GstaadLife 7/2018, 14 December

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Issue 7 | 14 December 2018 CHF 3.50

HEALTHCARE SAANENLAND A project is in the making

CHLÖSTERLI The grande dame of party venues revived

CULTURE = EDUCATION? Marie-Noëlle Gudin knows the answer


SALES | RENTALS | ADMINISTRATION THE ADRESS FOR YOUR HOME IN GSTAAD SINCE 1970. Gschwendstrasse 2 | CH-3780 Gstaad | Tel. +41 33 748 45 50 | Fax. +41 33 748 45 51 | |

A HORNY ISSUE! Cows are mostly out of sight these days but they made the headlines repeatedly over the last couple of months. The reason was a popular initiative dubbed Horned Cow Initiative. It proposed additional subsidies as an incentive to raise the percentage of cows and goats with horns, which currently make about a quarter across Switzerland. Cows with horns are happier and more comfortable, so the Interessengemeinschaft Hornkuh argued. Cows without horns are easier and safer (and cheaper) to keep in open pens, so the opponents.

CONTENTS LOCAL NEWS Tim Weiland becomes general manager at The Alpina Gstaad


Gstaad’s cuisine comes out on top


The Europa Cup returns to Saanen


La Braye cable car closed for winter season


Sun and Soul (no) rules


Right at the top when it comes to wellness


The Chlösterli is all set to reopen



The sound of education


The voting population eventually decided against the initiative, not least because this is not an issue that should be settled in the constitution of our country.

Saanenland’s healthcare solution takes shape


Restoration of St Peter’s Church in Château-d’Oex


However, the interest and support this grass-roots initiative received, and eventually the good result (45.3%), shows that the topic hit a nerve.

Second win in a row for Tilly XV – at the GYC Centenary Trophy


Winter sport series: Telemark skiing


Now, I may be wrong, but I don’t remember any hornless cow on marketing campaigns for our region. Doesn’t seem like a coincidence. Best regards,


LIFESTYLE A piece of diamond history


If you’re looking for Santa, you just missed him…



Expat Adventures Markus Iseli, Publishing Director

Cover Photo: © Kire Ivanov, GstaadLife, Anzeiger von Saanen, Kirchstrasse 6, P.O. Box 201, 3780 Gstaad, Phone: 033 748 88 74, Fax: 033 748 88 84, Management Board and Publisher: Frank Müller, Publishing Director & Editor in Chief: Markus Iseli, Contributors: Elizabeth Beracasa, Alex Bertea, Anna Charles, Guy Girardet, Justine Hewson, Anne Christine Kempton Layout: Aline Brawand, Michael Matti, Epu Shaha Advertising: Eliane Behrend,, 033 748 88 71 Subscriptions: Annic Romang,, 033 748 88 74 "AvS" after the author of an article indicates the the text is based on material from the Anzeiger von Saanen. Contact the editor for more information.

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German-born Tim Weiland moved from the Aman Le Mélézin Hotel in Courchevel, France, to Gstaad on 1 November 2018. He’s taken over from Eric Favre, who left the establishment at the end of the 2018 summer season. Tim Weiland’s career as a general manager has taken him to various hotels within the Aman Group over the past decade. Although born in Germany, he grew up in South Africa, Haiti and Kenya and has a bachelor’s degree from the École hôtelière in Lausanne. When asked about taking up his new post in Gstaad, he said: “I’m really looking forward to the challenge of taking The Alpina Gstaad forwards and working with the staff team.” In a comment, Nachson Mimran, President of the Board of Directors for Grand Hotel Alpina AG, said: “Tim Weiland is just the right person to share our vision of sustainable luxury and has much to contribute through his international experience in the luxury hotel industry. He has an extensive knowledge of the needs of our international guests and will be able to recognise and fulfil these.” JUSTINE HEWSON / AVS




GSTAAD'S CUISINE COMES OUT ON TOP At the start of October, Gault&Millau published their annual gourmet guide. The Saanenland benefits from 13 of the best Swiss restaurants and Gstaad is home to eight of these, making it one of the most important places for the best gastronomy in the Berne region. Swiss chefs have been put through their paces this year. When Gault&Millau awarded their points, they took the following into account: quality and freshness of the products, creativity and professionalism of the preparation, blend of ingredients used in the dishes and menu sequence. Also taken into consideration were precision of cooking times, the wholesomeness and presentation of the dishes and consis-


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tent performance in the kitchen. In addition, the personal tastes of those sampling the food played a role. The judges can award between 12 to 20 points to restaurants, although the top score of 20 points has never been awarded in Switzerland. 13 restaurants from the Saanenland were selected

According to the latest Gault&Mil-

lau guide, anyone seeking a good restaurant in Saanen will definitely find what they’re looking for. A total of 13 restaurants were awarded 13 to 18 points. One of the top climbers of the ranking is La Gare in the Bernerhof Hotel, which is new among the best, with 13 points. Restaurants that aren’t listed this year include the Avenue Montagne Restaurant in Park


Gstaad, the Golfclub Gstaad-Saanenland and the Golfhotel Les Hauts de Gstaad with its Belle Epoque Restaurant.

At the beginning of February, the Alpine Europa

We’re still waiting for the Leonard’s restaurant in Le Grand Bellevue to be rated. This is currently being run by a new chef, Marcus G. Lindner and the hotel has been restructuring its kitchens. The gourmet guide predicts excellent dishes from this restaurant.

Cup will be taking place in the Saanen region. Two Europa Cup races will be held in Saanen on 4 and 5 February 2019, namely two men's slalom races at the Saanen Skifuture World Cup race track. Both national and international ski races have a long tradition in Saanen. In recent years, mostly international FIS races and national junior championships have been held here. This year, as in previous years, the Europa Cup will once again come to our region.

18 points received for two Gstaad restaurants

Once again this year, the Chesery has scored 18 points under chef Robert Speth. Chef Martin Göschel from Sommet in The Alpina Gstaad is also among those in this league. The judges praised his “extraordinary culinary skills and creativity”.

A committee of representatives from local ski clubs has been formed in recent months, with Philippe Chevalier, a long-standing national Alpine women’s team coach, acting as the president. This committee is responsible organising the Europa Cup races. The race director will be World Cup winner and world champion Mike von Grünigen, bringing many years of experience in ski racing to the two races that will take place in Saanen.



Martin Göschel is one of the best chefs in the Saanenland

The committee has set itself the goal of providing a home to top international skiing in the region both now and in years to come. On the Skifuture race track in Saanen, skiers of all levels will be able to show off their skills, including regional junior athletes, as well as established World Cup racers. JUSTINE HEWSON / AVS

LA BRAYE CABLE CAR CLOSED FOR WINTER SEASON The Board of Directors of Télé Château-d'Oex SA has decided to take the La Braye cable car out of service for the upcoming winter season. They’d like to point out that is a temporary closure. There are plans to launch a project all four seasons, with a view to reopening in winter 2019/2020. Working with the Edelweiss Paradise association, which was founded in July and has more than 200 members, the key stakeholders involved will manage the finances to guarantee that the cable car opens in line with the business plan. JUSTINE HEWSON / AVS

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Du studio au 7.5 pièces dès CHF


The dynamic duo of Nick and Simon Buchs is poised for yet another success story with their reinvention of the Solsana Hotel in Saanen. The oft overlooked locality with some of the best views in Saanenland – ironically a space dedicated to the blind in the past – has changed ownership and will undergo a dramatic transformation in the coming two years. Your hosts at the Sun & Soul: Nick Buchs, Vanessa Schwenter and Simon Buchs (from left)

Hanna Büker @whereshadowsfall



One big playground

Meanwhile Nick and Simon are running the show and have created an atypical Gstaad destination. Sun and Soul Pop-Up Hotel is the antithesis of a quintessential five star hotel. “We are a no star venue”, says Simon. Guests are the stars creating the type of bespoke adventure they design based on their distinctive choices in a funky, unstuffy atmosphere. Nick likens the current vibe to converting a castle into a playground. The pre-opening party on 10 November proved to be a splendid representation of the off-beat, no-rules vibe featuring “Fiji Band” with Simon and Simonne. A synthesis of electronic dance music had the crowd enthralled and amused with a truly out-of-the-box performance, one hardly expects to encounter du ring off season Gstaad, or any other time of year for that matter. The genuine no-water pool is an unconventional feature that has been transformed into a party arena ideal for creating the wackiest of celebrations. Ample space for as many as 300 guests and a nearly indestructible design are perks of this site. No life guards on duty so proceed with caution! Golfjunkies will relish the indoor putting green

and driving range du ring the months Golfclub Gstaad Saanenland is a ski piste. Instructors will be available through the club as well. Arty

Art in its many forms is an integral part of the Sun and Soul experience. Currently walls of the common areas and guest rooms are adorned with pieces that had been created for the Live Art Gstaad, which was co-founded by Nick and Simon’s father in 1996. A key objective of Sun and Soul is to offer a venue for artists, writers, musicians and sculptors to work and display the fruits of their efforts, including lectures, dance and music performances, demonstrations, workshops, etc. The imagination has free reign and all ideas and suggestions are welcome. The Buchs brothers envision an adaptation of an artist’s retreat during off-season as well, allowing artists of all varieties to utilize the facilities and be inspired by the serenity of the environs of Saanenland. April, May and November are likely months to allocate accommodations for in house artists to hone their craft and interact with likeminded imaginative souls. Sun and Soul will be open yearround, a bonus for travelers and locals alike. Fifty spacious rooms are available in various categories including family suites. All with sun- filled balconies, assorted creature comforts and of paramount importance; at affordable rates! ELIZABETH BERACASA

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FREEING ONESELF FROM ADDI AND A GREAT ACHIEVEMENT Nested in the Swiss Alps, near the town of Montreux, you’ll find a completely renovated building, which houses a clinic for those seeking to free themselves from the prison of addiction. The scenario seems almost fairy-like, with 360 degrees view of alpine meadows, forests, snow-capped mountains and lake Geneva. If the time to start a change is now, the ideal place to do so is certainly here.


linic Les Alpes is the result of 10 years of dedication and investment. The starting point was the conception of a luxurious facility, lodging the most state of the art examination rooms, detoxification suites and medical spa. A great deal of effort was put into the choice of materials and decorations, all with a single thing in mind: patients’ safety and comfort.

drugs, and behavioural addictions, such as those related to gambling, social media, or pornography. Co-existing mental health problems, like burnout, depression, food disorders are also treated at this clinic. A multilingual and experienced team of doctors, counsellors, nurses and therapists are on duty 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to ensure patients receive the best possible care.

Licensed by the Swiss Department of Health, this inpatient facility specializes in providing personalised treatment plans for various types of addictions. These include addiction to substances, such as alcohol and

Clinic Les Alpes provides a service where a member of the therapeutic team can collect the patients from home and accompany them to the facility. Upon arrival, the medical team will proceed to a complete medical health check, a micro-nutritional profiling and a psychiatric assessment. With all elements in hands, the medical and therapeutic teams will cre-

The beautifully restored original building has been complemented with new facilities to provide and care for the patients.


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CTION IS A JOURNEY – Mind body balance is key on the journey to an addiction-free life.

ate, together with the patient, a tailor-made treatment plan that suits the patients’ particular and unique needs. Mind and body balance is extremely important in the process of recovery. Four hours of daily counselling are complemented with psychotherapy sessions and complementary therapies as, for instance, medical hypnosis, stress management, 12 steps or art therapy. It’s in the 1,000 square meters medical and wellness spa – which comprises four treatment rooms, male and female sauna, steam bath and relaxation suites as well as indoor/outdoor infinity pool – that integrative medicine takes place with sessions of acupuncture, reflexology, pilates and yoga, among others. Good nutrition also aids wellbeing. After a consultation with a dietician, a tailor-made programme of supplementation of vitamins, minerals, amino acids and micronutrients is elaborated. Learning new healthy habits and regain life balance is the goal. Recovery is a journey that requires practice and time. Having this in mind, the medical and therapeutic team draw up a personalised and detailed aftercare programme, which may include weekly counselling sessions, trimestral consultations with the head psychiatrist, the establishment of a network that will support the patient outside of the clinic, and the possibility to organise booster stays to reinforce the key learnings of recovery. “The journey of recovery has a different path for every sufferer,” says the founder, Patrick Wilson, “but the liberty and peace of freeing oneself from addiction to substances or behaviours is one of the greatest personal achievements an individual can attain.”

Clear, modern structures of the professional healthcare facilities tie in with comfortable spaces and cozy relaxation areas.

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new: fresh juices and vegan menus



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ust in time for the start of the season on 21 December, the “La Fromagerie” restaurant, Switzerland’s most unusual fondue restaurant, shines in new splendour for its guests: interior designer Marina Nickels gives the chalet restaurant a fresh look with antique pieces of furniture and lamps as well as alpine finds. The concept full of eye candy ensures a cozy time while enjoying first-class cheese specialities. A visit to the

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exclusive Smoking Lounge, which provides the ideal storage for precious treasures with a new humidor cabinet, promises a treat for tobacco gourmets. Anyone longing for warmth and Mediterranean joie de vivre after the long winter will get their money’s worth during the “Greek Weeks” from 27 February to 9 March 2019. Greek star chef Yannis Baxevanis conjures up delicacies from his Cretan homeland during his guest appearance at Gildo’s. For the grand finale, dance-loving night birds celebrate hot beats until the early hours of the morning at the exclusive “White Party” in the GreenGo nightclub.

Among the regions who took part in the "Best Ski

The award in the Wellness category

Resort" study, Gstaad was awarded first prize in

Heinz Brand, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Bergbahnen Destination Gstaad AG and Günter Weilguni, member of the Executive Board of the Gstaad-Saanenland Hotelier Association, were pleased to accept the award in the Wellness category for the destination of Gstaad. In addition, the des-

the wellness category as a top destination to visit.

“Come up, slow down” – Gstaad’s slogan rings true for its guests. When it comes to wellness and recreation, no other destination offers such an enjoyable experience. This is an announcement that the Feriendestination Gstaad was pleased to make in a recent press release. A survey completed by winter sports enthusiasts

Who has the highest levels of guest satisfaction? Which slopes are rated the best? Where do you get the best value for money? What areas of natural scenery impress you the most? Where’s the best ambience to enjoy? Where’s the best après-ski? Also: Where are the best wellness facilities? “These are the questions asked

“The destination of Gstaad is delighted and proud to receive these awards” tination came second for the best ski schools, fourth for peace and relaxation, sixth for exclusivity and ninth for com-

At the award ceremony in Innsbruck (from left): Günter Weilguni (Gstaad-Saanenland Hotelier Association), Heinz Brand (Bergbahnen Destination Gstaad) and Michael Partel (author of the study)




by the Best Ski Resort Study carried out by Mountain Management in collaboration with the University of Innsbruck”, according to the press release. During the past ski season, this customer satisfaction survey covered 20 different categories and was completed by 46,000 winter sports enthusiasts on the slopes of 55 selected top Alpine ski resorts.

fortable surroundings. “The destination of Gstaad is delighted and proud to receive these awards, especially since the award is based on customer reviews” says Christian Hoefliger, President of the Gstaad Hotelier Association. JUSTINE HEWSON / AVS

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W W W . J E T F LY. C O M

Blanca Burri


THE CHLÖSTERLI IS ALL SET TO REOPEN On 21 December, the legendary Chlösterli in Grund will reopen. Offering Italian cuisine, a piano bar, live music and DJs until the early hours of the morning, the venue will round off the range of nightlife on offer in Saanen. Marcel Bach is now in charge of Chlösterli in addition to the Hotel Sonnenhof, the Rössli in Feutersoey, the Solsana and The Alpina. It’s been tastefully renovated and is now ready to reopen on Friday, 21 December. “Gstaad already benefits from very good restaurants, hotels and other great facilities. However, there’s a lack of entertainment and fun,” says the new co-owner Marcel Bach, commenting on the benefits of the venue reopening. In the 80s and 90s, the restaurant was the place to go for both locals and visitors. Back then, revellers even drove all the way from Bern to Grund for a night out. Today, Bach is harking back to these good old times while breathing new life into Chlösterli. A free shuttle bus service

The new concept is targeting both visitors and locals, including the

young and the young-at-heart. “We serve food from 7pm and the dancing starts later, so you’ll get home before midnight after a great night out.” This is particularly good for families and those who no longer like to stay out until the early hours of the morning. Italian specialities are on the menu, with pizza and pasta. Of course, Swiss dishes will also feature. Live music will play until midnight, then a DJ takes over. “The party for late-night revellers will go on until 3.30am,” explains Bach. To ensure that distance is no object, Chlösterli is providing a free shuttle bus from the Gstaad cinema car park. From folklore to country

In addition to its standard offerings, Chlösterli will also host special events such as folklore and country evenings. Bach also wants to collaborate with Jeunesse Saanenland and

traditional staff parties will be held at Chlösterli. Italian management

While Bach is the general manager, Franco Paloschi (formerly from The Alpina) is in charge of the restaurant and Romano Santin (formerly from GreenGo) for the dancing. Closed for a few years

After Michel Pastor purchased Chlösterli from the Müllener family, it was completely renovated in 2003 and then reopened as a gourmet restaurant and nightspot called Alpenbistro. However, it’s been closed for about seven years. Bach Immobilien AG, Matti Immobilien AG and Walter Egger have now purchased the venue, which is located between Gstaad and Feutersoey. JUSTINE HEWSON / AVS

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EDUCATION Marie-Noëlle Gudin, Director of Le Rosey Foundation and Le Rosey Concert Hall in Rolle, explains why cultural activities should be an integral part in a holistic philosophy of education. Can you tell us what it was like growing up in Le Rosey?

I attended Le Rosey for 10 years and found it amazing. I particularly liked moving between our two campuses – Rolle and Gstaad. I loved the village life of Gstaad, the mountains and being able to ski every day. Students have classes in the mornings then go skiing in the afternoon, with the exception of Thursdays. It’s hard work and tiring, but exhilarating. What is it about Le Rosey that sets it apart from other schools?

Having two campuses is one aspect. Another is the students themselves, particularly their diversity and internationality. We have students from over 50 countries with different cultural backgrounds and languages. They have to learn about each other and how to live together. Le Rosey is quite a small school with some 400420 students; this makes it a close community. The relationship between students and teachers is also very close because the teachers share the students’ lives – the teachers are the ones who turn their lights out at night, who eat and ski with them and are always there to talk to. Le Rosey is exceptional because it offers so much to its students. You need to be a


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bit hyperactive to come here because you have activities non-stop! The academic standard is high and it’s getting better each year – acceptances from the prestigious universities are proof of this. In my view, one of the strong points of Le Rosey is that students develop academic knowledge and skills, together with creativity and imagination. Imagination is a very important tool that is not given importance in many schools. With the development of new technologies and artificial intelligence in the future, young people will be called upon to do jobs that don’t even exist today. The campus has excellent sports facilities and sports play a big role in student life. This is complemented by the artistic and cultural activities offered by Le Rosey Concert Hall. Today students can choose to do almost any art they would like to: music, plastic arts, photography and so on. I have the impression that students who graduate from Le Rosey are comfortable in almost any situation in life. They develop a self-confidence that’s quite rare – a quality that, I think, is a specific attribute of the school.

Does philanthropy have a role in school activities?

Yes, both philanthropy and ecology. We have students who are very committed to climate change and we are also involved with several charities chosen by the students. Our main project is a sister school in Mali that we’ve been developing since 2001. For the past three years, we have also been working with refugees in Greece, helping them develop a school there. In projects like these, the students are always being challenged and pushed to take initiative, to be imaginative and entrepreneurial. What is the background of Le Rosey Foundation?

It was created in the 90s by a group of anciens (student alumni) to promote the excellence of education, mainly through scholarship programmes. In 2014, when I became its Director, it was time to give the foundation a new impetus; managing Le Rosey Concert Hall, which had just been built, was a perfect way to expand its status to promote culture alongside education. How has the foundation evolved since you took over and where do you see it going?

The foundation’s activities have been a good way to increase awareness of Le Rosey and its activities. Many of the alumni didn’t even know there

was a foundation or the difference between the foundation and the Association Internationale des Anciens Roséens. One of my objectives has been to clarify the role of the foundation, which I see as having three pillars: the first is Le Rosey Concert Hall and this is the most developed, the second is our charities and the third is the scholarships. I would like to see the other pillars develop in the same way that the concert hall has. My role is to chair the artistic committee that chooses the programmes. In addition, I supervise communications and marketing and manage the administration. I am also very involved in fundraising. Being a foundation we rely on partnerships, donations and funds so we find business partners and patrons who want to be present at our events. I’m also developing a new funding strategy to attract season partners. In the future, I would like to see the foundation further the development of its educational projects abroad, while also linking the three pillars more comprehensively. I believe, like my father, that culture plays an important role in education. It is thanks to his vision that we have this concert hall today. With respect to Le Rosey Concert Hall, is it a disadvantage being located outside the city?

No, on the contrary. There are many people who live on La Côte who are happy to come here to avoid the traffic of Geneva or Lausanne. When famous orchestras tour it’s possible for them to give a concert in Geneva and a second, the next day, at Le Rosey Concert Hall.

fortunate to have a good contact, who lets us know when these orchestras will be on tour. An important attraction is the concert hall itself. Many of the musicians tell us it has one of the best acoustics in Switzerland. We also make musicians and artists feel very welcome; this is part of Le Rosey hospitality. Our concert hall is in its fifth season and we are becoming increasingly well-known. We now have about 150 season members that attend all the concerts. In the first two seasons we had to focus a lot on communication and publicity. People knew about Le Rosey but they had no idea we had a concert hall. Now there are people who know about the concert hall but not about the school! Would you say that the concert hall is a way of getting the school known within a different circle?

Yes, but the main concern is always the students. It’s a wonderful tool to promote culture amongst young people. We design the programme of concerts with the students in mind and try to make it interesting for them. We aim to increase their knowledge and appreciation of music. We also offer students of the schools around here the opportunity to come to the concerts for 10 francs a ticket. We try to have 12 to 13 concerts each year, including one or two events during the winter months when the school is in Gstaad. The concerts are varied – classical, jazz, modern and sometimes theatre. For instance, this evening, we are putting on Les

Misérables with a cast from Paris. I think our patrons like the fact that they have such a diverse programme with one season ticket. Because of the high fees, some people think that Le Rosey is kind of a club for the ultra-wealthy. Do you think that this is true?

No. I think that Le Rosey really represents something else. It does have relatively high fees so you need to be wealthy to put your children here. We have a lot of wealthy but we also have people for whom Le Rosey represents a sacrifice. It is also a fact that Le Rosey educates the future leaders. Hopefully, they will take back to their countries what they have learned here and develop it further there. Do you see a symbiosis between the foundation and Le Rosey School?

I think it plays a role within the wider concept of education. Both the school and Le Rosey Foundation are devoted to education and we believe that education can and will change the world. In different aspects and in different ways I think that that, and a certain vision of education, is what unites us. GUY GIRARDET

Le Rosey has invited a group from Paris to perform L’Ecume des Jours by Boris Vianpar. 1 March 2019, Grande Salle, Château-d’Oex at 8.30pm All are welcome!

Not at all. For example, we’ve had the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and the St Petersburg Orchestra. We are

Courtesy of Le Rosey

So you have no difficulty attracting famous artists?

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SAANENLAND’S HEALTHCARE To ensure the future of healthcare in the region, a health campus is to be built in Zweisimmen as well as a health centre in Saanen. Detailed plans should be available and financing is expected to be secured within a year. At the invitation of the Obersimmental-Saanenland mountain region, plans for the new healthcare solution were presented to an audience in the Simmental Arena in Zweisimmen. The concept provides for a health campus in Zweisimmen and a health centre that includes rescue services in Saanen. Together, these facilities will form an integrated health network for the region. Health campus with hospital in Zweisimmen

The health campus planned for Zweisimmen includes a 24-hour emergency unit, operating theatre, in-patient beds, as well as doctors’ offices, physiotherapy and ergotherapy practices, a pharmacy, Spitex medical assistance, assisted living facilities, the Maternité Alpine birthing house, and much more. The Simmental-Thun-Saanenland (STS) hospital has pledged its support, as CEO Bruno Guggisberg confirmed. During the transition phase, the hospital group will ensure that hospital operations are maintained at the Zweisimmen site. In order to optimize the operational infrastructure of the Zweisimmen site, it is providing up to CHF 2m in additional funds for 2019 in addition to their regular annual investments. After the 2018/19 winter season, operations will no longer be switched to low season, but will be maintained 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. In addition, STS is supporting the Maternité Alpine birthing house for planned outpatient caesarean sections from January 2019. Health centre in Saanen

The health centre in Saanen will include a 24-hour walk-in surgery,


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doctors’ offices, triage, and rescue services. Saanen’s health centre will be part of the Zweisimmen health campus, explained Toni von Grünigen, co-president of the Obersimmental-Saanenland mountain region and member of the project working group. “Right now, we have a good supply of family doctors. However, we can see that there may be problems in the longer term. That is why we must be ready for a time when family doctors can no longer guarantee care – for example, as a result of retirement.” Managed by Stefan Stefaniak, the project working group developed the concept for an integrated healthcare solution for the region over the past few months. Toni von Grünigen says he was impressed by the open and constructive discussions the group has had. The fact that there is now a solution is probably due to the realization “that we can only achieve something together”. Canton Bern’s Health Director, Pierre

Alain Schnegg, stressed that it was a project close to his heart and outlined a number of challenges facing the working group: “The financing, the recruitment of workers, and the small number of patients, combined with the large supply area and the ubiquitous distrust among the parties involved” are some of the major hurdles that need to be overcome to ensure success. Stefaniak, who was appointed by Schnegg, says that several scenarios that would ensure a healthcare solution for the Obersimmental-Saanenland region were explored – from individual practices to complete hospitals. However, the latter option was found to be financially unfeasible given the relatively low number of patients, says Stefaniak. Medical service providers to collaborate more effectively

There was a sense of positive enthusiasm in the Simmental Arena as the project managers presented

SOLUTION TAKES SHAPE their concept. “It’s something for us, by us, and in which we have a say,” enthused Albin Buchs, co-president of the Obersimmental-Saanenland mountain region. He believes the key to success lies in collaborative efforts and says: “We’ve got some daunting tasks ahead of us, but we want to tackle them.” For Ueli von Känel, operations manager at Spitex Obersimmental, the synergies that could be exploited are a major advantage of the campus. “To seize the opportunity, we need the participation, support, and help of everyone, from the Health and Welfare Directorate (GEF), the STS, and the region. It is a great task that we are facing, but it is also a great opportunity to help shape the future,” said von Grünigen. According to Schnegg, the health sector is still too siloed: “There are family doctors, Spitex, homes, hospitals... everyone does their job very well, but when it comes to the interfaces between the various service providers, it’s often quite complicated. Through the campus and the health network, we want to bring all Presenting and discussing the new concept: moderator David Staudenmann, project manager Stefan Stefaniak, health director Pierre Alain Schnegg, Albin Buchs and Toni von Grünigen (co-presidents Obersimmental-Saanenland mountain region), operations manager at Spitex Obersimmental Ueli von Känel, and STS CEO Bruno Guggisberg.

these service providers together and simplify things for everyone.” This is particularly important in regions with a low number of medical cases. When asked about the timeline, the Health Director replied: “There are things that can be achieved quickly. The STS has already made certain decisions in order to ensure the project does not get halted and that it can benefit from the dynamics early on.” The stakes are high

At the arena meeting, the project managers stated that cooperation and commitment were absolutely essential for the project to move forward. “The region is called upon to help. What does that mean?”, moderator David Staudenmann asked. According to Toni von Grünigen, that question cannot yet be answered specifically. But he made a comparison with the newly built Simmental Arena and the Saanen airfield: “That’s what we have in mind. It needs the public and private sectors, it needs everyone to work together to make it happen. In the past, discussions have not always been constructive. But if we can be positive and collaborate effectively, we can succeed. Today the chance of getting this done is bigger than ever.” However, his counterpart Albin Buchs from St Stephan cautioned: “A lot is riding on this, it’s about our healthcare.” He drew the comparison to the death of village shops or Lädelisterben. When a shop closes, there’s a lot of screaming. “Why is it happening?” he asked rhetorically. “Because there was no support. If this project fails, we will be faced with a pile of broken glass,” he warned. The stakes are high and there is clearly still a lot of work to be done. As Stefaniak put it: “Today neither the financing has been secured nor the concept has been worked out, the service providers have not agreed to participate, the space is not available, and approval for the buildings is still pending. The project needs the support and cooperation of everyone. And while criticism is appropriate, it must be constructive.” Concrete next steps

Stefaniak is clear about the next steps necessary for establishing the health network and expects to see concrete results in a year’s time. “We want the sponsorship – probably through a co-operative – to be agreed upon, detailed plans to be available, financing secured, and we want to know where and what will be built”.

Anita Moser


GstaadLife 7 I 2018


On the afternoon of 1 September 2018, St Peter’s, the English Church in Château-d’Oex, was packed with friends and well-wishers. They had come to listen to a special concert in the church featuring Sara Marques and Jystyna Jarzab performing works by Bellini, Britten, Chopin, Dvoják, Gounod, Liszt, Mozart, Puccini, and Verdi.

SERVICES IN ST PETER’S CHURCH, CHÂTEAU-D’OEX Sunday, 23 December at 5.30pm: Rev’d Clive Atkinson – Evening Prayer Monday, 24 December at 5.30pm: Rev’d Clive Atkinson – Christmas Carol Service. Hot wine and stollen served after the service. Tuesday, 25 December at 10am: Rev’d Peter Wheeler – Family Service with Holy Communion Sunday, 30 December at 5.30pm: Rev’d Peter Wheeler – Evening Prayer

SERVICES AT ST NIKLAUS CHAPEL IN GSTAAD Monday, 24 December at 3.30pm: Rev’d Peter Wheeler – Christmas Carol Service Tuesday, 25 December at 3.30pm: Rev’d Peter Wheeler – Family Service with Holy Communion Sunday, 30 December at 3.30pm: Rev’d Peter Wheeler – Evening Prayer


GstaadLife 7 I 2018

This Concert d’Amitié was a celebration of an important milestone in the restoration of the Anglican church, originally built in 1899. The concert was also an occasion to pay tribute to Hans Kilchenmann, who worked tirelessly in the previous 18 months to raise donations for the stained glass windows. Sadly Hans passed away in March 2018 and did not see the completion of the project. The restoration of St Peter’s has been long overdue. Crumbling lead in the stained glass windows led to cracked panes; the electrical wiring originally installed in the 1930s was no longer legal, the lighting was poor and the heating unreliable. The first step was to remove all the windows from the nave – 11 in all – for restoration by Isabelle Giovanella in Saanen. Plastic sheeting covered the gaping holes where the windows had been removed and scaffolding was erected inside the church. Workmen tackled the numerous jobs: installation of a modern electrical system, fitting new heating elements under the pews and radiators on the walls, mounting an energy-efficient LED lighting system throughout and repainting the entire inside of the church. A complete aisle of pews was also removed to open up space on the left of the church. The entrance hall was renovated with the addition of new dividing doors featuring beautiful hand-engraved glass by the English artist Philip Lawson Johnston. Throughout this time, weekly ser-

Guy Girardet



vices continued amidst the dust and rubble of the building site. Any inconvenience has been more than compensated by the light, warmth and space that now fills the church. The renovation has coincided with the centenary of the end of WWI – a war that had an impact on the life of the church. Between 1916 and 1918 some 500 British soldiers, prisoners of war, were interned in Château-d’Oex, many of whom attended the weekly services. To meet the needs of this enlarged congregation The Times of London in 1916 raised money for an organ in the church. This too has been restored. Since St Peter’s is completely self-funded, the restoration was only possible thanks to many donors who made generous contributions. Funds have also been raised for the three beautiful chancel windows which will be restored in 2019 or 2020. December will be an opportunity for many visitors and second homers to visit St Peter’s and see the renovation in person. For the Christmas season, the church has organised a comprehensive programme of services and events both in Château-d’Oex and Gstaad, to which all are welcome. GUY GIRARDET

On 4 October some of the most beautiful boats from the classic yachting circuit gathered again on the waters of Saint-Tropez to fight for the 8th edition of the Gstaad Yacht Club Centenary Trophy, the only sailing trophy reserved to boats that are at least a hundred years old. It was a record-breaking edition for various reasons: the highest number of entrants, the tough conditions on the race course, and never before did a boat win the Trophy twice in a row in the history of the regatta. It was sunny and blue skies but rough conditions indeed for the old beauties: 20 to 25 knots of wind and a swell of more than three metres. So much that only nine brave crews out of the twenty-two entrants succeeded in finishing the nine miles long coastal race. And if last year it was a question of a handful of seconds, this year German-flagged Tilly XV crossed the line with a lead of several minutes, making her second victory in a row. Silver went to the newcomer gaff cutter Kismet, who celebrated her 120th anniversary in style. 7 Metre I.R. Mignon from 1912 got on third place. “It’s always great to compete in the Centenary Trophy. This year the tough conditions put to a test both the boat and the crew. The beautiful images of this windy but clear day will always be with us”, declared Corentin and Caroline Thiercelin from team Mignon. The Centenary Trophy, raced in a pursuit format with staggered starts, features a customised handicap system, which allows boats differing in size and rig to compete on equal terms. The first boat to cross the line off the Saint-Tropez breakwater wins the race. Siegfried Rittler, who has owned and cared for Tilly XV for over 28 years, had a great time at the Centenary Trophy: “It was a great day for us. Big waves, a lot of wind, it was very hard to sail. I’m a mountaineer, climbed the

Himalayan peaks many times, and today sailing was a bit like climbing a 2,000-metre high mountain. But the most important thing is that I did it with my best sailing mates, our team is like a family. I hope we will be back in Saint-Tropez in 2019. Thank you all for the great experience.” At the dinner party, he and his crew were awarded with the trophy, an exclusive 5-day stay at the Soneva Resort in the Maldives or Thailand and a copy of a limited photo print by Juerg Kaufmann. The prize-giving night, with more than 150 guests, was held at the Saint-Tropez waterfront. GSTAAD YACHT CLUB

Juerg Kaufmann



GstaadLife 7 I 2018



WINTER SPORT SERIES: TELEMARK SKIING This season GstaadLife looks into winter sports not everybody is familiar with. We kick off the season with Telemark skiing, which must not be underestimated. No one ever forgets their first time Telemark skiing. The clean, crisp air, the aromatic smell of conifers and pungent ski wax, the shouts of excited colleagues, the screaming ache in one’s thighs. You can simply not forget the latter sensation. It feels like your legs have been wrapped tightly in rough, woolen blankets and beaten with knotty-pine branches. But that’s part of the thrill. Unlike Alpine skiing, classic Nordic, or Alpine Touring, which are comparatively easy arts to acquire, Telemark skiing incorporates the ability to combine all of these variations while enduring a nonstop gymsession of lunges. If you’re looking to develop the best set of upper leg muscles this side of an Olympic training camp, Telemark is the sport for you. Telemark’s origins, fittingly enough, emanate in the eponymous Norwegian region in the early 1800s. Early ‘ski sport’ incorporated long, stiff, straight-sided skis and inse-


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cure toe-strap bindings. Turning involved ‘stick riding’, or using a single long stave as a kind of rudder in the snow: one would thrust the staff in the snow to the rear, lean on it, and turn by digging in. The innovation of some mountain farmers skiing on the Telemark plateau was to turn the skis themselves. In 1850, Norwegian Sondre Norheim added an elastic birch-root heel strap to the existing toe-strap bindings, which decreased the chances of skis coming off during jumps and allowed skiers to maneuver their skis. This led to quick, precise steering and braking, dynamic techniques theretofore unknown; the new Telemark turn astonished the local Norwegian competition, and soon after, the world. In the 1890s, Telemarkers added sidecuts for carving, and the rest was history. Telemark skiing’s popularity declined with the rise of the more accessible Austrian Alpine-style parallel turns and groomed runs at ski resorts around the beginning of the 20th century. It was later resurrected in the 1970s by American backcountry skiers who were influenced by the world-renowned

Olympian skier Stein Eriksen. Since 1995, Telemark racing, which combines ski-jumping with Nordic skate-skiing and Alpine gate-racing elements, has been a FIS-sanctioned World Cup sport. The Telemarkclub Saanenland revived Telemarking locally in the late 1980s, and actively engages in competition every winter season throughout Switzerland. The club is proudly hosting the 2019 Swiss Telemark Championships 29-30 March in Gstaad. Their website says it all: free your heel, and the mind will follow. Looking forward to it!



f one has the chance to acquire a once-in-a-lifetime 1,109 carat diamond, a lot of time goes into analysis and planning. It is a challenge for gemologists, master cutters, and designers alike. One year after acquiring Lesedi La Rona, the largest rough diamond found since 1905, Graff recently presented the first satellite stones. A satellite is something that is separated from something else but nevertheless dependent and is the perfect image to describe the stones cut from Lesedi La Rona. While they are unique pieces of jewelry by themselves, they will also carry a part of gemological history for generations. The first diamonds have been set into classic Graff jewels designed to celebrate their extraordinary provenance. More than 60 diamonds, ranging in size from under a carat to in excess of 100 carats, are anticipated. Each creation will be numbered and certified as well as bear a laser inscription invisible to the naked eye to vouch for the legacy of Lesedi La Rona.

Exceptional in every aspect: satellite stones of Lesedi La Rona

Courtesy of Graff



GstaadLife 7 I 2018


We grew up knowing Santa Claus as a jolly old elf, a ‘Miracle on 34th Street’, Kris Kringle with his belly quaking ‘like a bowl full of jelly’ and twinkling eyes. He lived at the North Pole with a happy cadre of elven helpers and a reindeer-pulled sleigh. We called him Santa, St Nick, and Father Christmas, and he showed up every year on Christmas Eve sometime between the time we fell asleep and before we awoke on Christmas Day. He had a list that told him if we were naughty or nice, and, if we had exhibited less than stellar behavior during the year, the worst we could expect was a lump of coal in our Christmas stocking. Here, in Switzerland, things seem a bit more gritty, more Grimm. And wonderfully authentic. Fast forward to last year’s Christmas celebration, or, to be more precise, eighteen days earlier on 6 December. Someone more-or-less fitting the description of Santa Claus – white beard, red hood and coat trimmed with white fur, black boots – appeared on the Gstaad Kapälliplatz and in residences around the area, handing out small sacks containing mandarins, nuts, small ginger bread, and chocolates. And he wasn’t alone. He was accompanied by a Man in Black (no, not Johnny Cash). What was the deal? My Western Hemisphere, commercially-packaged Yuletide upbringing did not include early visits from Santa and strange, dark-draped companions. The guy in the black hooded cloak was clearly not a cheery elf. In fact, the bundle of switches in his hand brought to mind some cultural crossover figures: wraiths, sorcerers, Dominican friars. This felt more Otranto than Twelfth Night. Questioning friends, I discovered the Santa I saw was Samichlaus, the Swiss German version of Saint Nicholas, a 4th century gift-giving Greek bishop of Myra in Asia Minor. Saint Nicholas seems to have gotten his altruistic reputation by helping a poor


GstaadLife 7 I 2018

man keep his daughters out of the Lycian prostitution rackets by secretly throwing bags of gold through the window of the man’s house to provide dowries for their marriages. His reputation for doing miracles and good works earned him the moniker ‘Wonderworker’. Saint Nicholas’ black-cowled sidekick was a character called Schmutzli, which roughly translates to ‘little dirty guy’ in English. Information about him was harder to find. One of the ‘companions’ of Saint Nicholas, who accompany him throughout the former territories of the Holy Roman Empire, Schmutzli is seen as the equivalent of the German Knecht Ruprecht, the Austrian Krampus, and the Palatinate Belsnickel. These comparable figures differ in some respects, but they all generally play Bad Cop to the beneficent saint. Naughty children tend to get beaten with a switch, rod or sack of ashes; really, really naughty children get thrown by Schmutzli into Nicholas’ goody sack after it’s been empMelanie Gerber



tied and are taken away. Up north, in some versions, but always an unpleasant place. Presents on Christmas are delivered in Switzerland and many other European countries by the Christkind, an incarnation of Jesus as an infant promulgated by Martin Luther during the Reformation. The intent was to draw attention to the person for whom Christmas was named, a sentiment often sadly lacking in today’s society, and one many find extremely appealing. So, if you’re looking for Santa in Gstaad on Christmas Eve, you may only find the non-native and consumerist Weihnachtsmann, an Anglo-Saxon and American import, who’s blurring the traditional Swiss understanding of the Christmas season. As with many foreign imports, quality may vary. If only Swiss customs could stop these things at the border. ALEX BERTEA

A Swiss friend of mine tells me his son can’t stand cheese. Any type of cheese. from the mildest Gruyère to grated Parmesan. Yet he adores both fondue and raclette, arguably the cheesiest of cheesy dishes known to man.


Fondues became popular in the UK during the 1970s. How authentic they were is anyone’s guess (hint: I bet English Cheddar was involved somehow, somewhere), so when we moved to Gstaad we quizzed our new Swiss friends about making a good fondue. What percentage Vacherin to Gruyère? With or without garlic? Armed with helpful advice, we would buy and grate the cheeses from scratch ourselves. That is until we discovered that the local Laiteries (and cheese counters in larger shops) will blend you a superlative fondue mix there and then. It cuts out the tedious chopping and grating and tastes superb. And not a cube of Cheddar in sight. Raclette

Raclette, on the other hand, was a new dish to us and we quickly became fans. I ate my first at the Bären in Gsteig. It was very theatrical. We sat in the downstairs Stübli facing a massive open fire. As each new order came in, the chef would select a cheese from the stack of half-moons by his side, slide it towards the fire, wait a few seconds then pick it up with his bare hands and scrape the top layer of melted cheese onto a waiting hot plate. I never saw him flinch from the heat. It was marvellous. We decided this was a dish we should eat at home. We sensibly decided not to cook in our fireplace and instead bought a machine to do the work. It had a long metal arm at the end of which

The real thing, which turns a simple raclette into a lasting experience

Adobe Stock



you clamped a half-moon cheese like the ones we’d seen at the Bären. To heat the cheese you simply bent the arm until it was directly under the grill section. When it began to bubble you’d push the arm away from the heat, angle the cheese down and scrape off the top layer with a smooth, sweeping motion. It was great fun at first. Not quite as theatrical as the open-fire, but still not bad. By unspoken consent my husband became raclette master and he’d serve plate after plate with great flourish. Speed eating

In time I came to dread this machine. Why? Because every time we bought a raclette cheese, we were signing up for ten days of near constant cheese eating. We learned raclette cheese doesn’t keep well, quickly becoming pungent and unpleasantly salty. The only solution was to eat it before it became over-ripe. And as our machine took such huge blocks of cheese, this involved a lot of eating in a short amount of time.

wait a couple of days then have a second. After the fifth or sixth raclette we’d still be left with a rather large chunk of cheese, though now too small for the machine. Rather than waste it, we tried it on toast, melted in pasta and in cauliflower cheese. They were all disgusting. We learned the hard way that raclette cheese is really only good to be served as … raclette. Lessons learned

These days we use a raclette grill with mini frying pans where everyone melts their own pre-sliced squares of cheese. It’s not as theatrical, but when you’ve had enough at least you don’t leave the table knowing you’ll be eating the same thing for the next two weeks. Our once prized raclette machine now sits abandoned in a kitchen cupboard. Perhaps we should give it to my friend’s cheese-hating-raclette-loving son? ANNA CHARLES

So began the all-too familiar routine. We’d eat the first raclette with gusto,

GstaadLife 7 I 2018



Hotel des Alpes Saanenmöser 033 748 04 50,

Le Grand Bellevue 033 748 00 00,

Hotel Spitzhorn 033 748 41 41,

Park Gstaad 033 748 98 00,

Hotel Alpenland 033 765 91 34,

The Alpina Gstaad 033 888 98 88, Ultima Gstaad 033 748 05 50, ERMITAGE, Wellness- & Spa Hotel 033 748 04 30, Golfhotel Les Hauts de Gstaad 033 748 68 68, Hotel de Rougemont

Hotel Alphorn 033 748 45 45, Hotel Bellerive 033 748 88 33, Hotel Kernen 033 748 40 20, Hotel Landhaus 033 748 40 40,

Member of Design HotelsTM

026 921 01 01, HUUS Gstaad 033 748 04 04, Boutique Hotel Alpenrose 033 748 91 91, Hotel Arc-en-Ciel 033 748 43 43, Hotel Bernerhof 033 748 88 44, Hotel Christiania 033 744 51 21, Hotel Gstaaderhof 033 748 63 63,

Hotel Garni Saanerhof 033 744 15 15, Posthotel Rössli 033 748 42 42, Sporthotel Victoria 033 748 44 22,

Lions Club Gstaad-Saanenland Meetings each first and third week of the month on Thursdays, either at 12 noon for lunch or at 7pm for dinner. Meetings in Ermitage, Wellness & Spa Hotel, Schönried, 033 748 60 60. For details and programme contact Arthur Reuteler, president, 033 744 51 33,, Soroptimist International President: Ursula Breuninger, 033 744 05 80 Programme: Patricia Glauser Edreira, 076 426 16 11 Club des Leaders President: Jean-Sébastien Robine

IMPORTANT NUMBERS Ambulance 144, Police 117 Fire 118 Medical Emergency: 0900 57 67 47 Dental Emergency: 033 729 26 26

Hotel Restaurant Bären 033 755 10 33, info@bä

Car Accident: 033 744 88 80

Sun&Soul Panorama Pop-Up Hotel Solsana 033 748 16 17, Hotel Valrose 026 923 77 77,

Hotel Olden 033 748 49 50,

Hotel Wildhorn 033 765 30 12,

Romantik Hotel Hornberg 033 748 66 88,

Jugendherberge Gstaad Saanenland 033 744 13 43, gstaadsaanenland@

GstaadLife 7 I 2018

Rotary Club Gstaad-Saanenland Meetings every Monday at 12 noon Gstaad Palace, 033 748 50 00 President: Rot. Cornelia Frautschi, 079 652 62 68 Secretary: Rot. Markus Iseli, 033 748 92 08

Alpine Lodge B&B 033 748 41 51,

Hotel Le Grand Chalet 033 748 76 76,



Police Station: 033 356 84 31

Zweisimmen Hospital: 033 729 26 26 Château-d’Oex Hospital: 026 923 43 43 Veterinarian: 033 748 08 58 / 033 744 06 61

CHURCH SERVICES St Peter's Anglican Church English-Speaking, Château-d’Oex Service every Sunday, 5.30pm

21st December: A hot start into a cool season! Together with disco legend Nile Rodgers & Chic, we heat up the Palace on the opening night on the 21st of December 2018. Start off your evening with an exquisite lounge dinner at the Lobby Bar at 8 pm. Fantastic fireworks let you know, that the exclusive boutique concert is about to begin. After the concert, the hot rhythms of Dora Live Band will keep you dancing until the early morning hours. 24th December: Christmas Dinner Christmas in love! Celebrating the most beautiful time of the year the special way – spend Christmas with your beloved ones at the Gstaad Palace and join us for a gourmet dinner starting at 7.30 pm in all our restaurants. 31st December: A New Year’s Eve to remember – an Orient-inspired party night Make the last evening of 2018 special! This year, the Gstaad Palace invites you into the enchanting world of Oriental Nights’ Entertainment, filled with fun, dance and great food and drinks. Cocktail at the Lobby Bar and GreenGo starting at 8 pm followed by the dinner in all restaurants from 9.30 pm onwards. 1st January: New Year’s Buffet After the long and exciting party night we make sure you’ll have a great start into the new year. A New Year’s buffet with fresh seafood and traditional Swiss specialties awaits you at 1 pm in all our restaurants. 14th February: A truly elegant Valentine’s Day - win diamond hearts and cufflinks by Chopard Join us for a very special Valentine’s Day celebration and be prepared for an unforgettable event, complete with sophisticated cocktails and a gourmet dinner, starting at 7.30 pm. As a luxury treat for the most elegant couple, the ladies can win a timeless bracelet from the Happy Hearts Collection by Chopard, while an exclusive pair of Mille Miglia cufflinks awaits one lucky gentleman. 15th February & 1st March: Dora Live Band at The Lobby Bar Our popular Dora Live Band will make sure your dancing shoes are put to use whilst celebrating and enjoying quality time at our Lobby Bar, the parlour of Gstaad. Every Sunday in February: Seafood Buffet Feeling like savouring the fresh flavours of the sea whilst enjoying the magnificient view over the snowy Swiss Alps? Welcome to our seafood buffet every Sunday in February from 1.30 pm. 27th February to 9th March: A week filled with Greek delights Celebrate the magic of Greece from 27th February to 9th March 2019, with Michelin star chef Yannis Baxevanis and his team at Gildo’s Ristorante. Be prepared to enter a gourmet culture of Olympic dimensions.

Palacestrasse 28 • 3780 Gstaad • Phone: +41 33 748 50 00 • •