The 5-star Alpina Hotel is a newcomer to the Gstaad / Saanenland scene and we decided to try Sunday brunch at its restaurant out of curiosity. We were glad that we did. In the horrible parlance of our time, it exceeded expectations in so many ways.
First, arrival at this outstanding building is always an experience and, if you haven't already seen it, the Alpina is worth a visit for its interior architecture alone. Its design marries spacious, bright, contemporary spaces with traditional stone and old wood in an arts-and-crafts style that complements its mountain setting perfectly. Several of the top hotels in the region have recently been refurbished, not always successfully, and the Alpina is an object lesson to all of them.
We were warmly welcomed by the maitre d', who moved here from another fine hotel in Gstaad and is a pleasure to meet. The restaurant is airy and enjoys magnificent views of the Alps. It also benefits from being one of the few places in the village from which one does not get a view of the Alpina which, notwithstanding its many merits on the inside, is arguably a bit big on the outside. Service was well-drilled and professional. The buffet was fresh and appetising, which is not always the case even in Swiss 5-star hotels, with a good selection of dishes. Someone cares about this place.
Faults? None to speak of. The price for the buffet is comparable to others in this generally pricey region and we enjoyed excellent wine that was good value. We shall go again.