Perched above the road that snakes through the Grindelwald in the Bernese Alps, is the classy Hotel Belvedere.
The hotel opened in 1907 and has been in the same family, the Hausers, for three generations. It looks like a dinkier version of Wes Anderson’s Grand Budapest Hotel, with its pale pink walls and backdrop of snow-topped mountains.
Yet there’s nothing tired or old fashioned about this impressive superior 4-star hotel. While Hotel Belvedere fits comfortably in its alpine setting amongst the wooden chalets, it has a modern interior and a commitment to sustainability through hydropower.
Couples and adult groups would fit in well here. The spacious lobby overlooks a large terrace decked out with pretty wicker furniture, where you can sip your favourite tipple while looking at the mountain views.
While the hotel feels rather grown-up, they also cater for families and make every effort to make children feel welcome. There’s a special children’s menu in the restaurant and board games to keep the family entertained.
There are 56 rooms at Hotel Belvedere, ranging from the standard double to family rooms that can accommodate up to nine people. All rooms have balconies overlooking the Grindelwald valley, and some have views of the perilous and world-famous Eiger mountain.
Rooms are spacious and colourfully decorated with a cosy seating corner and tea making facilities. Our bathroom was large and spotlessly clean, with two basins and a bath big enough for two. Happily the shower gel, shampoo and conditioner were attached to the wall in large separate containers, so there was enough for more than one wash.
Guests can relax in the large indoor pool with floor to ceiling windows to enjoy the lovely view of the mountains. There is a sauna and glacier steam bath, and in typical European fashion you are expected to be nude. However to save your blushes there’s a women’s only hour every Wednesday between 3pm and 4pm.
At the push of a button, guests can open up a door by the pool that leads to the outdoor saltwater Jacuzzi. It’s an invigorating experience made more glorious by the breathtaking views.
Other facilities include seminar rooms for business meetings and an extensive bar/lobby area. To keep children (and adults) entertained, there is also a large games room with table tennis, table football, billiards, Nintendo Wii and a play corner for toddlers.
Food and drink
The food served in Restaurant Français is so good you may be tempted to dine in every night. The menu serves plenty of Swiss classics with a fine dining twist, including fondue and schnitzel. I tucked into a glorious plate of beer battered perch and potato salad – a very fancy fish & chips indeed!
If you’re thinking about ordering a glass (bottle) of wine, make it a Swiss one. Less than two per cent of Swiss wine is exported and much of it is produced in small, family run vineyards. We enjoyed a glass of Sylvaner white wine and it was light, crisp and delicious.
Breakfast is served in the main restaurant and guests can choose from a selection hot and cold dishes from the expansive buffet, which also includes a variety of freshly baked Swiss bread.
Is Wi-Fi available
WiFi is available free of charge, but the connection in our room wasn’t great. We had more luck in the hotel lobby.
Update: We have been informed by Hotel Belvedere that they will be replacing their WiFi system very soon to ensure improved internet connection.
Standard doubles start from CHF 278 (£212) per night, while a deluxe double with Eiger views starts at CHF 518 (£395) per night. Family rooms start at CHF 558 (£426) per night and children up to 11 years stay free of charge in the parents’ room or in a family suite.
All room rates are based on two people sharing and include breakfast.
In the winter Grindelwald is a popular ski resort. For the rest of the year, there are plenty of adventure activities to take part in, from trekking to mountain biking. If you’re searching for an adrenaline kick, there’s a nearby gorge where you can attempt a terrifying canyon swing with an 85m free fall.
The easiest way to reach Grindelwald is by train. It takes about three hours to travel from Zurich International Airport to Grindelwald (changing at Bern and Interlaken).