Pack your bags and head for the slopes because we’ve rounded up the best hotels and chalets for skiing in 2018/19, so you can enjoy winter sports in style…
The Best Hotels and Chalets for Skiing
Rather than compete with the many five-star hotels in glamorous Gstaad, Huus has carved out its own effortlessly stylish four-star niche, dialling up on personality, colour and character with a side of all-inclusive extras that really make it stand out. Every day there are free mountain guiding services, from off-piste skiing to snowshoe hikes, and there are Mammut backpacks and Zeiss binoculars to borrow in the rooms. The whole feel is that you are staying in a friend’s mountain retreat, albeit a particularly stylish one.
Designed by multi award-winning design house Stylt, the main lounge and bar area is a monumental maximalist triumph. Think rich organic colours, beaten velvet bucket chairs, dramatically oversized joinery units and artfully curated apothecary jars, books, games and musical instruments. Incredibly stylish yet somewhere you are as comfortable in your ski boots as your party frock. High on a hill above the valley floor it really is a Huus with a view. The 50m-long south-facing terrace is the perfect spot from which to watch the sunset.
Rooms come with on-trend Stiffkey Blue spray paint panelling and copper-trimmed joinery, and kids will love the family rooms with a mezzanine level sleeping area. Go for the rooms on the fourth floor to be near the main restaurant and excellent supervised kids’ club. There’s also a large swimming pool with dedicated kids’ spa area, leaving the adults free to enjoy their own spa. Perfect for sporty couples or a family stay.
BOOK IT: Seven nights B&B, from £630pp (two sharing). huusgstaad.com
The aptly-named Ultima is said to be the last new hotel that will be granted planning permission in Gstaad, while simultaneously setting out to be the ultimate in luxury. Designed by the property magnate owners to resemble a ‘superyacht in the snow’, no opportunity for high-end detailing is overlooked. Fabulously striking book-marked striated marble walls line the spa, while a great glass elevator overlooks a lobby with a cascading Swarovski chandelier and Perspex grand piano – customised by famed graffiti artist Alec Monopoly in a live art installation last winter.
Yet the hotel retains a boutique feel, with only 11 suites and six larger residences, plus of course La Prairie spa and pool, signature La Duchessa Italian restaurant, separate shisha bar and, more unusually, an in-house Aesthetics Clinic. Paired with larger surgical facilities in Geneva, the clinic offers state-of-the-art radio frequency facials, lifestyle and dietary advice, DNA testing and traditional cosmetic and dental surgery. In the suites and residences silk carpets are inset into oak floors, bronzed architraves and bathrooms are clad in opulent wall-to-wall Emperador marble.
All the furniture is Italian custom-made, be sure to reserve one of the Curved velvet banquettes in La Duchessa for dinner, or just relax on the white leather day beds by the pool. The spa also comes with its own juice bar, try the signature detox juice, or design your own smoothie, your wish is their command.
BOOK IT: Seven nights room only, from £2,590pp (two sharing). ultimagstaad.com
Grindelwald and lift-linked Wengen have long been held in high esteem by the British military ski set, and with good reason. The stunning UNESCO world heritage setting of the Jungfrau and Eiger peaks are among the most dramatic in the Alps. Hotels here have largely tended to the traditional, so the Aspen, with its log-cabin style architecture, black steel chimney breasts, Tom Dixon lighting, dramatic wine cellar, beaten leather sofas and upcyled antiques is a welcome exception.
The Aspen styles itself as an Alpine lifestyle hotel, aimed at sporty couples who will ski hard by day then came back to lap up the outdoor hot tub pool, glass-walled sauna and lighter, more modern, European food. There’s a simple bar menu serving burgers and healthy takes on local dishes plus a more refined à la carte menu served in the contemporary stuben, try the local rabbit with savoy cabbage and tagliatelle or the local trout risotto. Rooms are unfussy and chintz-free with elemental touches like bedside tables carved from one piece of pine.
Be sure to book a room with a view of the north face of the Eiger, the great wall seems to stretch up forever before you, and feels so close you can almost reach out and touch it. Cushions advise to keep calm and drink champagne, which appears to be sound advice.
BOOK IT: Seven nights B&B, from £675pp (two sharing). hotel-aspen.ch/en
This hotel and destination is one favoured by the rich and famous. It’s easy to see why so many are drawn here, with unrivalled views of Lake St Moritz and hospitality that dates back 160 years, which has also earned them the GaultMillau Hotel of The Year 2018 award, one of the most prestigious awards the hotel industry has to offer. With some of the best snow in the world, don’t forget to go explore and take in some of the events on offer, especially the 34th Snow Polo World Cup on 26 January.
BOOK IT: Doubles from £604. kulm.com
New sister hotel to the totemic Le Blizzard, La Mourra is quieter and more demure, set out on the road to Le Fornet on the outer fringes of the historic old village centre. Styled as a self-contained mountain hamlet, the hotel is a collection of four chalets and a main building with nine junior and two-bed suites, all interlinked by the underground car park. Externally they are classic Val, all local stone and aged wood, yet internally there is a very different feel. Each of the extremely luxurious chalets has different yet confidently contemporary interior design styles and comes with home cinema, dramatic fireplaces and private spa and pool. While the main lounge and restaurant successfully echo the ‘je ne sais quoi’ of the famed Blizzard bar but in a more elegant refrain.
The menu is Japanese with a Gallic twist, and the 12ft-high floor-to-ceiling doors and deep red timber ceiling in the lobby give a warm, oriental hint of things to come. The main area is beautifully lit with low-hanging drum lights, filament bulb sputniks and retro coloured glass Bocci ball lights hanging over a candle-lit bar. You can choose to eat on low sofas in the bar area – perfect for sharing with friends – the more formal Japanese banquet tables or intimate marble-topped tables. The main hotel building also has its own Clarins spa and pool for hotel guests.
BOOK IT: Seven nights half board, from £2,560pp (two sharing), including flights and transfers. oxfordski.com
The new flagship of the Oetker collection, one of the world’s most prestigious hotel groups, L’Apogée is perfectly pitched at a design-savvy clientele who want the style and exclusivity of prime Courchevel without being too outré. Lady Bamford liked it so much she now stocks her products here. Out goes ostentation and in comes pared-down sophistication at the trusted hands of Parisian designers India Mahdavi and Joseph Dirand. All the clean-lined furniture is custom-made. Antique mirrors, walnut furniture and the heavily striated Fior di Bosco marble bar in the centre of the restaurant lend a grown-up cocooning feel. Unlike most of the five-star hotels here, there is no desire for a Michelin star, yet you can still order Dom P by the glass.
A grand two-sided sweeping staircase leads down into the dining room – turn right for Japanese in Koori, and left for classic French in Le Comptoir de L’Apogée – but don’t forget to look up at the double height oval ceiling, cleverly mimicked in the black-tiled pool and spa. Situated on the site of the old ski jump right in the heart of the exclusive Jardin Alpin above Courchevel 1850, the views over the Croisette to Champagny are superb, and you can’t help but love the little huts outside the ski room where your skis and instructors await you. At the end of your skiing day a private magic carpet brings you right back to the door.
BOOK IT: Seven nights half board, from £4,000pp (two sharing). lapogeecourchevel.com
With unbroken wilderness views of the Manchet valley, this is quite possibly the most private chalet in the resort. Quietly unassuming at the very top of the road and bordered by unseen smaller chalets owned by the same operator, the rear elevation is simply stunning. Large walls of glass, local stone and reclaimed pine balconies overlook a large terrace with hot tub, swim spa pool and fire pit, and nothing but the mountains for company. Inside the interiors are done with an unashamedly timeless feel that makes you feel instantly at ease. The large stone flags, rugged timber floors and ceiling rafters made from whole tree trunks feel weighty and comfortable, while the sophisticated colour scheme blends traditional mountain colours without feeling in the least dated.
The two-tiered living room has sofas you can’t help but sink into – and feel completely comfortable putting your feet up on – with double-height apex windows overlooking the valley and separate mezzanine level perfect for kids; if you can get them out of the cinema room. A wood-burning stove in a six-foot-high fireplace stands sentinel in a dining room that comfortably sits 20. Food is excellent. Chardon translates as thistle, and small nods to the owners’ Scottish heritage are everywhere, from the thistle floral arrangements to Scottish Fine Soaps cosmetics. All the warmth and hospitality of the best Scottish country house in the most private spot in the resort, what’s not to like?
BOOK IT: Seven nights chalet board, from £1,395pp (based on exclusive hire for 20 people). lechardonvaldisere.com
The hotel boasts the village square and atmospheric medieval church to one side and main base of the lifts to the other, which this winter also includes a new chairlift. Balconies overlook the kids’ nursery area, so the hotel could not be better positioned, especially for families with young children. And it’s not just for the location, the hotel itself is also ideal for families, with large supervised play area and cinema room off the main lobby, excellent kids’ menu and large child-friendly pool, complete with bubble pool and hydrojets.
Owned by a local family, the onus is on substance over style, with imaginative French food and laid-back friendly service at the heart of their offering. The main restaurant comes complete with a glass-walled cheese cave where you select your cuts, and there’s a more intimate gastronomic restaurant on the first floor with a Michelin star in its sights. The family also own a neighbouring bistro and Savoyard restaurant you can eat in. The comfortable rooms are a traditional rough-cast plaster and aged pine look, with large double doors that open up into adjoining rooms for families. Only one hour from Geneva, La Clusaz is one of France’s most charming mountain villages and a real alternative to the traditional big French resorts.
BOOK IT: Seven nights half board, from £1,378pp (four sharing a junior suite), including Eurotunnel crossing with FlexiPlus upgrade. peakretreats.com
Scott Dunn’s flagship Arlberg chalet, Artemis, is a modern urban-style chalet set over four floors with octagonal walls and a contemporary city-centre feel. The top floor is the open-plan living space, with a matching pair of wraparound sofas, an entire wine cellar wall and cut-out balcony with a splendid aged copper life-size statue of Artemis enjoying a sensational view out across the village to the foot of the slopes. The rooms may be named after Greek gods and goddesses, yet are positively high-tech, with large TVs and Sonos speakers throughout.
Why watch TV in your room, however, when you have your own home cinema room, with red velvet cinema seats and vintage popcorn machine? Swap out the very delectable four-course dinner one evening and ask the staff for a movie night in with hot dogs, burgers and shakes. On another night don’t miss the opportunity to plump for the Malaysian tapas menu, designed by exec chef and former MasterChef winner Ping Coombes. Her sticky ribs and fried chicken gyoza are to die for, and perfect after some legendary St Anton après and a week of Austrian mountain lunches. There’s also a jet pool, sauna and outdoor hot tub, so you can sit back and enjoy the bubbles with a glass of the house Laurent-Perrier and lap up the five-star Scott Dunn service.
BOOK IT: Seven nights chalet board, from £2,200pp (two sharing), including BA flights and private transfers. scottdunn.com
Since Spectre hit our screens Solden has been enjoying a bombastic Bond bounce, and Das Central is the perfect base. First opened in 1969, it was fully refurbished in 2015 in a modern Austrian aesthetic, while still retaining traditional Tyrolean touches like the wonderfully cocooning Stuben-style gastro restaurant. Book in here for one of the regular wine tasting evenings hosted by some of Austria’s finest winemakers. Austrian wine is a big deal here, the hotel has the world’s largest cellar of Austrian wines; who knew their Sauvignon Blancs and Pinots were so good? Renowned for good food and wine, the hotel is one of only nine in Austria that have had a Gault Millau toque every year since the guide’s inception.
The 125 rooms and suites come in various styles, our pick is the chalet ötztal rooms, with their sophisticated timber panelling, padded headboards and balconies with mountain views. Being Austria, the spa is pretty monumental, with three different saunas, two steams, elemental black heated stone beds, tepidarium and ice grotto, even if the quirky Venice-themed chill out area is a bit eye-opening. Service throughout is exceptional. The hotel also runs the Ice Q mountain restaurant that featured so prominently in the movie, with priority booking for hotel guests. So dig out your inner Daniel Craig and dive into Das Central.
BOOK IT: Seven nights half board, from £1,140pp, including flights and transfers. skisolutions.com
Open since December 2008, you won’t want to miss your chance to stay here. Having been awarded Austria’s Leading Boutique Hotel for 2017 by World Travel Awards for the third time, it’s safe to say they know what they’re doing. Whatever you could want or need here is taken care of, everything from a personal and yoga trainer to the Aurelio Spa. Possibly the hotel’s most unique features are the in-house alpacas Hiero, Domingo and Yaki, you can book in and go trekking with them through the snow as well as children being able to meet and have pictures with them.
BOOK IT: Doubles from £417. aureliolech.com
Discreet but suitably majestic, SEVERIN*s – the Alpine Retreat is perched above its inferior counterparts in Lech am Arlberg like understated royalty. A more refined take on Courchevel’s scene, Lech now boasts a chairlift to St Anton, the final link in the chain connecting Austria’s top 5 ski resorts: St Anton, St Christoph, Stuben, Zurs and Lech. The chalet itself exudes a tasteful, thoughtful interpretation of luxury, one that integrates a no-shirt, no-frills approach into impossibly stylish facilities and surroundings. Features of the chalet’s original use as a privately owned bolthole are still evident – the finest wines and whiskies peacock behind an informal bar that doubles up as a reception area. Here, guests are polite to staff and wear their accolades lightly. A traditional chalet canvas is made up of 150-year-old Tirol wood from nearby forests, carved up in the 9 rooms with modern glass bathrooms and sharp Minotti furniture. Roy Lichtenstein paintings perk up the wooden surroundings, meticulously selected by one of Vienna’s top art galleries and available to buy. It’s a heroic blend of old and new, reconciling the cosy feel of a chalet with contemporary panache.
Such a blend spills onto the menu, with Stephan Kreigelstein (winner of a Michel star at Omnia in Zermatt) whipping up a sophisticated take on Austrian classics as well as some more international palate pleasers. Unusually, rich flavours and portion size are not mutually exclusive… the kitchen knows it’s catering to famished skiers and breakfasts are but decadent mountain fuel. While there is no ski-in-ski-out facility at SEVERIN*s, a chauffeur service takes guests directly to the Lech lifts to explore the vast Ski Arlberg area (and venture into St Anton).
Ski legs are lured back to the chalet with an impressive wine cellar and heavenly wellness and spa floor. It’s a calming apres with mood lighting over the 12.5 meter pool and every steam room-sauna-rainforest shower you could hope for. The Residence is the chalet’s most impressive feature, a design marvel sleeping 8 with an open plan kitchen, piano that plays itself (yes the keys move on their own), cinema, and outdoor hot tub on a heated terrace. SEVERIN*s has mastered the modern informal setting and technology affluent guests long for, but with old-world standards of a 5* hotel.
BOOK IT: From 690 euros per night in a Junior Suite full board with breakfast, dinner, chauffeur to the ski lifts and use of spa fitness facilities. Residence at SEVERIN*S – The Alpine Retreat starts from 4,990 euros per night including breakfast, dinner, access to spa and fitness and shuttle to ski lifts. Severin’s-lech.at/en/
Set within a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Cristallo has been encompassed by world-renowned beauty since 1901. The hotel takes full advantage of this with a panoramic terrace, which in the winter gets transformed into an ice rink so you can look out across the snow and feel like you’re in amongst it. The hotel also boasts a ski room to house your gear as well as being able to rent the essentials. If you’re more snow bunny than snow maven, fear not – there is The Transvital Swiss Beauty Centre, the Fitwell Club and only a short car ride to Venice to keep you busy.
BOOK IT: Doubles from £231. starwoodhotels.com
The only five-star hotel in the heart of the Baqueira-Beret region is a winter lover’s dream, only 50 yards from the new ski lift. The hotel knows their clientele well as they offer an exclusive ski guide and transfer your ski equipment to the store which happens to be located right next to the lift itself, making getting the freshest powder a whole lot easier.
BOOK IT: Doubles from £195. hotelbaqueiravaldeneu.com