Style News

The Travel File: Luxe Ski Destinations

The Travel File: Luxe Ski Destinations

There’s nothing quite like ascending a snow-peaked mountain in order to get away from it all. Skiing has to be the ultimate form of escapism – travelling at speed down the slopes, drinking in the snow-peaked vistas and fresh alpine air. There is nothing quite like the muffled magic of tree glades in the falling slow, of a steaming vin chaud or demi peche after a challenging run. After a heavy day of skiing, snowboarding, skidoo-ing or ice climbing, having somewhere indulgent to stay is a must. It is then that we feel the draw of luxury travel – charming ski villages, snow meadows and fine gastronomy all beckon from Europe and America’s finest resorts. As thrilling as they are indulgent, the world’s most luxurious destinations cater to all skiing-types, whether you dare to hunt the untouched powder of the highest peaks or prefer the glamour of a champagne-soaked apres-ski. Luxury at altitude.

ASPEN, USA

Aspen, Colorado, attracts some of the most celebrated and wealthy skiers on earth. An idyllic Rocky Mountain setting and world-class hotels make this luxury resort the ultimate A-list experience. Favoured by Hollywood’s finest since the ‘50s and originally a silver-mining town, Aspen’s history combines glamour with rusticity. Enjoy warming, old-school American hospitality in the quaint town centre, paved with heated sidewalks, and soak up the old-world glamour of the St. Regis Hotel. Servicing four of America’s most diverse and uncrowded skiing areas, take advantage of their First Tracks experience and head up Aspen Mountain to ski fresh powder before anyone else that day. Stop by The Oasis, the world’s first ski-in, ski-out champagne bar, and lunch at Cloud Nine Alpine Bistro, where raclette is melted at the table and the wine flows free. A surplus of fabulous restaurants awaits you in Aspen: Nobu, Matsuhisa, L’Hostaria and Element 47. For the ultimate exclusive experience, temporarily join the private Caribou Club and enjoy their tailored service and impeccable amenities.

MEGÈVE, France

Just the name, Megève, conjures images of aristocratic chic and opulent excess. A glamorous myth surrounds the cobbled town, much as the snow tops the pointed rooves and mountains that encircle it. Once a small farming village, in 1914 the Baroness Noémie de Rothschild set about transforming Megève into a decadent holiday destination – the French answer to Switzerland’s St Moritz. The atmosphere and aesthetic of Megève feels authentic, thanks in part to its richly steeped history. A traditional town centre, immaculate slopes, Michelin starred restaurants and a thriving spa culture (try the iconic les Fermes de Marie for an outdoor Japanese Ofuro bath and Himalayan Rose facial) combine to create a chicly relaxed vibe. Lunch with a view at the ski-in, ski-out L'Alpette, ski past formidable rocky landscapes and through fairytale wooded glades. The slopes are gentle above the town, perfect for effortless skiing, whilst those looking to venture further have easy access to Chamonix, Courmayeur, Verbier and Les Contamines.

NORDIC STYLE

LECH ZÜRS, Austria

Royal blood isn’t mandatory here, but Lech Zürs is visited year after year by monarchs and movie stars alike. Exclusive and intimate, Lech is small but perfectly formed, and neighbouring Zürs is similarly well appointed – mountain refuges that are less ostentatious than some of their rival European resorts, but perhaps even more classy. Princess Caroline of Monaco and Queen Beatrix of The Netherlands ski here, and the manicured slopes tend to be quiet, offering their high-profile skiers some anonymity and making for wonderful, uninterrupted skiing. Everyone else is too busy knocking back Krug on the terrace of the Hotel Montana bar, or sampling the tasting menus at the award-winning restaurants on the mountainside. Apres-ski is about fine food, service and people watching. With Lech Zürs you’re essentially getting two of the world’s most exclusive resorts in one, with over 100 five and four star hotels between them and some of the most luxurious ski chalets on earth.

ST MORITZ, Switzerland

The birthplace of the winter holiday and the original luxury skiing destination in Europe, St Moritz is as idyllic as it is luxurious. In its heyday, the Swiss resort attracted the likes of Charlie Chaplin, Brigitte Bardot and Greta Garbo, and continues to attract a wealthy and illustrious clientele. Ones that are serious about winter sports. Built at the foot of the mountain and sitting prettily on the banks of a frozen lake, it was home to the first ever Winter Olympic Games and continues to host the Snow Polo World Cup. Stay at Badrutt’s Palace, opened in 1896 and famed for its outrageous parties, exclusive spa and elegant interiors. Blessed with an average of 300 days of sunshine a year and with 350km of pistes, stylish skiiers flock here for the combination of glitz and the best all-round winter sports in the world. Sip champagne at Alpina Hütte, night-time ski on Switzerland’s longest illuminated slope, and shop on Via Serlas, a stylish boulevard of fashion’s most beloved boutiques.

ALPINE CHIC