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Top fit INTO 1ST PLACE: Gstaad Palace’s summer high

In the middle of its summer high, Gstaad Palace has secured first place in the BILANZ Hotel Ranking 2019. The hotel legend on the Oberbort in Gstaad has always had a permanent place on the list of the best Swiss holiday hotels. With its jump from 2nd place to the top of the podium, the family-run hotel once again proves that "tradition and innovation" is more than just a marketing motto for the Palace family. Additionally, the hotel is scoring with a from the industry association acknowledged “top” offer tailored to families as well as with exclusive treatment methods such as the new "Cellgym". All to help Palace guests also being in top physical and mental form.


Gstaad Palace has been one of the top hotels in Switzerland since its launch in 1913. The five-star superior hotel has been in the hands of the Scherz family for three generations and attracts numerous guests from near and far to the Bernese Oberland. In this year's BILANZ Hotel Ranking, the renowned hotel takes first place in the "50 Best Holiday Hotels in Switzerland 2019" category. The team, which has also been systematically rejuvenated over the last few years as long-standing employees have retired, delivers top performances season after season. For owner and hotel manager Andrea Scherz it is clear: “Hospitality and the commitment of every team member are the key to our success. Our 200 employees in summer and 300 in winter, who are trained down to the last detail and have been loyal to us for many years, always go the extra mile for our guests. Anything is possible at the Palace. Any wishes, however big or small, become reality here. And have been doing so for generations and generations.” The professionals praise this excellence and consistency, but also the courage to venture something new, and award the Gstaad Palace top marks: 1st place and the best holiday hotel in Switzerland.

"Top family hotel" specialisation from hotelleriesuisse

The "Family Affair" at Gstaad Palace is not only characterised by its loyal staff, who return season after season, but also by the family friendliness of the range on offer. This fully meets the hotelleriesuisse catalogue of criteria for specialisation as a "top family hotel". The childcare, activity and entertainment programmes for the youngest guests include the Kids Club, the hotel's own bouncy castle, the mermaid swimming courses or a sporty tennis and mountain week, with the former top ten tennis player Marc Rosset, among others.

Altitude training for the skin: Cellgym, new and exclusive at the Palace Spa

Adults experience maximum physical and mental well-being in the 1800 square metre Palace Spa. The Gstaad Palace wellness area is introducing "Cellgym” to Gstaad exclusively for one year. This revolutionary method can be seen as a modified form of altitude training: in the presence of expert staff, spa guests undergo interval hypoxic-hyperoxic training without any strenuous walking uphill and downhill. Which means: a gas mixture with low oxygen content and one with increased oxygen concentration are inhaled alternately during several sessions. The skin condition and entire organism noticeably improve with an ideal treatment period of four 40-minute sessions.

Eine Gruppe von Menschen steht neben Holzbänken vor einem beeindruckenden Bergpanorama.

Successful completion of Oberbort
reforestation project

It all began more than six years ago with a reforestation project to mark the 100th anniversary of Gstaad Palace. Hurricane Lothar had caused huge damage to the Schafwald forest on Gstaad’s Oberbort in 1999. Thanks to financing by the Gstaad Palace, local school children supervised by the forester were able to industriously lend a hand clearing away the old wood and planting 1,500 new trees. Hotel owner Andrea Scherz and forester Daniel Bütschi took stock on 5 June 2019: the sustainable commitment has paid off – the reforested section of the forest is thriving magnificently.


The fact that the Gstaad Palace has seen itself as part of Gstaad and its surroundings since its was founded, is in the hotel’s DNA. The current owners, the Scherz family, are intensely cultivating this tradition of “giving back”. It therefore launched the forest reforestation project in 2013 to mark the Palace’s 100th anniversary. Thanks to this commitment, school children from the Oberstufenzentrum Ebnit in Gstaad cleared away the remains of hurricane Lothar in the southern Schafwald forest above Gstaad and planted 1,500 new trees, which have been lovingly cared for over the last five years. In addition to the extensive reforestation, the Gstaad Palace had the local natural stone specialist Mike Hauswirth build a magnificent viewing point and picnic area for the locals next to it. More than six years later, the recultivation programme on the Oberbort, which the Gstaad Palace invested around CHF 120,000 in, has been completed: "We want to play our part in preserving the livelihoods on which tourism thrives here in Switzerland. Because the hotel is situated on a valuable slope, which is supported by a healthy protection forest”, explains Palace owner Andrea Scherz.

Focus on food waste
Gstaad Palace is systematically committed to sustainability in other areas too. Culinary Director Franz W. Faeh is part of the “Interessensgemeinschaft Procurement Hotelierverein Gstaad-Saanenland” (Gstaad-Saanenland hotelier association procurement interest group) together with other hotels and restaurants in the region. Every year, the consumption of food is to be optimised through targeted management and a clever purchasing policy, thus reducing food waste. A first coaching session by the "United Against Food Waste" association highlighted the action areas to the member companies: “We have already taken several measures to reduce waste production in the kitchen. On the one hand, we have adapted the plate and banquet portion sizes and on the other hand, the mise on place already ensures we have to dispose of less food. The adjustment of the plate portions alone reduces wet waste by 12 percent", explains Franz W. Faeh.

Recycling soaps
Small deeds have big effects elsewhere, too. For example, Gstaad Palace is now involved in the international SapoCycle project ( from this summer season. The principle is simple: hand soaps, which are usually never used up completely during a guest’s stay, can be channelled into a recycling process where they are transformed into vital products for people in disadvantaged regions of the world. Hygiene is essential for survival there, in daily life as well as in the medical environment. An NGO team collects soaps from European hotels and recycles them. In Switzerland, Planzer collects the dried soaps in the blue SapoCycle containers. They end up at the WohnWerk in Basel where the soaps are recycled as part of the secondary protected labour market. “We are reckoning on being able to contribute around 30 kilogrammes of soap which can be used for a sensible purpose again as a result”, emphasises Andrea Scherz.


For the sake of the environment – pioneering work in Saanenland
Gstaad Palace has always broken new ground when it comes to sustainability issues in the region. It is one of the founding members of the district heating network in Saanenland. The hotel was connected to the Saanen-Gstaad district heating network in 2008. As its largest consumer, the hotel is an important supporter of this project. The hotel and four surrounding buildings are heated with renewable energy from local wood. The entire hotel is also equipped with pioneering LED lighting technology. And the Walig Hütte, probably the Palace's most original suite at 1,700 metres above sea level, is heated with solar energy and the guests are now cooked for with a solar oven, just like those used in Africa.


Portraitaufnahme von Andrea Scherz, dem General Manager des Gstaad Palace Hotels, der auf einem Sessel in der Lobby Bar sitzt.

Andrea Scherz
is the 2019 Hotelier of the Year

The Gstaad Palace is one of Switzerland's leading hotels. It is also one of the only ones that has been family-run for three generations. Yesterday, Andrea Scherz, the current owner and general manager, was rewarded for his consistently excellent work and his feel for innovation and tradition and named Hotelier of the Year 2019 in the leading ranking by publicist Karl Wild – published by the SonntagsZeitung and Werd & Weber Verlag.



The owner and general manager of one of Europe's last owner-managed luxury hotels: Andrea Scherz. He has been putting his energy into the Gstaad Palace with its 90 rooms since 1996 – a hotel that he part-owns and of which he is the general manager. This famous hotel in Oberbort, Gstaad is a true "family affair". Andrea Scherz represents the third generation of Scherz Family managers. "The sense of hospitality was handed down to me. My grandfather Ernst and my father Ernst Andrea, with whom I still share major decisions, passed on their passion for the hotel trade to me. My mentors never let me forget our primary mission: there is no such thing as ‘no’ at the Gstaad Palace", explains Andrea Scherz.

Yesterday, Andrea Scherz was named 2019 Hotelier of the Year in the prestigious ranking published by leading Swiss publicist Karl Wild in partnership with the SonntagsZeitung newspaper and publishers Werd & Weber Verlag. "This award is hugely gratifying – not just for me personally, but also and above all for my talented team of up to 300. We work hard every day to live up to our tradition of excellent hospitality in line with the times – a demanding task as the entire luxury hotel segment faces greater challenges than ever before."

Before Andrea Scherz joined the Gstaad Palace as a receptionist in the 1996 summer season, he had worked for various hotels such as the Beau-Rivage in Lausanne, the Savoy in London and the InterContinental in Geneva. Previously, he had also completed various internships in the United States and Italy. Andrea Scherz is a graduate of the Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne (EHL). He is fluent in German, English, French and Italian.

Quality is also in his blood: his father Ernst Andrea was named "Leading Legend" by Leading Hotels of the World in 2015. "It is worth saying that it was my choice to enter the hotel trade. A choice born of genuine interest and a touch of madness, which is true for every member of the Scherz family." You could say that the Gstaad Palace was a playground for Andrea Scherz. Since childhood, he has rubbed shoulders with countless famous personalities such as Roger Moore, Roy Emerson, Yehudi Menuhin, President Jacques Chirac and Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher; Thatcher even wrote her memoirs at the Palace.

Andrea Scherz has just turned 50 and is now a key figure in the world-famous Gstaad resort and beyond. He sits on various supervisory boards in the tourism and hotel industry such as Swiss Deluxe Hotels, Leading Hotels of the World and Flugplatzgenossenschaft Gstaad-Saanenland.


The business journalist, author and hotel tester Karl Wild is the founder of "Schweizer Hotelrating" Swiss hotel ranking, which has appeared in the "SonntagsZeitung" newspaper for the past 21 years. Wild also travels the world as a tester for a global alliance of luxury hotels. He writes for a number of major publications both in Switzerland and abroad. Wild lives in Langnau in the Canton of Zurich, where he runs a ghostwriting firm.

Portrait von Franz W. Faeh den Culinary Director und Spitzenkoch im Gstaad Palace

Franz W. Faeh gives wings to the Palace cuisine

Franz W. Faeh, Executive Chef at Gstaad Palace and highly experienced international top chef, brings a breath of fresh air to the Palace cuisine. As Culinary Director, he is systematically restructuring Gstaad Palace’s food and restaurant concept. The widely travelled Gstaad local will also be cooking for three days in May at the exclusive Royal Automobile Club RAC in London where top chefs from all over the world are given guest privileges just twice a year. In addition, Franz W. Faeh is striding out in totally new, sustainable directions at the Walig Hütte, Gstaad Palace’s exclusive excursion destination at 1,700 metres above sea level: he prepares the finest treats without electricity, just on his solar cooker and open fire.



Franz W. Faeh is an institution on the scene of established Swiss chefs. Born in Gstaad, the connoisseur and expert of upscale gastronomy once completed his apprenticeship at Gstaad Palace. And three years ago he took over as Executive Chef in the Palace kitchen with a team of 55 – "a lifelong dream", as he always stresses. Before that, he had spent many years refining his skills abroad, cooking for the royal family in Bangkok, among other places. He also captured the tastes of Asian cuisine in Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore and integrated them into his honest kitchen philosophy, which focuses on true taste experiences. Now Franz W. Faeh is going one step further: at the request of Palace owner Andrea Scherz, he is systematically restructuring the kitchen and restaurant concept at Gstaad Palace as the new Culinary Director. As in the past, he is approaching the task with great care: to cherish and cultivate the traditional and classic, to dare and celebrate the new – that’s his motto. The first step has already taken place this winter with the remake of the cult "Fromagerie" tavern in the Palace’s former gold bunker. And the new interior design and catering concept is going down well: "The feedback is very positive. And it’s clear: The best that the Saanenland has to offer in cheese, dried meat and other delicacies, arranged wittily and chicly but served with apparent nonchalance – that's exactly what the Palace resort idea is all about." Franz W. Faeh is now planning the outdoor area by the large swimming pool and on the sun terrace for summer 2019. Snacks and barbecue become one – snacking is cultivated on the new menu and enriched with elements of street and finger food, one of Faeh’s major disciplines.

A great honour: guest chef privileges at the Royal Automobile Club in London

Franz W. Faeh is also taking his favourites to London where he has the rare honour of appearing as guest chef at the Royal Automobile Club RAC. Gstaad's "stalwart" and his team of four, accompanied by owner Andrea Scherz, will be serving the "Palace kitchen at its best" in the Pall Mall clubhouse from 9 to 11 May 2019: a light four-course meal for regular guests and business people for lunch and a sophisticated five-course meal for dinner. He will of course have the best local delicacies from the Saanenland on board in London, in keeping with the motto "From Gstaad – with love". With this, the Palace is building a bridge across the Channel to its royal and loyal regular guests from the United Kingdom who are still among the top clientèle at Gstaad's fairytale palace.

Exclusively on the Walig: cooking with solar power

Franz W. Faeh is then going to rely consistently on natural energy and elements in the summer. He will in fact personally cater for Palace guests with his solar cooker. Several times a season he gets to work at the Walig Hütte, the rustic but elegant hut on the alp above Feutersoey with the same name, with this heirloom from his predecessor Peter Wyss. He had purchased the solar cooker from the parish priest in Lauenen who used it as equipment for an aid project in Africa. He conjures up a three-course meal to be proud of, totally sustainably in the simple wooden cooking box, which converts solar energy into heat using a mirror process. Franz W. Faeh serves Mi-cuits de langoustine, a Burrata with Salade Pastorale and Sauce Agrume as starters, the legendary trout with white wine and chives (aka Filets de Truites Palace) is the main course and for dessert Franz W. Faeh creates freshly baked Meringues du Saanenland, with fresh double cream from the farm next-door of course.

Portraitaufnahme von Andrea Scherz, dem General Manager des Gstaad Palace Hotels.

A classic is experiencing a revival: Facelift for the former gold bunker

Moitié-moitié fondue in a unique ambience and a White Party for dancing the night away. The Gstaad Palace will be melting the hearts of its winter guests twice this year: While the “Fromagerie”, a former gold bunker and probably the quirkiest fondue parlour in Switzerland, now offers its rustic Swiss specialities with a new look, the restaurant “Gildo’s” and the hotel’s own night club “Green Go” are celebrating Greek zest for life.


It was a revolution – and a trendy pub, before anybody in this country had thought of themed catering. In 1975/76, Ernst Andrea Scherz, resourceful and well-travelled owner of the Gstaad Palace – now a senior partner in non-retirement – turned the bunker, which was used as a safe place for money and gold during the Second World War, into a wittily cheerful meeting place by the name of “La Fromagerie”. The fondue parlour was originally exclusively reserved for the Saanenland’s gold: for the divine alpine cheese, served with deliberate charm and nonchalance, outfitted with ornate traditional chairs, wooden tables and red and white tablecloths and equipped with wildly thrown together crockery and cutlery. With this, there was fine chasselas and other local drinks.

And right up to today, in the cold months, the “Fromagerie” has remained the epicentre and most frequented restaurant in the palace. Guests from every country and part of society appreciate the simple, tasty classics such as fondue, raclette, and rarebit. For the winter season 2018/19, the bijou restaurant is now shining in new splendour: For this epicentre of pleasure at the Oberbort in Gstaad, interior designer Marina Nickels has sought out antique furniture and lights, and alpine finds. Here’s to the “Fromagerie” keeping its cult status for the next 40 years and more...

White Party in the Fairytale Castle

On the subject of cults: At least as well thought out as the “Fromagerie” concept is the look of what is probably Switzerland’s most original disco. The “GreenGo”, proudly 47 years young and opened in 1971, becomes the venue – not only for the gilded youth that, every winter season and night after night, parties into the early hours of the morning under the disco ball and in the glamorous gleam of the original designer lamps of Teo Jakob. The “White Party” takes place for the big finale of the “Greek Weeks”, which are big from 27 February to 9 March 2019 in the white fairytale castle in Gstaad. The white flakes are dancing outside, while the night-owls are sweating inside. And in “Gildo’s” restaurant it is always “kalispera” instead of “buonasera”: Head Chef Yannis Baxevanis and his team from the 5-star-resort Elounda Beach & Villas in Crete are guests in the Palace kitchen. This master of Greek cuisine is treating the guests to the finest Cretan delicacies. The star guest – he has also been awarded a Michelin star – is conquering the hearts of gourmets from New York to Canberra, Athens to Gstaad, in a flash, with his creative Greek cuisine.

The aroma of the wide world: in the expanded humidor with a view into the distance

What the Infinity Pool is for some, the smoking lounge of the lobby bar is for the Gstaad Palace with its unlimited view into the distance. And from now on, the views in the Palace smoking lounge are even more beautiful – not only for the smokers, because from there they can enjoy probably the best view of the Saanenland. The precious cigars have also been given more space in the glazed corner room – in a newly installed humidor cabinet, where in future precious wares such as a fine Cohiba Maduro 5, an intense Hoyo de Monterrey or the aromatic Davidoff Special «R» will be stored to preserve their special qualities. And that is not all: The selection for afficionados of fine tobacco has in addition grown substantially.

Aufnahme eines Wohnbereichs eines Zimmers im Gstaad Palace mit einem gemütlichen Sessel und einem Sofa.

A place of change: Gstaad Palace invests in new rooms

The world of hotel design is changing. And that includes age old luxury hotels like the Gstaad Palace. The Gstaad Palace has always kept pace with the times: it was once the only residence in the Saanenland region to feature hot running water in each guest room, while later the same can be said of telephone connections and spa baths. Today, the factor of space is more important than ever before for holidaymakers, with guests desiring more space for their wellbeing. From this summer season, the luxury hotel has built five new Double Superior Rooms – according to the motto of turn two into one. Both the rooms – which are furnished in a discreet Alpine Chic design - and the spacious bathrooms are in perfect keeping with the spirit of the times. One even features its own Hammam steam bath.


From this summer onwards, the Gstaad Palace has been on the market with 90 rooms. That’s five rooms fewer than before. The reduction has clearly added value, however: ten former rooms have been combined to create five Superior Double Rooms, with the styling having been overseen by the English interior designer, Marina Nickels. In this way, the Gstaad Palace has strengthened its resort feeling. After all, the guest surveys are clear: staying in the hotel is one thing, while residing, relaxing and meeting friends in one's room is another. In the Palace in particular, guests tend to book their rooms for longer stays and travel with their whole family, often including adult children. «The new rooms are a direct response to Airbnb and co.,» explains Andrea Scherz, the third generation owner and General Manager of the Gstaad Palace. «A consistent focus was placed on comfort and wellbeing when designing the rooms. The guests ultimately want to be able to use the room in all of its dimensions. That is the new form of luxury.» Quality of life rather than straightforward functionality was the approach for both the summer and the winter in the rooms, which are an average of 48 square metres in size.

Country house style for high quality comfort

The results are plain to see: the elegant oak cladding in the bedrooms and bathrooms as well as the use of gentle shades of red and brown radiate a sense of English elegance which is further supported by the time-proven elements of a classic and modern Alpine chic. All of the rooms feature a king size bed, a large dressing area as well as a spacious bathroom with a bath and shower – and in addition to the classic bathing facilities with a view of the tower, the room on the sixth floor has its own Hammam spa. The comfortable sofa bed or the reclining chair is the ideal place in which to relax after an action-packed day of sightseeing in the Gstaad summer wonderland. Were it not for the stunning views of the Wildhorn or Eggli mountains or the permanent ice of Les Diablerets, one might almost be at home.


«We have already achieved our goal: our newest category of room, of which the hotel now has 15, has become the most popular. We are therefore in perfect keeping with the spirit of the times,» says Andrea Scherz with contentment, who invested some 1.5 million Swiss Francs in converting the new rooms. All of the work has been completed by local specialists, further demonstrating a commitment to the quality of the resident builders. And the efforts to reposition the best hotel at its location are paying dividends: in the ranking of hotels published last week by Swiss publication BILANZ, the Gstaad Palace climbed two places to take 2nd place in the best holiday hotels in Switzerland. The classic Swiss holiday hotel continues to enthuse today –just as it did more than 100 years ago – with «contemporary perfection», as the reviewers call it.

Out of the Palace and into the great outdoors: with the new guide «Nature»

As attractive as the new rooms may be, the summertime scenery around the Gstaad is equally as stunning. And the ideal way of exploring it is on foot. To prevent the guests from setting out into the blue and green of the scenery without any sense of orientation however, the Gstaad Palace has created the perfect companion in the shape of its hiking guide «Nature». This handy companion fits into every rucksack and contains insider tips as well as excellent recommendations for hikes and walks in the local region. The new routes have been specifically oriented to the varying requirements and expectations of the hotel guests: whether it is a challenging high-altitude walk on the Rinderberg, a hiking trip with an overnight stay at the Walig mountain inn, a glacier adventure on Glacier 3000 or a stroll in the local area suitable for children and a pushchair, the guide includes something for every taste and fitness level. The brochure also provides insights into the local specialities, activities and tourist sights. In this way, guests are provided with the possibility to discover their favourite places around the Gstaad Palace.

A first-rate summer in the mountains: culture and sports at the Palace in all of its varieties

Whoever said the summer was too quiet could not have been more wrong: In addition to excellent days of hiking, this year’s guests at the Gstaad Palace can once again look forward to enjoying a variety of cultural and sporting highlights. In addition to classics such as the «Country Night Gstaad» (7 until 9 September 2018) or the traditional brunch which takes place every Sunday in July and August, this year, particular enjoyment beckons for fans of sports cars and golden oldies. And there’s a particular treat in store for those who like traditional German «Schlager» pop music: on 9 September 2018, Beatrice Egli as well as Hansi Hinterseer & Tiroler Echo are performing at the festival tent in Gstaad.

The «Gstaad Palace Challenge» weekend rally promises breathtaking views and fast cars (31 August until 2 September 2018), while at the second «BERGKÖNIG» Swiss Vintage Cycling Festival (25 and 26 August 2018), friends of the bicycle can enjoy themselves and admire old bicycles.

Another stand-out event is the Chill out Pool Party on 11 August 2018 at the Gstaad Palace Olympic swimming pool, which is celebrating its 90th birthday this year. Built in 1928 by the then architect and pioneer of sports constructions Beda Hefti, the pool remains a piece of architectural beauty to this day.

For details of all the events, visit:


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