Ski holidays are not just about whizzing down the slopes. A true winter sports experience surely must be about indulging yourself in the wonderful surroundings of a luxury chalet nestled in the snow. After a long day out on the ski pistes, you need some comfort and style to sooth those aches and pains, satisfy the huge loss of calories and simply relax somewhere that could be a setting for a James Bond movie. Here we take a look at some of the very best chalets in the Alps, places where you might very well forget about the skiing altogether and just stay indoors all day long.
Newly opened in Zermatt’s only ski-in ski-out district of Winkelmatten, Chalet White Pearl, from Zermatt Ski Chalets portfolio, is nestled in the ‘Beverly Hills’ part of the town, with its glitzy restaurants, bars and shops. Indulge in the chalets indoor swimming pool – the only stand alone luxury chalet in Zermatt to have one, and soothe away the days aches and strains in its Hammam, Sauna, massage room and outdoor hot-tub. Then while away the evening in its cinema room, games area and bar.
The Lodge in Verbier is a lavish log chalet built for Sir Richard Branson, decked out with reclaimed timber, natural fabrics, and tonnes of space. Sir Richard’s master bedroom has a central fireplace and a magnificent open-plan bathroom, complete with rubber ducks. An enormous basement party room has a daybed big enough for ten. The main lift is a two-minute chauffeured drive away and you can ski back to the door. If you don’t fancy skiing then you can skate on the private ice rink, or swim in the pool.
Chalet Le Chardon is one of the most desirable ski chalets in Val d’Isere. Set in discreet private grounds with ski in and ski out access to the beautiful Espace Killy terrain. Its scale is magnificent, with ten individually designed en-suite bedrooms. After a hard days skiing, unwind in one of the two outdoor private hot tubs, or stretch out in the 18ft swimming pool. This season the chalet also has a new wellness area with two private treatment rooms, relaxation area, sauna and gym.
The quirky hexagonal design of Chalet Artemis in St Anton makes it one of the best examples of contemporary chalets in the Alps, and a world away from Heidi and ‘The Sound of Music.’ Spread out over four floors with unique shaped rooms and six very individual bedrooms, there is also a private treatment room and a home cinema with retro velvet seats. But the highlights are the spa facilities with an 8 meter jet stream pool, sauna and ice cold waterfall shower for after working up a sweat in the steam room.
A chalet of this magnitude, with exquisite designer style and such an array of facilities is rarely found in the Mont Blanc region. Des Drus features uniquely designed bathrooms, spa with indoor pool, and a large sitting room with freestanding fireplace, no expense has been spared. Des Drus enjoys an exclusive and private location between the villages of Argentière and central Chamonix and has 360 degrees view of the Mont Blanc massif, Le Brevent, the Aguille Vert and Les Drus, so you feel they are literally on your doorstep.
And one for luck…!
Rêves de Montagne, near Samoëns (we had to add this extra one as it’s brand new!)
Rêves de Montagne (mountain dreams) will welcome its first guests in December 2012 after a careful restoration period that lasted over two years. British couple Karen and Andy Wilson fell in love with this ancient Savoyard farmhouse that dates back to 1746 and through sympathetic and stylish renovation they have created a truly special retreat. The chalet sleeps up to 14 guests and caters for individuals and couples as well as families with its two family suites with separate bedrooms and family bathroom. The chalet also has an enormous hot tub just off the 82m² living area.