Review: W Verbier

Review: InterContinental Geneva
Review: W Verbier
Review: Huus Hotel Gstaad

Booking the W Hotel Verbier

Ford likes skiing, and I like points hotels. While I’ve stayed at many of SPG’s better US ski properties (including the St. Regis Aspen and St. Regis Deer Valley), in general you’ll find that most of the cuter ski resorts don’t belong to the major hotel groups (especially outside the US).

As someone who has been a Starwood loyalist for a long time, the W in Verbier, Switzerland, has been on my bucket list. To me it looked unlike any other W I had seen before. So when I asked Ford if he wanted to visit this hotel, he immediately pounced on the opportunity.

Verbier, like most ski towns, has highly seasonal rates. For our nights, a room would have cost $1,000 per night. This is where points come in handy. A free night redemption at the hotel costs 30,000 Starpoints per night (this is a Category 7 property), and you get a fifth night free. So we booked five nights at the cost of 120,000 Starpoints, which is 24,000 Starpoints per night. I’d consider that to be a very good deal.

For what it’s worth, in summer this hotel sometimes only costs about a third as much, as I’ve seen rates of ~$300. So in those cases you’re probably better off paying cash, since the number of points required would be roughly the same. Having now been in winter, I can say that I’d love to return in summer, given that I like hiking but don’t ski.

Getting to Verbier

Getting to Verbier was easy. While I do my best with public transportation, I usually suck at it. Swiss trains are extremely user friendly. The entire journey from the train station in Geneva to the hotel in Verbier took under three hours, and cost 60CHF per person (Swiss trains aren’t cheap, that’s for sure). There was one long train ride, then we transferred to a regional train, and then we had to take a bus up the mountain, which made for some stunning views.

Drive to the W Verbier

W Verbier review

I was so excited when we arrived at the W Verbier. Have you ever seen a W hotel that looks like this?!?

W Hotel Verbier exterior

W Hotel Verbier exterior

The W’s lobby was intimate, and had two separate front desk podiums.

W Hotel Verbier lobby

W Hotel Verbier entrance

Then to the left was the concierge desk and Living Room (the name of the lobby bar at every W, which I’ll talk more about later).

W Hotel Verbier lobby

We were quickly helped at check-in. The front desk agent explained our room wasn’t quite ready yet, and also apologized proactively that they didn’t have any SPG Platinum upgrades available because the hotel was sold out (I confirmed this on I know some hotels would rather not mention the lack of an upgrade, but to me it’s something I really appreciate, since it shows they at least tried.

The front desk agent took my phone number, and said she’d call us when our room was ready. We wandered around town, and an hour later got a phone call that our room was ready.

At that point we were escorted up to our room. The elevators are immediately across from reception, next to a cute little fireplace. The W has rooms in several buildings (and then there are also residences), and our room was in the main building).

W Hotel Verbier lobby

The hotel’s lobby is on level four (since the hotel is built into a mountain), and our room was on level five. Once outside the elevator we turned right, and then our room (#541) was the last one on the left.

W Hotel Verbier hallway

The entire hotel has only 127 rooms, and as you can see based on the floorplan below, only a fraction of those rooms are in the main building).

W Hotel Verbier floorplan

For a standard sized room, I thought this was lovely. The room had an entryway, with the shower and sink to the left, and then the toilet and closet to the right.

W Verbier Wonderful Room entryway

Typically when you stay at a chain hotel you get the same cookie cutter room design everywhere. While this hotel was still W themed, I appreciated all the unique local touches.

W Verbier Wonderful Room

The room had the typical signature W bed, which I find to be comfortable.

W Verbier Wonderful Room

Across from the bed was a chic seating area with a couch built into the wall, as well as a seat across from it. Next to that was a desk, and above it was the TV.

W Verbier Wonderful Room

On the desk was the minibar and a Nespresso machine.

W Verbier Wonderful Room minibar & Nespresso machine

W Verbier Wonderful Room minibar

To the side of the sitting area was a small fireplace. This isn’t one of those fireplaces that creates big flames, but rather the flames were maybe an inch tall. It still created a surprising amount of heat. One odd thing about the room is that you can look from the bedroom into the bathroom area through the fireplace, and there’s no way for additional privacy (on the plus side, the toilet is in a different part of the room).

W Verbier Wonderful Room fireplace

I liked the room’s light fixtures. Next to the bed were four large, complimentary bottles of water.

W Verbier Wonderful Room bedside

The bathroom was spacious for a standard room, and featured a soaking tub, a sink, and a partitioned off shower with both a rainforest and handheld showerhead.

W Verbier Wonderful Room bathroom

W Verbier Wonderful Room bathroom

W Verbier Wonderful Room bathroom

W Verbier Wonderful Room bathtub

W Verbier Wonderful Room shower

As you’d expect at a W, toiletries were from Bliss.

W Verbier Wonderful Room Bliss toiletries

The shower and sink area opened up into the rest of the room and didn’t have any doors, which I don’t love. That’s because I love to make the bathroom hot without steaming up the rest of the room, but that’s not possible with this type of a setup.

The toilet was in a room across the hall from the rest of the bathroom.

W Verbier Wonderful Room toilet

There was a large closet area next to it.

W Verbier Wonderful Room closet

The room also had a large patio overlooking the town.

W Verbier Wonderful Room patio

W Verbier Wonderful Room patio

W Verbier Wonderful Room view

An hour after we checked in, someone came by with another bottle of water, a fruit plate, and a toothbrush with my name on it. While I travel with an electric toothbrush, I thought that was really cute.

W Verbier Wonderful Room welcome gift

W Verbier Wonderful Room welcome gift

We absolutely loved the room and thought it was spacious and well designed, but there were a couple of issues. Specifically, while you can make it warmer in the room, you can’t make it cooler. You might think there’s no need to make it cooler in a winter wonderland, though our room consistently got pretty hot at night, so we had to keep the door open.

The only problem is that Verbier is a bit of a party town, so there’s music until really late. On top of that, due to the quantity of snow they were clearing the streets at night, which is not a quiet process. Since we were just one level above the street, this proved problematic.

After our second day Ford and I were talking about whether we should ask if they had a different room available. I wasn’t trying to talk my way into an upgrade, but rather we just couldn’t sleep well. Literally five minutes after having this conversation, the housekeeping manager knocked on our door and asked how everything was. We explained that we loved the room, but explained our issues. She said she’d look into it.

Five minutes later the front office manager contacted us and told us that we could move rooms, and that a fabulous suite had opened up (which would be the typical SPG Platinum upgrade anyway, subject to availability). AWESOME. I got the sense that this wasn’t the first complaint they ever received about street noise.

So we moved down the hall to room #546. Oh my gosh this was an awesome suite. The room featured a long entryway leading to the living room.

W Verbier Fabulous Suite entryway

The living room had a couch, table, desk, and a couple of chairs.

W Verbier Fabulous Suite living room

W Verbier Fabulous Suite desk

Across from that was the wall mounted TV, some closet space, and a half bathroom.

W Verbier Fabulous Suite living room

W Verbier Fabulous Suite closet space

W Verbier Fabulous Suite toilet

Then around the corner was the bedroom. While the suite was large, there wasn’t actually a door separating the living room from the bedroom. The bedroom had a king size bed, and across from the bed was a TV and fireplace.

W Verbier Fabulous Suite bedroom

W Verbier Fabulous Suite bedroom

The bathroom was large (again, there was no door between the bedroom and bathroom), and had double sinks, a soaking tub, a walk-in shower, and a toilet in a separate room.

W Verbier Fabulous Suite bathroom

W Verbier Fabulous Suite bathtub

W Verbier Fabulous Suite bathroom

The suite had full size Bliss toiletries, rather than the miniature ones you’ll find in standard rooms.

W Verbier Fabulous Suite Bliss toiletries

The room also had a large patio with breathtaking views.

W Verbier Fabulous Suite patio

W Verbier Fabulous Suite patio

The room had the same temperature issue, but since we weren’t facing the street, it was lovely to leave the door open and get fresh air that way.

When we were in Verbier they apparently had the most snow they’ve had in years, which made the views even more beautiful.

W Verbier Fabulous Suite view

On our last day it was finally sunny and stopped snowing, and the views then were even more amazing, as you could see for miles.

W Verbier Fabulous Suite view

As an SPG Platinum member I could choose breakfast as my Platinum amenity, which is a hell of a value, given how much it would otherwise cost. Breakfast was served daily from 7AM until 11AM on the third floor, at one of the hotel’s restaurants, Eat-Hola. Yes, that’s what it’s called (I guess people would interpret it differently based on whether they go with the Spanish pronunciation of “hola,” or…). No comment.

W Verbier breakfast restaurant

W Verbier breakfast restaurant

W Verbier breakfast restaurant

Those entitled to breakfast at this hotel have access to the buffet (I’ll let the pictures speak mostly for themselves).

W Verbier breakfast buffet

W Verbier breakfast buffet

W Verbier breakfast buffet

W Verbier breakfast buffet

W Verbier breakfast buffet

W Verbier breakfast buffet

W Verbier breakfast buffet

W Verbier breakfast buffet

W Verbier breakfast buffet

W Verbier breakfast buffet

W Verbier breakfast buffet

W Verbier breakfast buffet

W Verbier breakfast buffet

W Verbier breakfast buffet

W Verbier breakfast buffet

I thought the breakfast buffet was reasonably good, though not especially memorable. Most of the food tasted good, though nothing really stood out as amazing, and they didn’t change up the buffet much day-by-day.

On top of that, you can order off the menu to supplement the buffet (at no extra cost):

I feel like they could have offered a few more options, because by the fourth day I was tired of the menu. The first time we ordered the eggs they were super oily, though when I asked for the omelet with as little oil as possible on subsequent days, it was much better.

W Verbier breakfast omelet

The porridge was also fairly good, though bland.

W Verbier breakfast porridge

The Living Room, located just next to the lobby, was the focal social point of the hotel. It was typically busy in the evenings, and had a great vibe, often with live DJs.

W Verbier Living Room

W Verbier Living Room

W Verbier Living Room

In addition to beautiful indoor seating, there’s also a very nice patio.

W Verbier Living Room patio

W Verbier Living Room patio

Then there’s a cigar area, which I’m sure smokers will appreciate.

W Verbier Living Room cigar bar

The Living Room menu read as follows (for reference, one CHF is worth slightly more than one USD — Switzerland isn’t cheap):

I spent a bit of time in the Living Room working, so had the chance to try a few things. Their cappuccinos were excellent.

W Verbier Living room — cappuccino

The first day when we arrived we also had lunch in the Living Room.

W Verbier Living Room — veal ragout pasta

W Verbier Living Room — kale salad

Also, the last day we grabbed a snack in the Living Room before leaving the hotel.

W Verbier Living Room — pizza margherita

Otherwise we typically came here for a pre-dinner drink. After Ford skied we sometimes had hot wine.

W Verbier Living Room — hot wine

As stated above, the W has several buildings, and just outside the main building is Carve, which is the outdoor bar, popular for après-ski.

W Verbier

W Verbier outdoor bar

We came here a couple of times for some hot wine.

W Verbier outdoor bar

W Verbier hot wine

W Verbier drink list

The other major feature of the hotel is the spa, gym, and pool, located on the second floor.

W Verbier Bliss Spa

We used the gym a couple of days. It was decent enough, though I felt like the pool and gym needed a bit more TLC from the hotel. Two treadmills were broken, one day they ran out of water from the cooler, and one day they ran out of plastic cups.

W Verbier gym

W Verbier gym

Then there’s the hotel’s indoor-outdoor pool. Due to the amount of snow the water got pretty cold.

W Verbier pool

So I instead mostly relaxed in the hot tub.

W Verbier hot tub

As stated above, the pool area could use a little more looking after. It was clear no employee had come to clear anything for hours.

W Verbier pool deck

One other fantastic feature of the hotel is that they offer complimentary 24/7 shuttle service to anywhere in Verbier. Typically these expensive ski towns charge an arm and a leg for taxis. I can’t even say how much we spent on taxis in Gstaad, where a 10 minute taxi ride cost over 30CHF (we did our best to use buses when possible, but they weren’t always running at the times we needed).

Realistically I think we probably saved well over a hundred dollars a day thanks to this shuttle service. We took it to lunch and dinner most days, so that’s a great feature that they have.

W Verbier complimentary shuttle

For skiers, the hotel also has ski in ski out, which I know many people value.

There are just a couple more things I wanted to talk about. Let’s start with service. Most of the employees in the hotel seemed to be from Spain, and worked at the hotel seasonally. Typically I find seasonal labor isn’t as great as year-round labor, since the people typically aren’t as invested in the hotel. However, for the most part I found the service to be excellent, which pleasantly surprised me. Just about everyone was friendly, and just about all our requests were quickly taken care of. Ford also had a great experience with the concierge before our stay — he had emailed over several restaurant reservation requests, and got a response within an hour confirming all of them.

Lastly, the town of Verbier is ridiculously cute. As a non-skier it was a bit tough due to the amount of snow, since I couldn’t really walk around much. I had sneakers, though not proper snow boots, and for the most part the snowfall was really heavy. Ford had an amazing time skiing, though personally I’d like to return in summer, when it’s much cheaper, not as full, and there’s great hiking.

Verbier, Switzerland

W Verbier bottom line

This is easily the cutest W I’ve ever been to. No, this hotel isn’t perfect. The lack of temperature controls in the rooms, combined with the street noise, can be a problem. The breakfast also wasn’t incredible, and the pool and gym could use a bit more looking after. However, other than that, I loved the hotel. I thought the rooms beautifully blended the W brand with the Swiss alps, the hotel has a great location, the free shuttle service saved us a lot of money, and the employees were mostly very good.

If you’re a skier I’d definitely recommend this place, and I could also see this being a fun place to go in summer.

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  1. Ben,

    I’ve been eagerly waiting for this report! I stayed at that hotel during it’s first open winter season and had the same issues (though over Christmas we couldn’t switch rooms so our room remained hot and loud).

    Sad to see the pool is still cold and area is unkept. Looks like these weren’t teething problems for a new hotel.

    Do you have any images of the ski room? It was a joke when we were there as they gave away my skis twice and the days they didn’t, we had to wait 45min as the locker system could only let one person in a row of skis at a time due to the moving shelves of skis and it’s design.

    All in all even as as SPG Plat I felt like since it was the only W and new hotel of that style in a lot of Swiss ski towns, the hotel’s management did not care, because they did not have to. Opposite the St Regis in Park City!

  2. Had this on my bucket list for the past several years, but despite having an excellent corporate rate, I canceled with no plans to rebook. Not everyone has 120,000 Starpoints available and the only month with any snow, and reasonable cash rates, is December when the lifts have barely opened.

  3. You really should review other hotels then chains, especially in Europe. There are plenty of awesome hotels in the alps. You have to be out of your mind to stay at the W in Switzerland.

  4. Splendid review! I truly enjoyed reading all the wonderful details, even though I have no interest in staying at a W in the Alps.

    One of the great joys of Alpine villages is staying in a small, charming, family-owned inn. I will always treasure my stay at the spectacular Hotel Almhof Schneider in Lech, Austria.

  5. Why didn’t you simply turn off the air conditioner in your room?
    The air conditioner is a must for me in summer while it is a must-not for me in winter no matter how cold the outside is.

  6. just counting the skiing experience (regardless of hotel), how would you compare Verbier to nearby options like Chamonix, Zermatt, St Moritz, and Davos ?

  7. Ben, you want to be a smart traveler; but you pay 60 CHF for a train ride Geneva – Le Chable – Verbier? Thats like paying the rack rate for a hotel. SBB offers every day for every train 50% discount when booking online.

  8. What an amazing report. Switzerland is indeed expensive but so beautiful and this area in particular is no exception. Glad you enjoyed and thank you for posting about an area I have spent so much time in and remains one of my favorite corners of the world.

  9. “our room consistently got pretty hot at night”
    “The {next} room had the same temperature issue”

    Sounds like a great hotel stay to me!

  10. Oh Lord honey – you and your sneakers again. One of these days, we’re gonna get you all “grown-up” and maybe then we can get you into something other than your beloved sneakers!! I hear Garanimals make some nice looking shoes. 🙂

  11. @Sandra: the price that you see online is the starting price and means that you can get 50% if you have the half-fare card. The half-fare card is only for permanent resident and with an annual fee.

  12. You went to a mountain village which has had record-breaking copious amounts of snow falling for some weeks now with sneakers? There’s so much you could’ve done there with a decent pair of walking boots while Ford was on the piste & you weren’t on your laptop.
    While the hotel is undeniably luxe it has a style which just screams BLING in the same way Emirates’ First does – it’s not becoming of its surrounds & just looks garish (inside) which is a dreadful shame.

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