Head to the Alps this winter for an unparalleled skiing experience of freshly powdered slopes, spectacular scenery, Michelin-starred dining and luxury ski chalets. Complement some of the world’s best skiing pistes with indulgent spa experiences, designer shopping opportunities and chic après ski options. Discerning travellers have been gathering in the exclusive resorts of Europe for decades, anticipating an exhilarating experience on the top of the world. We’ve hand-selected five of our favourite luxury ski resorts to ensure you’re in the right place this winter.
Chamonix is a world famous ski destination thanks to its location at the foot of Mont Blanc. The resort offers five distinct ski areas for all abilities. The town attracts non-skiers too, since its attractions are numerous. In fact, the ice-rink, helicopter rides, husky sledding, a climbing wall, a casino, bowling and excellent shopping opportunities should keep even the most discerning of jetsetters entertained. The sheer number of activities makes it wonderful for a family holiday. However, advanced skiers will enjoy the challenging pistes and off-piste terrain, which includes the famous Vallée Blanche.
The recently built Chalet des Drus offers the ultimate in luxury – just ask any of the A-listers or business oligarchs who have stayed here. Its opulent decor includes a cowhide-covered bath and a dining table made out of slate on iron legs, which was originally intended for the Eiffel Tower. This luxury chalet rental is anything but run-of-the-mill: from its magnificent mountain views and lavish decor to its private staff and delightful annexe with its own private gym, Chalet des Drus is Chamonix’s finest luxury chalet.
4) Val d’Isere
Val d’Isere owes its popularity to having some of the world’s best skiing and a lively après ski scene. The Espace Killy towers over 3,500m and has 300km of runs. The pistes cater for all levels of skiers, from beginners to those who prefer off-piste terrain. Best of all, Val d’Isere has the largest artificial snowmaking plant in Europe, which means you can guarantee snow. The charming resort extends from a 17th-century church and the main street, which is home to fantastic shopping options.
This luxury destination has an abundance of exclusive ski chalets, including the truly unique Chalet Husky, which merges ultra-modern style with high-tech gadgetry. The Alice in Wonderland style interiors will provide a good talking point while guests enjoy drinks in the chalet’s private bar, or while enjoying the stunning glass-façaded swimming pool. A glass footbridge overlooks an internal garden and the whole property is decorated in an eclectic style with original objet d’arts. There is even an indoor climbing wall for active guests.
The Swiss resort of Zermatt is a wonderfully elegant destination for a skiing holiday. It has plenty of fine restaurants and après options spread across its three mountains. It’s home to 153 miles of runs, including Monte Rosa’s Marinelli Couloir – the longest ski corridor in Europe, which is also known as the “Himalayan face of the Alps”. Zermatt is also perfect for late season skiing because 85% of the resort’s ski area is above 2,000m.
There are a number of beautiful luxury chalet rentals from which you can soak up the winter sun and take in views of the iconic Matterhorn from a balcony or terrace. Chalet Les Anges is an opulent choice for large groups as its sumptuous rooms can accommodate up to 14 guests. The renowned designer Magali de Tscharner created the chalet’s 700m2 interior, which blends ultra-modern chic with natural simplicity. The top floor lounge has a grand piano, floor-to-ceiling windows and a roaring fire, and there are four staff and a world-class chef to tend to your every requirement.
Located in the heart of the Three Valleys ski area, Meribel offers something for skiers of all abilities. The world’s largest piste system has 600km of ski runs, snow cannons and an expansive lift system. Meribel’s picturesque architecture, scenic forest surroundings and friendly atmosphere make it the resort of choice for many selective skiers.
The luxurious Chalet Lapin Blanc, situated at the bottom of the Georges Mauduit piste, is a delight for its magnificent views alone. Although it’s sprawling interior will undoubtedly win you over with its contemporary chic furnishings, spread across four floors. Up to 14 guests will love the chalet’s classic style and architecture, which is crafted from high-quality local wood and stone with the utmost care.
1) Courchevel 1850
Courchevel, and particularly Courchevel 1850, is home to many of the world’s most spectacular opulent ski chalets. Celebrities and royalty are attracted to the immaculate pistes, beautiful scenery and the luxury shopping options, while the expansive lift network offers access to the enormous Three Valleys ski area. Unsurprisingly, the quality of service and amenities in this resort is outstanding and there is an array of boutiques, spas and nightspots in which to unwind.
Courchevel’s accommodation is suitably lavish; luxury ski in/ski out chalets are becoming the norm rather than the exception. Chalet Muztagh is ideally located on the slopes of Courchevel 1850 and offers the perfect choice for those wanting a ski in/ski out option without compromising on comfort. The elegant 635m2 private retreat is managed by the exclusive K2 hotel but provides guests with their own butler and private chef. The mountain views from the wraparound balcony are awe-inspiring. There are plenty of entertainment options for guests with a cinema room, baby grand piano, and a relaxing pool and spa area.