There are few hotels as striking as the Victoria-Jungfrau Grand Hotel & Spa, nor any others which speak more of home to me.
Cosseted within the Swiss resort town of Interlaken, the hotel was one of the first grand boltholes built in the Alps during the 19th Century – welcoming royalty, aristocratic mountaineers, painters, poets and other eminent personalities of the time…
Originally formed by two distinct hotels, the buildings were connected by an airy atrium in 1991. Subsequent renovations restored the original features of the structures, which stand tall today as an amalgamation of Victorian and Belle Epoque styles bolstered by steel and glass. Ornate embellishments and gilded details are as much a part of the hotel’s character, as baroque elements combined with art nouveau aspects.
My parents fell in love with the hotel on their honeymoon over thirty years ago; and over several subsequent visits, both the Victoria-Jungfrau and Interlaken blossomed into a blissfully happy place for our family, a safe haven to periodically return to.
Having most recently visited to celebrate my mother’s fiftieth birthday, I thought it finally time to write this full review.
One of the main attractions of the hotel, are the scenic vistas revealed by the expansive windows in each room, either overlooking Harder Kulm (the highest point of Interlaken) or out onto the lush greens of Höhematte Park, beyond which guests can wistfully gaze at the snow-capped peaks of the Bernese Highlands.
The rooms offer stately yet homely comfort, imbued with classic wooden furnishings that are in line with the natural beauty of the setting. Noting the special occasion of this particular visit, the hotel thoughtfully upgraded our Jungfrau-facing Suites to a Delux Duplex category.
Spread over two levels, the high-ceilinged space benefits from a cosily-appointed opening plan living room and a separate sleeping area upstairs, with a modern chrome bathroom conveniently encompassing both – a luxuriant bathtub and a powerful shower. Other notable highlights here include the well-stocked coffee bar (discreetly hidden within a wooden cabinet), daily fresh fruit platters and the remarkably efficient housekeeping service, for whom no request is too small or too big.
Leisure, Wellness & Facilities
The Victoria-Jungfrau is synonymous with the concept of wellness, boasting a cutting-edge Nascens spa renowned for its better-ageing techniques and treatments.
Cocooned between marbled pillars below a vaulted glass ceiling, the pool is a particularly high-level draw and is complemented by an outdoor whirlpool, steam baths, saunas and a relaxation room. There’s also an immaculate fitness centre with an exercise studio offering all sorts of invigorating classes.
The focus on fitness is well balanced by elegantly-fashioned salons for idyl relaxation, with a separate billiards room-cum-library to retreat to for a leisurely hour. What I really love about these rooms, is the untouched air permeating from the original carefully preserved details. They’e the very epitome of old-world charm.
Food & Drink
Breakfast is a keenly-anticipated event at the start of each day, served in La Terrasse – a sun-drenched room styled after the orangeries of the south of France.
The beautifully laid-out breakfast buffet spans all manners of morning pastries (from wholegrain croissants to freshly-baked apple torte and banana bread), cereals and muesli. There’s an array of freshly-squeezed juices (which can be topped off with Prosecco if you wish) and a trolley heaving with Swiss cheeses.
Eggs are made-to-order and the kitchen can send out piping-hot plates of rösti on request too, a Swiss specialty involving fried potatoes and onions.
The hotel also puts out a lavish spread for afternoon tea (as much a treat for the eyes as for the palate), whilst one or more dinners might inevitably involve an unhurried Italian affair at the recently-opened Ristorante e Pizzeria Sapori.
The wood-fired bread oven is a focal point of the enchanting restaurant, as are the extensive selection of wines by the glass and notable vintages, displayed by the entrance.
And if somehow you still have room for more at the end of the day, there’s always room service of course.
Midnight fix @VictoriaJunfrau: Apple pie & the finest vanilla ice cream I’ve had in a while // Not quite sure how we had room to order room service after last night’s heavy supper (more fondue, more roesti & cheese-based Swiss specialities)… but then again, desserts have always owned an appetite of their own! Oh and room service has *never* been as satisfying either! #MidnightCravings #RoomService #EatWellTravelOften #InLoveWithSwitzerland #FoodieLife #TFDinSwitz
Memories to Last a Lifetime
From its inviting rooms and all-encompassing in-house attractions, to the central location in heart of a Swiss resort town – the hotel is in all senses, the ideal retreat destination.
But what truly sets it apart, is the fine service and dedication shown by all of the hotel’s staff members – from the reservations office, to the warm front-of-house team and concierge who always go significantly out of their way to ensure that each visit and revisit is a memorable one. On this trip alone, the wonderful Gabriela secretly liaised with our family in India to arrange a surprise birthday hamper in my mother’s room, in addition to organising little treats on behalf of the hotel! Whilst, her colleague Hevesey, let us in on all the local hangouts and helped us efficiently plan our forays into neighbouring towns and villages. But that’s a story for another day.
It was with heavy hearts that we finally bid adieu to the Victoria-Jungfrau, but we did so safe in the knowledge that we will be returning before long. This being after all, our home-away-from-home.
Victoria Jungfrau, Höheweg 41, 3800 Interlaken, Switzerland
For more on things to do in Interlaken (including top foodie tips), do have a read of my travel guide – here.