Apres Ski in Gstaad’s art-filled hotels

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One of the chicest ski destinations in Europe, Gstaad attracts such celebrities as Valentino, Madonna, and the late Princess Diana, to its slopes. In spite of being the resort of choice for a jet set crowd, it has remained a traditional Swiss village, with working farms and chalets nestled between the scenic Alps —providing a relaxed, small town feel. But recently, two of its top hotels have decided to shake things up and take the Alpine theme in a more contemporary, design-centric direction. From the outside, the architecture fits perfectly within its surroundings, but step inside either hotel, and you discover a sophisticated interior outfitted with impressive works of art and design.

Cageling seating by Ontwerpduo at Le Grand Bellevue hotel. Photograph by Nick Hopper.

At the Alpina Gstaad, the interior balances a contemporary approach with traditional details and local materials. But it is the art on display that really sparks the imagination. Assembled and curated by Nachson Mimran, chairman of the hotel, the collection includes pieces by artists, including Jana Euler, Dan Colen, Terence Koh, Dan McDermott, and David Yarrow. Right at the main entrance, above the grand staircase, is a carefully restored, antique wood ceiling believed to be from around 1780. Once up at the mezzanine, guests can choose whether to lounge by Tracey Emin’s neon work, bearing the message, And I said I love you! or dine next to works by Fluxus artist John Armleder. “One of the coolest things about choosing art for the hotel is that we can show larger works of an installation scale,” explains Mimran.

And I said  I Love You! by Tracey Emin at Alpina Gstaad. Photograph by Paul Clemence.

Nearby, Le Grand Bellevue hotel is anchored at the tip of the Promenade, the town’s main street, and as the name suggests, the design takes inspiration from the tradition of grand hotels but reinterpreted through subtle humor and a contemporary eye. If the Wes Anderson aesthetic comes to mind, it is by no coincidence. Anderson’s Grand Hotel Budapest was a source of inspiration for owners Daniel and Davia Koetser, who worked closely with Atelier Zurich to create a warm yet whimsical interior, which is enhanced by the intimate scale. Traditional furnishings mix with modern pieces, such as the cage swing chair by the Dutch design group Ontwerpduo, ornate Murano light chandeliers, and George Carwardine’s Giant 1227 floor lamp (in canary yellow, no less) in the lounge. "Luxury is always associated with formality in the hotel sphere. Le Grand Bellevue uses humorous creativity to urge our clients to relax, unwind, and be fabulous,” explains Daniel. Case in point, the plaid wrapped camel by the entrance.

Giant 1227 floor lamp by George Carwardine at Le Grand Bellevue. Hopper Photo.

Even on the slopes, you’ll find a touch of contemporary design. At Glacier 3000, a lift station designed by the Swiss architect Mario Botta stands out against the craggy, snow-covered landscape with its impressive rectangular volume carved into the side of the mountain. And once inside station’s restaurant, Botta, you'll experience dramatic views to the valley below.

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