On 20th December 2022, the Gstaad Palace opened its doors for its 110th winter season. The team around General Manager and owner Andrea Scherz has put together a packed programme of events running through to 12th March 2023. Substantial investments have been made in the hotel’s wellness area, while staff accommodation and other behind-the-scenes facilities have also undergone extensive refurbishment. The 'Salle Bridge' has been converted into a sophisticated location for meetings and events, while several guest rooms have also been restyled.
Mountain view deluxe junior suite. All images courtesy of Gstaad Palace.
Snow-covered mountains, homely chalets, wintry forests, and towering in the midst of it all, the Gstaad Palace in matching white – it's a sight that has lost none of its charm throughout the past 110 years. Inside, the scent of Christmas biscuits and seasonal music float in the air, as children's eyes light up at the sight of the elaborately decorated Christmas tree and generations gather around the open fireplace. It may sound like a fairy tale, but it is as real as ever. The Gstaad Palace has been opening its doors to guests since 1913 and, once again, is rolling out a wintry wonderland for young and old alike.
Continuous investment The Gstaad Palace is in family hands. The region’s leading establishment engages in a continuous process of innovation, most recently with a substantial investment in the wellness area. Newly opened for this winter season, the outdoor jacuzzi of the Palace Spa has now doubled in size, measuring 13 x 5 metres. Extensive changes have also been made to the 'Salle Bridge'. Formerly the setting for card games, horse race betting and similar pastimes, the room has now been adapted to host small conferences and celebrations.
At accommodation level, one Deluxe and two Superior rooms have been fully renovated. "The Gstaad Palace isn't idle during the low season," explains Andrea Scherz, General Manager and third generation owner of the Gstaad Palace. "On the contrary, we are continuously redesigning our facilities in accordance with the requirements of our international guests. Following the coronavirus pandemic, which can hopefully be consigned to history, visitors are now returning from all corners of the world. Booking levels are high for this winter and we're looking forward to a joyous and peaceful festive period and a winter season that looks to be as lively as ever," Andrea Scherz enthuses.
High staff welfare In the Gstaad Palace staff building, the new 'Marmite Lounge' is now open. It is a welcoming and homely place where employees can meet and engage with each other during break time and after work. "It's important to us that our crew is happy and feels appreciated in their role within this establishment," adds Andrea Scherz. For this reason, investments in guest accommodation have gone hand in hand with refurbishing staff bedrooms, which now offer substantially higher comfort levels. New hardware and IT systems have also been put in place, to streamline and facilitate routine tasks.
Tower Junior Suite. All images Stefano Scata.
La Dolce Vita in all its variations The culinary programme for the winter season is dedicated to delicate flavours and delightful indulgence. To set the tone, Culinary Director Franz W. Faeh and his 55-strong crew will be going all out with a five-course festive menu at Christmas. In line with the motto 'La Dolce Vita', the seasonal celebrations will culminate in the grand New Year's Eve party held in the 'Salle Baccarat' and throughout the hotel. A floor below, hearty classic Swiss dishes in the form of fondue and raclette are served in the intentionally low-key 'La Fromagerie', housed in rooms that once served as a Second World War gold bunker for a Swiss bank. Guest chef Ravi Bajaj will also be present this season. A star chef in England and an esteemed friend of the house, he will be delighting guests with his Indian cuisine.
GreenGo celebrates the big 50 (+2) Last but not least, 'GreenGo', the original Gstaad nightclub opened in 1971, will finally be celebrating its 50th anniversary – and it will be doing it in style. An entire series of parties are planned, and on 7 January 2023 the club will play host to a big international act, to be announced on Instagram over the coming weeks. All we will say for now is: Don't forget your dancing shoes. And there's more news from the club. Jasmine Wheatcroft, artist and Gstaad resident, is revamping the graffiti wall with a hyper-realistic collage. Street art is giving way to portraits of the stars and starlets that party at the GreenGo.
Modern art amid breathtaking scenery In collaboration with long-standing partner Hauser & Wirth, the Gstaad Palace is pleased to present an installation in the Palace garden. Two large bronze sculptures by William Kentridge, 'Her' (2021) and 'Cape Silver' (2018) will be set against the imposing mountain backdrop. Further works by the leading contemporary artist from South Africa will also be on show at 'Tarmak22' at Gstaad-Saanen Airport from 17 December 2022.
Next generation gathers at Sammy’s Winter Kids Club Sammy, once the Palace family's much-loved pet, lives on as the mascot of the children's entertainment programme at the Gstaad Palace. From film nights and story time through to Christmas baking sessions, there's plenty in store for the kids. Further opportunities to be among themselves and enjoy a magical time include the kids-only Christmas, pyjama and New Year parties. Outside, the Palace garden awaits with animal encounter events such as pony riding and a meeting with the St. Bernard dogs, as they visit from their high-altitude home on the eponymous mountain pass. "The Palace is all about family traditions. 'We are family' isn't just an advertising slogan for us, but a way of life. So it's a joy and a pleasure to open our doors to the next generation of Palace guests," says Andrea Scherz.
Gstaad palace is partner hotel. After intense rain all morning, the teams finally played in the dry, under a radiant sun even, and in the dream setting of the Gstaad mountains on a field in excellent condition. Two intense and competitive games and for a good reason: it was the semi-finals of the Hublot Polo Gold Cup. In the end, the two winners of Thursday’s games came out on top once again and will face each other in Sunday’s final: Clinique La Prairie and Kielder Agro Uruguay.
The first semi-final between Hublot and Clinique La Prairie was easily won by the team in white judging by the score and yet according to Raul Laplacette: “No, no, we started a little worried after the others scored the first goal. We really had to make an effort to come back. Hublot is a strong team and you never know what can happen on the field. Here, because it’s smaller, you have to hit the ball hard and put pressure on the other team because it’s difficult to turn the game around just by dribbling.” Author of 3 goals, the Argentinian with the blue visorless helmet – “to see better” – moved easily on the field giving the impression of being in several places at once sending balls to his teammate Facundo Kelly, author of 4 goals. “It is thanks to the very fast horses that I can be everywhere. Apart from Lucas Labat, who came with his strong string, our team is mounted with the horses of Polo Park Zurich of Sebastien Le Page. They come from Martin Podesta, so they are very good and that will be our strength for the final.“A final in which they will face the second winning team of the day, Kielder Agro. A victory also obvious on paper, but less so on the field, especially since the number 2 of the green team, the talented Bautista Beguerie, injured his hand and had to be replaced in the second chukker by Fabio Bolantero, h4. However, this did not disturb the team, especially one of the two captains, Luca Meier, author of 4 goals. Their confident leader, Ezequiel Martinez-Ferrario (h7), therefore took control of this game from the beginning. “Tomorrow“, warns the Argentine, “we will have to remain vigilant. Clinique La Prairie is a good team with very good horses and it will definitely be a tough and beautiful final.” After that, Ezequiel “Gallego” Martinez will be back to his country with a big goal in mind: the qualifying tournament for the Argentine Open, the pinnacle of the polo world. Yet another proof that the players who play in Gstaad are some of the world’s best.Tomorrow, these two teams will face each other in the final at 3 pm after the “small final” at 1:30 pm. The visitors, already numerous today, will be able to enjoy the village with exhibitors, food trucks and activities for children from 11 am. Teams and progressionsFirst game:Team Hublot: Henry Fielding Elser (h0); Goffredo Cutinelli-Rendina (h3), 2 goals; Teo von Neufforge (h5), 1 goal; Pedro Fernandez Llorente (h5), 1 goalTeam Clinique La Prairie: Sébastien Le Page (h0), 1 goal; Lucas Labat (h5), 1 goal; Facundo Kelly (h3), 4 goals; Raul Laplacette (h6), 3 goals Progression Clinique La Prairie : (avantage ½ goal pour Hublot) 2/1½ – 5/1½ – 8/2½ and 9/ 4½ Second game: Team Gstaad Palace: Cedric Schweri (h0); Joao Novaes (h5) 3 goals; Tomi Astelarra (h3); Dario Musso (h5) Team Kielder Agro: Fabio Meier (h1); Luca Meier (h1), 4 goals, Bautista Beguerie (h5), 1 goal; Ezequiel Martinez-Ferrario (h7), 2 goals Progression Kielder Agro: (avantage ½ goal pour Gstaad Palace) 2/0½ – 4/1½ – 5/2½ and 7/3½