Inspired by the first snowfall on Cape Town’s Matroosberg Reserve, Upscale Living magazine’s Travel Editor went in search of the most spectacular snow and ski resorts throughout the world. Best start planning those end of year vacations now before it’s all booked out.
Airelles Courchevel, Les Airelles, Courchevel, France
A historical palace and a magnificent hotel, nestled at the heart of the excellent Savoyard resort town of Courchevel, Les Airelles promises and delivers the very best in hospitality for an unforgettable stay in a luxurious and comfortable haven. Built-in the prestigious Jardin Alpin domain and on the edge of the 1850 Courchevel ski slopes, richly decorated and appointed, yet warm and relaxing, the Palace much resembles a 19th century Austro-Hungarian castle, and every detail is a harmonious blend of intimacy and authenticity.
The magnificent combination of warm colors, luxurious materials, sophisticated decor, coffered ceilings, dream-like murals, and stained glass windows all contribute to make the luxury hotel a timeless cocoon, a winter abode that evokes a sense of a home away from home.
This enchanting property with unique architecture welcomes you to its exquisite 32 bedrooms, 15 suites, and a private four-bedroom 550m2 penthouse apartment. A spacious Spa fashioned in partnership with the prestigious skincare and cosmetic brand La Mer guarantees the time to unwind and relax in a unique atmosphere. Les Airelles also offers a cozy, friendly bar and three restaurants, including Pierre TT by Pierre Gagnaire, which welcomes you to its sumptuous setting, fit for elite guests like Sissi, the legendary Empress of Austria.
Everyone deserves to experience the magic, and considering that the best memories tend to be those we share with our loved ones, your mountain luxury hotel is also a unique playground for children with an arcade, ice rink, cinema, and heated treehouse.
Dunton Hot Springs, Dolores, Colorado
Dunton Hot Springs is a small and exclusive resort nestled deep in the San Juan Mountains of the Colorado Rockies. The property is a restored ghost town set in an alpine valley on 1,600 acres of land, just across the mountain from Telluride. It is made up of 12 luxurious log cabin accommodations and a new test suite, in addition to natural mineral hot springs that have been curing body and soul for centuries, to unwind after long days of heart-pumping adventure. Guests can partake in a variety of winter activities, including cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, dog sledding, ice climbing up a frozen waterfall, heli-skiing, and more.
At Dunton River Camp, the summer-only tented camp just four miles downriver from Dunton Hot Springs, guests can explore the area in wintertime with Dunton Destinations’ Winter Wonderland experience, featuring a day of cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, ice skating and horse-drawn sleigh rides pulled by the resort’s beautiful Percheron horses, with time to relax by the fire with a hot beverage in the farmhouse.
For guests seeking a more “elevated” experience, Dunton can take them out on a Nordic Ski Adventure on the High Meadows, which starts with an exciting Snow Cat ride up to 10,000 feet for an exhilarating day of cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.
Thriving on contradictions, hand-hewn log cabins are exquisitely furnished, a life-worn saloon serves food of startling quality, lung torturing trails are followed by pampering massages and sensuous hot springs shimmer beneath snowbanks.
Giardino Mountain, Chamfer, St. Moritz, Switzerland
Escape this winter season with Giardino Mountain, a luxury retreat nestled in the picturesque town of Champfèr near St. Moritz. The ultimate winter wonderland, the 5* Swiss resort, is known as one of Europe’s most beautiful mountain hotels. In 1913, the building was also a former 18th-century girls’ boarding school and retained typical Swiss architecture and traditional Engadiner paintwork. Alpine chic meets Mediterranean composure in the 78 rooms & suites, and no two rooms are the same due to the historical structure of the hotel.
Perfect for winter sports enthusiasts of every age, Giardino Mountain harnesses the snow in a plethora of activities. With not only numerous skiing and sledding trails for all skill levels, but Giardino Mountain also offers paragliding, winter horse riding, snow park, ice skating, heli-skiing, snowshoeing and stunning walking routes.
Guests can dine from an array of culinary experiences from the property’s two Michelin-starred Ecco St. Moritz gourmet restaurant, located in a former chapel, to the sophisticated regional cuisine at hiding & Seek or Stüva, a traditional Engadine restaurant with rustic wooden panels and hearty Graubünden specialties.
After a long day of activities, guests can unwind at Giardino Mountain’s dipiù spa with bespoke Ayurveda wellness and therapeutic programs inspired by holistic practices. The resort features a relaxation area with a pool, sauna, steam bath, and jacuzzi. With its space and elegant design, the dipiù spa is a welcoming retreat to renew the body and mind.
Gstaad Palace, Gstaad, Switzerland
Ninety stylishly decorated rooms and suites await you at Gstaad Palace. Whether double rooms or the spectacular penthouse suite with three bedrooms – only high-quality materials were processed everywhere. Also, everything is equipped with the latest technical requirements. Enjoy the breathtaking view of the Swiss Alps. From the Walig hut, which is located 1,700 meters above Gsteig, you have an impressive view of Gstaad and the Saanenland.
The privately run Gstaad Palace, with its rich history in southwestern Switzerland, hosts its winter program from 20 December 2019 to 8 March 2020. Spend the holidays in luxury every year, the Christmas fairy (with a little help from one of the most beautiful event designers in Switzerland) transforms the Gstaad Palace into a sparkling winter wonderland, filled with all the delights the Christmas holidays have to offer.
Decorated in the lavish fashion of the season, Gstaad Palace welcomes you to celebrate the most magical of holidays. On 24 December, while the grown-ups indulge in drinks and mingle by the Christmas Tree at the Lobby Bar and then savor a gourmet meal at the Grand Restaurant, the little ones enjoy their very own Christmas party – complete with decorating the Children’s Christmas Tree and special kids’ activities to make for an unforgettable Christmas Eve.
Many esteemed guests have made it a unique family tradition to spend Christmas at the Gstaad Palace, and it is their greatest pleasure to provide the background to these cherished moments. If you can’t make it in time for the festivities, the decorations will be up until 30 December!
Hotel Kristiania, Lech, Austria
Hotel Kristiana is Lech’s hidden gem, and while it looks like a traditional Austrian ski chalet on the exterior, the interior reveals a spectacularly curated contemporary art collection to rival any world-class museum and unique interior design. Owned and run by the Schneider family since 1968 the Kristiania is a real home-from-home, with authentic Austrian hospitality at its heart. The hotel was founded by Othmar Schneider, born in Lech in 1928 and a former Olympic Gold medal-winning skier, and today it is run by his daughter Gertrud Schneider.
The Kristiania has 29 guestrooms and suites, all decorated with individual artistic elements based around a particular piece of art, and with incredible views of Lech and the surrounding mountains. From Alpine chic to Chinese, to Ralph Lauren meets Heidi, the rooms are full of beautiful and colorful fabrics, together with original artwork and antiques, lending a unique quality to each room. The hotel’s art collection consists of more than 200 contemporary paintings, sculptures, original prints, and tapestries by both emerging and established artists such as Max Cole, Roy Lichtenstein, Max Bill, and Sam Francis.
Guests staying at the Kristiania are spoilt with a selection of quirky butler services – including a ski butler, a bath butler, and even a reading butler who will source guests’ favorite reading materials and books ahead of their arrival. There is also a ski nanny for younger guests and a D.O.G Dog service for those who can’t leave their pet pooch at home.
La Reserve Geneve, Geneva, Switzerland
La Réserve Genève Hotel and Spa is ideally located on the shores of Lake Geneva in a residential suburb just over three miles from the town center and two miles from the Geneva International Airport. A cleverly concealed reserve of happiness available only to those in the know.
This 5-star hotel-spa was designed as a lodge in a world beyond time, reminiscent of a lost paradise on the outer edges of a legendary Africa. A spa, four restaurants, 73 rooms, and 29 suites that tell a story of a beautiful journey. A warm, relaxed atmosphere, with a magical view over the waters of the Lac Léman beyond the park.
Some places exude a mysterious power as if the waves of positive harmony created a feeling of abundance, of a natural connection with the inner self. La Réserve Genève – Hotel and Spa are one of these. Whether for a night or a few days, it procures a delicious sensation of feeling at home right from the first moment. Nestled in a tawny-colored leather club armchair in front of a monumental fireplace in winter, or lazing in the sun beside the pool in summer.
Before hitting the slopes in winter, both beginners and experts can take part in La Réserve Geneva’s Necens Spa exceptional Fitness Preparation Program to prepare muscles for the upcoming black diamond runs, improving their overall ski performance. The Winter Lodge at La Réserve Geneva opens each winter for the holiday season with exclusive use to diners and guests of the hotel and spa.
Les Chalets Du Mont D’Arbois, Megeve, A Four Seasons Hotel, Megeve, French Alps
After meticulous renovations of the rooms and the spa of EUR 10 million, Les Chalets du Mont d’Arbois, Megève, A Four Seasons Hotel, the historic 5-star hotel of the Edmond de Rothschild family, will open on December 13, 2019, as a Four Seasons experience. Complementing the existing Four Seasons Hotel Megève, which opened in December 2017, this new addition will extend the exceptional offerings of Four Seasons in Megève, marked by its quality and service.
“The guest experience will be enhanced even more with expansive, beautifully appointed chalets as well as a Michelin-starred dining experience at Prima, now officially under the Four Seasons brand. Together with the Baroness Ariane de Rothschild, we have elevated the history, elegance, and charm of Megève to extraordinary new heights,” said Christian Clerc, President of Worldwide Hotel Operations, Four Seasons Hotels, and Resorts.
Ideally located, 2-minutes away by car from the Mont D’Arbois ski slopes, Les Chalets du Mont d’Arbois, Megève, A Four Seasons Hotel are named after Benjamin and Ariane de Rothschild’s first three daughters. Each chalet highlights the Rothschild “art of living” with its distinct decoration. Edmond de Rothschild bought chalet Eve and its traditional style in 1960, hosting the inauguration of the family’s very first hotel renovation. Chalet Noémie was built in 1927 by Henry Jacques Le Même and was initially the family’s private chalet. It features a classic luxury decor. Finally, Chalet Alice, built-in 2005 has a bohemian, yet modern chic soul, and can be integrally privatized.
Nemacolin Woodlands Resort, Farmington, Pennsylvania
Situated on 2,000 acres, Nemacolin Woodlands Resort, located in the Laurel Highlands of Southwestern Pennsylvania, features luxurious guestrooms, suites, townhomes, and luxury vacation homes, including the Falling Rock boutique hotel. The resort is ideal for families looking for a winter adventure without having to leave the country. Nemacolin offers countless winter activities for guests of all ages, such as dog sledding, snowshoeing, snow tubing, and downhill and cross-country skiing.
Located just 20 minutes from Frank Lloyd Wright’s legendary Fallingwater residence, the area is a pilgrimage site for architecture and design aficionados. The resort features an antique car museum, multiple food outlets from a tavern to the five-star Lautrec, and is home to an art collection valued at more than $45 million, which includes more than 1,000 individual works of art by the likes of Fernando Botero, Frank Stella, and George Hetzel.
Nemacolin Woodlands Resort’s focus on food and service is at the heart of everything they do. The eclectic collection of restaurants traverses elegant Five Star to refined farm-inspired, borrowing from both modern cuisine and the foods indigenous to Allegheny Mountain heritage.
Unwind in the expansive Woodlands Spa and Holistic Healing Center. Nestled in a secluded setting at Nemacolin’s Horizon Point, the Holistic Healing Center focuses on integrative methods designed to help guests achieve life balance and wellness and offers a portfolio of workshops, treatments, classes, and seminar. The center’s holistic approach allows individuals to evaluate every aspect of their lifestyle, including mental, emotional, and physical wellbeing.
Scarp Ridge Lodge, Crested Butte, Colorado
Eleven Experience’s flagship property delivers a rare combination of an authentic mountain town setting alongside some of the world’s most exclusive cat-skiing. Located in the heart of Crested Butte, dubbed Colorado’s last great ski town for its historic charm and soulful spirit, Scarp Ridge Lodge feels like a European ski chalet with Rocky Mountain style. With five King en-suite rooms and a children’s bunkroom with seven bunk beds, guests will feel right at home.
Offering thrill-seeking travelers the chance to combine staying in an authentic mountain town setting with some of the world’s most exclusive adventurous winter activities led by expert guides, you will find it all at Scarp Ridge Lodge. Each morning, one of Eleven’s private custom-designed snowcats will be waiting at the front door to whisk guests to 1,000+ acres of exclusive ski terrain in nearby Irwin and private use of two mountain cabins. The area receives an average of 450 inches of snow per year, and its cold-smoke powder is legendary. Eleven Experience’s expert team of guides know where to find the deepest powder runs and wide-open alpine bowls
Guests can also explore the mountainous terrain on a backcountry skiing adventure or learn a new skill and ice climb the surrounding peaks on an intensive course. Two on-mountain cabins, outfitted with fireplaces, dining areas, and seating spaces, provide guests with a comfy place to warm up, recharge, and kick off après. Back at the lodge, a steamy rooftop hot tub is the perfect setting to relive the day’s highlights.
Suvrettta House, Via Chasellas, St. Moritz
With impressive turrets and a Belle Époque exterior standing out against the rugged valley landscape, Suvretta House (translated directly as ‘house above the woods’) is one of Switzerland’s most iconic heritage hotels. Set in a pristine private estate, the hotel is steeped in history and remains firmly on the map as one of Europe’s most beautiful retreats. Suvretta House was built by Swiss hotelier Anton Bon and was initially designed to provide a tranquil and exclusive retreat set apart from the nearby buzz of St. Moritz, which as the birthplace of winter tourism in the mid-19th century, attracted the great and the good to see and be seen.
With the likes of Evita Peron, King Farouk of Egypt, and the Shah of Persia visiting for the winter months, the destination soon became a jet-set hub of cosmopolitan glamour, and to this day remains one of the most decadent and glamorous mountain resorts in Europe. The hotel opened its doors over 100 years ago and is still owned by the fourth generation of founder Anton Bon’s family and run by husband and wife team Peter and Esther Egli.
The 181-room hotel has its private ski lift giving effortless access to the Engadine Valley’s 217 miles of piste, 136 miles of cross-country ski trails, and 93 miles of winter walking paths. The spa at Suvretta House offers a range of treatments to soothe tired muscles after a long day on the slopes, including the ila Signature Treatment and the ila Back and Shoulder Recovery.