Best for: Laid-back cocktails and funky beats
A Zermatt landmark for over 50 years, the Schwiezerhof has had a radical transformation, courtesy of new owner Michel Reybier, of La Réserve fame. Parisian designer Kristian Gavoille has dramatically opened up the ground floor, creating a magnificent open-plan lobby, bar and restaurant space. The back-lit onyx marble bar is reminiscent of Annabel’s Jungle Bar and the whole space oozes sophisticated savoir-faire. A short walk through a library-cum-wine store leads on to La Muña, serving Peruvian-Japanese fusion. It’s already one of the top restaurants in the village. Rooms have been refitted rather than remodelled, with ultra-cool white marble bathrooms and ‘minimal chic’ of the bedrooms. A triumphant reinvention of a Zermatt classic.
Book it: Doubles from £421. schweizerhofzermatt.ch
Grandes Alpes, Courchevel 1850
Best for: Exclusive hideaways in France’s glitziest resort
The Grandes Alpes is a little piste-side jewel on the famed Rue d’Église, right in the centre of glamorous Courchevel 1850. Dating back to 1948, it is one of the oldest hotels in the resort, and sits right at the upper echelons of its 22 five-star hotels. It’s USP is its low-key exclusivity, plus its hybrid chalet/hotel concept. During high season the hotel comprises just nine apartments, each with three or four bedrooms, sumptuous living areas, dining rooms and private butler service. Outside the peak weeks, three of the apartments divide into deluxe rooms and one-bed suites. Most guests live and eat in their apartments, with every whim catered for by their butler. Opulent without being ostentatious.
Book it: Doubles from £854. grandesalpes.com
Chalet Überhaus, Lech
Best For: Lording it in Lech
It’s hard to find a chalet that better encapsulates today’s crossover of lifestyle and skiing than ÜberHaus, set on the pistes above the genteel resort of Lech. It blends all the hygge reclaimed timber and roaring open fire charm you want from a winter getaway. Spanning four floors, the chalet sleeps up to 14 guests and comes with a small army of staff, including a professional chef and ski butler. The latter will soon become your best friend as he sorts out the kids’ ski lessons while you enjoy breakfast in bed, secures the best tables for lunch, and quietly tips off the ÜberHaus team when you’re heading back from the slopes – so the champagne is on ice by the hot tub.
Book it: Seven nights from £34,575 (sleeps ten adults, four children), including five days of ski guiding. uberhaus-lech.com
Jagdhof, Stubai Glacier
Best for: Ski & spa weekends and guaranteed snow
The pride of the Stubai valley, the Jagdhof is a perfect blend of traditional Tyrolean heritage and contemporary mountain luxury, all hand-carved wood panelling and snug stübli nooks for cosy tête-à-têtes. It’s also home to the jSPA: at over 3,000sq/m, it’s one of the best mountain spas in the Alps. There are more than 20 differently themed saunas, steams and relaxation rooms, plus the new Spa Chalet, including a spacious Private Spa Suite especially for couples. A sophisticated sanctuary for the senses, you could spend a long weekend here without leaving the spa – but that would be a crime, as the skiing on the nearby Stubai glacier rises up to 3,600m. Also, you can’t leave without a tasting in the wine cellar.
Book it: Doubles from £394. hotel-jagdhof.at
Riffelalp Resort 2222m, Zermatt
Best For: A romantic mountain hideaway
High up on the Riffelalp plateau sits this ski-in, ski-out bastion of old-school charm and rarefied Hautes Alpes luxury. Accessible only by cog train, this is a traditional mountain retreat in every sense. Set back from the piste and flanked by pine forests, every room has gloriously unbroken Matterhorn views, as does the heated outdoor pool – the highest in Europe. Fully renovated in 2016, the look is a blend of traditional country house and classic five-star hotel. You can take the train down to Zermatt in the evenings but will more likely hunker down and eat fondue in the cosy Walliserkeller or go five-course gastro at the Restaurant Alexandre. As well as a billiards room, there’s a two-lane bowling alley for post-prandial shenanigans. The complimentary l’Occitane lip balm and hand cream at turndown are a lovely touch.
Book it: Doubles from £310. riffelalp.com
Best for: Gourmet ski weekends
Nestled below the imposing flanks of Mont Blanc, Courmayeur is one of the prettiest of all mountain towns, making it the ideal choice for the Italian Hospitality Collection’s first ski property, the aptly-named five-star Le Massif. Two-dimensional corten steel trees flank a building that has risen like a phoenix from a site that had been closed for 30 years. The location is perfect. A two-minute walk from the Bar Roma end of the street, it’s the same distance again to the cable car taking you up to the ski area, where they have squared the circle with their own mountain restaurant, lodge and boot room (so all your ski gear stays safe and warm up the mountain). It’s the ideal base for the renowned gourmet ski weekend, with two gourmet dinners in resort and one dinner on the mountain, by UK-based Michelin-starred guest chefs.
Book it: Three nights B&B, from £1,400pp, including private transfers and full gourmet ski experience. momentumski.com
Hide Hotel, Flims
Best For: Architectural aficionados
The Hide hotel is a feat of engineering. Where once there was just a bridge, now there is the Stenna building, all low-slung contoured concrete and glass containing not only this super-funky hotel but also bars – one themed around a madcap inventor – restaurants, a four-screen cinema, fashion boutiques and Kindercity, a wonderfully imaginative, interactive installation for children. The hotel rooms are on the penthouse floor, with expansive valley views to south, and the home run to the north. Flims is linked to Laax and together they form one of Switzerland’s best and most underrated ski areas. Designed by Swedish design house Stylt Trampoli AB, who did such a fantastic job on the HUUS hotel in Gstaad, the look is industrial luxury, giving traditional Flims a welcome shot in the arm.
Book it: Seven nights B&B, from £1,825pp, including Swiss flights from London, transfers and full in-resort services. powderbyrne.com
Hotel Bellevue Terminus, Engleberg
Best For: Powder Weekenders
Siting right in the heart of town opposite the train station, the Bellevue Terminus more than lives up to its billing. While it presents outwardly as a classically grand, late nineteenth-century Swiss building,Built in the late 1800s, it is a classically grand Swiss building with sweeping valley views, the interior has been pared back to dramatic effect. The original staircase has been replaced with a modern timber stair and solid steel balustrade, while the walls in the main bar and lounge have been peeled away to expose the original wallpaper. The designers have subtly picked up the revealed palette of red, blue, gold and green and matched it in the comfy velvet sofas you gratefully sink into after a long day’s skiing. With a similar vibe to Soho House and the eat, ski repeat style of the Sibuet’s Terminal Neige hotels, it’s absolutely the right personality for Engleberg and its legendary ‘Big Five’ off-piste descents.
Book it: Doubles from £230. bellevue-terminus.ch
Chesa El Toula, St Moritz
Best for: Understated Engadine elegance
If St. Moritz is Switzerland’s most glamorous ski resort, then the Suvretta hill is its most exclusive suburb, with property values to match Belgravia. Chalets are hard to come by here, so the newly launched Chesa el Toula is a rare, and rarefied, find. Backdropped by woods, it has a cosy, private feel. Top marks go to the games room with full bar, big enough to host your own nightclub. Next to it is a home cinema with Roche Bobois daybeds to sprawl on. And who needs skiing when the spa comes with a steam room, jet current pool, indoor and outdoor hot tub and gym? Run by Leo Trippi, the rental includes comprehensive service but the fun is in the bespoke extras. Whether that’s three chefs for rolling 24-hour gourmandise, or flying in a baby grand piano at a day’s notice, nothing is too much trouble.
BOOK IT: Seven nights exclusive hire from £88,550 (12 guests). leotrippi.com
Chalet Sapphire, Morzine
Best For: Chalet spa lovers
Spiralling off a glorious sweeping central stair with a cascade of Bocci pendant lights, Morzine’s latest super-chalet is a haven from the snowstorm in modern rustic luxe. The double-height lounge has exposed timber beams and a supremely comfortable feel, while deep inky velvet chairs guard a huge Balinese teak dining table. Spa bunnies will have their snowy tails up here, with a Bamford Spa comprising glowing cobalt pool, hammam, ice/steam chambers, topped off with a Bamford trained therapist on call. Rooms are timber-clad, simple yet stylish, with statement porcelain pendants, chunky wool throws and textured Porcelanosa tiles and waterfall showers. Don’t miss the six-course Kaiseki experience, though you will need to dance off the fabulous house cocktails in the basement bar.
Book it: Seven nights chalet board from £23,500 (sleeps 12). thechaletedit.com
Chalet Floralie, St Martin de Belleville
Best For: Back door access in the Trois Vallées
Far away from the glitz and glamour of Courchevel and the boisterous Brits of Meribel, St Martin is not only the prettiest village in the Trois Vallées but also home to some of the best ski restaurants. Stay right in the heart of the village – and 50m from the base of the lift – at Floralie, a large and beautifully tasteful chalet by design entrepreneurs John Ayton and Annoushka Ducas, founders of Links London and Annoushka jewellery. The heart of the chalet is the enormous first-floor living room, where each corner is almost a separate living space in itself; along with the home cinema downstairs there’s acres of space to lounge ( and there’s a separate penthouse to rent, for groups larger than 14). In the bijoux spa a space-age giant hot tub glows in UV light, complete with sauna, enormous flat screen tv and chill out area. Perfect for secluded séjours in the trois vallées.
Book it: Seven nights from £17,150 (sleeps 14). skifloralie.com
Chalet Beluga, Avoriaz
Best for: Families and wine lovers
Until recently it was near-impossible to rent a catered chalet in futuristically fantastical Avoriaz, where self-catered and geometrically diverse apartment buildings sprout like extensions of the cliffs below, creating the most architecturally spectacular resort in the Alps. Enter VIP Ski with four new chalets, taking pride of piste just above the top of the Prodains Express. The chalet spreads out over six floors, which are topped by living space and the master suite, and tailed by indoor pool and spa (but don’t worry there is a lift). The VIP chefs specialise in healthy twists on mountain classics, amply washed down with a wine list curated by Xavier Rousset, once the world’s youngest sommelier. Aside from some excellent complimentary bottles, there’s a magnificent selection of bottles sold at cost price. Bottoms up!
Book it: 7 nights chalet board from £13690 (sleeps 10), inc flights and transfers. vip-chalets.com
The C&TH Guide to Aspen / The C&TH Guide to Whistler