Aficionado speaks with Eric Favre, general manager of The Alpina Gstaad about the past, present and future of the property.
The Alpina Gstaad is the first new luxury hotel built in Gstaad in 100 years, how challenging was the project to eventually get off the ground?
The true Gstaad is a place where those who embrace life’s fast pace can find the space to slow down. Gstaad has always delivered variety and “surprises year-round”; that’s where The Alpina Gstaad comes to surface, with a fresh interpretation of Alpine chic.
The Swiss tourism industry has by no means recovered from the decline in bookings caused by the strength of the Swiss franc and its high costs in recent years. I believe that The Alpina is the first luxury hotel in Gstaad over the last 100 years, due to the world’s volatile economic environment, and because investors search for more attractive and profitable markets.
The Alpina Gstaad was only possible due to the combination of the Mimran and Bach families’ innovative vision, passion and constant search for beauty with the necessity to go beyond Swiss stereotypes and the expected.
What was the investment range involved with the hotel?
Four years in the making, The Alpina Gstaad luxury development investment was $337 million (300m Swiss francs).
Set on five acres, The Alpina Gstaad development includes 14 private apartments within the 56 rooms and suites in the hotel, and three chalets. An acre and a half of gardens, three restaurants including the first European outpost of MEGU, the celebrated Japanese restaurant, a traditional Swiss stübli and Michelin Star Restaurant Sommet.
A 21,500-square-foot Six Senses Spa offers holistic treatments and rejuvenation programmes and includes a hammam, a fitness centre and an 82-foot lap pool. Among the special features of The Alpina Gstaad are: a Havana-inspired cigar lounge, a wine tasting room, a private cinema and an outdoor swimming pool.
What would you say is the hotel’s biggest strength?
I would say that the hotel’s biggest strength is that it is “a project of passion”.
What are your grand plans for the hotel?
Being “a project of passion” I personally believe that there is always room for improvement. The Alpina Gstaad is, until a certain point, an extension of our Owners constant “search for beauty”, entrusted in The Alpina Gstaad dynamic team.
My three main plans for the future are: To ensure that every guest feels at home with us and that each single request is satisfied; to create a unique world and “beyond the expected experience”; and to continue focusing on innovation and, together with our Innovation and Development department team, concentrate on the experiment and development of creative products, services and experiences (for guests and employees), in order to increase guest and employee satisfaction, with the aim to become the best hotel in Switzerland.