel. Inside it’s all a little different. Blending traditional alpine chic with modern art and contemporary design, the hotel is cosy, contemporary and a chic getaway for a few nights or more. During winter time the main draw is skiing, but many guests visit for the spa or to enjoy one of the two Michelin star restaurants: Sommet and Megu (more of those later). Arriving at the hotel you enter underground and it sets the tone for the journey which is cocooning, modern and had an understated energy. Contemporary artworks are perfectly positioned throughout the hotel which catch the eye, adding a unique touch to the design but it doesn’t have a gallery feel.

The Alpina Gstaad Hotel, Switzerland

The dark reclaimed timer is a dominating factor in the design which runs through the hotel and into the rooms and suites. The suites are modern and light with the most comfy of beds, a fireplace, large bathroom (with bath) and private balcony. Indeed, all rooms have a balcony which is ideal summer or winter – to simply sit – mesmerised by the stunning views of the mountain tops.

There is refined craftsmanship everywhere you look, with classically carved ceilings and timber-clad walls to create a cosy feel along with leather headboards, Swiss farmhouse- style cupboards and chests.

The level of service throughout the whole hotel was exceptional. Friendly and approachable, whilst being professional and efficient. It’s a fine balance and achieved perfectly here.

The Alpina Gstaad Deluxe Suite

Deluxe Grand Suite

Food, glorious food

Executive Chef, Martin Göschel heads up the three restaurants at The Alpina Gstaad which offer innovative journeys using locally sourced ingredients, where possible and the most delicious and exciting menus I have experienced for some time.

Megu offers a taste of Asia with a keen focus on Japanese cuisine and boasts a sushi bar. Restaurant Sommet presents gourmet cuisine with a Ssiss touch at its very best. Swiss Stubi is more cosy and a traditional take on than authentic Swiss tavern.

Menu at The Alpina Gstaad

Japanese Restaurant MEGU

The Six Senses Spa at The Alpina Gstaad

The Six Senses Spa at The Alpina Gstaad offers 2000 sqm of health and wellness experiences for guests. It blends the best of fitness with mind and body therapies to soothe the soul and invigorate the senses.

Situated on the subterranean levels of the hotel there are 12 treatment rooms, including a hammam, a Colonic Room, a Colour Therapy Room, an Oriental Room, a Salt Room, a Cave Room for couples treatments and five multifunctional single treatment rooms.

Separate men’s and women’s spa facilities include changing rooms, sauna, steam, hydrotherapy pool and cold plunge pool. The women’s area has water beds in the relax room and a sanarium instead of sauna. The relaxation room has book shelves filled with inspirational art books to inspire the mind.

Alpina Gstaad Indoor spa pool Six Senses - The Spa Man

From here you pass the Salt Steam room (great for clearing the airway and promoting healthy respiration). Three water walls guide you to the juice bar and large relaxation area. This leads to the high-tech gym with Technogym equipment and the studio where you will find classes from tai chi to yoga and body pump (amongst others).

Behind the juice bar is the large underground pool. Lap swimmers will love it as its 25 metres long (a luxury in most spas). There’s also two more jacuzzis and a kids pool. The whole underground cavern is flooded with natural day light from a dome above the pool. It’s a gorgeous spot and I loved swimming laps there.

The treatment rooms are compact but functional. I loved the Swiss design of some of the rooms with reclaimed timber and swiss crafted lights on the walls. They feature little local mountain scenes which are delightful.

The whole spa recreates an alpine chic feel with reclaimed timber used wherever possible. I loved that there are no sharp corners – all surfaces are curved. An early form of biophilic design which is now becoming more common in spa design.

The concept of the spa relies on a holistic approach to health and wellness. Naturally, there are massages on the menu (which are hugely popular) and some high-tech facials from brands like Biologique Recherche and Dr Bugchener – which offer targeted results after one treatment.

Outdoor Pool the Alpina Gstaad

What drew me to this spa in particular is its healing retreats, in particular the Tibetan Healing Retreat, developed and run by Antonis. These help to balance body and mind as one, taking a truly unique and holistic approach to spa. Tibetan Medicine is an amalgam of other world healing traditions, you will find elements of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Ayurveda and even Greek medicine. Focusing on the five elements and three core energies – phlegm, wind and bile – Antonis will conduct a thorough consultation to determine your type (a bit like Pitta, Kapha and Dosha in Ayurveda). He then plans a programme which can include Tibetan meditation, breathing and yoga, Ky Nye Massage, Mo-Or treatments and Cupping and moxa therapies. Gong and singing bowl work can be added as appropriate.

Meditation at The Alpina Gstaad

It an ideal setting in the mountains enabling you to get away from it all when your body and mind needs a true reset. Healing from the inside and out, the Tibetan Healing Retreat offers a unique take on treating the body and mind as one. Something we should all do more often.

Ku Nye Massage

Following a consultation with Antonis, he felt that I was a mix of wind and bile and needed a massage to suit. It is a gentle therapy that focuses on the fluid in the body, spends time on the joints, but is a whole body massage that simulates and soothes at the same time. It features a blend of Tibetan Oils and the signature gongs and singing bowls at the beginning and end. There was some stretching and movement of the joints included in this and after a long day’s travel it was just what my body needed. I drifted out of semi-consciousness a few times. It worked a treat.

Tibetan Healing at The Alpina Gstaad

Meditation and Tibetan yoga

Antonis led a one-to-one session of yoga, meditation and breath work based on his study of Tibetan Healing. It’s a gentle practice that focuses on clearing energy channels and energising the body with different parts focussing on the different elements on phlegm, wind and bile. You could liken it to mindfulness to begin with featuring deep slow deliberate breathing then yoga movements that are a cross between yoga and tai chi. Between each posture you clear the bad energy. I felt grounded and calm after the one-hour session and settled within myself and much more balanced.

The best bits

The fresh mountain air

Swimming in the outdoor pool

Dining at MEGU

Tibetan yoga and meditation

Room to improve

The soft furnishings in the spa seemed a little out of place with the spa concept and design – a latte refresh would be great

Keeping a check on kids times in the pool. When you visit in ‘no kids time’ and there are screaming kids – not my idea of relaxation.