I have to admit that there’s something about the thought of going skiing that leaves me cold (literally). Over strenuous exercise, below zero temperatures and bulky outfits appeal to the many but unfortunately don’t do it for me. But that’s not to say that I won’t be tempted by a skiing holiday this year. There’s nothing more picturesque than a chic alpine resort, then there’s the mouthwatering food to be had and pampering spa treatments to tempt me. Of course, as I am married with two boys (both of which are sporty, as is the hubbie), I don’t have much choice in the matter. So here are my latest finds that cater for everyone – children who are learning, thrill-seekers and non-skiers alike.
Good for a mixed group
Perfect for holidaying with friends or extended family, and offering a stress free skiing experience, is a stay at Rêves de Montagne, at the heart of the family-friendly Grand Massif ski area near Samoëns, France. The idyllic chalet – a converted 18th century farmhouse – sleeps up to 14 guests and has two family suites (perfect if you have tinies with you). What’s more, it comes kitted out with all the essentials you need (highchairs, potties, baby monitors, cots etc), so no need to lug tons of excess baggage with you. The best thing about this pretty chalet is that it is catered, with the kind of service and facilities that are more akin to a five-star hotel but all in the comfort of your own alpine-chic chalet. After a day on the slopes, you can cosy up in front of roaring log fires, or soak in the hot tub under the stars. Fine dining and specially-selected wines add further to the experience. There’s babysitting on tap, special children’s suppers and a 7km Marvel green run for first-timers. Daredevils are also catered for with seriously difficult runs, plus snowboarding, dog-sledding and ice waterfall climbing to try out. For those, like me, who want to take it easy, then there are also spa treatments available, plenty of books to read and heart-lifting mountain walks to be enjoyed.
Best for first-timers
The gorgeous Le Portetta hotel in Courchevel 1650 is the perfect place if you have children and have never skied before. They have just collaborated with Scott Dunn to launch an exclusive Mini Explorers club for children aged from 4 months to 7 years. As well as ski lessons, they will be kept entertained with a huge amount of activities, such as baking, hot chocolate trips, sledge and snowball rounders. When it comes to accommodation, Le Portetta offers glam rooms, or stylish lofts and lodges, all are stunning, but for an easy-breezy holiday, I’d recommend the family rooms within the hotel. Stylishly and practically designed (they all come with two separate bedrooms but within easy reach of each other), rooms are sprawling and come equipped with DVDs, games and wifi. There are four restaurants to choose from, a spa and a fantastically diverse ski area to try out – all in the pretty setting of Courchevel.
Best for stylish parents (leave the kids at home?)
Due to open this December is the much-anticipated arrival of W Verbier, the brand’s first alpine ski resort and property in Switzerland. Offering ‘glacial days and hot nights’, you can expect a ski-in and ski-out experience, with the W’s usual cooler-than-cool ethos. Swiss-style chalet rooms (designed by London-based Concrete Architectural Associates) come with their own fireplaces and balconies (giving panoramic views) and offering cutting-edge design inspired by New York loft living mixed with a mountain mood. A destination bar, W café and Away Spa will no doubt attract the glamourous crowd, while the highlight will surely be the signature restaurant. With two-Michelin Star Chef Sergi Arola at the helm, it will serve inventive tapas with a Swiss twist. Did anyone mention skiing?
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