Gstaad in 2011
|Elevation||1,050 m (3,440 ft)|
|Time zone||UTC+01:00 (Central European Time)|
|o Summer (DST)||UTC+02:00 (Central European Summer Time)|
Gstaad ( g?-SHTAHD, -STAHD; German pronunciation: [k?ta:t]) is a town in the German-speaking section of the Canton of Bern in southwestern Switzerland. It is part of the municipality of Saanen and is known as a major ski resort and a popular destination amongst high society and the international jet set. The winter campus of the Institute Le Rosey is located in Gstaad. Gstaad has a population of about 9,200 and is located 1,050 metres (3,445 feet) above sea level.
During the Middle Ages it was part of the district of Saanen (Gessenay) belonging to the Savoyard county of Gruyère. The town core developed at the fork in the trails into the Valais and Vaud. It had an inn, a warehouse for storing trade goods and oxen to help pull wagons over the alpine passes by the 13th-14th centuries. The St. Nicholas chapel was built in the town in 1402, while the murals are from the second half of the 15th century. The town was dominated by cattle farming and agriculture until the great fire of 1898. It was then rebuilt to support the growing tourism industry. The construction of the Montreux-Oberland Bernois railroad in 1905 and the construction of ski runs (the Ski Club of Saanen open in 1905 followed in 1907 by the Ski Club of Gstaad). The first ski school in Gstaad opened in 1923. The Eagle Ski Club opened in 1957, and was funded by Charles Greville, 7th Earl of Warwick. In a short time, there were more than 1,000 hotel beds in the region.
The residents, hoteliers, shopkeepers and tourist offices helped to promote Gstaad to international attention. They supported the construction of ice rinks, tennis courts, swimming pools, ski jumps, and ski and hiking areas. The first ski lifts at Funi opened in 1934-44 and were followed by a number of gondolas, ski, and chair lifts. The Gstaad Palace opened in 1913 as Gstaad's first luxury hotel. In 1942 the Saanen-Gstaad airfield was opened for military and civil aviation. Helicopter rides were added later and in 1980 balloon flights became available as well. During the World Wars and the Great Depression, the tourism industry suffered and many hotels closed. After World War II, many of the large hotels remained closed, but they were replaced with a number of smaller non-hotel accommodation (chalets, apartment houses, residences). Most of the modern resorts and small hotels are built out of wood and retain traditional design elements.
The Gstaad Polo Club was founded in 1992.
|Climate data for Gstaad (1981-2010)|
|Average high °C (°F)||2.9
|Daily mean °C (°F)||-3.3
|Average low °C (°F)||-7.8
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||108
|Average precipitation days||10.8||9.9||11.9||11.2||14.4||13.9||12.8||13.0||10.5||10.5||10.4||11.3||140.6|
|Source: MeteoSwiss |
Situated in the Berner Oberland, Gstaad is home to a large ski area in the Alps (220 km (137 mi) of slopes). The middle of the village features a picturesque promenade bounded by numerous shops, restaurants, art galleries, and hotels. Designer labels including Louis Vuitton, Hermès, Chopard, Brunello Cucinelli, Prada, Moncler, Ralph Lauren, and Cartier all have stores in Gstaad, while many smaller boutiques stock labels such as Chloe, Dolce & Gabbana, Tod's, Burberry, Dior, Oscar de la Renta, and Marc Jacobs.
Long known for its walking and hiking trails of varying degrees of difficulty, the mountain air and ambiance attract guests year-round from around the world. Gstaad is also known for its ski and cross-country slopes and winter hiking trails.
Gstaad, named "The Place" by Time magazine in the 1960s, is widely known for its famous part-time residents and vacationers. Famous regular visitors to Gstaad have included Madonna, Prince Charles and Princess Diana, former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, haute couture designer Valentino Garavani, writer William F. Buckley, Jr., and various members of the Cavendish family. Many British bands and musicians would play at L'Atelier, a club in Gstaad, in the 1960s and 1970s; one such band was Merlin 'Q' (later Edison Lighthouse), who stayed a whole winter.
Gstaad is known for its luxury hotels, among them the Grand Hotel Park, the Alpina Gstaad, the Gstaad Palace, the Grand Hotel Bellevue, the Hotel Olden, and the Arc En Ciel. In July 2019, the Arc En Ciel came under fire for discrimination and later apologized after issuing a notice of rules directly addressed to its Indian guests.
In Gstaad, the following regular events are held:
Several boarding schools are located in or have a campus in Gstaad:
Current and former residents of Gstaad include: