Take a winter break in an Alpine chalet
PUBLISHED: 00:00 27 December 2014
Few things in life compare to sipping a glass of champagne in an alpine chalet next to a crackling fire on a snowy evening.
The chocolate box chalet
British couple Karen and Andy Wilson have lovingly restored Rêves de Montagne from a desolate farmhouse into a divine ski retreat. The chalet is simple, sleek and stylish and the service is second to none, but not in a stuffy way.
The chalet itself is a few moments from the nearest ski lift, making it a perfect choice for skiers and snowboarders seeking access to the endless miles of groomed pistes of the Grand Massif region.
The chalet can be hired out exclusively (if your budget can stretch that far) or you can book an independent room only. It is also a good choice for families, with plenty of space for children, an early tea menu served at 6pm, a babysitting service and the chance to book unique activities such as husky sledging. The rooms are cleverly designed to allow for different sleeping arrangements, there are several twin rooms and annex rooms. There is a snug boot room, with boot warmers, snacks and maps of the region, so you are really spoiled. The owners have a wealth of experience of the region, and act as private concierge team, planning anything from helicopter excursions to in-room massages. The “Massage Me” service offer deep relaxing ‘beanie and boots’ treatment which focus on feet, calf and neck and shoulders and this, together with a soak in the outdoor hot tub, provides a perfect end to a day on the slopes.
The first evening begins with a champagne reception by the fire, and evening meals are served on six of the seven-night stay. On the Chef’s night off you can sample the traditional Savoyard dishes of fondue or raclette at a nearby restaurant, or staff can arrange for a simple take-away to be delivered to the chalet.
The cosy hospitality, and the ‘nothing is too much trouble’ attitude, makes this a divine choice for the discerning traveller, revesdemontage.com
The spa chalet
Villars is a polished ski resort with a long pedigree and it’s easy to see why celebrities choose Villars to escape from the nearby overcrowded Verbier. There are excellent hotels, very fine dining both on the slopes and in the village and it’s all within easy reach of Geneva airport - making weekend breaks easy. The combination of reasonably extensive skiing and choice of excellent schools also make it an ideal destination for family ski holidays.
Chalet RoyAlp & Spa is a distinctive five- star luxury chalet-hotel, set in the midst of Villars offering charming rustic styled rooms, with terraces overlooking the mountains. The owners have tried to combine luxury, modernity and Swiss tradition - and it works. As a member of the Small Leading Hotels of the World, with a recently upgraded spa area (with a glittering fireplace), no expense is spared. It is also the first ski-in ski-out hotel in the Vaudoise Alpes, offering a direct access to the ski resorts in winter and the Golf-club throughout the summer seasons, making it a convenient choice for families couples and groups of friends.
The outside space is simply stunning with a terrace garden and a fire pit, which provides warmth while dining outside on snowy evenings. This place is special; it has all the ingredients of a rustic chalet, yet you don’t need to hire it exclusively, giving you flexibility on arrival dates and duration, and you also have the benefit of hotel facilities. Standard double room from £381 per night, royalp.ch
The Tyrolean Treasure
St Anton is rated among the top five resorts in the Alps for very good reason: it is one of Europe’s snowiest areas, boasting 340km of pistes, and some 55km² of challenging off-piste terrain – perfect for those who are experts. In addition, it has an attractive town bursting with stylish hotels, chalets and restaurants, not to mention one of the best après ski scenes in Europe.
Chalet Maria Schnee is just a 10 minute walk from the centre of St Anton, Austria. This elegant chalet offers a luxurious family retreat, sleeping up to 15 people in seven bedrooms and a grand drawing room complete with open fire, all sharing stunning views of the surrounding mountains. After a hard day’s skiing, guests can choose to wind down in style in the chalet’s plush living room, sit back with a good book from the well-stocked library, or put their feet up in front of movie in the private screening room.
Chalet Maria Schnee is a rebuilt masterpiece of Tyrolean craftsmanship, boasting beautiful antique carvings and floors combined with modern contemporary furnishings and quirky local art. It is hired exclusively and rates start from approx. £28,317 fully catered for up to 15 guests. The price includes two days private ski instruction and two hours of massage, brambleski.com
Dr. Jill Nash is a Cheshire based freelance travel journalist.