Luxury ski holidays: sometimes it’s worth splashing out
Posted by - Richard Visick on Fri 3rd August 2012
Skiing can always be done on a budget but, unless you have to scrimp and save to do it, why not splash out on a little luxury? Much of the pleasure of a ski holiday comes from the fact that it's a little indulgent. Think comfortable chalets with gorgeous views of the slopes, meals in Michelin-starred restaurants and blissful spa treatments to soothe the muscles at the end of the day.
Many of the finest luxury ski resorts also have some the best skiing around, so you can be sure to combine a spot of pampering with some truly challenging pistes. Think of it like this; if you have the option of going to Barbados, you're not going to choose to go to Magaluf. Why not apply the same principle when choosing where to ski?
Switzerland is home to a number of well-known luxury ski resorts that are often favourites with the world’s jet set. St Moritz is one of the most famous resorts in the world, with its long history earning it the moniker the 'home of skiing'. Indeed, it was the first resort to offer winter sports holidays back in 1865 and since then has built up a reputation for seriously swanky hotels, five-star restaurants and top-class spas. It has its own polo club, while the world-famous Cresta Run still inspires a healthy dose of awe to this day. With 88 pistes of varying difficulty, there's also plenty here for experienced skiers to get their teeth into.
While St Moritz is all glitz and glamour, Klosters is equally as luxurious but with a more traditional, laid-back feel. A favourite with the Royal family, Klosters is a charming little Swiss village with much in the way of quality hotels and gourmet restaurants. It's also a gateway to the large Davos ski area; with 97 pistes, it has the sort of variety that seasoned skiers really appreciate.
Many of the more well-known resorts in the French Alps are large and purpose-built. The upshot of this is that, while there's no disputing their outstanding facilities, top-class skiing and smatterings of old-school style, the pervasive presence of concrete block buildings sometimes detracts from the upmarket feel of otherwise luxurious resorts.
One notable exception is Courchevel 1850, a fantastic resort with world-class hotels and access to the Three Valleys ski area - the largest in the world. There's plenty of glamour here, too, with top-quality chalets and hotels, plus a glitzy nightlife.
Americans tend to do everything on a bigger, better scale than Europeans, so you won’t find any shortage of luxury when you head over the pond. The mountains are bigger and higher too, with the snowfalls to match. Most famous of all the American resorts is Aspen- the New World St. Moritz. It has some beautiful Victorian buildings dating from the resort’s past life as a mining town, plus some impressive hotels that draw wealthy visitors each year from around the globe. Enjoy thousands of acres of top-quality skiing by day and a glamorous bar and restaurant scene by night.
These are just a few examples of where to ski if you're after supreme luxury this season. Remember, a ski holiday is supposed to err on the indulgent side so don't hold back; treat yourself and your family to a deluxe stay in the mountains this year.