EXPERT • November 2019
As the nights draw in and temperatures drop, excitement is growing about the winter season and the new developments on the slopes. And, as ski expert Gabriella Le Breton reveals, it’s shaping up to be a bumper crop with newbies including ultra-luxury hotels in Colorado, sustainable luxury in Zermatt and an urban ski pass for Innsbruck
A flurry of luxury hotels is poised to launch in the Alps this winter, and in France in particular. Pick of the French bunch are Le Mademoiselle in Val d'Isère and Les Chalets de Mont d'Arbois in Megève. The former, a grandiose ‘castle’ at the base of Val d’Isère’s pistes, comes complete with 41 medieval chic suites, bedrooms and apartments, two restaurants and a Guerlain spa. In Megève, the historic Chalets de Mont d’Arbois – three charming and secluded chalets (one pictured above) owned by the de Rothschild family – have emerged freshly renovated and under Four Seasons management. Set just by the pistes, they’re named after three of Baroness de Rothschild’s daughters – Eve, Noémie and Alice – and can be booked individually or by the room.
Swedish for ‘not too much, not too little, just right’ Lagom is also the name of a pioneering travel company launched by chalet experts, Bramble Ski. Operating a portfolio of self-catered properties in Zermatt, Lagom applies the philosophy of restraint to elements of your ski holiday from design and cuisine to laundry and toiletries. Clients make choices about the sustainability and cost of their holiday by determining details such as the frequency of housekeeping, bedlinen, towel changes and whether (organic) toiletries and catering are provided.
With 51 varied pistes spanning three distinct peaks, challenging off-piste as well as family-friendly slopes, terrain parks and pumping après-ski, Norway’s Hemsedal should be on every family’s ski hit list. And the new ski-in/ski-out Fýri Resort promises to make family holidays even better with a large spa, playroom, on-site rental shop and diverse restaurants and bars – including this gorgeous velvet-adorned lounge (pictured), perfect for nursing a glass of red.
Gone are the days when self-catered ski holidays meant roughing it. Plush self-catered properties are all the rage, combining the comforts of ultra-luxe chalet life with unfettered independence. The newest kid on the self-catered block is Petit Chamois in Méribel, a stylish apartment set on the pistes by the Rond Point. Ideal for families, it features four ensuite bedrooms and a bunk room, a large south-facing balcony and cinema room.
The ever glamourous Aspen welcomes the newest W hotel this winter: an 88-room property set in the heart of town at the base of Aspen mountain. Bringing a breath of hip, fresh air to Aspen’s well-established high society, the piste-side hotel is set to shake things up with edgy décor and apres-ski pool parties on the rooftop Wet Deck, fully tricked out with a heated pool, hot tub, bar, cabanas and, of course, inflatable flamingo drink holders to match the loungers.
Two more chalet newcomers are the contemporary Bella Rocca in Verbier, Switzerland, and spectacular Arula Chalets in Lech, Austria. The five-bedroom Bella Rocca is all about pared-back interiors with a high-spec entertainment system, and an impressive spa. The interconnecting Arula Chalets, set on the pistes above Lech, are among the best in the Alps. Sleeping up to 30 guests when taken together (or 21 and 8 when booked individually), it’s the winter pad that has it all – fire-warmed sitting areas; games rooms bursting with toys; an ice rink; a cinema with a bar and popcorn machine, and the picture-perfect interiors.
Swiss resort Laax is a pioneer in sustainable skiing holidays and its new ‘Greenstyle’ philosophy includes the use of hydroelectricity to power the mountain, biomass heating for hotels and restaurants, and solar-panelled lift stations. The piste-side rocksresort is a shining example of Laax's green credentials, having scooped its first ‘World’s Best Green Ski Hotel’ award in 2018. The strikingly modern resort features bedrooms, suites and two, three and four-bedroom apartments as well as restaurants, shops and bars. Housed in 11 cubist buildings, whose exteriors of rough-hewn local stone set the minimalist, natural design tone, they’re warmed by biomass heating and supplied with hydropowered renewable energy and drinking water.
A world first, the Innsbruck Ski Plus City Pass brings together a unique blend of skiing and culture, providing access to 13 local ski areas, 22 attractions in or near Innsbruck and select public transport routes. The ultimate pass for the traveller who wants a bit of everything, it opens up skiing and snowboarding, tobogganing, swimming, cycling, sightseeing and attractions including Swarovski Crystal World and the Imperial Palace.
To book your winter 2019 ski holiday with British Airways, click here