Luxury holidays in Gstaad
Once a sleepy village of cattle farmers, Gstaad made a name for itself as one of Switzerland’s most fashionable ski resorts, trading its cow sheds for fashion houses, turreted hotels and famous residents. The preferred winter destination of Marlene Dietrich and Madonna alike, Gstaad is no stranger to the jet set. But for all the chocolatiers and watchmakers that line the promenade, it’s not all about the social scene. It was, after all, the towering mountains that drew the crowds in the first place. With a reputation for reliable snowfall, the resort enjoys long ski seasons – not least on its glacier, which is open almost year-round. The town also has genuine alpine charm, as virtually all buildings have to be built chalet-style, looking a little like iced gingerbread houses when they’re under a blanket of snow. But while the winter remains Gstaad’s forte, that’s not to say it’s less beautiful in the summer, when people come for the mountain-biking, hiking and annual polo tournaments – it’s even hosts the beach volleyball world tour.
When to go
Gstaad’s reputation was made over many winters, and there’s no doubt that the colder months mark the high season. January and February often have the best snow, and spring skiing brings more sun and warmer temperatures, which usually means a lively social scene. It’s around March that you’ll find morning skiers chasing long lunches with a spot of sunbathing and champagne.