Set in the charming and celeb-studded alpine village of Gstaad, The Alpina Gstaad (Switzerland) is the first five-star hotel to open in the chic Swiss town in more than a century. A mandatory stay for discerning travelers, the $337 million hotel features 56 rooms and suites, three restaurants, a wine cellar, and a cigar lounge, all of which are exquisitely designed. The use of local materials and craftsmanship, such as centuries- old fir wood crafted by master artisans, makes it all the more appealing. Relaxation-seekers will be especially enchanted by the Six Senses Spa, which is equally as lavish.
The spa is a veritable playground for spa enthusiasts thanks to its 12 treatment rooms, many of which are devoted to specific therapies. For instance, there is the Ayurveda Treatment Room, the Colonics Treatment Room, the
Colour Therapy Room, the Floatation Room, the Oriental Room, the Salt Room with a play area for children, and the Cave Room for couples. And because no spa is really complete without a hammam these days, it has one of those, too. In addition, there are five multifunctional treatment rooms for individuals. The spa also features an organically shaped indoor pool, an outdoor garden pool, two Jacuzzis, a yoga studio, a gym, and a juice bar.
According to spa director Jocelyn Pedersen, the unique design is what really helps the spa shine. A melding of Swiss architecture and Eastern influences, the underground retreat is inspired by its alpine setting and built into the mountain with curved walls that allow the spaces to flow together. “The indoor swimming pool brings together traditional Swiss design and the dramatic power of the surrounding Alps,” says Pedersen. “Massive boulders of limestone jut from one wall with water flowing through. Blue skies and natural light shine through a massive skylight in the fir wood ceiling.” The treatment rooms, made with sustainably sourced local pine, resemble Swiss chalets. Even the hammam was created using a special limestone from nearby Laufen.
While the design and decor certainly appeal to Gstaad’s jetsetters, the treatments also do their part to keep them coming back for more. In winter, spa-goers gravitate mainly toward après- ski services, such as muscle-melting massages and healing alpine facials that help protect the skin from the harsh elements and high altitude. A host of Asian therapies fit with the spa brand’s origins. Guests can choose among Foot Acupressure ($234, 60 minutes), Shiatsu ($234, 60 minutes), Thai Herbal Oil Massage ($234, 60 minutes; $340, 90 minutes), Thai Massage ($234, 60 minutes; $340, 90 minutes), and Traditional Tibetan Massage ($265, 60 minutes). Ayurvedic therapies also play a big role in the menu. With no fewer than 16 options, it’s no surprise that the spa has its own authentic Ayurvedic practitioner on staff. According to Pedersen, energy and specialist treatments, such as Moxibustion ($127, 30 minutes), Chakra Balancing ($127, 30 minutes), and Reiki ($255, 60 minutes), can be a bit challenging to promote, as they take more time to explain. The extensive menu emerged as a result of wanting to fuse Eastern and Western therapies. “Guests can stay for two weeks without having the same treatment twice,” says Pedersen.
The same attention to detail devoted to creating the comprehensive menu was dedicated to choosing the spa’s product lines. All were selected on account of their efficacy and reputations for delivering excel- lent results. The French brand Biologique Recherche was chosen for its high concentration of botanical, marine, and biological extracts, as well as its innovative and meticulous protocols. Another skincare line, QMS, formulated by a cosmetic surgeon, was selected for its collagen-enhancing technology. Ila, which is hand-blended in England’s Cotswolds, provides the spa with a more natural and organic line. Because the spa features a variety of Ayurveda treatments, it was necessary to offer an Ayurvedic line. According to Pedersen, Subtle Energies, which was founded by Farida Irani, a pioneer in Ayurvedic aromatherapy, proved the perfect addition with its pure ingredients and rare distilled oils from India.
In a town where money is no object, the spa reaps the benefits with a healthy retail trade. “Beautiful cashmeres, clothing, and home items are also doing really well—exquisite quality and exclusivity are of the essence,” says Pedersen. “We are already sending deliveries to our international guests, and online retail will be available soon.” In the meantime, Pedersen and her staff remain focused on creating the ultimate journey with results-oriented programs and offerings that exceed the expectations of the spa’s worldly clientele. A holistic calendar with a schedule of visiting practitioners offering a combination of physical and spiritual therapies, workshops, and educational talks is also planned. Savvy spa-goers will certainly find much to wax poetic about at this stunning spa.
Owner: Six Senses Spas Spa Director:Jocelyn Pedersen
Opened: December 2012
55% female, 45% male
Most Represented Countries:
Switzerland France U.K
21,500 square feet; 12 treatment rooms
aromatherapy, Ayurveda, body treatments, chromatherapy, couples’ treatments, cupping, energy work, eyelash and brow tinting, facials, fitness, guided meditation, hammam, hand and foot treatments, hydrotherapy, massage, moxibustion, nailcare, naturopathic medicine, outdoor treatments, Pilates, pre- and post-natal services, Qigong, reflexology, sound therapy, tai chi, waxing, yoga
Signature Hammam ($340, 90 minutes)
Most Expensive Offering
Triple Lift Mountain Facial ($478, 2 hours)
Biologique Recherche, Ila, Lycon, OPI, QMS, Six Senses Holistic Skin Care, Subtle Energies, VitaJuwel
Gharieni, Kinesis, Six Senses Gallery, SpaBooker, Technogym, TRX
Architect & Interior Designer
P49 Deesign (Bangkok, Thailand)
Six Senses (Bangkok, Thailand)