There’s not much that could put us off our annual trip to the slopes. Last year’s staff outing to Breckenridge in Colorado has whetted the apetite of even our most relunctant downhillers. Here are a few of the chalets we’d like to test out this season.
1. Higuma Chalet, Niseko, Japan
When it comes to chic, Japan is always up-to-the-minute and the Higuma chalet in Niseko is no exception. Fully self-contained, this high-end property features a gourmet kitchen, games room with home theatre system, spacious living and dining areas, a cosy fireplace, vaulted ceilings and cathedral windows. Located on the beautiful northern island of Hokkaido, which is fast becoming Asia’s winter playground, the chalet overlooks a snowy silver birch forest in the National Park. The quaint village of Hirafu, with its upmarket restaurants and bars, is just a short walk away, but we see no reason to leave. After a day in the world-acclaimed powder of Niseko, what could be better than retiring to a deluxe retreat with all the latest mod cons to rest your feet?
Tel: +81 136 21 2226
2. Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch, Beaver Creek, Colorado
The grandiose Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch offers an unsurpassed ski-in ski-out experience, with sumptuous guest rooms and suites offering breathtaking panoramic views of The Rockies and surrounding national forest. With the Bachelor Gulch Express chairlift just a few steps away from the mountainside terrace of the resort, access to 1,625 acres of powder-white terrain on Beaver Creek Mountain couldn’t be easier. The resort’s ski concierge will store your skis and boots slope-side and will assist you with the latest ski conditions, the snow report and a helpful hand in decking you out so you can hit the slopes in style.
The Bachelor Gulch Ski Package: any time between 8 and 31 January,
six nights accommodations with two five-day adult lift tickets from US$575 per night. Tel: +1 800 241 3333, www.ritzcarlton.com
Hotel Madlein, Ischgl
From the outside, the Hotel Madlein looks deceptively like a traditional ski chalet, but step inside its Zen-like interior and it couldn’t be more chic: a light and airy space with simple clean lines, voguish furnishings and designer loft-style bedrooms featuring contemporary, original art. Along with a gym, sauna and spa, you can take a dip in the indoor pool and relax on a sun lounger admiring the spectacular view through the floor-to-ceiling windows. Relax in the tranquil Zen Garden or the Fire Room, a meditative area set around an ultra-modern open fireplace, or dance the night away in the famed Pacha nightclub. The fashionable Alpine village of Ischgl offers some of Austria’s best skiing, which you will be chauffeured to and from in a Hummer stretch limousine.
Tel: +43 54444 5226
4. Concept One, Chamonix
Situated in the beautiful valley of Chamonix in France, Concept One is as unique as its name suggests. With room for ten to 12 people, the chalet is stylish and comfortable, combining glamour with escapism. A cascading icicle-style chandelier hangs in the open-plan living area, and the peaceful mood is captured through the calm white interior, deep sofas, glittering lighting, floaty
curtains and splashes of candy colour in each individually designed room. The dedicated sauna and spa room allows you to enjoy a range of relaxing massages and body treatments, while the outdoor hot tub with its spectacular views of Mont Blanc provides a tranquil spot to unwind after a day on the slopes. During your stay, six full-time staff, including a gourmet chef and two chauffeurs, will ensure your every need is catered for while you soak in the Alpine atmosphere.
Tel: +44 1865 390 807
5. Chesa Albertini, St. Moritz
Built on the bank of the River Inns in 1655, Chesa Albertini lacks for nothing when it comes to luxury. Set over 1,000 square metres, this magnificent nine-bedroom house is situated in the enchanting hamlet of La Punt, not far from the buzz of St Moritz. While many of its original features, such as wood panelling and 17th century frescoes remain, the entire house has been renovated over the past five years, adding a vast array of lavish details, including Philippe Starck bathrooms fittings. Sleeping up to 16 guests, it’s arguably more mansion than chalet, and offers a fully-equipped gym, Jacuzzi, plunge pool, sauna and gourmet meals prepared by your very own chef. After a day of husky-led sleighing, skiing or hot air ballooning, this is one the most idyllic places in the Alps to come home to.
Tel: +44 207 384 3854
6. Chalet Davos, Val d’Isère
Set in the secluded hamlet of Le Crêt, Chalet Davos is one of the first and most charismatic ski lodges of Val d’Isère. The interior combines the ambience of an old stone village and traditional Alpine décor with chic design and absolute comfort. From the smooth stone fireplaces to the weathered oak floors and seasoned timbers, the veneer of cool continues through to designer bathrooms, original art and DVD plasma screens with cinema surround sound. Hand-made squashy sofas and goose-down duvets provide comfort, along with a glorious sun-drenched terrace and an outdoor sunken hot tub to soothe those aching muscles. If you become too relaxed to walk anywhere, a chauffeured 4×4 will deliver you to the village centre and pistes throughout the day.
Tel: +44 8701 123 119
7. Marqués de Riscal, Rioja
A left-field suggestion, but not too much of a stretch when you realise you’ll be basing yourself in the heart of Rioja country. The excellent Marqués de Riscal hotel, designed by Frank Gehry, is the perfect base for a week of food, snow and wine (read our review here
) and is just an hour and 20-minute drive to the slopes of the ski resort of Estacion Valdezcaray – a rather intimate affair and very low key, but the skiing is great for a few days thanks to 22km of runs. And the best thing of all? After a tiring morning on the slopes, head downhill to the town of Ezcaray to Echaurran for a meal cooked by the Michelin starred chef Francis Paniegos.
Valdezcaray ski resort