THE ALPINE(A) RETREAT
04 July 2015
the path to Paradise
is through the Underground
It was the first thought that flashed through my mind upon arrival at the Alpina Gstaad. Driving through a massive underground garage lined with waterfalls - before taking a turn into a mystically lit circular entrance area lined with flowers, stones and lit by broken rays of sunlight cast through the centered glassy semi-sphere. The entire lobby and reception area, located Soussol, wrapped in a warm dimmed atmosphere. Soothing - taking the edge off the harsh summer sun, relaxing my eyes, cooling my head.
After checking-in I was led up grand slanted stairs, before stepping back into the daylight - ready to begin my Alpine Retreat Experience. I decided walking up those stairs, to leave behind any thoughts tied to the outside, taking only my own entity with me. Happy to be there by myself the first night, taking in the luxury of sitting and enjoying dinner alone outside on the beautiful lounge, finding a moment of peace.
The Lounge is laid out overviewing the lovely lawned gardens of the Alpina, with a view overlooking the Alps. Except for 2 idyllic wooden chalets, the iconic tower of the Gstaad Palace Hotel and the distant miniature village one sees nothing of the outside world - its like a surreal setting - like jumping up into a Supermario tube and discovering a mini bonus world.
INTERIOR & ROOMS +++
After having a light salad and a drink I retreated early to my room - which is immensely large, lavish, stunning but at the same time very cozy and comfortable. The whole interior is designed in such a way that it combines luxury with cozy comfort and home feeling - its modern, but not cold - designed but not hard. Its colours are warm, its textures soft, but its shapes are structured and finest materials. The colours are warm and moody, chalet style - but not gloomy or dark - lots of bordeaux & beige, lots of space, lots of soft indirect lighting. I loved it. The rooms featured small cooking corners with coffee machienes, large balconies overlooking the gardens, separate bathrooms, dressingrooms and spacious bathrooms, 2 TV's and huge comfortable beds - and this is a 'standard' room. The Alpina also has even larger rooms - going up to the Panorama Suite which is 400m2 large featuring an own dayspa & gym, several bedrooms, a 360' fireplace, diningarea etc. The definition 'Suite' is such an understatement as it is more of a Chalet inside the hotel - guests will not need to leave this 'room'.
THE ALPINA HEALTH EXPERIENCE
Next morning I woke up exited because my friend & photographer Andrea Monica Hug was arriving. Together we where going to spend the 2 days doing a detox retreat experience. After my Breakfast we kicked it off with a Yoga Consultation. I was so super super impressed by Emily Whitehead, our Yoga instructor - because she was far more than a Yoga Teacher - she fully personified the holistic approach to yoga, wellbeing and health by acting more as a yoga mentor or coach. Emily didn't just do exercises with us - she also explained everything, its purpose, its effect, and gave us valuable tipps for home. By the time I got back to the room after my first lesson with her I had already received an email with explanations of all the exercises. If you ever go to visit the Alpina it is my highest recommendation to book a yoga session with Emily if you get the chance! I really learned a lot, and during the three sessions I had with her (Yoga, Meditation and Breathing Yoga Class) I learned how to deeply relax my body in a way that I couldn't before, and I am still able to do it now couple of days after. I learned to not just physically, but to emotionally relax each part of my body individually, really leaving it free of any weight or tension - an amazing feeling that left me overwhelmed and really helps me 'let go' everything when practicing my meditation and yoga even now.
During our stay we where not only treated to amazing Yoga Classes - the Team from the Six Senses Spa of the Alpina really set us up with a complete program of relaxing massages and treatments. My favourite one was the Body Wrap - which you can see below. I was actually so exited about this treatment that I called in Andrea half way through it to take pictures - can you imagine?Sometimes when I want to take a picture I am not shy to break a border. The purpose of my Blog is to share - so if I feel something is really amazing - I might interrupt it to take a picture. For me its not priority that I enjoy an experience - I will interrupt any moment if I feel its necessary to share. So the Body wrap is a peeling, exfoliating and detoxifying treatment that uses mummy like bandages to let a muddy mixture really absorb toxins and reduce body circumference. Of course its just a temporary effect, but the effect was stunning, and after the bandages came off my whole body felt super alive and my circulation really peaking. The treatment finished with a massage - and afterwards I did feel slightly newbornish.
Besides the classes and treatments we were of course also nutured carefully in sense of food. We had such a packed programm that we did not find time for lunch - which left me kind of emptying the mini bar. But the Breakfast and Dinner were superb. Breakfast selection was amazing with a special Vegan & Healthy corner offering anything from pink quinoa to deconstructed vegetarian sushi bowls, fruits, a juice station, greens & crudites, hummus etc. Andrea, who is vegan, also had plenty of options to choose from, they even specially made her a vegan oatmeal so that she got all the energy she needed for the day.
As for dinner I preferred the Bar Menu the most, offering Aryuvedic Salad bowls, and other healthy light dishes such as grilled scampi salads or grilled cuts of meat & fish. Andrea was also always offered delicious looking vegan alternatives - and I admit, I had to steal from her plate sometimes because it looked so good <3
We where so lucky to visit Gstaad as Switzerland was swept by an absolute heatwave - Even in Gstaad the temperatures were soaring high at 35' C. The Atmosphere by the Pool could have easily been mistaken for Ibiza or Mykonos. It was alpine - but felt like the caribbean. With the incredibly clean high altitude air however, the experience felt incredibly cleansing, minus humidity and high air pressure. It was an incredible experience - but it was definitely - too HOT to work out!!!
The Team from the Alpina Gstaad made us feel welcome from the moment we arrived, to the moment we left - making sure that our experience was in every way true to the hotel's credo - "Beyond the Expected." I was amazed, stunned, surprised, and it was intense too, a learning experience, a discovering experience. The luxury, comfort and idyllic environment created a setting that enabled me to listen inside myself - to reflect and to more deeply bond with my own body and my own mind - to focus on this moment right now... and to understand and embrace it. To feel that sincerest gratitude for being alive and well today, and everyday.
I also wanted to take the chance of my visit to Gstaad & Andrea being there to show some of my favourite fashion at the moment. I know I am not a fashion person - but I do appreciate design and aesthetics, and I like to share the things that I like. On these pictures I am showing Missoni new collection, my perhaps alltime favourite designer Bibi Bachtadze's creations which just always fit me perfectly & I love them for it, GOTTEX Swimwear and Xray Eyewear Shades.
Last but most certainly not least I thank the amazing Andrea for joining me on this experience and capturing it with her amazing photography. Apart from being very talented, I also really like her personality and admire her level of dedication and hard work. She is Vegan & Highcarb - an eating lifestyle which I absolutely need to test very very soon! If you want to see more of what she does visit her Blog: http://chic-in-zurich.ch/