Switzerland is known for doing several things extremely well. Cheese would come to mind first, with happy cows and high altitudes, their Emmental, Gruyère, and Tête de Moine are known for their exquisite smell, texture, and taste. For most, Swiss chocolates would make their list and for others, their fine timepieces such as Patek Philippe and Rolex. Beyond that, since the first British tourist began arriving at the end 18th century, this little European country has the reputation of perfecting the craft of hospitality and producing the best hoteliers in the world. The pursuit of perfection in hospitality is most apparent in their grand hotels such as you’ll find in central Switzerland at the Victoria Jungfrau Grande Hotel and Spa.
Located in central Switzerland, the Victoria Jungfrau Grande Hotel and Spa is the consummate grande dame hotel. The majestic hotel offers a commanding presence in the town of Interlaken, framed by the mountain scenery of the Bernese Oberland and facing the town’s central green with the Harder Kulm mountain as the backdrop.
The palatial hotel exudes old-world sophistication yet balances modernity with amenities, services, and an extensive range of facilities demanded by today’s travelers. Most will marvel at its grandeur; it is enormous where one could get lost exploring the many parlors, bars, and common areas. The hotel offers 216 rooms, two restaurants, extensive services, endless activities, and a stunning 60,000 square foot destination spa, wellness, and fitness center.
Beyond the facilities, what makes the Victoria and Jungfrau Grande Hotel and Spa such an appealing vacation is the location. Interlaken is a medium-sized town with a fair offering of restaurants and shops. But that is not the draw here. It is the stunning natural surroundings making it the ideal place for an active holiday at any season of the year. Summers feature outdoor adventures from cycling and nature walks through the alpine-filled mountains as well as boating, swimming, and bathing in the two adjacent glacier lakes, the Thunersee and Brienz. Adrenalin junkies will be spoiled for choice with skydiving, paragliding, white water rafting, and mountain biking galore.
In the winters, Interlaken is a haven for skiers and minutes away from the Jungfrau Ski region and ski resorts including Murren, Grindelwald, and Wengen. All of which are easy to reach from the Interlaken Ost train station (complimentary transfers from the hotel) and connected by Jungfrau Railway trains and lift system. Non-skiers will opt for toboggan rides or ice skating with an ice skate park just across the street from the hotel. Arguably the most famous destination is the Jungfraujoch which is the highest rail stop in Europe at over 11,000 feet and offers stunning views of the Aletsch Glacier. It also happens to be the place where several scenes from the James Bond films were shot making it the perfect place to spend the afternoon for the lookout, lunch or to visit the James Bond museum.
Steeped in history, the Victoria Jungfrau Grande Hotel and Spa dates back to 1865 and is to this day is one of the most prestigious hotels in Switzerland and worthy of each of their five stars and status as a Leading Hotel of the World. From the outside, the hotel is grand with a Victorian design of ornate facades and a cupola sitting at its center resembling a crown. In the summer, the expansive terrace is the popular setting for the beau monde who come to see and be seen while noshing on lunch and overlooking the comings and goings along the town’s main street.
Indoors is regal as well with an impressive domed corridor that leads to various shops and the spa area. Other hallways are equally as impressive with sleek checkered white and black marble floors and a trickling marble water fountain underneath a shimmering crystal chandelier. Elsewhere there are lavish bars with belle époque period décor that look like they came straight from a scene from the Great Gatsby.
Without questions, the hotel’s most impressively designed feature is the grand ballroom. The first impression is to draw comparison with Versailles and with good cause at that is where this opulent space has taken its inspiration. The lavish baroque style includes ceiling panels with hand-painted murals, stucco, and gilding along with parquet floors and crystal chandeliers harken back to another time when craftsmanship on this level was a true art form.
Accommodations are fitting with the hotel’s grandeur with spacious airy rooms with a stately yet timeless design so don’t expect a trendy décor or style of the day. Guest rooms are filled with natural light, parquet floors, a pastel color scheme, and an uber-comfy bed. All rooms feature the latest technology as well as bathrooms awash with marble and separate soaking bath and shower. Many rooms feature an outdoor balcony as well. The rooms categories vary from standard to palatial suites made for a head of state with separate living rooms and dining areas.
The culinary offerings at the Victoria Jungfrau Grand Hotel and Spa are sure to please the sophisticated traveler. Guests can expect chic cocktail bars and dainty afternoon teas or an upscale breakfast smorgasbord and two exquisite dining options with highly regarded wine lists.
In the evening, the glitzy cocktail lounge is the ideal place to retire after a long day of activities or for pre-dinner drinks. The setting is elegant with plenty of areas for catching up with friends with live piano music, that ranges from classic to contemporary, adding to the ambiance. The Victoria Bar has several accolades under its belt including being named among the leading hotel bars in Switzerland. The retro-styled bar offers a commendable drinks menu with top-shelf liquors and a selection of tasty signature cocktails such as their Boulevard St. Germain with rum, elderflower liqueur, and Cointreau.
In addition to their popular bar, their uber elegant Afternoon Tea takes place in their turn of the Victorian era styled royal Salon Rouge, the Victoria Hall, or on the terrace as weather permits. The service does honor to this British tradition with a sumptuous buffet replete with an expansive offering of sweet and savory delicacies.
Cosmopolitan travelers will find the dining options to their satisfaction with Italian and European Brasserie-style restaurants to choose from. Ristorante Sapori is a casual restaurant offering Italian classics with a modern twist. The setting is theatric and offers a feeling of a fine palazzo, under the 30-foot muraled ceilings with a two-story-high bar wall filled with spirits. The heart of the restaurant is the stone oven and the steady flow of crusty pizza, calzones, and other Italian treats. Expect exceptional starters such as the beef carpaccio with parmesan and black truffle as well as a well-rounded menu of Italian classics, pasta, and grilled fish and meats. The wine list is exceptional as well with international wines as well as a large selection from Italy and top-notch wines from the nearby Swiss wine region.
La Terrasse is their brasserie-style restaurant that offers a mix of international options and local Swiss favorites. The mood is romantic in the orangeries-style restaurant with bronze candelabras, marble columns, and palm trees. On weekends, a songstress serenades the room with her sultry voice covering standards and contemporary songs. The food is delicious yet casual with a focus on Swiss classics such as Wiener Schnitzel, or lesser-known regional dishes such as Hirschpfeffer, which is deer ragout with Spätzle, or small dumplings, red cabbage, and brussels sprouts. The ingredients are sourced from local suppliers as are many of the wines such as the Spizer which is an exceptional Riesling sourced from just 30 minutes away.
The Victoria Jungfrau Grande Hotel and Spa defines the meaning of a destination spa. However, to call it a spa would be an understatement. The Victoria Jungfrau hotel offers a 60,000 square foot health center with an extensive pool, wet center and, workout facilities. Its crown jewel is the Spa Nescens which offers a range of world-class treatments, rituals, and multi-day healing programs that address a wide range of ailments from weight loss to stress relief. And not to mention that it is one of the most beautiful spas in Switzerland.
The vaulted, skylit indoor swimming pool looks like a movie set from a Cecil B. DeMille film. Art deco columns line the sides with chaise lounges on either side and plenty of whirlpool baths there for guests to soak away tension. Adjacent to the indoor pool is an outdoor saltwater pool offering decadent views of the Alps as well as thermal water jets for a water massage. The wet facilities include several state-of-the-art wet and dry saunas as well.
Speaking of state-of-the-art, the fitness center offers many best-in-class Technogym and Lifefitness strength and endurance machines and free weights as well. This is a comprehensive 24-hour workout center that offers many complimentary classes for guests from step, HIIT-training, Pilates to yoga as well.
Their concept is Better Aging and is the foundation of the Spa Nescens and focuses on holistic long-term healing. Their multi-day programs include consulting with the guest/patient to determine their health goals, be it weight loss, anxiety, or to create a better-aging strategy. Together with a team of nutritionists, osteopaths, and physiotherapists, a program of personal training, detox plans, rejuvenating Cosmeceutical procedures, and other therapies are developed for the stay and aftercare.
Spa Nescens also offers a wide range of treatments that go beyond relaxation with massages created to heal the body with deep tissue massages using warm oil to detoxify, stimulate, and target the body’s muscle and energy routes. This is followed by a heated Thai herbal massage ball and cupping application to further relieve soreness and to aid in lymph drainage. After 90 minutes of pure healing and pampering bliss, the body is left feeling revived and restored.
The Swiss are not known for doing everything, but for doing a few things very very well. Their flair for hospitality is unsurpassed for not only their hotels, culinary and, facilities, but for their exceeding levels of service. One hotel is a standout where all of those elements come together along with an enviable location in heart of the Swiss Alps. The location is Interlaken and through the doors of the Victoria Jungfrau Grande Hotel and Spa.
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