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July 12, 2013 - Issue 4 – CHF 3.50 excl VAT

Call of the Wild A Conversation with Naturalist Bert Inäbnit

Hotel Renaissance

Showdown in the Alps

Countess LuAnn

Oldie but a Goodie

Le Grand Bellevue, Tout New

Federer Comes Home

The Real Life of a Real Housewife

Saanen’s Schoolhouse Gets a Makeover


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Letter from the Editor

Summertime … and the Lovin’ Is Easy If it’s your first summer in the Saanenland, you may be overwhelmed by all there is to do here. I know that I am. Putting together this issue of GSTAADLIFE underscored all of the wonderful options available to tourists and locals alike – from hiking in the Alps and attending worldclass sporting events to listening to the very best in classical music. Love is in the mountain air All manner of love features in this edition. There’s the love of nature, as illustrated by our exclusive interview with the Saanenland’s own Dr Doolittle, Bert Inäbnit, whose passion for the great outdoors informs every aspect of his life. There’s the love of local deer and their young, as expressed by the Fawn Rescue Group of Saanen. We’ll tell you all about this dedicated group’s hair-raising attempts to save baby deer from the hazard of riding lawnmowers. Then there’s the love of the spectacular landscape itself. We’ll show you where to go and where to stop – including the newly renovated Geltenhütte, just one of several mountain huts where you can stop to enjoy a cold drink, warm meal, or even catch some ZZZs after a challenging romp up the hillside. For the love of the game If summer sports are your one true love, you’ve


come to the right place. On the slate this month are two big events guaranteed to please even the most discriminating sports fan. First, the Beach Volleyball Grand Slam finals take the spotlight on July 14. Second, the Swiss Open Gstaad runs July 20 to 28 – and unless you’ve been hiding out high in the Alpine wilderness, you already know that last-minute entry Roger Federer will be stealing all the thunder on the clay court. If you prefer style to sweat, get your game on at Le Grand Bellevue, now open for business after a magic-wand makeover. Try their Bellevue Smash – a fresh concoction of gin and raspberries. Have more than two and smash will take on a whole new meaning. If you love music, you’ll love our story on the Menuhin Festival. This two-month extravaganza offers fans a full schedule of concerts, all carefully designed to reflect its 2013 “Water” theme. Love, luck and what I wore Sometimes, deciding what to wear is as big a challenge as deciding what to do while you wear it. As a recent transplant, I’m living out of my Samsonite as I continue the seemingly impossible hunt for an apartment. The wide range of activities on Gstaad’s summer calen-

dar demands a versatile wardrobe, the likes of which do not fit into your ordinary suitcase. I’m at a loss as I debate my summer wardrobe: Miu Miu or Mammut? Capris or cocktail dresses? Black or white? Fortunately, columnist M. Theodoracopolus shares a secret with us: What you wear doesn’t matter, as long as it isn’t black. One local needs no such reminder: Carol Asscher, who favours la vie en rose in summer, as evidenced by her carefully colour-coordinated party, detailed in our Lifestyle section by J. Piromallo. The (short) summer of love While there’s a lot to love about summer here, there’s not a lot of it to love. Meteorologically speaking, this summer won’t go down as the nicest in history, with snow falling until midJune. But now, the sun has arrived and the warm weather is perfect for the host of activities we’ve covered in this issue of GSTAADLIFE. On that note, please excuse me – there’s simply too much to do and too little time!

All best, Alexis Munier – Editor in Chief

at www.gstaadlife.com

Twitter: @GSTAADLIFE · Facebook: Gstaad Life · Youtube: GstaadLife GSTAADLIFE, Anzeiger von Saanen, Kirchstrasse 7, P.O. Box 201, 3780 Gstaad, Phone: 033 748 88 74, Fax: 033 748 88 84, info@gstaadlife.ch, www.gstaadlife.com, www.gstaadlife.ch Management Board: Frank Müller Publisher: Frank Müller, frank.mueller@gstaadlife.ch Editor in Chief: Alexis Munier Contributors: Mandolyna Theodoracopulos, Januaria Piromallo, Stephanie Schopfer Layout: Arlette Bütschi Printing: Müller Marketing & Druck AG, Gstaad Advertising: Peter Kuntze-Schneider, peter.kuntze@ gstaadlife.ch, Phone: 033 744 46 64 Subscriptions: Flurina Mutzner, flurina.mutzner@mdruck.ch, Phone: 033 748 88 74


“...and when I open my eyes the ipad’s going to be back where I left it...”


GSTAADLIFE Letter from the Editor


Cartoon – Oliver Preston



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Local News Post Gsteig, Bergbahnen Gstaad, New Reservoir for Saanen


Profile Bert Inäbnit – The Bird Whisperer of Gstaad


Lifestyle The Countess from Connecticut – LuAnn de Lesseps


The Marbella Destination Wedding, Gstaad-Style


Carol Asscher: The Artful Hostess Goes Pink


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Business Luxury Blooms at Le Grand Bellevue


Laurence Graff Receives OBE for Services to Jewellery


Traditions Saving Bambi in the Saanenland


Love at 2002 Metres


Education 21st Century Makeover for 1880 Schoolhouse


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Gstaad Living Ten-Year Overhaul of Road to Zweisimmen Underway


Sports & Leisure Federer is the Wild Card at Swiss Open Gstaad


Seeing Red – Vintage Car Rallies Storm the Saanenland


GSTAADLIFE Recommends The New Geltenhütte – Dreaming at 2002 Metres Above Sea Level


Entertainment Gstaad Overflows with Music at Menuhin Festival


“Altitude” Both Name and Theme of 2013 Alt. +1000 Festival


Events Calendar


Last Word M. Theodoracopulos Ladies in Black


Cover Photo: Raphaël Faux · Photographer Chalet Le Pont · 1659 Rougemont · +41 (0) 79 673 60 05 Email: info@gstaadphotography.com · www.gstaadphotography.com

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Bissen Project, F. Frisardi



Gschwendstrasse 2 I T +41 (0)33 748 45 50 I F +41 (0)33 748 45 51 I info@gerax.ch I www.gerax.ch

Local News

You’ve Got Mail … Until October BY: GSTAADLIFE

Downsizing strikes again at the postal service. Following in the footsteps of villages Feutersoey, Lauenen and Saanenmöser, the post office in Gsteig will cease operations this October. “We weren’t exactly surprised when we heard the news for the first time in March,” says Gemeindeschreiber (town clerk) Paul Reichenbach. “After all the post office closings, we knew a similar fate could befall Gsteig-bei-Gstaad.” Replacing the full-service post office will be a manned postal window located in Peter Beetschen’s Cheslade, a small shop nearby, where basic services such as bill-paying and mailing letters and packages will be available. Cheslade also offers food staples and

hygiene products, saving residents the trip down to a larger grocery store in Gstaad.

What Goes Up Must Come Down BY: GSTAADLIFE

Despite a slowdown in business, Gsteig had a better chance than most villages of retaining a post office due to its somewhat larger population and mountain pass locale. That said, the slim margins typical of post offices could not bear the increased competition (mostly in the parcel delivery sector) and rising operational costs. Changes in the way people communicate have figured in the downturn. Thanks to the Swiss Post’s popular internet portal, many customers pay bills can online. Once ubiquitous pay phones have been nearly wiped out due to cell phone use. Further, rather than sending handwritten cards or letters, many Swiss now choose to send text messages or emails.

Too many installations, too few passengers: the company responsible for the local mountain railways, Bergbahnen Destination Gstaad, has severe structural problems. At the information meeting held several weeks ago in mid-June one thing was made very clear – without a solution, the mountain railways will suffer a tremendous blow to their operations. An expert group has been formed to investigate the problem and provide options for remedying the situation. The group has until April 2014 to develop a plan, at which point the board will vote on a clear path to sustained development.

Saanen Breaks Ground on New Water Works Construction has begun on Saanen’s new 4.5 million-franc reservoir, which will provide the region with more than 2000 cubic metres of water capacity. The reservoir, which will be built just below the Steigenberger Hotel, should be in operation by November 2014. Priming the pump for a new generation The new reservoir will replace the existing 1902 reservoir, which despite a 1940 upgrade was still deemed too old and out-of-date to repair. What’s more, the reservoir’s volume

capacity of 480 cubic metres was declared insufficient by the Wasserversorgungsplanung, General Water Supply Planning Group. The reservoir’s 1969 pumping station is also in need of renovation. Today’s requirements are simply too demanding for the station, whose future increased pumping power will slowly be integrated into the new reservoir system. Fighting fire with water At four times the current capacity, the new reservoir will also accommodate a growing Photo: Franziska Raaflaub


need for fire reserves. Only 240 cubic metres of water are currently held in reserve, an amount compliant with the Office of Water and Waste Management’s requirements but short of the 500-cubic-metre reserve required by Canton Bern. The General Water Supply Planning Group also had to take into account the supply zone and existing water pipelines. The new reservoir must provide fire hydrants with sufficient pressure, a challenge for those at high altitudes. This figured in the decision to build the reservoir on the 1094-metre-high-Pfyffenegg plot, where meeting the challenge would prove an easier task. As the Saanenland grows and prospers in the coming years, the new reservoir will play a key role in maintaining a healthy balance between water consumption and water supply. Getting Thirsty in Saanenland The average water consumption in the municipality of Saanen varies wildly according to the season due to the flux in population. Winter and summer see 25000 residents – as opposed to only 7500 in mid-season. There is a relatively high average consumption of 400 litres per person daily, compared to the Swiss average of only 120 litres per person. The annual production of potable water in Saanen is approximately 3 million cubic metres.




The Bird Whisperer of Gstaad Life’s a Birdsong for Bert Inäbnit INTERVIEW: ALEXIS MUNIER PHOTO: RAPHAËL FAUX

Nature enthusiast and ornithological expert Bert Inäbnit is the stuff of local legend, thanks to his uncanny ability to befriend wild animals. According to Bert Inäbnit, each morning when he leaves the house and walks outside, he whistles – and the wild Nuthatch, Chaffinch and Great Tit literally fly into

his arms. Squirrels eat from the palm of his hand. But the local cats ignore him. GSTAADLIFE sat down for coffee with Bert Inäbnit at Charly’s Gstaad on July 3, 2013 to learn more about the man who can talk to animals.

GSTAADLIFE: When did your love of nature begin?

BI: As a child growing up in Meiringen, I spent a lot of time with my father, who was a real outdoorsman. When all the other children went swimming in the summer, he’d take me mushroom-picking. As a young child, I didn’t appreciate this. But now I know that I have my father to thank for inspiring my passion for nature. When my four children were born, I had a strong desire to pass on this amazing love of nature to them, just as my father had done for me.

Profile GL: Tell me about your first big project in Grindelwald. BI: I opened a bird-care station in Grindelwald, where we rehabilitated sick and injured birds. People came from all over Switzerland to bring me birds with problems – from the tiniest Goldcrest to enormous Royal Eagles. We’d fix broken legs and wings, and provide a safe place for the birds to regain their strength. The area is now a nature park and reserve, and continues to thrive as a place to help injured birds.

GL: You trained as an architect and worked ten years in the French-speaking area of Switzerland before setting up the bird-care station in Grindelwald. How did you find time for your hobby as a nature enthusiast while working full-time and raising a large family? BI: Finding time? It’s quite simple – no TV and no drinking at bars in the evening – two activities that tend to take up a lot of an average man’s time (he says, smiling).

Finding time? It’s quite simple – no TV and no drinking at bars in the evening. BERT INÄBNIT

GL: Aren’t you a nature writer as well? BI: I am a frequent contributor to several newspapers in the region, writing articles on birds, butterflies and insects – but really any topic that involves Alpine wildlife. I’ve authored several books on birds and worked as a contributor on the Sempach Ornithological Station’s decadal Swiss bird-mapping encyclopedia, the Schweizer Brutvogelatlas 1993 – 1996.

GL: After two decades in Grindelwald, why the move to the Saanenland? BI: Three of my four children were already based in the Saanenland, and my wife Nora

and I wanted to be close to our grandchildren. Not to mention the fact that the Saanenland is very beautiful, offering the best combination of mountain scenery – lush green hills, streams, and forests surrounded by glacial peaks.

GL: What does your work here entail? BI: I still do freelance work as an architect when an interesting project like rebuilding a historic chalet presents itself. But most of my time is spent outdoors: I make a good living collecting mushrooms, which I sell to local hotels and restaurants. Bolets, chanterelles, and morels are the mushrooms that make for the tastiest meals. But you don’t need to be a Michelin-starred chef to make delicious, simple dishes with mushrooms.

GL: Speaking of mushrooms, we hear you and your wife are teaching cooking classes. BI: Yes, it’s a new project. I pick mushrooms in the morning, and then Nora and I host an evening cooking class teaching guests to prepare meals using the day’s finds. The nine classes take place in Saanenmöser and run from July to October. The menus include an aperitif, starter and main course, along with take-home souvenir copies of the evening’s recipes. Often, there are dried or fresh mushrooms available for purchase as well – that way students can practice on their own at home. Nora is a nutritionist, so she is available to answer any practical questions concerning the nutritional value of specific mushrooms and to recommend ways to prevent upset stomach after eating certain varieties. There are still a few openings if anyone would like to join (www.xundeweg.ch).

GL: Which are your favourite birds – and why? BI: While I am fond of all birds, I must admit that I am quite partial to the cuckoo. It’s really an amazingly clever bird. The cuckoo lays its eggs in a host bird’s nest, being careful to eat the same number of the host bird’s eggs so that it won’t discover the swap. The young cuckoos hatch first, putting them first in line for food from the foster parents. Bigger and stronger, the young cuckoos then throw the other eggs or live young out of the nest.

GL: What are your favourite natural landscapes? BI: Switzerland is a natural paradise and there is enough here to see to last a lifetime. I have, however, travelled to France, Spain and Iceland, mostly for bird-watching. My first love, though, will always be the Swiss Alps.

GL: You have amassed a large collection of nature specimens over the years – some of which are on display at the Museum of Saanen. How did you come to build this collection? BI: It all started back when I was a boy collecting specimens with my father. In this exhibit, you’ll see some of the birds and eggs I collected myself when I was older. But most of the specimens are gifts from zoos, kennels, or animal-care facilities. When word got out that I liked such things, people were very generous, leaving me their collections of stuffed birds, butterflies and insects. The full collection boasts over 500 stuffed birds and 200 eggs, only a portion of which are on display in the current exhibit.

GL: Are there any surprising things about your exhibit that we should know? BI: Did you know that an emu egg resembles an avocado? Or that the Guillemot from Iceland lays pear-shaped eggs – for a good reason?

GL: And what reason is that? BI: They lay their eggs on flat rocks. This way, if something startles the birds and they fly off suddenly, their eggs will not roll off the ledges. Bert’s Birds and Butterflies on Display “Fragile, Delicate, Enchanting” perfectly describes Bert Inäbnit’s private collection, which is currently on display at the Museum of Saanen. The wide variety of creatures large and small is not only impressive, but also beautiful: Technicolor butterflies of outrageous proportion sit alongside insects from exotic lands and fragile bird’s eggs in varied shapes and sizes. The collection is visible at the Museum of Saanen through October 15, 2013. Opening hours, Tuesday to Saturday, 2 pm to 5 pm.




The author Januaria Piromallo, left, poses with happy housewife and longtime friend Countess LuAnn de Lesseps

The Countess from Connecticut – LuAnn de Lesseps TEXT & PHOTO BY: JANUARIA PIROMALLO

I’m preparing for my fight from Geneva to New York when I get a last-minute request from a friend. “Please bring me a copy of GSTAADLIFE,” begs LuAnn de Lesseps. “I really want to know what is going on in my little alpine town. I miss Gstaad so much.” I make sure to pack a copy in my suitcase – and after arriving in the Big Apple I meet LuAnn for lunch at Lever House, one of the trendiest restaurants in “the city,” as New Yorkers call it. She looks even more gorgeous than usual; in her face I can read the contentment of a woman who has fulfilled all her dreams. And they were big dreams. The Countess from Connecticut Born to a large family in Berlin, Connecticut, LuAnn Nadeau grew up with six siblings in small-town America. Her father, who owned a construction company, is of French and Algonquian descent; her mother is French Canadian. LuAnn credits her exotic beauty to this Native American and French heritage –and her athletic body to a love of sport that culminated in the captaincy of her high school varsity softball team. She studied to be a nurse, and did work as a licensed prac-

tical nurse in Connecticut before moving to New York to seek fame and fortune as a fashion model. Modeling led her to Milan, where Gstaad socialite Brigitta Notz introduced her to French nobleman Count Alexandre, a descendant of Ferdinand de Lesseps, the architect of the Suez Canal. “It was love at first sight,” LuAnn tells me, as she nibbles on lobster spaghetti at Lever House. “We were married two months later.” That was 1993. As his fourth wife, LuAnn earned the courtesy title of Countess. She had two children with the Count: Victoria, 19, and Noel, 16. The couple divorced 10 years later. But that wasn’t the end of the Countess from Connecticut. It wouldn’t be long before Countess LuAnn – as she still known informally – took the world by storm. Keeping it real in New York City Given her exotic beauty and outspoken personality, it’s no wonder that Countess LuAnn went on to find success on the small screen. Always a force to be reckoned with, she is now a household name, thanks to the hit TV series The Real Housewives of New York City. The popular show has been renewed

for a sixth season, with distribution in nearly every country around the world. I can’t help but ask her. “Are The Real Housewives the descendants of Desperate Housewives?” “We are better,” she says with a smile. “I am joking. We are different. They had a script. I just play myself. I don’t have to learn any lines.” Neither did her ex-husband the Count, who also appeared on the first two seasons of the show – a testament to their ability to remain on good terms post-divorce. “Which role did he play?” I ask LuAnn. “He played himself, the Count,” LuAnn says. “But he added his unique sense of humor.” LuAnn would invite all her friends and family to appear on the show if she could. “Today our lunch could have been part of the show – but unfortunately we don’t start to shoot until next week.” Just my luck. The real housewives of Gstaad? You can the girl out of Gstaad, but you can’t Gstaad out of the girl. LuAnn is determined to include her beloved resort town in a show sometime soon.

Lifestyle “We are working on that,” she says. “As you know, it is expensive to move a big production. We need to find some sponsors. Would you help me?”

ano bar in the Hotel Olden, with whom she often sang her cover version of the hit song “Feeling.” Of course, I promise to do just that.

“With pleasure, my darling.” I am so on this! Despite all the excitement of New York, I know that my friend is often homesick for Gstaad.

Life and love according to LuAnn There’s a glow about my friend Countess LuAnn that I recognize. “Are you in love, LuAnn?” I ask.

“Do you miss Gstaad?” I ask. “A lot,” LuAnn says. “I’ve had many of the best times of my life there. I miss the skiing, the family atmosphere, the pleasures of living in a small town. Please send all my regards to …”

“I am always in love with life,” says LuAnn. “But to be more precise, I do have a new boyfriend. His name is Jack Azoulay, and he’s a wine entrepreneur. We’ve been together a year now.”

And LuAnn cites an endless list of people … including Mario, the chansonnier at the pi-

It’s no surprise that this real housewife has found happiness. Countess LuAnn believes

in living life to its fullest, no matter what circumstances you find yourself in. As she tells me over dessert at Lever House: “Drive as if your car is a Ferrari – even if it is only a small Fiat.” Countess LuAnn by the Numbers The book: Class with the Countess: How to Live with Elegance and Flair (Gotham) The first record: “Money Can’t Buy You Class” (Ultra Records) The second single: “Chic, C’est La Vie” (YouTube) Twitter: More than 200,000 followers The Real Housewives of New York City: In its sixth season

The Marbella Destination Wedding, Gstaad-Style TEXT & PHOTO BY: JANUARIA PIROMALLO

The beautiful bride was from Gstaad. The handsome groom was from Spain. The fairy-tale two-day wedding extravaganza was on Trocadero beach in Marbella-complete with sangria and paella, flamenco, thousands of rose petals and a magnificent three-tier wedding cake. Olivia Wheatcroft floated down the aisle in a dazzling cloud of white tulle designed by Blumarine, attended by bridesmaids wearing cotton candy pink. The 26-year-old half Canadian, half Swedish

jewelry designer and ski instructor grew up in Gstaad. Olivia spent her primary schooling at the John F Kennedy School in Saanen, and then later finished her diploma at Institut Le Rosey. She met prominent Spanish real estate developer Pedro Rodriguez at the Gstaad Palace Hotel’s Greengo nightclub one night – and it was love at first sight.

A good time was had by all at this magical – and very hot – party on the beach.

A year later, Olivia’s mother and stepfather, Sally and Julien Donn, threw the destination wedding of a lifetime in Marbella and invited all their friends from Gstaad, including Brigitta Notz, Michelle Nussbaumer, Kay Matti, among others (too long a list to print!).

Carol Asscher: The Artful Hostess Goes Pink TEXT & PHOTO BY: JANUARIA PIROMALLO

Art connoisseur Carol Asscher elevates the art of party giving in Gstaad every time she issues an invitation. Her aesthetic is as evident in her parties as it is in her collection, which graces her elegant villa on Lake Geneva. The French diamond heiress spends half the year in her Gstaad chalet, and the other half in her pied dans l’eau manor between Coppet and Versoix. In honor of Sylvia Bourne’s birthday, Asscher invited several of her Gstaad friends to Villa Nicolas for a celebratory ladies’ lunch.

“We are the ladies moooooo, coming from the valley,” joked Libana Obayda to pals Silvia Tattoni, Patricia Low and Brigitta Notz. Italian model turned fashion designer Alessandra Serra, who splits her time between Geneva and Gstaad, provided the trendy embroidered vests worn by the guests, inspired by Asscher’s vision. The theme was a vision in pink: Pink lilies and gardenias ton sur ton with pink table decorations. Even the food and drink were pink: Pink champagne, sushi, sashimi, and carpaccio in every form, shape, and taste. And the strawberry marzipan cake was the pink icing on the birthday cake.




Luxury Blooms at Le Grand Bellevue BY: ALEXIS MUNIER PHOTO: ATELIER ZÜRICH

Every great love begins with a great story – and Le Grand Bellevue is no exception. The newly reimagined luxury hotel is the lovechild of Daniel and Davia Koetser, who met at the hotel 10 years ago during its previous incarnation as the Grand Hotel Bellevue. “My wife and I met at the opening night of the Gstaad Yacht Club (the club is located on the property),” says Daniel Koetser. “Seven years later we hosted our wedding brunch there. To acquire the hotel seems to have had a further play on destiny, and my conviction for the success of this property.” The couple’s commitment to that deepening connection is evident in every loving detail of the renovation of the now resplendent resort. Heaven ss in the details “Casual luxury” is how Davia Koetser, whose company Atelier Zürich was responsible for all the interior design, describes the refurbished hotel’s new style – but that term doesn’t go far enough. In the surprisingly cosy lobby, brocade couches, stools, loveseats and even hanging birdcage-style chairs

adorn the large space, encouraging guests and visitors alike to sit down, relax, and perhaps pick up one of the many books in the collection curated in partnership with Hauser & Wirth experts. Sumptuous materials abound, with silky velour and rose-coloured damasks mixing with rugged earth tones and burgundy tweeds to provide an air of easy, eclectic elegance. The hotel bar boasts one of leading Chesterfield manufacturer George Smith’s leather masterpieces in 17 meters of rich, burnished tan comfort. The bar itself is topped with a stunning “tablecloth” of polished zinc – but its real appeal is the specialty cocktails and richly roasted coffees brewed with La Cimbali, known as the “Rolls-Royce of coffee machines.” Across the room, a Steinway baby grand piano beckons guests who want to share their musical talents when the professional pianist winds down for the evening. Michelin-starred chef Urs Gschwend commands the simple yet refined menu. Dishes such as braised veal with saffron risotto and sautéed spinach are served up beautifully, right alongside juicy burgers and French fries. Even vegetarians can indulge, given the many tasty meatless offerings – including a Moroc-

can couscous salad with mint and artichokes, no doubt inspired by Restaurant Manager Manuel Schott’s time at the legendary La Mamounia hotel in Marrakesh. The icing on the cake? With its range of options and prices, the creative menu is designed to appeal to affluent guests and discriminating locals alike. The Koetsers’ extraordinary attention to detail applies to technology as well as accommodation, putting Le Grand Bellevue at the forefront of Swiss hotels. “We have deconstructed the formal check-in model,” says Koetser. “Le Grand Bellevue is the first in Switzerland to go exclusively ‘tablet’ on check-in.” This is just one of many innovations that allow the hotel to break new boundaries in the hospitality industry. “At the personalised reception desk, you won’t find check-in agents, concierge and desk managers,” says Koetser, “but rather a small, highly informed staff of Guest Services Agents who do it all.” First comes love, then kid-friendly Despite how the both the hotel’s and

Business Koetsers’ romantic history are entwined, and however romantic its new ambiance, Le Grand Bellevue was not designed to serve only as a seductive hideaway for lovers. It’s designed to reflect the Koetsers’ love of life and their desire to provide a personalized, welcoming experience for all their guests.

area is conveniently located just next to the spa area, so that parents can leave their children to activities they’ll enjoy while they themselves indulge in a few hours of fitness, swimming, or beauty treatments.

It’s a goal worth striving for. And with the hotel’s refined yet casual décor and good quality to value ratio for food and drink, the Koetsers should succeed in attracting a varied clientele of tourists, locals, chalet owners and stars alike.

Nowhere is this philosophy more evident than in the way the hotel now caters to families with children. The Koetsers can vouch for the facilities – with a two-month old daughter, they are no strangers to the challenges of travelling with small children, especially in a luxury environment.

A rose by any other name Change your name, and it’ll change you, or so the adage goes. For the Koetsers, the name change – from Grand Hotel Bellevue to Le Grand Bellevue (in effect from mid to late summer) – reflects the transformation they’ve engineered at this long-lived establishment. Under their stewardship, the hotel will strive to reclaim its past glory yet simultaneously leap into the 21st century.

It’s all about the journey for this destination Like any great love story, Le Grand Bellevue will continue to evolve. Now that the newly renovated lobby, dining areas and bar are open for business, the guest rooms will receive a similar updating – just in time for the opening of the winter season.

Determined to serve as a congenial getaway for children and parents, the Koetsers have created an environment that’s as fun for kids as it is relaxing for their parents. A full babysitting service is available, as well as an enlarged playroom replete with toys and games. Older children will appreciate the mini-cinema, where age-appropriate films will be screened on a regular basis. The kids’

“I grew up with stories of Gstaad’s heyday in the 1960s,” recalls Koetser, “where I understand you could find stars like Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton sipping cocktails alongside Saanenland’s farmers in the hotel bar. By eliminating the snobbery which sometimes accompanies luxury establishments, we can reinstate the unique blend of society for which Gstaad was once known.”

“A hotel should be a wonderful journey,” says Koetser. “You should enter and feel like you’ve arrived someplace special.”

For the Koetsers, it’s just the next turn in the road of their new life as Gstaad hoteliers.

Given their magic-wand makeover of Le Grand Bellevue, so far the Koetsers are off to a very good – and very special – start. www.bellevue-gstaad.ch

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Sell in May and Go Away … During the past three years, Swiss investors in particular were well advised to bear in mind this rule of thumb for the stock market. Although it may sound somewhat antiquated, this adage keeps cropping up again. But is it really valid as a golden rule for private investors?

May to September only and blue from October to April only. Since 1950, nearly the entire annual returns have been achieved from October to May. But what holds true over time is not necessarily correct on a yearly basis. As we pointed out earlier, the results for Switzerland follow a similar pattern.

A study by Lucerne University and Zugerberg-Finanz AG shows that May is not the worst month of the year for the stock market. According to the study, the low points tend to be August and September, during which poor results are recorded worldwide. For the past twenty years, investors have been able to achieve the highest average daily yields in the months of April, October, November and December. But whatever rule of thumb traders adhere to, we prefer to let the facts do the talking.

The importance of a free cash flow Free cash flow refers to the operating cash flow of a business minus any investments made. The free cash flow yield establishes a ratio between free cash flow and market capitalization, and that parameter determines the potential for distribution created by liquidity flows.

A tale of two portfolios From a long-term perspective, significantly better performances have been reported from October to April rather than May to September. This is most clearly reflected in the chart on the bottom right, illustrating the trend of two sample portfolios. Red invested from

Even if some defensive Swiss stocks now seem to have peaked, one striking fact is that stocks in certain sectors continue to grow. The healthcare, telecoms and staples sectors have an elevated free cash flow – yields are still being achieved and have risen continuously in recent years. Potential for higher dividend payments or sustainable dividends still exists in these sectors. At the other end of the scale, commodities, energy and utilities pay out more than their free cash flow allows and their dividends do not grow sus-

tainably. In the case of utilities, dividends have even had to be reduced. Currently, most central banks continue to pursue an expansive monetary policy. However, if central banks decide to adjust their policy, or even simply formulate an exit strategy, a major price correction on the markets might well ensue. While ‘Sell in May and go away’ might not be the answer, investors are well-advised to proceed cautiously. Stocks which pay sustainable dividends remain an investor’s best bet. Seasonal Pattern S&P 500 10000

October to April and May to September




49 52 55 58 61 64 67 70 73 76 79 82 85 88 91 94 97 00 03 06 09

October – April

May – September




Laurence Graff Receives OBE for Services to Jewellery BY: ALEXIS MUNIER PHOTO: GRAFF DIAMONDS

GSTAADLIFE had the privilege to speak with Laurence Graff, Gstaad resident and Chairman of Graff Diamonds on July 2, 1013, on the occasion of his receiving an OBE (Order of the British Empire) for services to jewellery.

GSTAADLIFE: Yours is a true rags-to-riches story. From simple apprentice to head of one most the most prestigious diamond companies in the world, how does it feel to receive such an honour as the OBE? Laurence Graff: I am overjoyed to have received this acknowledgment for services to jewellery in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List. From humble beginnings and a lifetime working in the industry, I am extremely proud to receive such an honour.

GL: What first brought you to Gstaad and why have you chosen to make your home here? In particular, what do you love about the Saanenland? LG: Gstaad has always been a significant location for us and it is important for our clients that this boutique is present. Gstaad has been my home for many years and it’s one of the most beautiful locations in the world. This combination of natural beauty and clean mountain air makes it a very relaxing environment.

GL: There are many amazing stones out there, but Graff jewels are often described as the most beautiful diamonds in the world. What makes a Graff a Graff? LG: The quality of the stones we use, and the level of craftsmanship imbued in every step of the jewellery-making process. We only use the finest quality stones available, based on colour, cut and clarity. We are also known for our stones of especially rare size and important historical provenance. Our workshop and design studio are based in London, and every single piece is created by hand from start to finish.

GL: Do you have an all-time favourite diamond or piece of jewellery? What is your current favourite jewel of The House of Graff and why? LG: I’m very fortunate to have handled some of the most historic and rare gems of all time. One of our more recent pieces, the Graff Sweethearts, are a perfectly matching pair of exceptional heart shape diamonds exceeding 50cts each. Cut and polished by Graff’s master craftsmen, they are truly stunning stones which we have set as earrings, accompanied by pear shape and round diamonds.

GL: Some in the business claim rising rough prices have thrown the market out of sync. As The House of Graff continues to expand

worldwide, what is the secret to your success? LG: Although we are opening new Graff stores around the world at a strong rate, we are able to maintain our integral aspect of exclusivity. Our diamonds and gemstones are truly the rarest in the world, of the finest quality for size, clarity and colour.

GL: Where do you see The House of Graff in the future, given the advances in technology and the ever-greater search for extraordinary stones? LG: Graff Diamonds is known for the most fabulous jewellery in the world; this comes from a combination of talented designers, master craftsmen and our ability to source the finest diamonds and gems. As a family business, with my son Francois, brother Raymond and nephew Elliott all very much involved, we can ensure that this success continues for many years to come. There is still an extremely high demand for diamonds, specifically coloured diamonds and stones that are rare in size. They are recognised as strong investment pieces that hold their value over the long-term. Through our highly skilled procurement and polishing division, we are able to source and cut diamonds to very specific needs and requirements. This, combined with the skill of our expert gemmologists, results in the ability to provide our increasingly discerning clients with fabulous jewels.

GL: The diamond industry’s reputation has been sullied over the years as violence and conflict have engulfed several areas heavily involved in the trade. How has The House of Graff worked to combat these concerns? LG: Graff adheres to the Kimberley process, never buying or trading rough diamonds from areas where it would encourage conflict. Every Graff diamond bears the hallmark of equality, accountability and provenance. The majority of Graff diamonds are laser-engraved with a unique Gemmological Institute of America tracking number that, whilst invisible to the naked eye, allows for its origin to be traced – all the while protecting the perfection and beauty of the stone.


Saving Bambi in the Saanenland BY: GSTAADLIFE

It sounds like something out of a horror movie. Newborn fawns, curled up in the tall grass, hear the buzzing of rotating blades. A riding mower powers through their nesting area, chopping hay and whatever else lies in its path. They panic and crouch down further from sight. There are no happy endings here, not for the farmers operating the mowers, and certainly not for the fawns. Enter Johnny von Grünigen, Saanenland’s Hegeobmann (wildlife inspector) and head of the Rehkitzrettung Saanen, the Fawn Rescue Group Saanen. The advocacy group is responsible for informing farmers of the need to check for and relocate fawns before mowing their fields. “It’s difficult, unpredictable work,” says von Grünigen. “The babies are well-hidden, which is why we carry a stick to wave through the grass and check for any signs of life.”

Despite the posters and public service campaigns, the rescue group runs each year from mid-May to July, many farmers must be persuaded to allow the group to perform their services. It takes time to locate vulnerable animals in large fields, time which busy farmers do not always have to spare. Typically, von Grünigen takes it upon himself to speak with them personally, raising awareness of the risks, and setting up search-and-rescue appointments just before mowing begins. The fawn rescue is afoot Fawns are left alone for long periods of time while their mothers forage for food. Each doe bears at least two young, separating them to minimize potential loss to predators. The fawns may be hidden several meters away from each other – or on the other side of the pasture. The does only return to nurse, typically several times a day. Again, this is another strategy designed to avoid attracting predators.

“When the search begins, the mother does are often nearby to monitor the situation,” explains von Grünigen, “but won’t approach if animals or people are present.” Once a fawn is located, von Grünigen calls Wildhütter (gamekeeper) Rolf Zumbrunnen to report the find. Von Grünigen brings rescue materials with him, including a crate. Because does are sensitive to human smells and may abandon fawns handled by humans, von Grünigen fills his hands with grass before picking up the fawn and placing it gently inside in the crate. Then he checks the animal’s sex and inserts an ear tag designed to help him monitor the deer population and habitat. The last step: Reuniting the mother doe with her fawn. It isn’t always easy, according to von Grunigen. All he can do is to set the fawn down near the forested border of a pasture and hope for the best.

Photo: Michael Föhn

Love at 2002 Metres


Getting married in the Saanenland has never been more romantic – thanks to a new gondola service that allows happy couples to tie the knot as they climb the Alps in a cable car. Mr and Mrs Saanenland Getting married in Switzerland is a two-step process: First, there’s the civil ceremony, performed by a city official. For Saanenland residents, this requires a trip to the Zivilstandskreis (Civil Registry District) Oberland West in Thun, where you can file the necessary paperwork and participate in a civil ceremony. Second, you can exchange your vows in a religious ceremony of your choice, once

you have fulfilled the state’s requirements in Thun. For couples that do not wish to have a religious ceremony, their only option has been to marry in the registry office, depriving them of the personal, romantic ceremonies that couples of faith enjoy. The mile-high marriage club In summer, the Berghaus Rellerli hosts such intimate civil wedding ceremonies in a number of settings. This year, happy couples can choose to exchange their vows in a new, lovingly designed, chalet-style wedding gondola that runs from Schönried to the Rellerli. “With this specially designed cable car, we’d like couples to make their journey to the altar an unforgettable experience,” says Armon Cantieni, Director of Bergbahnen Destination Gstaad, which runs several mountain railways in the area.

The gondola was fully sponsored by a group of local contributors. Matti Chaletbau provided the wood and equipment at its own expense, while other companies contributed in the form of donations. Interior design and decorations were supplied by Müller-Hirschi of Zweisimmen and Peter Rölli Werbe GmbH of Saanen.

A peak marital experience Inaugurated in June, the nuptial gondola is a charming addition to the wedding services offered by the Berghaus Rellerli, which has been in the business of matrimony for many years. The gondola can be personalized with floral arrangements or romantic decorations, in keeping with the theme of your wedding and complimenting the beautiful vistas. The Berghaus Rellerli boasts a magnificent Alpine setting for up to 300 guests, including an oversized terrace with a stunning panorama of 2000-metre peaks. The simple yet elegant interior can be dressed up or down to accommodate all styles. Book your gondola early Due to its growing popularity, the gondola should be booked at least six months in advance with the authorities in Thun.

2013 Openings for Civil Wedding Ceremonies on the Rellerli For information on official procedures and formalities for civil ceremonies, contact: Zivilstandskreis Oberland West, Thun, 031 635 43 00 or www.pom.be.ch / Berghaus Rellerli, 033 748 87 22 or www.berghaus-rellerli.ch



Special Advertising Section

Dedicated Concierge Service Arrives in Gstaad Imagine coming home to fresh flowers on the table, gourmet food in the refrigerator and your favourite champagne on ice. Now that’s service – and it’s that kind of extraordinary service provided by de Lucy’s Lifestyle Management & Concierge Services here in Gstaad.

in London in search of a more tranquil way of life. It was the best decision I ever made and looking out of the window to such exceptional views every day is a constant reminder of this. I love the authenticity of the area; its traditions, its produce and of course, its people.”

Founder Isabelle de Lucy has designed her concierge service to match the high level of luxury synonymous with the Gstaad region itself. Drawing on her experience at renowned five-star hotels in London as well as her intimate familiarity with the Saanenland, the seasoned hospitality industry insider relies on her extensive range of international contacts and trusted local suppliers to offer the ultimate in lifestyle management and concierge services.

Service with a smile In starting de Lucy’s Lifestyle Management & Concierge Services, Isabelle believes that she’s filling a void in the concierge business here in Gstaad. For many second homeowners, it can be nearly impossible to keep an eye on their property whilst they are abroad. When they arrive in the Saanenland, they are often overwhelmed by an endless list of chores; thus diminishing the great pleasure of owning a chalet or an apartment in this beautiful place.

There’s no place like the Saanenland While her family have been vacationing here for more than 50 years, Isabelle moved to the Gstaad region permanently five years ago. She joined the staff at the Hotel Bellevue and worked for a local real estate and property management firm here before opening her business. “Making my home in the Saanenland was a natural choice given my husband’s family connection to the area,” states Isabelle de Lucy. “He spent many a happy family holiday in Gstaad and Château-d’Oex, and we both eventually decided to leave the rat race

de Lucy’s relieve clients of all this headache – Isabelle’s discreet and efficient service encompasses everything from housecleaning, stocking the fridge, checking the post and paying bills, to organising travel arrangements, planning and coordinating dinner parties, and even redecorating.

“ With a ‘de Lucy’s’ membership I was given the gift of time to enjoy the finer things in life. I just took up golf last week!” New member Isabelle happily admits that she is a perfectionist when it comes to sourcing “the best of everything” – from the best plumbers and architects to the finest food and wine to be had in the Saanenland. You’re number one As a client of de Lucy’s Lifestyle Management & Concierge Services, you enjoy access

to the best of the Saanenland. What’s more, you can leave all the coordinating with Isabelle – you won’t have to lift a finger. It’s like having a dedicated personal assistant in the region, devoted just to making life easier and more enjoyable for you. Isabelle strives to fit seamlessly into your life, managing your personal affairs and/or your property as instructed – so you can focus on the things that really matter. Whether you’re here for the long- or shortterm, de Lucy’s have the right solution for you – tailoring lifestyle-management memberships for long-term clients but also providing one-off assistance for short-term holiday guests. This will allow you to enjoy a hassle-free lifestyle in which everything is readily available. de Lucy’s really do assist members and guests with every aspect of their Gstaad life, always willing to fulfil any request no matter how unusual it may seem.

What a de Lucy’s membership can do for you If you’ve ever experienced any of the following dilemmas, then a membership with de Lucy’s could be just the solution: • Do you find yourself sitting indoors wading through unopened letters and bills, staring longingly at the snow-covered pistes outside? • Have you ever arrived at your property to find a frozen pipe or power cut – only to spend the rest of your holiday dealing with it? • Do you often arrive at your chalet late at night wishing that dinner and drinks were waiting for you? • Have you ever been on holiday and longed for an insider’s knowledge of where to go, what to see, where to find that local cheese you love, or which restaurant serves the best truffle fondue?

Grocery shopping, personal shopping and errand running – just some of the many services on offer.

If you would like to find our more about the services de Lucy’s offer, please contact Isabelle directly by phone or email: Tel: +41 (0) 79 199 88 21 Email: isabelle@delucys.ch / www.delucys.ch


21st Century Makeover for 1880 Schoolhouse BY: ALEXIS MUNIER

With the new school year fast approaching, the push is on to finish renovations of the 1880 schoolhouse in Saanen before the first class bell rings. Donated by the people of Saanen to the John F Kennedy School in 2000, the unique historic building has been a source of local pride for well over 100 years. The plan to bring the magnificent property back to life – financed primarily by John F Kennedy Foundation’s fundraising efforts – has suffered its share of fits and starts. Progress has not always been easy and renovating the building according to local planning regulations has proved a challenge. Originally due to open in September 2012, the schoolhouse’s makeover has been slowed by the John F Kennedy School’s transition to foundation status two years ago and the need to secure funding. At this point, the exterior and structural work are substantially finished, which will allow the school to use two full floors of the building. It will, in time, include a new professional kitchen and dining room in the original basement,

as well as a large auditorium on the top floor. But completion of the entire project remains dependent on ongoing fundraising.

pealing to new students and makes it easier to attract boarding students to the area.”

Everything old is new again The shared vision of the school and the community is to build a modern, fully functioning schoolhouse that will benefit the entire population. It will serve as a beautiful centrepiece at the heart of the John F Kennedy School as well as a resource that can make all of Saanen’s residents proud.

The education of the Saanenland With three first-rate international schools in the area, Saanenland has long been known for its support of high-quality private education. World-famous all-boarding school Institut Le Rosey has campuses in Gstaad and Schönried, while Gstaad International School, which is also comprised entirely of students who board, is located between Saanen and Gstaad.

The renovations are designed to restore the original character of the building while at the same time incorporating modern energy consumption and safety standards. The result: a beloved building still recognizable by locals that is nonetheless ready for the ever-changing face of education today.

The John F Kennedy School is unusual in that 75% of children who attend the school are day students, which shows the confidence of local families and the value they place on education here at home.

“After so many years this building changes the nature of the school forever,” says John F Kennedy School Director Andy Croft. “It allows us to create a strong educational programmes for students up to 16 years of age and to meet internationally recognised IGCSE standards. It makes the school even more ap-

Since 2011, the school has been run by the John F Kennedy Foundation, a Bernese foundation committed to investing in the school and to the ensuing benefits felt in every aspect of the Saanenland. The school has been part of the Saanen community since 1971, and in that time thousands of children from all over the world have been educated there.

Gstaad Living

Ten-Year Overhaul of Road to Zweisimmen Underway Saanenmöser



Ledigrabe Stryfelersweidli Rychestei

im Tuft

Gruebi Riedli

2017 - 2019

2020 - 2022


Work has begun on the decade-long renovation of the road from to Saanenmöser to Zweisimmen. Originally constructed in the 19th century and rebuilt in the 1940’s and 50’s, the road has long been overdue for a full makeover. Citing drainage difficulties, the potential for landslides and little to no existing shoulder, officials say the 10-year plan will be completed in stages: The first four stages






will run from 2014 to 2016 for the Mosenried to Reichenstein portion of the road, while the roadwork on the Reichenstein to Saanenmöser section will run from 2017 to 2022. It’s a long road to reconstruction After a building permit was issued by Canton Bern, preparations on the project began – including the successful acquisition of several thousand square metres of land and the demolition of the old Wegmeister operations center in Mosenried.

The valley side is the first to be tackled. There, retaining walls will be built and the main body of road repaved. New drainage pipes will be installed to minimize future damage from rain and snow, and the side of the road bordering the mountains will be rebuilt to prevent landslides. The danger of landslides is a real one, given that pollution and damage from vehicles and lorries now cause the slope to slide several millimetres per year. This slippage, along with excess water runoff, is enough buckle the pavement severely. Work has already begun and the first section is expected to be finished no later than mid-December 2013. The road is being renovated in “halves,” meaning one lane will be sectioned off and worked upon while the other lane supports all traffic. Stoplights on both sides of the stretch of construction mean drivers who encounter green lights will proceed directly, while those that hit red could have a waiting time of up to 10 minutes.


Photo: Archiv/AvS


Sports & Leisure

Roger Federer holds his 2004 trophy high; will 2013 see a repeat?

Federer is the Wild Card at Swiss Open Gstaad BY: ALEXIS MUNIER

In an unexpected move, tennis superstar Roger Federer will battle for the title at the Crédit Agricole Suisse Open Gstaad, which runs from July 20 to July 28 at the Roy Emerson Arena. The local community is thrilled that the Swiss native is playing the clay-court tournament again here at home. Federer won the champion title here nine long years ago and is happy to return. “I’m really looking forward to playing in front of my home fans in Gstaad this summer,” Federer says on his official website. “I have a lot of great memories of the tournament in the mountains of Switzerland.” While the superstar athlete has been at the top of the game for the past decade, he’s had a rough year so far in 2013. Federer is currently ranked no. 3 worldwide with this season’s record standing at 27-8. He won his only title so far this year at last month’s Gerry Weber Open in Halle, Germany. At a shocking second-round loss at Wimbledon this year against Ukraine’s 116-ranked Sergiy Stakhovsky, Federer suffered his worst Grand Slam performance in memory. He is hoping to regain both points and confidence by entering the Swiss Open Gstaad, as well as the Hamburg Open. There’s no place like home court Coming home may be a good move for the 17-time Grand Slam champion, who’s still smarting from that loss to Stakhovsky. Here

Federer can get his groove back in the company of his most devoted die-hard fans. His appreciation might be more than just talk: While top players are often paid an appearance fee to compete in events that aren’t crucial to their point count, reports indicate that Federer will not receive such a fee for joining the Gstaad tournament this time. As a late-entry into the Swiss Open Gstaad, Federer was given a singles wild card and is expected to first play either July 24 or 25. “This was the event that gave me my first wild card in ‘98,” says Federer. Federer entered the 2003 Swiss Open Gstaad to a hero’s welcome, having just garnered his first Wimbledon win. He lost in the final to Jiri Novak, but won in 2004 against Igor Andreev. He was presented not only with the usual trophy and prize money, but also with a Saanenland-raised cow. “Juliet,” as she was known, was unfortunately unable to bear young, did not produce much milk and was eventually slaughtered in 2007. But Juliet’s misfortunes did not affect Federer’s career, which took off. He began an unparalleled winning streak which continued until just last month. Federer shakes up the roster Until this point, another local – Lausanne’s Stan Wawrinka – was the top-rated player set to play in the alpine tournament. Wawrinka is rated the number ten player in the world

at this time. Wawrinka and Federer won the doubles gold together at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. Nothing would please their countrymen more than seeing them on the court together again, competing against each other for the Swiss Open Gstaad title. “We’re already dreaming of a final between Swiss players Roger Federer and Stanislas Wawrinka,” says Julien Finkbeiner, Vice-Director of the tournament and Director of Grand Chelem Event SA. “Now that would be a dream come true.” Bringing in the fans Federer’s surprise entry is also good news for the Saanenland’s tourism industry. Hotel rooms are expected to be a hot commodity during the week of July 20 to July 28. “It’s really a great thing,” says Kerstin Sonnekalb, Gstaad-Saanenland Tourism’s Director of Public Relations. “Roger Federer’s upcoming appearance already has everyone’s phones ringing off the hook – from hotels to the tournament’s ticketing office.” Federer’s last-minute entry into the Swiss Open Gstaad is revving up the annual event in more than ways than one, for players and spectators as well. Excitement is already high – and bound to rise higher as the first serve approaches. Let’s hope that this surprising twist in the history of the Swiss Open Gstaad proves as great for Federer as it does for the fans who’ll fill the stands to see him play.

Sports & Leisure

Seeing Red – Ferraris, Fords and a Lone Photo: Michael Föhn

Leyland P76 Storm the Saanenland

Interview with Franco Lupi Mr Lupi grew up in Gstaad and trained at top establishments in the hospitality and tourism industry before embarking on his career as a vintage car specialist and rally organizer. He was kind enough to sit for an interview with GSTAADLIFE and the Anzeiger von Saanen’s Michael Föhn not long after arriving in a Porsche 911, 1965 SWB at the landmark hotel. GSTAADLIFE: Mr Lupi, why were you the right choice for managing this year’s Swiss portion of the rally? Franco Lupi: I know this rally like the back of my hand; I’ve been privileged enough to maintain a close relationship with the organizers and they have faith in my abilities. GL: What was the feedback from the drivers about the trip through Saanenland? FL: The many rally participants and personnel stayed at three local hotels: the Gstaad Palace, Arc-en-ciel and Alpina Gstaad. They all commented on how beautiful the region was, and how they’d like to come back and spend a few days holiday here at some point in the future. The drivers surely enjoyed their last night in these gorgeous luxury hotels in such a natural setting, as the next night was spent in a budget Hotel Ibis in Troyes, France!

A 1970 Ferrari 240 GT was just one of the perfectly restored cars in the Concours d’Elégance. BY: GSTAADLIFE

‘Oldtimer’ fever hit Gstaad this month, with two rallies bringing fun, festivities and fancy cars to town. On the evening of Thursday, June 27, the 100 plus vintage cars participating in the Peking-Paris Rally arrived at the Gstaad Palace Hotel to roars from the small but loyal crowd that had gathered. Despite the nearly 12,000 km of total travel, including large swathes in China, Mongolia and Russia without paved roads, the drivers were all smiles. For the very first time, the rally has featured travel through Switzerland with an overnight stop in Gstaad. The man with the plan to make Gstaad a highlight of the Peking-Paris journey? None other than local vintage car enthusiast Franco Lupi. Winding up July 2 in Paris, the rally’s top honours went to 81-year-old Australian Gerry Crown. Surprisingly, Crown drove a

1970 Leyland P76, that is known as one of Australia’s worst cars despite a cult following. Just two days later, the weekend of June 29 and 30 saw the start of the Concours d’Elégance – the 43rd time that the race has been held in Gstaad. Various Concours d’Elégance are held worldwide each year, most famously in Pebble Beach, California, and at the Villa d’Este, on Italy’s Lake Como. In these competitions, vintage cars are judged for their historical accuracy, technical merit and allover style, including paint condition. This year Swiss jeweller Chopard generously donated the top prize. The family company’s official participation in this race enforces their already close ties to historic motor sports. The race began just in front of the Chopard boutique on the Promenade; where the majestic Rolls-Royces, innovative BMWs and perfectly restored Mercedes lined up and started their engines.

GL: When a participant wants to complete the full rally alone, what kind of car would you recommend? FL: Surprisingly, cars built before WWII are sturdier than the later models. Some of the best brands are Bentley, Lagonda and Rolls-Royce; the models are well-built and their big cc engines hold up well under the pressures of off-road driving. My insider’s tip for a cheap, yet sturdy car is the Chevrolet Fangio Coupé, named after the famous driver Juan Manuel Fangio. GL: Which cars would you dissuade a first-time driver from using? FL: Models from the 1950’s and 60’s must be very well-built to survive the rally, otherwise they present many challenges. The heavy vibrations, especially in the difficult Mongolian section of the rally, will test the vehicles to their limits, resulting in many defective parts. GL: Is the trip really as unbelievable as so many participants describe? FL: Yes, it is – it’s the ultimate vintage car adventure!



Special Advertising Section

DNEye HD Quality Lenses – A Sight for Sore Eyes With current breakthroughs in lens technology, even severe visual defects that previously had no hope of correction are a thing of the past. All eyes are on local optometry and eyewear specialist Optik Gstaad, which now offers Full HD quality lenses guaranteed to expand your (visual) horizons. The new high-end lens from Rodenstock DNEye provides a Full HD viewing experience and optimum sight for the customer. Only a few shops in Switzerland have the necessary measurement capabilities and know-how. Lucky for locals, Optik Gstaad is one of them. In early April 2013, Evelyne and Philipp Reber took over the optometry and eyewear shop previously run by Willi Worni in Gstaad. Not only has the name changed, the shop now boasts

an expanded choice of eyewear and cutting-edge diagnostic technology. Among them is the ultra-modern DNEye Scanner, which records a “digital fingerprint” of the eye. What are the challenges in lens technology? Evelyne Reber: Each eye has its own defects and problem areas. Depending on the viewing situation, these defects are affected to varying degrees. For example, astigmatism readings are often different depending on whether the measurements are taken while looking into the distance or up close, or the correction might not be the same at night as during the day. What is the new lens technology? Philipp Reber: The eye scan in and of itself has been known and tested. Although it is truly revolutionary, now we are able to take it a step further and incorporate the measurements in the new lenses. This can vary, for example, with astigmatism for both short and long distance vision. With this combination, results that were not available previously can be achieved. What are the advantages and who can benefit? Philipp Reber: The lenses are for people who want the best vision under the most demanding circumstances. Anyone will see an improvement, but the final effect is dependent on a person’s vision potential – in this area, unfortunately, not everyone is created equal. The added value is a natural view with increased contrast, brighter colours and a larger field of vision. Whether you’re near- or far-sighted, DNEye with single vision lenses can be applied to pro-

gressive lenses or those adapted for computer and office work. Prescription sunglass lenses are another option. Marketing or real progress? Evelyne Reber: There has clearly been a quantum leap in lens technology. Glasses featuring DNEye lenses can fully exploit the vision potential of the eye. We have long tested different lens suppliers, evaluating and comparing the competition. Rodenstock is currently the only provider capable of using the new technology. We’ve had this new DNEye technology now for four months and our many positive testimonials prove us right. What should I do to benefit from this new lens technology? Evelyne Reber: The most important thing is still the individual evaluation of personal eyesight, combined with an optometrist’s precise measurements. The best way to take advantage of this newest technology is to use our voucher for an eye scan and call us for an appointment today. We are happy to answer any and all of your questions about vision and eye health. Here’s looking at you, Gstaad!

The DNEye Scanner With the new DNEye Scanner, Philipp and Evelyne Reber of Optik Gstaad are part of the select few optometrists who are able to take a “digital fingerprint “ of the eye. DNEye lenses from Rodenstock are worldrenowned for their excellent craftsmanship. The glasses give the customer vision fully comparable with a Full HD viewing experience! Your benefits are: • A more natural visual impression • Improved perception of contrasts and colours • Sharper view • Greater attention They are especially suitable for: • All activities with the highest visual requirements • Seeing in low light conditions, such as driving at night • Onscreen displays


The New Geltenhütte – Dreaming at 2002 Metres Above Sea Level Located at the heart of several mountain ranges, Saanen continually inspires with its majestic backdrop. Somewhere high on one of these mountains, the SAC Oldenhorn’s venerable lodge is hidden away. The lodge – Geltenhütte – sits at 2002 metres in the rearmost Geltental. From the wellknown Lauenensee it’s only a two hour hike on a perilous mountain trail. While the trail is not for the faint of heart, or foot, many natural wonders like waterfalls and impressive mountain valleys make the trip worthwhile. The Geltenhütte is located in the Gelten-Iffigen nature reserve, and is popular as stage of the Wildhorn Tour – a scenic yet demanding 4-day hiking circuit. In summer, the mountain hut attracts both dedicated alpine and casual hikers, and also welcomes trail-friendly families with children. Despite the family appeal, it’s the ideal training ground for serious

climbers and mountaineers. In winter, skiers, snowshoers and ice climbers brave the slippery slope all the way to the Geltenhütte. The Geltenhütte was inaugurated 1969, and from 1995 to 2001, realized a first extension and renovation. Since this change, the number of overnight stays has increased by one-third, now obliging the SAC Oldenhorn to further expand the mountain hut. A warden is present six months of the year to welcome overnight visitors; 2,800 guest nights and many more day visitors are hosted during this time.

The renovation project has costs amounting to 1.3 million francs, which the SAC Oldenhorn must partially finance with donations. As the setting and natural beauty draws many tourists to the region annually, maintaining the Geltenhütte is important for the community. Additionally, the SAC Oldenhorn section aims to keep the renovations in line with the ‘Gstaad – on the way to sustainability’ association and One Future initiative. Photo: SAC Oldenhorn


With a vision to provide guests with more space and comfort, renovation has begun this summer. The enlargement of the dining room is a focus, as it must offer as many seats as beds. The sleeping rooms will feature wider berths and more storage space for backpacks and luggage. The currently very limited sanitary facilities will be optimized and additional cosmetic work on the south facade will be made.


Gstaad Overflows with Music at Menuhin Festival BY: GSTAADLIFE

Music lovers of the Saanenland will be drowning in good sound at the Menuhin Festival Gstaad – thanks to this year’s inventive water theme. All of the 50 concerts and recitals that make up this popular event will feature water-themed works as well as works composed around or near water. A wellspring of classics If you think that water might be too limiting an organizing principle for such a music festival, think again. Consider

Schubert’s Trout Quintet, which will be performed with ECHO-Klassik 2012 winners Renaud Capuçon and Katia Buniatishvili at the helm. Or Händel’s Water Music, played by the Gstaad Festival Orchestra conducted by Ottavio Dantone. Even Liszt’s Années de pèlerinage, whose watery bits such as Au lac de Wallenstadt and Au bord d’une source will come to life in the hands of the accomplished pianist Francesco Piemontesi. A watershed opening The July 18th opening concert will star young virtuoso Hélène Grimaud, who’s in

residence at the festival. Her performances will include the popular favourites Beethoven’s Piano Concerto N. 4 and Liszt’s Sonata in B Minor, as well as more modern pieces such as Britten’s Variations on a Theme of Frank Bridge and works by Valentin Silvestrov. The Menuhin Gstaad Festival runs from July 18th to September 7th, with concerts and recitals held in the Saanenland’s loveliest intimate venues. Please visit www.menuhinfestivalgstaad.ch for more information.

“Altitude” Both Name and Theme of 2013 Alt +1000 Festival BY: GSTAADLIFE

In its third season, this festival of contemporary photography welcomes 20 artists from Switzerland and around the world to the heart of the Pays d’Enhaut. 24-year old Bernese Valentina Suter has been selected as one of the five finalists of Alt+1000’s competition for photographers under the age of 40. Her stun-

ning prints feature the Gstaad Palace Hotel in the series Palace – A Scenario of High Society. Cyril Porchet, of Geneva, is another Swiss who has made the finals.

take note – Swissair posters from photographer Georg Gerster, whose aerial views left their mark on the 1970-1990’s, will be gathered and exhibited for the first time in Switzerland.

Their works will be shown in conjunction with those by professional artists Simon Norfolk, winner of the 4th Prix Pictet Commission in 2012, and Genevan photographer Nicolas Crispini. Vintage fans

The Alt+1000 Festival runs July 13 to September 22 – a dozen exhibitions are scattered throughout the village of Rossinière. For more information please visit www.plus1000.ch.


Entertainment Events Calendar Friday, July 12, 2013 through Thursday, August 1, 2013 Fri. July 12 Lauenen Foklore Evening with Yodelling Swiss music. Every Friday through August.

Thurs. July 18 - Sat. Sept. 7


Fri. July 12 - Sun. July 14 Zweisimmen Vintage Car Rally Rally with live music, food and drink, including a vintage car parts market.

artists. www.menuhinfestivalgstaad.ch

Sat. July 13 - Sept. 22 Rossinière ALT+1000 Festival Bands: Ländlerquartett Wäspistich, Kapelle Enzian, Ländlertrio Wiltigruess.

“Schönrieder Alphorn Days”.

57th Menuhin Festival Gstaad A classical music festival with world-famous

Sat. July 20


Alphorn Concert Alphorn concert on the occasion of the

Sat. July 20


Gondola Dinner Food, music, “Gondeliromantik” dinner at

Sat. July 13 Saanen Folk Music Feast Bands: Ländlerquartett Wäspistich, Kapelle Enzian, Ländlertrio Wiltigruess. Sun. July 14 Saanenmöser Haseloch Suufsunntig Traditional feast on the Haseloch Alp. Sun. July 14 Zweisimmen Holiday Pass for Children Pro Juventute provides children a day of games and activities. Tues. July 16 - Thurs. Aug 15 Gstaad Art Exhibition Oil paintings and stone sculptures by Oskar Buchs. Closed Mondays. Wed. July 17, 24, 31 Gsteig Alpine Dairy Tour From Alp „Vorder-Walig“, walk up to the Alp „Topfelsberg“ dairy. Runs every Wednesday from 8:45 am to 4:30 pm. Thurs. July 18 Guided Tour of Saanen Every Thursday at 4 p.m.


, Paris imran sa M s e n Va

Wimbledon of the Alps. Sun. July 21


“Water” in the Church of Lauenen Sermon in German and music with harpist Sarah O’Brien. Sun. Jul. 21- Sun. July 28


Sat. 27 July


Pesche’s Singles Party

Thurs. Aug. 1 Turbach National Day of Switzerland in Turbach Aperitif from 6 pm onward, followed by fireworks and more. Thurs. Aug. 1 Saanenmöser Golf Tournament Traditional August 1 golf tournament for guests and Golf Club members. Thurs. Aug. 1 Swiss Folk Music Program: Trio “Brand – Kohli – Graa”


St Peter’s Anglican Church English-Speaking, Château-d’Oex

Party for local singles – a great way to meet that someone special. Sat. 27 July


Service every Sunday, 17.30 pm www.allsaints.ch/chateaudoex Contact: cliveatkinson@bluewin.ch

Rotary Club Gstaad-Saanenland Meetings every Monday 12h00 Palace Hotel Gstaad (033 / 748 50 00), President: Rot. Christian Sieber (026 / 924 45 25) Program: Rot. Pascal Rey (026 / 925 10 00) Lions Club Gstaad-Saanenland Meetings each first and third week of the month on Thursdays, either at 12 pm for lunch or at 7 pm for dinner. Meetings in Ermitage, Wellness & Spa-Hotel, Schönried, Tel. 033 748 60 60. For details and program contact Philippe Werren, president, 033 748 84 00, philippe.werren@werrenag.ch, https://gstaad-saanenland.lionsclub.ch

www.gstaadlife.ch Important Numbers Ambulance 144, Police 117, Fire 118 Medical emergency 0900 57 67 47 Dental emergency 033 748 02 00 Dental Care Center 033 744 15 45 Police station 033 356 84 31 Car accident 033 744 88 80 Zweisimmen Hospital 033 729 26 26 Château-d‘Oex Hospital 026 923 43 43 Veterinarian 033 748 08 58/ 033 744 06 61 For additional useful numbers please visit www.gstaadlife.ch/useful-numbers.html

Music Society Gstaad


Beach Tennis Beach Tennis Tour Program, more info at www.swissbeachtennis.ch. Sun. July 28


Wispile Events The «mountain breakfast» is served every Sunday from June to October.

Stone, Pa ris

Don ate lla

Pe lli


heures d‘ouverture Lundi-Vendredi de 14:00 à 18:30 heures Samedi et Dimanche de 14:00 à 18:00 heures

etc …

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Chalet Jewels, Alte Lauenenstrasse 4, 3780 Gstaad 033 744 0311

D e let tre

Ma rie -

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Thurs. Aug. 1 Saanen Swiss National Day An evening for everyone – fireworks, live music and lots of fun.

Church Services

year’s season.

no ila

llac, Pari e Tai s

Wed. July 31 - Sat. Aug. 3 Zweisimmen Summer Festival Varied program including a party night, concerts and more. www.gstaad.ch/zweisimmen Thurs. Aug. 1 Lauenen National Day Celebration with Market Folklore program of the region, market and more. Details to follow in mid-July.

Circus GO “Universe Artistica” is the motto of this

Bijouterie Multi-Marques

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The Swiss Open Gstaad is also known as the

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Crédit Agricole Suisse Open Gstaad

Sun. July 28

Thurs. July 18 - Fri. July 19 Schönried Schönrieder Alphorn Days Alphorn concerts featuring soloist Sandro Frautschi, xylophone, and others.


Sat. Jul. 20 - Sun. July 28

Concert at the Swiss Open Gstaad “village”.

Thurs. July 18, 25 Lauenen Guided Tour of Lauenensee Tour through the nature reserve with guide.


the Hamilton Lodge, 7:15 pm to 11:30 pm




GSTAADLIFE is available in these Hotels **** * GSTAAD PALACE +41 (0)33 748 50 00, info@palace.ch

** * HOTEL DES ALPES BY BRUNO KERNEN +41 (0)33 748 04 50, info@desalpes.ch

**** * GRAND HOTEL PARK +41 (0)33 748 98 00, info@grandhotelpark.ch

** * HOTEL BELLERIVE +41 (0)33 748 88 33, info@gstaad4.com

**** * GRAND HOTEL BELLEVUE +41 (0)33 748 00 00, info@bellevue-gstaad.ch

*** HOTEL ALPENLAND +41 (0)33 765 91 34, hotel@alpenland.ch

**** * THE ALPINA GSTAAD +41 (0)33 888 98 88, info@thealpinagstaad.ch

*** HOTEL ALPHORN +41 (0)33 748 45 45, office@gstaad-alphorn.ch

***** WELLNESS & SPA HOTEL ERMITAGE +41 (0)33 748 04 30, reservation@ermitage.ch

*** HOTEL KERNEN +41 (0)33 748 40 20, info@hotel-kernen.ch

*** * HOTEL ALPENROSE +41 (0)33 748 91 91, info@hotelalpenrose.ch

*** HOTEL LANDHAUS +41 (0)33 748 40 40, info@landhaus-saanen.ch

*** * GOLFHOTEL LES HAUTS DE GSTAAD +41 (0)33 748 68 68, mail@golfhotel.ch

*** HOTEL SAANERHOF +41 (0)33 744 15 15, hotel@saanerhof.ch

**** GRAND CHALET +41 (0)33 748 76 76, hotel@grandchalet.ch

** * HOTEL SOLSANA +41 (0)33 748 94 94, info@solsana.ch

**** HOTEL ARC-EN-CIEL +41 (0)33 748 43 43, info@arc-en-ciel.ch

*** POSTHOTEL RÖSSLI +41 (0)33 748 42 42, info@posthotelroessli.ch

**** HOTEL BERNERHOF +41 (0)33 748 88 44, info@bernerhof-gstaad.ch

*** SAANEWALD LODGE +41 (0)33 744 69 69, info@saanewald-lodge.ch

**** HOTEL CHRISTIANIA +41 (0)33 744 51 21, info@christiania.ch

*** SPORTHOTEL VICTORIA +41 (0)33 748 44 22, info@victoria-gstaad.ch

**** HOTEL GSTAADERHOF: +41 (0)33 748 63 63, info@gstaaderhof.ch

** LE PETIT RELAIS +41 (0)33 744 35 65, info@lepetitrelais.ch

**** HOTEL OLDEN +41 (0)33 748 49 50, info@hotelolden.com

HOTEL BÄREN +41 (0)33 755 10 33, hotel@baerengsteig.ch

**** ROMANTIK HOTEL HORNBERG +41 (0)33 748 66 88, willkommen@hotel-hornberg.ch

GASTHOF GELTENHORN +41 (0)33 765 30 22, info@gasthof-geltenhorn.ch

**** HOTEL STEIGENBERGER +41 (0)33 748 64 64, gstaad@steigenberger.ch

HOTEL VIKTORIA +41 (0)33 755 10 34, hotel_viktoria@bluewin.ch

** * HOTEL ALPINE LODGE +41 (0)33 748 41 51, info@alpinelodge.ch

HOTEL WILDHORN +41 (0)33 765 30 12, info@hotel-wildhorn.ch

Photo: xx

Last Word

While you don’t often see groups of older ladies in black walking around the Swiss Alps, you’ll find them all over Greece.


There is a reason old ladies wear lilac and aqua tones, hideous as those colours often are; it’s quite simply because they make a lady look radiant and a little less like she’s about to die. Women of a certain age should not wear black. At least not unless they are professional mourners, actually in mourning, devoutly religious, or a lifelong goth. While you don’t often see groups of older ladies in black walking around the Swiss Alps, over in Greece swathes of them can be found hobbling around, even in the heat of summer. Of course for them it isn’t a fashion choice. They are actually in mourning – often, for years at a time. But all around the world, and certainly in Gstaad during the high season, one will notice that black is most often a woman’s last resort. Not pink. Black doesn’t require much imagination. It’s easy to wear and goes with everything. But wear too much black and you forget how to wear colour. Who doesn’t love black? It is slimming and can be worn over and over again without anyone noticing you never change clothes. Most women have the ubiquitous little black dress, if not several, black cigarette pants, black skirt, black sweater, black handbag, black shoes, black coat, the list goes on … black black black black black black black.

But black is not for every occasion or a go-to colour for everyday – it’s too sombre. I prefer navy blue. You can imagine my horror when a few weeks ago at a party in London I saw hanging over my host’s fireplace a portrait he had commissioned of his grandmother dressed in head to toe black. Perhaps she was in mourning, I thought. But if she was, there must be some rule about doing something so frivolous during the grieving process? And if she was not, well then in my opinion the black garb ruined a perfectly good portrait. As it happened, the grandmother was also at the party. She didn’t look like a zombie that night. She was not wearing black. I will never forget when I was watching the Oscars a few years ago and Vanessa Redgrave and Maggie Smith were up there on screen, one of them looking positively lifeless and the other looking rather fetching for a lady over 70. It was all down to the dress you see, a Valentino red number. Needless to say, the lady in black looked awful. Like she belonged at a funeral. A virtual corpse. Not a good look for a glamorous television appearance. Perhaps she is a method actress, I thought, studying for a role as a professional mourner? Stranger things have happened. That there is such a thing as a professional mourner is one of them. Apparently they are big in Asia

but the craze is moving west too, according to the Times of London, and the business is growing here on the continent. I’d never even heard of such a thing until I saw the Wedding Crashers movie. The thought of getting dressed in black to do a bit of keening for someone you didn’t know is really rather amusing, especially if you’re getting paid. Or in the case of the Wedding Crashers, picking up girls. I suppose one might make another exception for wearing black over the age of 65 when it is for professional reasons. But that’s it, ladies! And gentlemen, too! You don’t want to look like an undertaker or an off-duty waiter on the prowl. Men in black, that’s really a big no-no at any age unless required by a professional situation, black-tie event, or because you are into goth culture or music. With all the depressing news out there, and considering the great big death eventually coming to take us all, perhaps a little more colour would do everyone some good. For God’s sake ladies, paint your veils while you can!


Profile for Müller Medien

GstaadLife, July 12 2013  

The exclusive monthly publication about the good life in Gstaad

GstaadLife, July 12 2013  

The exclusive monthly publication about the good life in Gstaad

Profile for mdruck