Le Grand Bellevue
What’s so special?
This is considered by some to be Gstaad’s best located hotel, due to its prime position within its own park at the start of the town’s main shopping street. Packed full of designer stores, it’s where the 50% of Gstaad’s visitors who don’t ski hang out.
How they rate it
Le Grand Bellevue is a “good-looking and pleasingly eclectic home from home”, says Fiona Duncan in The Daily Telegraph. It “feels more like a personally run country house than a snobby palace hotel – but one with superb facilities and exceptional standards.
The vast subterranean spa includes a labyrinth of… eight types of themed sauna and steam room. The hairdresser and physiotherapist are acclaimed, the pianist is internationally known”. There are 57 rooms with luxurious beds and bathrooms.
There are three options for hotel dining: a sushi bar, fondue, or Michelin-starred Leonard’s, where the “reasonably priced food – sharing plates, risottos, wiener schnitzel… is imaginatively presented and very good”.
Prices start from £266. For more information, visit www.bellevue-gstaad.ch, or call 00 41 33 748 0000.
What’s so special?
The rest of Gstaad’s five-star hotels boast about their history – they’re all at least 100 years old – but Alpina Gstaad is newly built and less than a year old. As a result it has the latest technology and mod cons, yet still looks like a beautiful alpine palace.
How they rate it
Built on a slight hill above the town, “every room has a balcony and views of the town or the mountains”, says Lucia van der Post in the Financial Times. “There are 25 rooms and 31 suites, all larger and more interesting than its five-star competition.”
Many of the bedrooms “have wood fires that come on at the flick of a switch and state-of-the-art lighting… but there are also old Swiss antiques and other alpine touches”.
The “show-stopper” at the hotel is the “spectacular” 21,000 sq ft Six Senses spa. “A swim at sunrise in the heated outdoor pool surrounded by pine trees and mountains is magical,” says Laura Ivill in The Times.
There are three restaurants: Japanese Megu, elegant Sommet, which has a seven-course tasting menu, and “the slightly kitschy Stübli, which serves specialities such as rosti, fondues and raclettes”.
Prices for double rooms start from £279. For more information see www.thealpinagstaad.ch, or call 00 41 33 888 9888.
The height of Himalayan luxury
The Vana Retreat is a 21-acre estate that opened this year just outside Dehradun, the capital of the Indian state of Uttarakhand. “Set on a small plateau, with the hill station of Mussoorie to the north, it ties together the principles of Ayurveda, Tibetan healing, yoga and personal fitness to offer guests a tailored wellness programme,” says The Independent.
“Whether you’re there for weight management, to de-stress or detox, the team of doctors, dieticians and therapists will devise a plan best suited to your needs.”
• Three nights cost from £1,376, all inclusive (Vanaretreats.com).
Aman resorts owns five lodges in Bhutan (pictured).“The idea is that guests can form a circuit around Bhutan’s mountain passes, but you can also simply shack up in one place for the duration of your stay.” Each lodge is built to resemble the “Dzong-style architecture of the Bhutanese Himalayas, but the first outpost in Paro just nudges into the lead, thanks to its two-storey spa”.
• Doubles cost from £1,240, all inclusive (Amanresorts.com).
For a smaller price tag, try the Begnas Lake Resort in Nepal. This is a “tranquil lakeside retreat in the Pokhara Valley”. It “specialises in low-cost spa breaks with side orders of healthy vegetarian food.
Yoga takes place in the garden pavilion each morning and afternoon, while treatments are administered in elevated rooms above the lake shore”. Hiking, bird-watching and boat excursions are also on offer.
• Doubles cost from £100, including breakfast (Begnaslakeresort.com).