Victoria-Jungfrau Grand Hotel & Spa review: ageing gracefully the Swiss way
The Swiss do so many things impeccably, and fusing science with luxury - all in the name of preserving youthfulness - seems to be their latest achievement.
Within the Victoria-Jungfrau Grand Hotel & Spa, guests indulge in the Nescens Better Ageing programmes reclining in bathrobes overlooking the mountains of Interlaken. There are couples, friends, solo travellers, and those who have travel companions holidaying in parallel - perhaps off eating ice cream, adventuring on the nearby Jungfrau glacier, where skiing is possible all year round, biking around Lake Brienz, hang gliding, golfing, or paddle boarding.
Switzerland is among the top five happiest countries, according to the latest UN World Happiness Report; a quality of life that comes not only from wealth, strong social support networks, but also a long life expectancy - which is where keeping yourself as fit and youthful as possible becomes important.
Swiss anti-ageing science
Nescens' anti-ageing science was developed under the direction of professor Jacques Proust, of the Centre for the Prevention of Ageing at the Clinique de Genolier.
The Nescens stronghold of Better Ageing also includes a medical centre near Lugano in Southern Switzerland, as well as a clinic in Paris devoted to cosmetic surgery and cosmetic medicine. And Better Ageing programmes are run at La Réserve hotel spa and villas on the shores of Lake Geneva, as well as the Victoria-Jungrau Grand Hotel and Spa in Interlaken.
There are several Better Ageing programmes on offer here, a 4-day, and 7-Day programme or a swifter Intensive Programme. All are designed to correct the imbalances that accelerate ageing: excess weight, stress and fatigue; but also to help guests make the kinds of lifestyle changes that will be sustainable once they have returned home.
Techniques include customised eating plans, treatments using anti-ageing products, and physical activity in the form of personal training and group classes - all overseen by coaches, therapists and other experts.
With each programme, the first step is a body diagnosis, which isn’t as daunting as it sounds. After just moments standing on the Inbody 270 Body Composition Analyser, Better Ageing programme participants receive a detailed print-out of their own body’s water, protein, and mineral content, as well as body mass index; not to mention receiving a segmental lean and fat analysis.
It can be empowering to learn that many of our physical insecurities are unfounded; that we are healthier than we imagine, and that any issues we do have can most likely be rectified with the right nutrition and exercise regime.
A story to tell
The facade of the Victoria-Jungfrau Grand Hotel and Spa itself is testament to the glamour that comes with years of experience. The hotel had humble beginnings, with businessman Eduard Ruchti initially opening the Pension Victoria in a former doctor’s surgery.
Those were the pioneering days of alpine tourism, when Interlake was not yet connected by rail to the rest of Switzerland. Yet by 1895, the Hotel Victoria had replaced the smaller building, and Eduard acquired the next-door Hotel Jungfrau.
During the Belle Époque, a lavishly decorated ballroom was added, and royals, intellectuals, artists and authors from around the world flocked to the luxury hotel, with its dazzling gilded mirrors, stucco and crystal. The hotel survived the First World War, and was used as the headquarters for the generals of the Swiss Army during the Second World War.
Fast forward to the early 1990s, and the 5,500-square-metre spa was opened, a vastly ambitious project that was regarded as pioneering for the international hotel scene at the time.
Spoilt for choice
Those undertaking the Better Ageing programme can stay in one of the hotel’s 224 historic yet completely modern rooms, which are situated above the the Nescens treatment rooms and the Roman-style indoor pool that would light up anyone’s Instagram feed.
The Nescens spa is minimalist in its design, but a perfect place to try the famed Nescens anti-ageing product range (with flagship products also available online).
It’s feasible guests could spend large stretches of the day in bath robes. Or sliding in slippers down the corridor towards the Sensai Select Spa, a cocoon of treatment rooms where body treatments make use of fine Japanes Koishimaru silk.
You will want to lose the robe and indulge in the other delights the hotel has to offer though - not least of all the high-quality dining options. La Terrace is a light-filled dining room looking out across the Jungfrau, filled with palm trees and luxuriant decor from which the House of Hackney could take notes.
There is also the Quaranta Uno Italian restaurant, specialising in classic meat and fish dishes, with a glorious outdoor area for warm summer's days. The Jungfrau Brasserie is where breakfast is served. Not to mention the excellent open-air Victoria terrace, The Garden, and Victoria Bar which will further tempt your tastebuds.
In all of the dining spaces, Better Ageing participants can continue their eating programme, alongside companions choosing from the regular menus. Although it’s unclear how many eating regimes have been set back by the hotel’s spectacular Sunday brunch extravaganza, a temptation you may want to give in to regardless of your eating regime, because sometimes you just have to indulge yourself - especially in a place as glorious as the Victoria-Jungfrau Grand Hotel & Spa.
Stay at Victoria-Jungfrau Grand Hotel & Spa from 320 CHF (approx. £328) per night, including breakfast, based on two sharing. To book visit www.victoria-jungfrau.ch or call +41 33 828 28 28
The Nescens Four-Day Better-Ageing Break at Victoria-Jungfrau costs 3,200 CHF (approx. £2,431) for four days including health assessments, all treatments and personal training sessions and three personalised healthy meals per day. Excludes accommodation. More details here.