It’s the season to go skiing and whilst the UK might have shunned Europe with their Brexit vote, the good people in the European ski resorts still welcome Brits with open arms. Every year my family and I always seem to argue about the best way to enjoy our winter holiday. Like the Brexit vote, we all pull in different directions and have to convince the rest of us why our choice is the best. This year, I wanted to share our shortlist; all are intriguing, enticing and very luxurious.
The Luxury Lodge: The Mistral, Val d’Isere
Le Chardon Mountain Lodges has a fantastic reputation for its high-end accommodation in unrivalled locations. The lodges boast a full complement of friendly and professional staff, on hand to assist you, whether you are after 5-Star dining or a massage to soothe those aching muscles. Their Chalets cater for groups of 10-20 people and can arrange everything from chauffeurs to travel insurance. As you might expect, this has the majority vote so far and we have our eye on the Mistral Lodge, but due to their popularity, they do get booked up quickly.
If you are looking for ski chalets in Val d’Isere however, this should be your first port of call.
As a family-run business with a ski racing heritage, this season Le Chardon are giving back to the sport by sponsoring an aspiring young skiing athlete Zak Vinter, to get one step closer to his goal of competing in the Junior World Alpine Ski Championships in Sweden in the 2018 Winter Olympics.
As a resort, Val d’Isere is possibly one of the most well-known on the planet. With a ski area that includes over 300km of pistes and 94 lifts, there is something for every level of skier. Sadly, its popularity means it comes with a hefty price tag, but when you consider the slopes, snow reliability, restaurants, nightlife and array of lodgings it’s easy to understand the cost.
The Luxury Hotel: The Chedi Andermatt, Switzerland
Andermatt is a lesser known ski resort, but has a fantastic reputation for snowfall. The centre enjoys a picturesque traditional village alongside a brand new sister village. This new interest has meant the development of new runs, lifts and a handful of impressive luxury hotels. Which brings me to my first choice; The Chedi Andermatt. Recently refurbished after joining the GHM family of hotels, this 123 suite hotel fuses Swiss and Asian design and enjoys captivating views of the Swiss Alps, Andermatt Village, and the Schöllenen Gorge. With an on-site spa boasting hydrothermal baths, multiple pools and an array of cozy lounges and restaurants to enjoy, the Chedi Andermatt is a fantastic choice for a fully serviced stay in the Swiss Alps.
The Luxury Home: Chalet: Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy
Over the past couple of years, we have used Airbnb more and more to find authentic experiences in locations all over the world. If you willing to take the plunge, you can discover homes that are truly amazing, whether it is safari tents in the Costa Rican rainforest or expansive chalets in the Dolomites. ‘Cortina’ as it is generally called, is one such place, that has to be seen to be believed. This ancient 1000-year-old town has been the location of many films, such as ‘For Your Eyes Only’, ‘The Pink Panther’ and ‘Cliffhanger’. Snowfall is consistent and there are little or no queues for many of the runs. The night life is fantastic and after skiing, shopping seems to be a national sport. Having hosted the 1956 Olympic Winter Games, the area has some of the best runs in the world and the backdrop is simply breath-taking. The ringed mountains that surround this attractive town will have you spellbound. Our choice in Cortina is a stunning 10 guest home with pool, jacuzzi, cinema room and five spacious bedrooms in the heart of the town, the finish is top-notch and the photos scream ‘alpine cowboy’. At only $568 it is ridiculously cheap for the opulence it offers.
So, if this vote went to the digital public, which way would you swing, the serviced lodge, the luxury hotel or authentic local experience. I would be intrigued to hear your thoughts.