GSTAAD, Switzerland – A small Alpine village, long a favored mountain destination in both winter and summer, will welcome a new luxury hotel in December 2012. Crowning Gstaad’s exclusive hilltop area of Oberbort, just five minutes from the center of the village, The Alpina Gstaad overlooks beautiful Saanenland in the heart of the Bernese Alps. It is the first luxury hotel to be built in Gstaad in 100 years.
Set on five acres, the five-star property is part of a $337 million luxury development that will include private apartments within the hotel and two chalets. The Alpina Gstaad is a contemporary interpretation of traditional Swiss architecture incorporating authentic local materials and time-honored Alpine style. Massive blocks of Ringgenberg limestone, the rich brown stone from local quarries, have been hand carved for the entrance and ground floor. Hundred-year-old fir wood, gathered from old Alpine farm houses, decorates the façade and lines the walls of the public rooms. The gabled roof, embellished with dormers and peaks, is of natural slate. The ground floor’s huge windows allow for plenty of natural light and stunning views of the surrounding mountains.
Bordered by an acre and a half of gardens, The Alpina Gstaad will have three restaurants featuring traditional Swiss, international and Asian cuisines, a bar and lounge, a wine tasting room, a private cinema, a cigar room, a ballroom and several boardrooms. The 21,500-square-foot spa will offer holistic treatments and rejuvenation programs and will include a hammam, a fitness center and an 82-foot lap pool. A large outdoor swimming pool will be set in the gardens.
The luxury hotel’s 57 spacious rooms and suites – all with balconies – range from 333 square feet for a standard room to 4,305 square feet for the Panorama Suite.
Guests will arrive at the main gate and descend into a covered drive enroute to a subterranean entrance. A monumental entryway of natural stone with waterfalls and a skylight is designed to ensure that the sights, sounds and scents of nature will be part of the welcoming experience.
The Alpina Gstaad is owned and developed by Grand Hotel Alpina AG and privately managed. “We have built a hotel in traditional style inspired by our Swiss Alpine culture and the rugged beauty of the Bernese Oberland. It will be a cozy, yet very luxurious, hotel providing an authentic mountain experience,” explained hotel owners Marcel Bach and Jean-Claude Mimran of Grand Hotel Alpina AG. “We both grew up in Gstaad and still live in this charming village. We are very proud of our heritage.”
Grand Hotel Alpina AG has retained hotel consultancy REMbrandT Management Services GmbH and appointed Onno Poortier as Owner’s Representative and Advisor. Poortier brings over four decades of development, marketing and operations experience with luxurious international hotel brands to his new position. Most notably, he was president for nine of his 20 years with The Peninsula Group.
“Onno inspires confidence among the development team with his in-depth expertise in the hospitality industry and very warm personality. With Swiss education and training, he understands the local culture,” added Bach and Mimran.
Craftsmen from the region and interior designers from Europe and Asia are working with lead architects Jaggi & Partner AG and lead contractor Chaletbau Matti to ensure The Alpina Gstaad is harmoniously integrated with its Alpine environment.
“In a world where many claim to offer the perfect luxury experience, The Alpina Gstaad aspires to a new level of distinction,” explained Poortier. “I am delighted to be working with the owners on their vision of authentic design combined with contemporary inspiration.”
Niklaus Leuenberger, a Swiss hotelier from the canton of Bern, has been appointed Managing Director. He brings more than three decades of experience with luxury hotels in Asia, the U.S. and the Middle East.
Commenting on his appointment, Niklaus Leuenberger said, “I am delighted to return to Switzerland to open The Alpina Gstaad and lead the hotel team. It is personally exciting for me to return to Gstaad since it was a luxury hotel experience here forty years ago that decided my career choice and life and has now taken me back to my roots.”