The definition of a luxury ski chalet – don’t accept any less

In today’s digital day and age, one couldn’t dream of defining ‘luxury’ without referring to the great Wikipedia in the cloud.

According to the online encyclopedia, ‘luxury’ is defined as:

  • very wealthy and comfortable surroundings
  • something desirable but expensive
  • something very pleasant but not really needed in life

A luxury ski chalet not really needed? I beg to differ. Of course I would, but the fact of the matter is so many companies these days claim to offer a ‘luxury’ ski chalet experience these days. ‘Wealthy and comfortable surroundings’ has to be a given, but that’s still not enough to earn the ‘luxury’ badge. Surely? Because the truth is ‘luxury’ is so much more than the threadcount of the Eygptian cotton bed linen, more than the fur throws and fine leather clad plasma screens.

Luxury ski chalet

So what should you expect in a chalet which describes itself as a ‘luxury ski chalet’?

In our book, the ‘luxury’ experience starts the minute that a contact is made by a client – through the website, by phone or by email. It’s:

  • the anticipation of your every need, guiding you to the best chalet for your needs, advising on room arrangements, travel and the finer details right from the start
  • removing any hint of stress from resort transfers whether it’s organising the swifter, more exhilarating helicopter transfer or a luxury vehicle alternative
  • arriving in resort, knowing that every detail has already been taken care of
  • a surprise gift on your pillow
  • a Champagne ‘boot fit’ to finesse the ski equipment process
  • waking up every morning to a breathtaking, uninterrupted mountain view
  • the deafening silence of an exclusive, ski in ski out location away from the main ski drag
  • sumptuous gourmet food that is tailored to your own personal tastes not what we think those tastes should be
  • little touches like daily weather reports and your favourite newspaper delivered in time for breakfast
  • access to the resort’s best ski instructors that never disappoint and who speak English, Russian, German, French and several other languages
  • a personal masseur waiting to sooth the aches and pains of a hard day’s ski
  • Champagne or whatever your preferred tipple, served where you want it, when you want it
  • discretion of the highest order, full stop

Lastly, it is knowing the answer’s yes before you’ve even asked the question. So fair winter luxury snow seekers, before you’re seduced by the subterranean swimming pool, flat screen TVs at every turn and rather out-of-alpine-character bling, are you confident the service is up to scratch? Because ‘service’ is the difference between a true ‘luxury’ ski chalet experience and a distinctly average one.

Jamie Rennie is Director at Le Chardon Mountain Lodges, Val d’Isere.

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Comments (2)

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  1. As Jamie Rennie points out here, there is a whole spectrum of service within the chalet industry all covered by the word ‘luxury’. The Telegraph online recently posted an interesting piece about the decline in bookings for ultra-luxury chalet holidays, which they define as a ski break costing somewhere in teh region of £100,000 per week.

    At the other end of the spectrum, mid-range chalet companies often use the word ‘luxury’ to make sure there is a degree of segmentation between themselves and the budget end of the market.

    Of course, ‘luxury’ is a relative term and there is nothing wrong with its widespread usage, per se. Subjectively, some might see any holiday as a luxury event. But Rennie is right to point out that ‘luxury’ is as luxury does: it is about much more than just the type of upholstery and the brand of champagne. The Telegraph article points out that 83% of ultra-luxury ski holidays are booked not by a personal assistant but by the party leaders themselves. Attention to detail from that very first phone call really is essential for any company laying claim to the ultimate luxury chalet holiday.

  2. Jamie Rennie says:

    Hi Daniel – we couldn’t agree more. The devil’s in the detail. Thanks for commenting. Interesting stats you reference from The Telegraph. Perhaps the market recognises that there isn’t a vast difference between a ‘luxury ski chalet’ (the genuine ones, that is) and the ‘uber luxury ski chalet’ which tend these days to go all out on the ‘bling’ furnishings with an accompanying price tag without the all important difference in service.

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