Sport lovers rejoice! Ski season is finally upon us – and with last year dominated by stay-at-home orders, we’re more excited than ever to get back on the slopes. Ahead of your next trip, we’ve rounded up our favorite Alpine resorts for the best skiing, as well as the hotels you need to check in to while you’re there.
Spread across eight countries (Switzerland, France, Austria, Monaco, Italy, Liechtenstein, Germany and Slovenia), the Alps is the largest and highest mountain range in Europe. It’s no surprise that skiers from around the world flock to experience its powdery snow and challenging runs.
The region is made up of a vast number of Alpine skiing resorts, each of which has its own distinctive charm. From the designer boutiques of Courchevel to the expansive slopes of Arlberg, the Alps really do have it all.
Aman Le Mélézin, Courchevel, France
Aman needs little introduction; the ultra-exclusive worldwide hotel group is the go-to for discerning travelers. The group’s only French outpost can be found in the glitzy Alpine ski resort of Courchevel (previously known as Courchevel 1850), which sits within the Les Trois Vallées. Here, visitors can expect some of the best skiing in the world, with over 370 miles of slopes and pistes to suit all abilities from novice to intermediate.
What’s more, the entire Courcheval ski region is committed to using 100% renewable energy to power its infrastructure, including ski lifts, in order to help protect the future of the natural world. To make your skiing experience as smooth as possible, Le Mélézin offers a team of ski butlers to transport weighty kit; ski-in, ski-out facilities; a state-of-the-art ski room complete with heated racks; and tailor-made private lessons.
After a long day out on the slopes, enjoy a meal at Aman Le Mélézin’s lauded Nama restaurant, which focuses on local ingredients with an expertly executed Japanese twist, before heading back to your Alpine-inspired suite. Our favorite is the Suite Ski Piste with Hot Tub which, as you can imagine, comes complete with its own outdoor hot tub with mesmerizing views over the mountains.
Ultima Gstaad, Gstaad, Switzerland
It really doesn’t get much more exclusive than Ultima Collection. This winter, take a trip to Ultima Gstaad – the group’s five-star hotel in the Swiss village of Gstaad – for a luxurious Alpine retreat like no other. The hotel has been designed to blend the classic traits of Swiss architecture with contemporary touches; think cozy wooden cabin meets plush modern interior showroom.
Guests can choose between an indulgent suite, which sleeps up to two guests and comes complete with steam fireplaces, inviting bathtubs and views of the surrounding Alps, or a private residence for larger groups needing more space.
Naturally, the skiing opportunities are excellent when staying in the Gstaad resort, with over 100 miles of slopes spread across five main areas. Although mostly suited to more experienced skiers, with some seriously impressive descents to navigate, there are also many runs suitable for beginners.
There’s plenty to keep non-skiers occupied too, with Ultima Gstaad boasting a world-leading spa and wellness facility. Here, guests can enjoy laps in the pool and relax in the sauna, as well as a host of tailor-made treatments by medical professionals.
[See also: Ski Resort Look to Sustainable Future for Survival]
Hotel Zürserhof, Arlberg, Austria
As the largest skiing area in Austria, Arlberg is a hotspot among sports aficionados. The area is particularly well known for its amazing off-piste opportunities, but it also has plenty of managed runs for all abilities. And, thanks to its altitude, a fresh coating of powdery snow is pretty much guaranteed.
On your next trip to Arlberg, book a room at Hotel Zürserhof, found within the exclusive Zürs resort which is located in a prime spot to explore the surrounding interconnected ski area. The hotel itself is steeped in history, with a legacy that dates back to the 1920s. Now, the hotel is family-run and the warm and welcoming hospitality proves it. Each room is stylishly appointed and thoughtfully kitted, making for the perfect place to rest your head after a day in the snow.
Hotel Zürserhof boasts ski-in, ski-out facilities for straightforward access to the slopes. To simplify your daily expeditions further, the hotel’s comprehensive Ski Service offers equipment hire, kit maintenance and an integrated sports shop. The Alpine fun doesn’t stop at skiing and snowboarding. The Zürserhof concierge team is also happy to arrange natural ice-skating, snowshoe hiking, horse sled rides and more.
Carlton Hotel St. Moritz, St, Moritz, Switzerland
Regarded as the Alpine ski resort for the world’s elite, St Moritz is the destination to see and be seen – as well as enjoy world-class skiing, of course. The region boasts an impressive total of 87 pistes, all of which conform to World Cup standards. In a testament to the quality of skiing in the region, it has also played host to the Winter Olympic Games not once, but twice.
Sitting in the heart of the town, overlooking Lake St Moritz is the majestic Carlton Hotel St. Moritz. Accommodations here are suitably regal, with suites decked out with glittering chandeliers, carefully selected furnishings and jaw-dropping views guaranteed. For the best vistas, however, be sure to book the Carlton Penthouse Suite which has an impressive five balconies.
Naturally, outdoor activities are only half the story on a skiing vacation. For when you’re off the snow, Carlton Hotel St. Moritz offers a two-Michelin starred restaurant in the form of Da Vittorio, a number of bars (including an outdoor pop up) and a huge spa with panoramic views of the surrounding mountains.
As with its wider group, Carlton Hotel St. Moritz is also proudly carbon neutral. As well as reducing its overall emissions, the hotel has a comprehensive offsetting program in place, which supports a number of causes, including a project aiming to rewild the Alpine wetland in the Tourbières des Ponts-de-Martel nature reserve.
[See also: Luxury Alpine Ski Resorts Ready for Soaring Demand]
Hotel Mont-Blanc, Chamonix, France
Dating back to 1849, Hotel Mont-Blanc is one of the most iconic destinations in the French town of Chamonix. Situated at the foot of Mont Blanc – the highest mountain in Europe – the Alpine resort is an incredibly popular skiing spot, drawing vacationers from around the world. The two ski areas of Le Brévent and Aiguille du Midi are easily accessed from Chamonix, both of which offer some great slopes. Most famously is the off-piste Vallée Blanche route, which is a destination in itself for the bravest of skiers.
Back at the hotel, check in to one of the inviting suites, which blend Alpine style with modern luxury, each with its own unique charm. And, thanks to Hotel Mont-Blanc’s excellent location, many rooms also boast views across the mountain.
The hotel’s restaurant is equally inviting. Here, chef Mickey Bourdillat takes guests on a journey through the Alps, using local seasonal ingredients to showcase his take on the simple yet perfectly executed cuisine that has long dominated in this region.
Le Massif, Courmayeur, Italy
Over the border in Italy, vacationers can get another angle of the impressive Mont Blanc summit from the Le Massif hotel. Located in the heart of Courmayeur just steps away from the Plan Checrouit ski lifts, Le Massif puts guests in the heart of the action.
Rooms are decked out in the classic Alpine style, with warm wood paneling and cozy soft furnishings opening out onto floor-to-ceiling windows. In the expansive spa, the comprehensive treatment menu takes its cue from natural remedies for a more responsible approach to wellness, with guests also invited to indulge in the steam bath, sauna and whirlpool.
The hospitality continues out on the slopes, where guests can head to La Loge du Massif – the hotel’s high-altitude outpost. Set across three floors, the lodge offers a respite from high adrenaline skiing with a gourmet restaurant, a bar and a panoramic terrace for soaking up the uninterrupted Alpine views. La Loge du Massif is also home to the hotel’s skiing service and kid’s club.
[See also: Ski with World Champion Bode Miller in Antarctica]