“Getting up to the mountains is heaven, and Gstaad is as magical in the spring as it is in the winter, when the snow brings a blanket of glittering quiet.
Saturday mornings begin with a walk to the village where I get the newspapers before heading on to Charly’s coffee shop. It’s been there for years and the pastries are simply amazing, but I try to resist and go for a coffee and a “glow juice”, made by my friend Dianne.
I do a lot of walking and hiking. My husband Tommy and I like the long walk to Lauenen, where you follow a river trail through a fairytale forest. The views are never lost on me. Having worked up an appetite, we’ll head to the authentic, chalet-style Hotel Wildhorn which is renowned for its decadent rösti, the traditional Swiss potato dish that is prepared every imaginable way here. I prefer the version with ham and egg, but they’re all delicious.
Saturday afternoon means a massage at The Alpina hotel, where the spa is excellent. I am inspired by its understated design ethos in my own work – it makes use of rich natural materials such as Ringgenberg limestone and black onyx – and Antonis is a gifted therapist. He uses a mixture of reiki and rejuvenating therapeutic massage. From there I might pop in to see Kevin at the Palace, where the buzzy lobby lounge is perfection – for a blowdry before a night out with friends. If time allows, I’ll stop by Maison Lorenz Bach, a well-edited clothing store with everything from traditional Tyrol jackets to fantastic studded belts. And Marti Interiors is a tempting source of chalet accessories, such as horn candlesticks and felt baskets that are used as log holders.
One of the best spots on a Saturday night is at the Olden Hotel where Massimo, the maître d’, is fantastic and the bar has a warm, convivial feel. The restaurant here is just as seductive, so we’ll stay and have my favourite spaghettini sciué sciué, a spicy tomato pasta.
On Sunday morning, I’ll get up early to meet Alex Jenzer, a dear friend and hiking guru who knows the surrounding mountains like no one else. The sheer number of trails, as well as the epic scenery, are mindblowing. For some culture, we’ll hike to one of the area’s art installations such as Doug Aitken’s glass house – an incredible structure made of mirrors. After all of this activity, Sunday lunch is a must, and so I’ll meet my sister and brother-in-law at the Sonnenhof. We’ll sit on the terrace whatever the weather, as the views are stunning. I rarely eat meat, but here they serve the steak, still sizzling, on a hot, black stone and it’s exceptionally good.
We’ll walk back through Saanen, where there are some super antiques stores that range from Swiss traditional to midcentury modern. Tommy has quite a sweet tooth so we’ll pop into Délice, a cake shop run by the talented Heidi Sigrist-Wehren. She made our wedding cake and is considered a true pâtisserie queen.
From there we’ll walk back along the river – usually with our dog, Rocky – before returning home to read the papers by an open fire. We’ll spend Sunday nights at Seize, a very cool restaurant serving excellent mussels and light fresh soups. As the weekend draws to a close, the ski gear and hiking boots are returned to their places, my suits are packed, and I feel ready to face the busy week ahead.”
This story was originally posted on March 5 2019.