The Alpina Gstaad
Wednesday 24 Apr 2013
The Alpina Gstaad is the first new luxury hotel for over 100 years in Gstaad, one of Europe's most glamorous destinations. The Gallery HBA's objective was to create the perfect Alpine experience year-round, cosy in winter and fresh in summer, which harnesses the beauty of all the seasons in this region of Switzerland.
The designers' starting point was the provenance of the area and the chalet form of the building. As a result, the interiors feature many traditional materials crafted in centuries-old ways or reworked into contemporary individually designed pieces. The experience is both rustic and refined - weathered timbers mixed with embossed leathers, hand-beaten bronze sconces, custom-designed wrought iron lamps, natural wools and linens. A totally new interpretation of Alpine chic.
The entrance lobby sets the scene. Reclaimed timber planks to the walls and ceilings have been individually crafted to fit their new location and the reception table is hewn from a single tree trunk. Rugs are of hand-tufted unbleached wool, structural columns are clad in embossed leather and the fireplaces are surrounded by Alpine boulders individually selected from the local rivers.
A sweeping staircase leads to the first floor lounge. Above, there is an intricately painted antique ceiling while behind a slatted wooden screen draws on the local ‘gimmwand' building style, casting a lattice of light upon the area. The lounge is a very social space with an exquisitely crafted bar of hammered bronze and a consul table designed to transform into a DJ station by night.
There are 56 guestrooms and suites, each different in detail, but all discretely luxurious, very cosy and with a delightful sense of place. The designers played with textures and a soft colour palette, enlivening this with accents inspired by the bright red fruit of the Barberry bush, and by rich chocolate brown. Fabrics include knitted cashmere, wools and linen. Every attention was given to detailing in the Swiss tradition, from hand-stitching on the upholstery to the touches of embroidery which provide delicate counterpoints to the timber envelope.
The duplex Panorama Suite crowns the hotel. In the living spaces, a focal point is the fireplace with its floor-to-ceiling Alpine stone chimney breast and collection of elegant seating. Fabrics are tactile and organic, the nobility of the materials revealed under discrete lighting. The suite's top floor accommodates another bedroom and the spa - an astonishing space with soaring views. A self-contained retreat and an exclusive connection with the natural world.