With the pandemic steering the way for more spontaneous travel, there’s one holiday that will thrive with this trend – Winter travel. If you’re a keen skier (or snowboarder), you’ll know how much the weather can make or break a holiday in the mountains. With the trend leaning towards last-minute bookings, you can eye up snowfall reports a few days before and pounce on a weekend that promises fresh powder and blue skies galore. As we head into March, a prime time to hit the slopes, we thought we’d put together the ultimate guide to planning a last-minute ski weekend so, when the conditions are spot on, you can be ready to go short notice!
Das Central – Sölden, Austria
Channel your inner bond girl at the luxurious alpine resort, Das Central, made famous for being one of the snowy film locations for bond film, Spectre back in 2015. Whether you’re looking for chalet chic or modern minimalism, their luxurious rooms and suites have everything you could need. Some of the wellbeing suites have their own saunas (how heavenly) while others have sprawling bathrooms with freestanding tubs to soak away your stress. A visit to this legendary hotel wouldn’t be complete without a meal at ice Q, Austria’s highest restaurant perched 3048m above sea level. The jaw-dropping views from this floor-to-ceiling glass box in the mountains clearly won over the location scouts for Spectre. Expect fine dining alpine cuisine from this once in a lifetime experience. You’ll be snapping pics the entire time!
Aman Le Mélézin – Courchevel, France
Set just a stone’s throw away one of Courchevel’s most scenic pistes, Aman Le Mélézin is an iconic alpine destination for those looking to ski and spa in equal measure. In true Aman style, the interiors are elegant and calming, the food is high-end and sophisticated and the service is impeccable and above and beyond. You wouldn’t expect anything else! Aided by a team of experienced Ski Butlers who transport ski equipment from the heated racks in the state-of-the-art ski room to the piste, guests of all ages are able to enjoy private lessons or can join Courchevel’s revered ski school. Their spa is sublime and worth a visit to relieve tired muscles. Split over two floors and complete with swimming pool and hydrotherapy areas, you’d be forgiven for donning a spa robe more than your ski boots during your stay.
Airelles – Val D’isère, France
Val D’isère is a serious resort for ski aficionados! Playing regular hosts to some of the world’s top downhill ski and board events, this is a winter destination for thrill-seekers. If that’s you, we’d definitely recommend a stay at Airelles Val D’isère luxury hotel and spa, the newest addition to Airelles hotel collection. With ski-in ski-out access, a world-class Gurlein spa and sumptuously cosy alpine interiors, the hotel comes equipped with a 70sqm indoor cinema, its own ski shop and a dedicated kids area called “Children’s Kingdom” designed to entertain and delight with a nanny always present. We could spend hours chilling our by the crackling fires before resting our eyes in their inviting, rustic rooms.
A winter holiday shouldn’t just be reserved for ski enthusiasts. There are plenty of places where you can nourish mind, body and soul so we’ve shared a few of our favourite pamper hotspots in case you feel more inclined to spa than ski.
Le Grand Bellevue – Gstaad, Switzerland
You’d be hard-pressed to find a more classically picturesque winter hotel than Le Grand Bellevue. It’s like something out of an old black and white movie, yet comfortably modern and luxurious for 21st-century visitors. While their spa is by no means the main attraction (there are plenty of snow-filled activities and fitness offerings to enjoy) it is a huge highlight of the hotel and worth a visit in its own right just to get your pamper on. With 3,000 square metres of luxurious wellness facilities, you could spend all day at Le Grand Spa travelling through the Thermal Oasis, which consists of 17 different wellness zones, from steam baths to an invigorating ice fountain. The treatment list is extensive and totally heavenly, try their Alpine Salt Scrub or soak in a bathtub of goat’s milk and honey for baby-soft, radiant skin like you’ve never had before. Scamper over to their traditional Finnish Sauna, situated in a gorgeous little wooden hut to sweat out your sorrows or relax in the Turkish Steam Bath and let the steam purify and invigorate your skin. If Le Grand Bellevue isn’t already on your bucket list, add it now!
Suvretta House – St Moritz, Switzerland
For scenic, snowy vistas, an outdoor whirlpool, a sauna for every occasion and a beautiful 25-meter pool with floor to ceiling glass windows, Suvretta House in pretty St Moritz is far more than just a picturesque alpine hotel. Situated high in the Upper Engadine mountains, Suvetta House is a true gem of St Moritz and wellness is high on the priority list here. Featuring sublime spa treatments (some of which use British skincare brand ilā – a H&H favourite) and a plethora of fitness offerings (their new “Yoga on Snow” experience is something not to be missed) the heat and steam rooms are what this spa is all about. Ranging in temperature and humidity, their Solarium, Finnarium, Sanarium, Vaporium and Caldarium all offer the mind and body something slightly different. You can tailor-make your sauna experience to suit your needs and preferences before bubbling away in their outdoor whirlpool with the winter sun beaming down on you. The hotel itself is well appointed and offers 5-star luxury with elegant rooms and gastronomy delights to awaken the senses.
Bergwelt Art & Relax Hotel – Obergurgl, Austria
This gorgeous wellness bolthole in the heart of the Austrian Alps. Part of the prestigious Small Luxury Hotels, Obergurgl offers endless fun on the slopes with excellent pistes while Bergwelt Art & Relax Hotel aim to take care of your wellbeing. While many alpine spas in ski resorts make use of the basement, this unique spa offers some of the most incredible mountain views right while your sweat it out in their state of the art saunas. Their spa rituals offer the opportunity for total relaxation and there’s a dedicated family spa where you can enjoy some much needed chill time with your little ones in tow. With a herbal steam bath and a meditation room with water beds and an open fire, all your wellness dreams can come true in this Austrian home away from home.