Gstaad is an odd place. You'd think, from the high profile of its name, that it would be some kind of glittering Geneva-in-the-Alps, yet although its instant name-recognition may effortlessly attract Europe's royal households, celebrities galore and countless hangers-on, Gstaad is in fact just a one-street village, a rather charming, attractively located place full of restored weathered-wood chalets and an overabundance of jewellery shops and furriers.
Glossy magazines may advertise the town as some kind of winter wonderland, but Gstaad is really more of a place to spend the odd ten grand renting a hillside chalet and sipping champagne around town than it is somewhere you can get stuck into any serious skiing. Where the area really enters into its own is as a centre from which to hike the surrounding Saanenland during the summer months.
Gstaad's main pedestrian-only street, running north– south through the village, is dubbed Promenade – no more than five minutes' walk end to end. Focus of the village centre is an open area just at the point cars are barred, which in July is the location for the highly prestigious Swiss Open tennis tournament, and which becomes an ice rink all winter.