Some have heard of it – some haven’t. Gstaad is a little place in Europe located in the french part of Switzerland. With a population of 3,400 it’s not a big city – but it’s a town full of secrets.
Gstaad is known for the rich and wealthy people. Since it isn’t the biggest tourist destination, it’s a place where the rich and famous can hide and go on vacation without being seen. In this little town there are lots of hotels – 4 of them with 5 stars. Two of them are members of the Leading Hotels of the World.
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Have you ever wondered where the rich and famous go on vacation? I have! Gstaad has had many famous guests. Look it up at Wikipedia and you see a very, very long list! A few celebrities that I could mention are designer Valentino Garavani and Madonna who own their own chalets here. You have probably heard of Prince Charles, Roger Moore, Elton John, Anne Hathaway and Margaret Thatcher. 
Once I had read about all the people visiting Gstaad, I felt like I had to go! And fortunately, I got a job offer from one of the two best hotels in the area. It was a chance I couldn’t miss. I clearly remember the first day. Stepping out of the train looking for a taxi that could bring me to the hotel. I had no idea how expensive the taxi ride would be, but luckily I had enough money with me. Suddenly I stood in front of the big hotel, where I was going to work! Of course, the hotel was beautiful. There was even a Gucci and a diamond store inside. Glamorous! All people were extremely friendly, and even though I was a new employee, I felt like a guest that day. My first impression was better than expected!
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Gstaad. There is almost no advertising for this travel destination. It’s a place with a mouth-to-mouth reputation. Big parties are held in the mountains – but only for the V.I.P.’s. In the 1960’s Gstaad was named The Place by Times Magazine. And it’s true!
You have expensive designer boutiques, luxurious jewelry stores and secret night clubs. If you have enough money, there is nothing you can’t have.
Behind all this luxury there are many secrets hidden. I have so many stories that I could tell you about, but unfortunately I am not allowed to tell that much about work. However, there are some moments that are ok to share.
An experience I had in Gstaad was when walking on the famous Promenade. The Promenade is Gstaad’s main shopping street. I once walked here and got to see Lady Gaga. There were no bodyguards, no paparazzi. She was walking all by herself – but hard to recognize. Lady Gaga wore a hat and big sunglasses. If it wasn’t for the big lips and special hairstyle I would not have known that it was her.
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What’s behind all this glamour? As far as I know, Gstaad is a ski destination. Almost no one is skiing here. People come here to show off. Not for fans, but friends and family. It’s a chic place to go for the richest. It seems like it’s cool to have been here. Being in Gstaad means you’ve heard about it’s reputation. And it’s also a way to relax and escape the every day paparazzis.
But what about the locals? It can be tough living here. I once had to go to Coop to buy a new hairbrush. 13 USD was the price of that cheap plastic thing. And in general, you have take the train somewhere else to go shopping. In my home country I could probably afford some of the things that the designer stores sell. But in Gstaad they put the prices up, which means I couldn’t afford anything else than food.
The good thing, though, is that there are places to go for the locals. There is one club, one bar and a few little restaurants that are not too expensive compared to our salary. Living here can be more boring than expected. After one week there is not more to see. And assuming you’ll see the one celebrity after another is just waste of time. I only saw one face that I had seen before – and that was Lady Gaga’s. Because of that it’s very important to have good friends here or to just socialize with people from work. People here, both locals and tourists, drink a lot. And if you have the money, it’s not difficult getting any drugs here.
The celebrities are still hiding even when walking on the streets without security. They wear big hats and sunglasses. The only thing you know is that they might be famous, but you have no idea who exactly they are.
In the end I still think that Gstaad is a magical place. It’s very different from the rest of the world and it’s a time I will never forget.
It was not difficult getting a job here – and the salary is more than okay, I think. But behind all the glamour and luxurious lifestyle, there are always some secrets hidden.
Are you planning on going to Gstaad? Do it during winter time. The famous are to be seen between christmas and New Years Eve. And then again in February. However, there’s no guarantee that you will see any of them.
Not to gossip more than I do right now, but a source once told me, that Madonna stayed in one of the hotels and almost no employee knew about before she already left again. She ordered room service for every meal and never left the suite.
So unless you already know the celebrities, it’s really hard to find them.
But one thing that I like about Gstaad is the atmosphere. You know they are all here. Legends like Michael Jackson have been here and you have no idea how close you are to them when walking through the streets.
Beware, it’s not a place for backpackers. It’s extremely expensive everywhere. But it’s worth it.
Has anyone been here before? I’d like to know how you experienced The Place!