With ski season fast approaching, here’s our guide to Europe’s premier places to stay on the slopes – and the best Alpine dining destinations too By Jonathan Whiley
Six Senses has opened its first resort in Switzerland in the picturesque alpine destination, Crans-Montana. The luxury brand, renowned for its wellness and sustainability credentials, opened the doors to Crans-Montana in February in the heart of the Swiss Alps; two hours by rail or road from Geneva. It features two restaurants, a picturesque terrace, bar and a spa that focuses on uniquely adapted alpine therapies and treatments. There is also a swimming pool, gym and for those who ski, direct ski-in and ski-out access. Guest experiences include access to a ski concierge, paragliding, golf, gourmet snowshoe discovery trail and cheesemaking in a typical Swiss hamlet.
The name's Bond
Leading experiential travel company Black Tomato has launched a breathtaking James Bond ski odyssey in the Austrian mountains. Escape to the Ötztal Valley and ascend by snow groomer to the summit of Gaislachkogl for a private, behind-the-scenes tour of 007 Elements – a dramatic exhibition profiling the high-tech world of Bond. Enthusiasts even have the option to be accompanied by Bond special effects supervisor, Oscar-winning Chris Corbould OBE (who has worked on 15 007 films). Take in the view at the ice Q restaurant – which featured in Spectre – and for those looking for an off-piste adventure, you can take on three peaks in Sölden in one day with several spots that featured in Bond films over the decades from The Spy Who Loved Me and The World Is Not Enough.
Luxury chalet operator, Purple Ski, has unveiled a spectacular new chalet for the new ski season. Chalet Harmony, located in Méribel, sleeps up to 15 people in seven bedrooms across four storeys. Set in a prime position in the resort’s Duo du Pont area, it features an elegant master suite with its own floor, six en-suite bedrooms and a children’s bunk area. The chalet’s first floor is entirely dedicated to post-ski relaxation and entertainment with a cinema area, while a wellness area features a hot tub, sauna, steam room, fitness room and large indoor swimming pool. Further facilities include a billiards table and wine cellar while guests have access to a full team of staff, daily housekeeping, an in-chalet ski and boot fitting service and private chauffeured minibus. Available from December; from €41,995 per week.
Thrill seekers can enjoy a new four-night heli-ski experience on the pristine powder of Lech; the only ski resort in Austria where it’s permitted. The Fresh Tracks experience sees guests of The Arula Chalets receive exclusive ‘first up’ morning access to Schneetali and Mehlsack with the very best ski equipment from a partnership with DPS. Take advantage of special access and ski alongside Olympic gold medallist Franz Klammer or double freeriding world champion, Nadine Wallner. Kick back at the chalet with facilities that include an indoor pool, Finnish sauna, steam bath and infra-red cabin. From €10,750 per person.
A decade in the making, Étoile du Nord has opened in Val d’Isere and is being billed as “an architectural masterpiece”. London-based architecture firm, AndArchitects, and interior designer Nickie Dobree have collaborated on the project for the past 10 years to create two impressive contemporary adjoining chalets as part of Haute Montagne’s luxury collection. Reached via a private tunnel driveway, each sleeps up to 14 guests with seven bedrooms in the East Wing and six in the West Wing and luxurious facilities that include cosy cinemas, game rooms, indoor and outdoor swimming pools and a hammam. Guests can relax amid dramatic floor-to-ceiling windows and bespoke furnishings with private chefs, an in-chalet ski and boot delivery and 24/7 concierge service. From £97,575 per week.
3 alpine escapes for foodies
Courmayeur Mont Blanc
Next spring (exact date still to be announced) sees the third series of Peak of Taste; a series of more than 10 culinary events across the gastronomic resort in the Italian Alps. Enjoy Michelin-star dining, aperitif tasting at the highest peak in Europe and a showcase of local ingredients and newly opened restaurants.
Krone Säumerei am Inn
Awarded a Michelin star just three months after it launched last summer, this restaurant with 18 rooms is set in a property that dates back to 1565 in the charming Swiss town of La Punt Chamues-ch. At the helm is hotel manager and British head chef, James Baron, who offers an evening menu of four, six or eight courses with a matching wine list. New for this year is a champagne snow bar in the garden.
Grace La Margna St Moritz
The latest luxury hotel in legendary St Moritz opened this August and is perfectly located for cross-country and Alpine skiing with a ski shop and ski maintenance service on offer. There is a wealth of culinary options for guests; from a fireside chill-out zone at The Living Room, brasserie-style experience at The Stack, Mediterranean dishes at The View and upscale cocktails at The N°5 – The Bar.