After a good night’s sleep, an energising morning run along a jogging path recommended by my personal concierge, Gustavo, and a scrumptious healthy breakfast served en suite on my sunny balcony, I was more than ready to explore more of the breath-taking Gstaad.
Day two kicked off early with our tour guide Margaret picking us up for a short walk over to the cable car station of Mount Wispile. If you are a nature lover and keen to know more about the traditional way of making cheese then The Wispile is the place to be. A scenic 10 minutes cable car ride takes you up to 1915 metres above sea level to Berghaus Wispile, a family-friendly paradise with a 360 degrees view of Gstaad, a petting zoo, playground and much more.
The Wispile is not only famous for its cheese trail, scooter run and Fondueland Gstaad, it is also home to Paragliding School Gstaad. As we exited the cable cars, we were able to witness a tandem paragliding taking off. A definite ‘must try’ for the adrenaline rushers and for those who want to make a man’s biggest dream of flying like a bird come true.
As the paraglider took off, we started our short hike to Dominik Matti’s local cheese farm. The Matti family produces delicious Swiss cheese of their Simmentaler cows’ milk. Dominik together with his wife and two children live at the mountain farm all summer long producing large numbers of traditional cheese wheels which are later sold in the town of Gstaad.
The basic principles of cheese making have not changed over the centuries, although nowadays modern technology has taken over. The Matti family, however, still relies on the classic way of processing cheese.
Cheese making consists of five stages:
- Heating, forming and saline bathing
- Fermenting and ripening
- Quality control
Tasting the freshly produced raw cheese was one of the highlights of this trip.
We decided to hike back to Berghaus for a panoramic lunch. The food was delicious and we must have sat there for 30 minutes just taking it all in before we headed down to Gstaad City for a quick tour.
Our stay coincided with the World Championship in Beach Volleyball, just one of the many international sporting events held at Gstaad every year, attracting thousands of visitors from all over the world.
The traffic-free city centre features a main shopping street, traditional houses, cafes and luxury boutiques. After watching a beach volleyball match, strolling around the city centre and a bit of window-shopping (you may need a larger budget to shop in Gstaad), we returned to Ultima Gstaad to dress up for an evening at the luxurious Gstaad Palace.
Although it opened in 1913, the Gstaad Palace only came into its own in the 1970s when celebrities such as Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton partied at the GreenGo nightclub. Until today, celebrities, royalty and wealthy businessmen check in at the hotel but prefer to keep a lower profile.
The Palace’s Vice Director, Vittorio di Carlo, hosted us for the evening and took us on an insightful tour around the property. Gstaad Palace is a fascinating combination of a fairy tale palace and ultra-modern luxury hotel. Celebrities’ favourite is definitely the spectacular 240 sqm penthouse suite which includes an exclusive tower sauna with Jacuzzi, access via a private lift, and a 140 sqm roof top terrace with a breath-taking Alp mountains panorama in three directions.
Gstaad Palace looks remarkably like a Disney movie castle. Maybe that’s why Michael Jackson liked the Palace so much. In fact, he tried to buy it but the Scherzer family, who have been owning and running the hotel for three generations, turned him down.
During our tour, Vittorio explained that all the 104 rooms and suites feature a picturesque view and are furnished in a charming Swiss mountain style. Guests can enjoy a variety of facilities including the Palace Spa, a wellness complex over 1,800 sqm with a Hamam, lounge with fireplace and private treatment rooms.
The palace pampers their vacationers with special services such as renowned Les Clefs d’Or Concierges and halal meat served in all restaurants.
Vittorio invited us for dinner at La Grande Terrace, one of the five on-site restaurants. Tuxedoed waiters welcomed and seated us on a table with a beautiful view. Our set menu included the famous Simmentaler Beef steak and the traditional Swiss Meringue dessert. The steak was “à point” and definitely the best I have ever had in my life.
The service we were given from the moment we arrived at Gstaad Palace is unparalleled. After a luxury dripping evening, Vittorio had one more surprise waiting for us – a waterpipe by Steamulation Exclusive collection, made of pure gold and Swarovski crystals. Trying this waterpipe was a highlight itself. I am no longer surprised why the elite choose to regularly stay at Gstaad Palace. It was the perfect ending to our stay in quaint Gstaad before heading off to vibrant Basel the next day.
Author: Jasmin Maier
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