48 Hours at the Huus - Gstaad, Switzerland
Imagine a super cool and fashionable hotel in the Alps. One thats situated in one of the world's most glamorous ski resorts. Can you associate these two things with a price below the 1.000 USD/night bar? Most probably not if I tell you that following hotel is located in Switzerland, the place for super-expensive (but super-wow!) hotels. I did not believe as well that such thing exists, but once I found this hidden gem on the website of Designhotels I was keen to give this place a try. So I packed my ski, bags and made the way to a place where I have never been before: Gstaad. Actually such a pity since some of Switzerland's most expensive hotels are based there.
Recently opened, in early December 2016, the brand-new Huus Gstaad is definitely a game-changer in the snobby hotel market of Gstaad-Saanen. While I normally prefer to stay in the middle of the hustle an bustle of these glamorous towns, the Huus did not make the impression to be located on a remote position: while the hotel is situated in Saanen, one can reach the center of Gstaad by 5 minutes driving or taking the bus without changing. So basically yes, the Huus is perfectly situated overlooking the town of Gstaad and the surrounding majestic mountains.
The arrival was very easy over a few alp passes and the Huus is directly on the main road so there is absolutely no trouble finding this place. I parked my car, unpacked the suitcase and made my way to the front desk. Check-in was fast and flawless and soon I was offered a welcome drink and a seat in the brand new and super chic lobby lounge. After a few minutes the front desk attendant arrived with the room keys and told me the way to the room. At this point I clearly need to state that the Huus Gstaad is rated with four-stars and therefore does not need to offer certain standards.
Once I arrived at the room, I was speechless of how amazing they renovated the entire hotel. I knew that the hotel was once called Steigenberger Gstaad-Saanen and I can tell, you really see the difference between before and after. Wonderful and elegant colours are spread out in the entire room. The most wonderful part was the cozy seating area with plenty of pillows and a chic wooden table. While I absolutely loved these comfortable Hästens beds, I didn't find the blanket to be as comfortable. Another lovely spot was the window which could be opened onto the super stylish bathroom. Though I normally prefer walk-in showers, the Huus had a good solution with a fixed glass wall in the tub so no water could be spilled on the floor. As usual in a four-star hotel, the toiletries were in dispenser and smelled quite basic, however not of bad quality. There was a brand new hairdryer and plenty of guest amenities within the bathroom.
A big plus was the complimentary minibar, including two bottles of orange juice, apple juice and sparkling water each. As I finished them all after the second night, I am not sure how they handle an empty minibar during a stay of 7 nights. Maybe there could have been more hangers inside the wardrobe as four were quite few. I really liked the Samsung Smart TV, where I could also play music from my iPhone thanks to Bluetooth. Furthermore I appreciated the fact that I could sleep with open windows, the air was really amazing and it was super quiet.
My room was just next to the Spa, which was a nice and lovely touch. The pool was not yet renovated but looked quite nice and boasted big views of the surrounding mountains and scenery. There is a sauna and steam bath on the second floor of the spa and a small kids corner below the pool area, which does not seem to be used quite often. However a nice idea to create more privacy at the main pool, very well done!
As the hotel just opened one week before I stayed there, a few incidents were unavoidable. However I was confused and slightly upset to experience that I was not able (or not allowed - nobody really knows why) at all to get a table at the main restaurant at La Vue. On the first evening I was told that due to an event the restaurant is full and the other restaurant is closed that Friday so the only option is to have dinner in the bar. So I seated myself next to the restaurant entrance to watch more guests whether they experienced this. In fact I found one couple that did not reserve neither and they were told that they could get a table in 30 to 40 minutes. I was upset already but the next day I recovered myself. On the next evening, I approached the restaurant again and before I could even talk to a restaurant staff member, I was told by the bar manager that the restaurant was full (even tough I saw empty tables). He said I should go to the other restaurants (due to the fact that I did not get a welcome tour, I had no clue where it was). So he just gave random, incorrect instructions and finally I found the chalet. There nobody was on spot and the four tables were dished for six people, so it did not look like a place for solo travellers like me. Guess what? I was having dinner again in the bar, tough the burger was extremely good (I had two burgers during the week in Lausanne and a sandwich the night before, so I was definitely in the mood for a nice dinner). After complaining at the front desk at check-out they removed the food checks which was a lovely touch and happened without further discussions. Well done and point for the hotel, they came up for it! And let's not forget, it's been their second week of operating. BUT Oh my Gosh! The cocktails were AMAZING! They really should do worldwide delivery and these cocktail glasses are killing me - glamour meets luxury!
After the heavenly night, I had breakfast in the main restaurant. It is a very casual service, meaning find your seats by yourself and get the coffee by yourself. Service is here to prepare the tables and clean them. Normally I am not a friend of this service but being guest at a 4-star hotel, I did not mind and enjoyed the breakfast time. The style was buffet with live-cooking and local products. They finished refilling the buffet (at least the cold cuts) from 10am on, though they advertise a long and stressless breakfast - honestly I felt a bit stressed when I arrived at 10am. On the second day there was no clean table and once I found one there has been no cutlery. After sitting there and waiting for a couple of minutes I decided that it might be better to get them by myself and then could enjoy the wonderful swiss breakfast with my loved Caotina hot chocolate - the best in the world and some freshly prepared omelettes by the friendly chef himself.
As many brand new hotels, also the Huus struggles with small problems: The service is not perfect, I missed the friendliness and warmth at front desk and several bar staff members (the lady with glasses was very nice tough) - the others rarely smiled. Nobody ever said hello to me when approaching in the hotel or the breakfast room. I am fine if I don't have perfect service, but at least I should be appreciated as a guest and this time I was not.
In general I liked the idea to be in Saanen and not directly in Gstaad, as you are not in the heart of the hustle and bustle. Furthermore you have an amazing view of Gstaad from the Huus and there is the possibility to rent one of the super chic Range Rovers, tough the front desk doesn't advertise that. Staying at the brand new Huss can be a wonderful experience and they offer a great value for money in the region Gstaad-Saanen where luxury hotel rates rarely go below 1.000 Swiss Francs per night. www.huusgstaad.com/en
We were exclusively invited by the Huus Gstaad for editorial purposes. However this review represents our personal opinion and has not been influenced.