Adventure

A Weekend in Gstaad

by Tanya Christensen

July 9, 2024

Despite the prevalent aura of luxury that blankets certain mountain towns, our latest visit to Gstaad left us unexpectedly…charmed. We found instead, a village that is inclusive and friendly—where generations of hard workers take pride in traditions, and guarding practices but also freely sharing them. We found immersive experiences that encouraged us to take part in and celebrate nature, exploring the valley paths and mountain trails. And we found refuge and rest, places and spaces that allowed us to disconnect to connect – or as they say in Gstaad, it was indeed a place to come up so we could slow down.

backpack

Where to Stay

The Mansard Hotel – a recently opened boutique hotel right on the main street in the center of downtown Gstaad village, the Mansard is gorgeously designed with minimalist but muted luxury in mind. The staff are so friendly and accommodating, and their rooftop bar boasts a lovely panoramic view of the village and mountain range nearby. One of our favorite small details? The rainfall shower with LABO Santal 33 products.

TLG TIP: Start with drinks at VANE, the rooftop bar, then head downstairs to MIRADI restaurant and order the oriental spicy lamb with papaya salad. The mix of flavors, perfectly cooked lamb, and courage to actually add spice made it one of those meals we didn’t want to end.

lamb
mansard bar

Huus – a very short drive from the center of Gstaad, Huus is nestled in a hillside overlooking the village below with incredible Alpine views of the Bernese Oberland. A gorgeous and impressive lobby with an expansive bar welcomes you – and from apero time until your nightcap, a DJ usually spins sultry beats as you sit on velvet or leather couches. It’s not unusual for the crowd to be a mix of hiking boots while others wear Guccis. It’s a beautiful marriage of adventure and extravagance. Their indoor pool and spa are a must – and there’s even a kids’ club that allows parents a little well-deserved break.

TLG TIP: The HUUS Sushi chefs know what they’re doing. It’s worth splurging and ordering a variety, paired with their elegant cocktails. Eat on the terrace as the sun dips then head inside to dance the night away as the DJ spins tracks you can’t find on Shazam.

Huus
Huus lobby

Where to Eat

Besides the two convenient and delicious hotel restaurants and bars (MIRADI, VUE, VANE) Gstaad has a few other cute, quaint, or straight-up luxe institutions.

Lobster Huus

Charly’s – Built in 1912, it’s a popular destination for locals and visitors alike. For your morning coffee, hot chocolate, and pastry, head to this cozy chalet right on the main pedestrian street in the village.

Posthotel Rössli – Either sit outside and people-watch while listening to the bubbling fountain, or opt to take in the cozy vibe of this 175-year-old post office turned restaurant. Traditional alpine food grace the menu, and the service is extremely friendly.

La Bagatelle - Savor exquisite French cuisine made from premium ingredients in a cosy, elegant setting with warm wood, soft lighting, and a stunning terrace view. The service is incredible, and though it’s on the pricier side, it’s an amazing meal you will not forget.

Posthotel

What to Do

TLG TIP: When checking into your hotel, make sure to ask for a Gstaad Card – this card will enable you to book some incredible and exclusive experiences and also benefit from discounts as well as free public transportation)

Visit the Alpenruhe playground. If you have kids, this is an absolute must; an expansive playground with an inflatable trampoline, slides, climbing, water games, sand, and even a petting zoo. We arrived and thought to ourselves, whoever designed this playground really understands the ins and outs of a child's mind. They even provided waterproof trousers and wellies for kids who didn’t want to get wet in the water area. But perhaps our favourite part was this intricate ball track that invited both kids and adults to play – it geniusly combined puzzle solving strategy with physical movements encouraging the player to try to move their ball successfully along a track. Oh, and did we mention it’s entirely free?

waterpark
bouncy
park

Learn the secrets of cheesemaking. Through the Gstaad card, you can book an incredible experience with cheesemaker Dominik Matti and his family. After a short gondola ride and hike up to his alpine farm, we watched, learned, and tasted. Dominik is a 4th generation cheesemaker and makes cheese every day in the morning and evening with fresh milk from his 32 cows. We learned the difference between Alpkäse and Bergkäse (the former has to be produced directly on an alpine pasture and only operates in the summer while the latter has to be a mountain but not specifically alpine) and witnessed the process – a beautiful mix of intuition and science. It’s safe to say we now have a new-found appreciation for cheese and will never eat it without thinking of the care that goes into each wheel. Find the summer program to visit Dominik and his family here.

Making cheese
Cheesemaker
cheese house
matt

Take fondue to go. And speaking of cheese, there’s an incredible experience for those who want a little adventure with their cheese. Reserve your fondue backpack from the Gstaad Molkerie (Dairy) and take your meal to the mountains. There are six oversize caquelons and two cosy huts (hiking maps available from either Gstaad Tourism or ask your hotel reception) available for you to enjoy your fondue with the most epic scenery. The day we grabbed ours, the weather wasn’t cooperative, so we ended up finding a hilltop and setting up before the storm hit and it was just as enjoyable. We plan to go back and try again, this time making it to the picturesque caquelon.

hike fondue
fondue

Head to the Gstaad Sportzentrum for a swim (they have an incredible indoor/outdoor pool situation with views) and for some miniature golf. While there, grab a beer and some bites at the newly renovated sports bar The Boat, and let the kids run wild in the open park just beside the terrace. It’s a win-win for everyone.

Sportscenter
play

Saanis Sound Adventure Trail. This is a super fun way to get even the most hesitant of little hikers motivated to walk – grab a booklet (either from the Tourism office or we got ours from the Sportzentrum reception) and take a walk along rivers, farms, and fields while solving puzzles along the way. The walk can be started from either Saanen or Gstaad (we began at the Sportszentrum) and has 18 different ‘sound stations’ positioned throughout the trail. For adults, it’s just a beautiful and scenic walk – listen to the river flowing, the birds, the trees, and unwind. The booklet is 5chf and if completed, it can be returned to the tourism office for a prize.

book
soundtrail
soundtrail

This article was written by Tanya Christensen, co-founder of TLG, in collaboration with Gstaad Tourism. A huge thank you to the organizations and businesses who support our project and encourage us to share the best places to eat, visit, and play in and around Lausanne. For more ideas and adventures in Gstaad, check out the experiences offered through Gstaad Tourism here.