1. Hotel W Verbier, Switzerland
The Lowdown: Jetsetters will be queuing to book the W brand’s first alpine hotel, which opens this month in Verbier, bringing with it a touch St Tropez to the Alps. Ideally situated at the foot of the slopes beside the Médran gondola, the hotel consists of four wooden chalet-style buildings, each connected by a glass atrium. Inside, the décor is cutting edge New York urban cool combined with traditional Swiss design – seating areas are carved out of solid wood blocks; lamps hang from climbing ropes; the walls are clad in local stone; upholstery and soft furnishings are covered in leather, nylon, fur and lycra. Cosy fireplaces are dotted throughout the public spaces and are also a key feature the bedrooms and suites. You’ll be able to indulge in delicious Swiss classic dishes with a modern twist in Arola, or tuck into tapas in Eat-Hola, as well as party into the small hours in Carve, the hotel’s bar, which is set to be the place to see and be seen in Verbier.
The Details: Rooms start from CHF500 per night.
To book, call 00800 325 25252 or visit www.wverbier.com
2. Hotel The Chedi Andermatt, Switzerland
The Lowdown: Andermatt is a village in central Switzerland with charming chalets and breathtaking views, but its glamorous past as a bolthole for royalty and aristocracy in the 1920s and 30s faded as other Swiss resorts shot to fame. This is all about to change with the arrival of Andermatt Swiss Alps, which is being built alongside the existing village - luxury chalets and apartments, five-star hotels, amazing leisure facilities, and new cable cars and ski lifts will restore Andermatt to its former glory. The new resort’s first hotel to open is The Chedi – think Alpine chic with Asian nuances, superb interiors, large fireplaces, wood panelling, terraces that allow the indoor and outdoor spaces to blend seamlessly, and a state of the art spa/gym/pool. The food, too, has an Asian twist, with one of the restaurants serving Japanese delicacies – we rather fancy tempura and sushi post a day on the slopes! The best bit - ski butlers are on hand to make all your arrangements.
The Details: Rooms start from CHF650 per night.
To book, call +41 41 888 74 88 or visit www.thechedi-andermatt.com
3. Hotel Le Grand Bellevue, Gstaad, Switzerland
The Lowdown: People don’t really go to Gstaad for its skiing but for its glittery social scene - Liz Taylor, Roger Moore, Valentino, Tamara Mellon, Elle Macpherson, the Spanish royals are just a few names that have graced this über smart Bernese resort. However, the skiing is plentiful and a handful of trendier hotels are popping up which are attracting a younger crowd. Le Grand Bellevue, situated in the heart of the village, was originally built in 1912 as a cure house and spa; its new owners have spent a year renovating this historic building to give it a fresh look with a bit of a buzz, and have created what is set to become a hotspot for a new generation of Gstaad aficionados. The décor is very country house hotel, mixed with splashes of eclectic design and bold colours. Follow your day’s skiing with a visit to the spa, a cocktail in the art deco bar, followed by dinner in the hotel’s signature restaurant, Leonard’s.
The Details: Rooms start from £265 (in summer) and £423 (in winter) per night half-board.
To book, call +41 33 748 00 00 or visit www.bellevue-gstaad.ch
4. Hotel L’Apogée, Courchevel 1850, France
The Lowdown: The latest Oetker Collection hotel (as in Le Bristol Paris, Hotel du Cap Eden Roc et al) opens this month in Courchevel’s Jardin Alpin. L’Apogée promises to be super chic and elegant, yet warm, cosy and welcoming after a hard day’s swishing down the slopes. There are 55 rooms and suites – décor is pine, wool, suede and velvet in shades of burgundy, green, blue and ginghams. The show stopper, a four-bedroom penthouse covering the entire top floor (with butler, natch). The main restaurant, le Comptoir de L’Apogée, is a great place to meet and eat at any time of the day, or try a hot dog with Périgord truffle or a club sandwich with foie gras in Le Champagne Lounge (think private club) at lunchtime. Be sure to book in to the fab Sisley spa for the best facials and body massages imaginable; you’ll also find a steam room, sauna, salt cave, gym and a large mosaic pool – what more could you want on a white-out day? In the evenings, head to the bar for a trendy vibe created by resident and guest DJs until the small hours.
The Details: Rooms start from €900 per night half-board. For more information, visit www.lapogeecourchevel.com Seven night stay on half-board starts from £3,305 per person, including flights and private transfers.
To book, call 020 8682 5050 or visit www.scottdunn.com
5. Hotel Koh-I-Nor, Val Thorens, France
The Lowdown: You will feel on top of the world in this spectacularly located hotel on the summit of Val Thorens in the Trois Vallées ski area. At an altitude of 2,364m, the Koh-I-Nor (named after one of the largest diamonds ever found and meaning ‘Mountain of Light’ in Persian) is set to be the highest five-star hotel in Europe. The décor is warm, with a blend of soft lighting and vibrant colours. Natural light pours in through the large windows throughout the hotel, including the vast spa which features glass walls – here you will find two swimming pools, a fitness room, sauna, steam bath, salt wall and ice fountain. The south-west facing terrace is the perfect après ski spot for catching a few rays, with a cocktail in hand. In the evenings, head to one of the two restaurants headed up by Chef Yoann Conte, famed for his two Michelin stars at his restaurant near Annecy.
The Details: Rooms start form €340 per night half-board. For more information, visit www.hotel-kohinor.com Seven-night stay on half-board starts from £1,417 per person based on two sharing, including return flights and private transfers. To book, call 020 8682 5050 or visit www.hotel-kohlinor.com
6. Hotel Kristiania, Lech, Austria
The Lowdown: Tucked away in the heart of Austria’s Arlberg region is Lech, one of the prettiest resorts in the Alps. The Kristiania is by no means new – as the other hotels reviewed here – but it is still very contemporary with an incredible art collection. Its utter charm lies in the fact that it feels more like a private residence than a hotel, with impeccable yet quirky service – a boot butler to take care of your skis and warm your boots, a bath butler to ease those aching limbs and a reading butler who will come up with just the right novel for you. This winter, the hotel has come up with a range of new packages. If you fancy combining the benefits of alpine air, exercise and healthy living, opt for the detox package, which includes tailor-made fitness routines, detoxing healthy cuisine, meditation and ski guiding. To be honest, we’d rather plump for the girls only package – this includes uber luxe accommodation in a penthouse suite, spa treatments, a pre-skiing shopping trip in Lech’s smart boutiques, a cocktail making class, daily private ski tutorials, workouts and a snow shoeing adventure.
The Details: The detox package takes place from 16 to 23 March 2014. Single occupancy starts from €1,910 per room for seven nights, including all activities. The girls’ getaway packages are available between 19 January and 9 February, and 16 and 30 March 2014. Seven-nights in the Dshingis Kan suite costs from €1,800 per night per suite based on six sharing.
To book, call +43 55 83 25610 or visit www.kristiania.at
7. Hotel El Lodge, Sierra Nevada, Spain
The Lowdown: If you are after some glitz mixed with a tinge of Spanish fiesta spirit, then this lovely hotel (sister to the Marbella Club Hotel) in Andalusia is for you. OK, the skiing isn’t Verbier or Val d’Isère, but what you get is the promise of good weather from March onwards (you can ski in a t-shirt and shorts) and you can combine your ski holiday with a few days of beach and spa in Marbella, which is just two hours down the road – how perfect is that? El Lodge is very cosy and is the only luxe ski in/ski out property in the Sierra Nevada, Europe’s most southerly ski resort. With just 20 rooms, it has the feel of a private, homely chalet and is ideal if you want to go away with a large group. As you would expect, the service is impeccable, with ski rental in-house, boot warming, outdoor slippers (to enjoy the hotel’s terrace and al fresco restaurant), a spa and a heated outdoor pool. El Lodge is also the perfect place for little ones, with a kids’ club and ski classes.
The Details: Rooms start from €300 per night. The Ski & Sun Package consists of two nights at El Lodge, followed by two nights at the Marbella Club and costs from €455 per night including breakfast and transfers.
To book, call +34 95 282 2211 or visit www.ellodge.com
8. Chalet Le Grand Joux, Graydon, France
The Lowdown: This fab new alpine lodge in the secluded mountain hamlet of Graydon, in the heart of the Portes du Soleil ski area, is accessed only via private snowmobile or helicopter during the winter months. The original auberge has undergone a massive renovation and the chalet now has five en-suite bedrooms, a spa, indoor swimming pool, steam room and outdoor wood burning hot tub. The interiors are a mix of alpine rustic charm with vintage luxury - New England armchairs and leather sofas, sheepskin rugs and faux fur throws. A dedicated team is on hand to attend to your every need - lodge manager, concierge, professionally trained chef, ski planner and guide, and spa therapist.
The Details: Sleeps 10 – one week from £29,400 and the price includes accommodation, breakfast, afternoon tea, pre-dinner champagne and canapés and dinner on seven nights, house wines, open bar, airport transfers by road, resort transfers via skidoos, in-house ski expert, ski pass and ski/board hire.
To book, call 01202 313693 or visit www.ultimateluxurychalets.com
9. Chalet Le Petit Palais, Courchevel 1850, France
The Lowdown: Advance warning, this place is crazily expensive! But, if you have won the lottery, or own a football club, and after the ultimate in comfort, style and service, then read on. The brand new Le Petit Palais is situated on the slopes of the Bellecote piste in Courchevel 1850. It’s built over six floors, all served by lifts as well as stairs. On the top floor, you can laze in the large lounge, which has a central wood burning stove; there is also a separate TV lounge and a library, a large dining area and bar. The master suite takes up the whole of the floor below, and then there are a further six bedrooms on the other floors. You’ll also have a state-of-the-art cinema and nightclub, fully equipped with a professional DJ kit, sound system and a lit dance floor. There is also an incredible spa and fitness floor with swimming pool, a large jacuzzi with loungers for relaxing, a hammam and shower area. And if one chalet isn’t enough for you, and you want to party with up to 30 friends, then book sister chalet Le Petit Château too, which is connected via an underground passage.
The Details: Sleeps 14 - one week from £160,000 and the price includes accommodation, a team of staff including a chef and butler, dinner prepared on six evenings and a chauffeur in resort.
To book, call 01985 850111 or visit www.summitretreats.com
10. Chalet La Marquise, Sainte Foy, France
The Lowdown: Little-known Sainte Foy may not be for the Prada-clad skier looking for glitzy shops, Michelin-starred restaurants and a buzzing nightlife. But for the serious skier, it’s a great resort as it is located close to some of the massive resorts like Val d’Isère, Tignes and Les Arcs, all less than 30 minutes’ drive away, as well as having some lovely uncrowded slopes in the resort itself. La Marquise is a stunning chalet, which accommodates a big group of 16, or rooms can be booked individually. It features fab designer pieces like white leather sofas, hanging seats out on the balcony and a dramatic suspended fireplace in the centre of the living area. It also has a fully equipped Elemis wellness centre including sauna, hammam, massage and treatment room, and a balcony hot tub with knock-out views.
The Details: Sleeps 16 – one week from £905 per person fully catered.
To book, call 0131 510 2525 or visit www.premiere-neige.com
11. Villa Gella, Bulgaria
The Lowdown: For something a little different, head to Pamporovo, Bulgaria’s premier ski resort, where dozens of kilometres of downhill and cross-country tracks attract both beginners and intermediate skiers and snowboarders. Villa Gella is a stunning, new contemporary villa perched high up in the Rhodope Mountains and brings luxury chic to Bulgaria. With six double bedrooms, each with its own en suite bathroom, fireplace and fabulous views of the mountains, this spacious house also has an indoor pool, large sitting room and outdoor terrace area. The villa is fully serviced with an in-villa manager and chef. This is the perfect decadent accommodation for those looking for glamour and fantastic value, and the ideal resort to experience a real winter wonderland with husky rides through the snowy mountains.
The Details: Sleeps 12 - one week costs £7,200 half-board. Rooms can also be booked separately from £90 per person per night.
To book, call 07780 009266 or visit www.villagella.com
12. Chalet R, Courchevel 1550, France
The Lowdown: Courchevel 1550 is a quiet village, with somewhat cheaper accommodation and restaurants than its higher neighbours, and is ideal for a family holiday. The best thing is that it is only a gondola away from 1850 and from there you have access to the rest of the Trois Vallées runs. But be warned, it is a long way by road to the trendier resorts, if you are looking for some serious nightlife. Chalet R, which is tucked away at the end of a private road, is a great find. It sleeps 12 and features a beautiful cathedral-glass sitting room with stunning views over the valley. Two chalet hosts will be on hand to arrange transfers, ski lessons, passes, nannies, massages, anything you may need basically, and they will also cook superb food in the evenings. You’ll be able to relax those weary limbs in the chalet’s own private spa area, with a jacuzzi and sauna.
The Details: Sleeps 12 – one week from £599 per person based on 12 sharing, including catered accommodation and free flowing wine.
To book, call 020 8877 8888, or visit www.powderwhite.com
December 2013 / Jeannette Arnold