For the first time ever, hip hideaways specialist
i-escape.com is tackling the world of ski, with the launch of its very own Ski Collection
of boutique breaks. Forget tired pine chalets, this new accommodation collection is all about mountain boltholes with serious style: from hidden valley hotels boasting magazine-worthy interiors, and seriously stylish Alpine lodges perfect for fabulous group escapes, to igloo-style eco-pods allowing you to sleep slope-side under the stars.
It’s time to dust off your skis, hunt out your snowboard, pack your salopettes and prepare to hit the slopes! Check out www.i-escape.com/ski
for more information.
1. THE SERIOUS SKIING OPTION
Ferme de Montagne, French Alps
This 7-room hotel more than qualifies for the ‘luxury ski chalet’ label. There’s an emphasis on superb service with excellent attention to detail – think sumptuous, traditional décor, super-friendly staff, sophisticated Michelin-inspired food and a plum location beside the fabulous Portes du Soleil ski resort of Les Gets. From here, you can scoot straight onto the slopes, perfect for serious skiers. Other activities include chocolate-making, ice-skating, dog-sledding and even parapenting (paragliding off a mountain). You could win a two-night for two people at Ferme de Montagne, worth £1390, click here.
2. MORE BANG FOR YOUR BUCK
Saanewald Lodge, Switzerland
This ski-in/ski-out hotel near Gstaad is big on design and even bigger on views, but the truly great thing about Saanewald Lodge is its impressive value for money (a welcome respite from the area’s notoriously expensive offerings). A 1960s mountain lodge with clean lines and a hint of Bauhaus, this is a quietly funky bolthole located right on the slopes. Rooms are simple yet stylish, whilst the hotel’s terrace is the perfect place for a spot of alfresco après ski. There’s even an outdoor hot tub!
3. KIDS ON BOARD
Le Portetta, French Alps
Boasting the ‘sunniest terrace in the Trois Vallées’, Le Portetta is a stunning chalet-style hotel with an enviable piste-side position in Courchevel 1650. With family rooms and multi-room lodges, the hotel caters for families of all sizes, but don’t let the family-friendly tag fool you into thinking this hotels lacks finesse. Alpine-chic touches give Le Portetta an elegant feel throughout, and with a prime ski-in/ski-out setting as well as a children’s ski school a stone’s throw away, this will suit skiers both little and big down to the ground.
4. CALLING ALL ADRENALINE JUNKIES
The Cambrian, Swiss Alps
If adventure sports are your thing then The Cambrian is the perfect Alpine option. Set high in the pretty Swiss village of Adelboden, at the end of a wide valley surrounded by forested mountains, the local slopes are so impressive that the FIS World Cup passes through here every year. With a full host of snow activities, including skiing and snowboarding, snow-tubing, cross-country skiing, tobogganing, husky sledging, snowshoeing (winter hiking) and ice-face climbing, there is enough action here to thrill even the most adventurous of snow enthusiasts. After an active day, retreat to the hotel’s excellent spa, hot pool, open fires, cool bar and welcoming restaurant.
5. BEST FOR GROUPS
Chalet Bibendum, French Alps
Group escapes needn’t mean sacrificing on luxury, and Chalet Bibendum is the proof: a stunning 4-bedroom chalet (sleeps 8) in the famously well-to-do Chamonix valley, offering a cosy house-party vibe. The chalet itself is a work of art - think crackling fireplaces, soaring beams and cosy bedrooms filled with quirky mountain touches. Owners Olaf and Jolanda are perhaps its biggest selling point – they’re happy to organise every minute of your stay to ensure you have the best getaway possible. Add to that fabulous food and easy access to the local ski fields, and you and your friends will never want to leave.
6. RINGING THE CHANGES
Ski lovers after something totally different will love Whitepod - a remote eco-camp in Switzerland, offering stunning views and a real back-to-nature vibe. It comprises 15 uber-cosy, igloo-shaped pods (tents) with toasty wood-burners, fully equipped shower rooms and comfy beds, all clustered around a central Pod House (wooden chalet). This isn’t about noisy bars, busy streets and adrenalin junkies, it’s about getting away from it all and enjoying the pristine mountain surroundings. Best of all, Whitepod has its own private slopes suitable for beginner- and intermediate-level skiers - delivering what feels like your very own private ski escape.
7. FOR THE GASTRONOMES
Hameau Albert 1er, French Alps
The ultimate winter getaway for those who want to combine their two true loves… ski and food! This famous Chamonix hotel, built in 1903, not only offers a free shuttle service to the resort’s long runs and challenging off-piste areas, but also has 2 Michelin stars in its impressive Restaurant Albert 1er. Perrine and her father are the fifth generation to take the hotel’s helm and at its heart is exceptional food provided by Perrine’s husband Pierre. For less formal dining, there’s also La Maison Carrier, which serves bistro-style mountain dishes. Very different offerings but neither will disappoint! Spend the rest of your time experiencing Chamonix’s buzzing après-ski scene, indulging in pampering treatments at the hotel spa, or simply taking in the breathtaking views from your bedroom.
8. BEST FOR WANNABE JAMES BONDS
The Omnia, Switzerland
The ultimate Bond-style break... from the minute you enter this super-slick design hotel, you’ll feel as though you’ve stepped into a film. Everything about the Omnia is impressive, from the reception’s sleek granite, blond wood and big windows to the terrace with sweeping views of swanky (and car-free) Zermatt. The slopes are just as stunning, with a mix of runs to suit all abilities - plus the famous Gravity Park will go down well with snowboarders. Unwind at the state-of-the-art spa before indulging at the hotel’s slick restaurant.
9 COOL DESIGN
Mineral Lodge, French Alps
A design-lover’s dream - this hidden mountain hotel in the French Alps is a temple to cool, contemporary design. From statement furniture and a striking open staircase, to waterfall showers, digital art and designer lighting - this place is serious about style. There’s a state-of-the-art media room, salons with fireplaces, and a dining room where breakfast and dinner are served around a giant resin table. With just 5 rooms to choose from, peace and quiet comes naturally here, whilst delicious food and easy access to the slopes (located just 50m from the lift to Les Arcs), make it great for ski-lovers and tranquillity hunters alike.
Vigilius Mountain Resort, South Tyrol, Italy
The perfect blend of eco and cool, this retreat in Italy’s South Tyrol mixes über architecture with eco credentials, frosted Alpine peaks, two deliciously authentic restaurants and a spa with altitude. Set on a Vigiljoch summit, a mile above the Ultimo Valley, the views are breathtaking – especially from the panorama terrace. Vigiljoch’s slopes are perfect for beginners and improvers, plus guests can join lessons led by the hotel’s own ski instructor, once a downhill ski champion.
22 September 2014