Conveniently located across the road from the main ski lift in Grindelwald, Sunstar offers most of the amenities to help families have a stress-free holiday. It is a functional hotel with spacious rooms, an in-house ski hire shop, a large heated swimming pool, adult spa area and a buffet breakfast and dinner restaurant. There are pockets of charm and some rooms were freshly renovated when we visited in February 2022.
Where is it?
Across the road from Grindelwald-First gondola station, one of the two main gondolas in Grindelwald. Grindelwald is a ski and mountain hiking village hub in Switzerland’s Bernese Alps in the Jungfrau region. It has recently been made popular as it was the focal destination in popular Korean drama, Crash Landing On You (netflix.com).
Sunstar Hotel is on the east end of the village on the main road (Dorfstrasse) that runs across the village where most restaurant and shops are located. There is a ski rental shop (Intersport, rentnetwork.ch) within the hotel and Backdoor (backdoorshop.ch) and Buri Sport (burisport.ch) are a stone-throw away.
One bus stop (grindelwaldbus.ch) on each side of the road in-front of the hotel will bring you to other parts of the village and Grindelwald Terminal for the Grindelwald-Holenstein gondola. It is 15 minutes on the bus to Bodmi Arena – ski school area for children and beginners – and that bus runs every 30 minute.
Given the distance to the children/ beginners ski school area (Bodmi), Sunstar’s location may not be the best if your children are beginners. You will end up taking an hour to drop them off at Bodmi and returning to the Grindelwald-First station which is in-front of the hotel. Most of the intermediate and advance children lessons’ meeting point is at Grindelwald-First station, which makes Sunstar a perfect location to stay.
Sunstar provides complimentary passes for local bus service for the duration of your stay. It also offer complimentary shuttle bus pick up and drop off from the Grindelwald train station, if you are coming in by train from Geneva Airport, which is 700m away on the main road.
What is it like?
An old, a new and a charming functional hotel. Sunstar Hotel Grindelwald has been loved and invested into since opening its door in 1971. You will experience this as you come through the automated sliding glass doors into the lobby that extends seamlessly into a cosy bar on the right. The articulated wood panel ceiling, warm coloured modern seatings as well as a beautiful rectangular workspace bench with sheepskin wool draping over its high chairs brought charm and modern functionality to the space.
The charm and character did not carry through to the wellness area, the buffet breakfast restaurant nor to other common areas. Although some of these areas looks like it has been recently renovated, they are boring and uninspiring. The reception of the wellness area was sterile like a clinic and the relaxation area cold with basic loungers and sparely decorated with random Buddha statues. The buffet restaurant area was expansive and had sweeping view of the dramatic mountain range, but the decor was those found typically in dire 1980s large convention rooms.
What are the rooms like?
Fresh rudimentary or tired utilitarian. We stayed in the Double Room Standard Eiger (No. 223, 225 & 227) and Double Room Premium (No. 317, 325 & 327) in February 2022.
The Double Standard Room is of decent size (24 – 26 m²) and fitted with typical traditional ski resort pine-like wood furnishing throughout. It showed its age through the grainy textured wallpaper, bold red carpet and shower curtain.
Having said that, we found the room to be highly functional due to little often overlooked details like a central light switch in the middle of the headboard, a hole in the bathroom shelf for the handy hairdryer, a full length mirror by the entrance hallway and bedside tables with plenty of storage spaces.
And these details were missing from the freshly renovated Double Room Premium. It does have a funky headboard in the shape of the infamous Eiger Mountain, a modern cosy colour palette of white, grey to purple and nice accent lightings.
Both rooms came equipped with a Delizio coffee machine, a 32-inch flat screen TV (from 2012), fluffy bathrobes & slippers, plenty of electrical points (Swiss-type), generic toiletries, complimentary wifi, complimentary mini-bar of coca-cola, alcohol free beer, apple juice, sparkling water and mineral water (replenished daily).
The beds are firm and the pillows are soft (there are no pillow options). Interesting to note that most of the double beds are combination of two separate single beds with a gap in between the two mattresses and you will be provided with two single duvets.
Room 227 and 327 are at the end of building. You will therefore get a more panoramic view of the mountain range from the private balconies – gorgeous view of Wetterhorn Mountain.
Are there family-friendly rooms?
Most Double Rooms Standard/ Premium and Junior Suites can accommodate an extra single bed for a child or adult. The Suites will accommodate four adults or children. There are no connecting rooms.
How are the dining options?
There are two restaurants in Sunstar Hotel Grindelwald, Ambience and Adlerstube. Ambience is the location for the buffet breakfast and dinner. It is a vast restaurant catering to guests from all 219 rooms & suites with sweeping floor to ceiling views of the mountain range from Eiger to Wetterhorn Mountain.
The food is European and selection is wide. Choose from soft and hard bread to croissant to cold cuts, cereals, fruits as well as hot dishes like sausages, beans, grilled tomatoes and omelettes for breakfast. In the evening, we found a comprehensive selection of fresh salad, roast beef rump, braised elk shoulder, pan fried char and a choice of 3 desserts. Buffet dinner is CHF58 for >11 years old and CHF24 otherwise if it is not included in your room package.
Adlerstube is the showcase à la carte restaurant at the front of the hotel offering Swiss European cuisine. It is a charming space with traditional Swiss Bavarian ski lodge features. There are majestic wood column, ceiling trusses, Tiffany-styled hanging ceiling lamps and industrial black chains.
The food is delicious with emphasis on sustainability. There are couple of pages in the menu declaring the countries where the ingredients are sourced from. Enjoy Swiss classics like fondue, raclette, rösti, alpine macaroni, cordon bleu or European favourites like duck breast, beef tartare and roasted fish.
What is there to do in the hotel?
Relax & unwind
One of the key highlight of staying in Sunstar Hotel Grindelwald is the full scale spa which includes a large heated indoor swimming pool, a Roman-Irish bath, a Finnish log cabin sauna and a relaxation area. The swimming pool can be enjoyed as a family of all ages but the sauna, bath and relaxation area are for over 15s only.
The swimming pool is about 20 metre x 8 metre, heated to 29ºC and there are deck chairs around it to relax with a view of the mountains. The pool’s deepness goes from 1.4m to 1.6m, hence, not one for little ones who can’t swim or tread water, unless you have floats. There are two showers as well as a steam room by the pool. It is open from 10.30am to 7.30pm and will be popular with the children, especially from 3pm onwards after a morning on the mountain.
The Roman-Irish bath is a mixed-sex nude, textile-free area. It is small space (roughly 600 sq ft) with two scented steam rooms, a massage spray shower and a warm tiled-bench with separate cold and hot water bath for your feet. The area is a godsend for muscle recovery and relaxation.
The Finnish log cabin sauna is a standalone outdoor unit accessible from the relaxation area. The small sauna fits about 10 people and has two showers and a changing area. It was quite an experience to walk out into the snow in a bathrobe after a session in the sauna.
Admiring the awe-inspiring view of the mountain range from the deck chairs in the relaxation area cap off a much needed rejuvenation. It is probably time to collect the children from the swimming pool for dinner.
Rejuvenate with a facial and massage
If you are looking to take a break from the slopes or hiking, book yourself a treatment at the spa. A basic massage starts from CHF52 for 25 minutes going to CHF 94 for 50 minutes and CHF130 for 75 minutes. There are options for a sports massage, aroma oil massage, as well as Lomi Lomi, hot stone and others for additional charge.
Facial treatments ranges from CHF95 for 45 minutes to CHF150 for 80 minutes which will include a full cleansing, deep pore cleansing, massage, eyebrow correction and face mask. Manicure, pedicure, body wraps, massage baths and waxing are also available from the spa.
The facial and massage experience is functional, not luxurious. The room is brightly lit, rather than ambience lit. We tried the Sports massage and found the strokes used by the masseur to be brisk rather than the long and deep ones we are more accustomed to.
If you have a training regime you need to keep up with while at Sunstar, you will find the gym within the Wellness Area. It is equipped with two cross-trainers, two cycling bikes and a few strength training units from Cybex. They are not the latest version of equipments you can get, but will get the job done.
Who are the patrons?
Families from neighbouring European countries as well as all around the globe. The comprehensive facilities available within the hotel make it convenient for families to ensure a stress-free holiday.
Are they pet friendly?
Yes, across all room categories. We didn’t bring our furry one to Sunstar but did come across a few small dogs in the lobby. They are welcome in the hotel with exception of the Wellness Area and Ambience Restaurant (buffet breakfast and dinner). The hotel charges a supplement of CHF25 per dog per night.