Staying chic on the slopes isn’t just about Fendi mirrored ski goggles and Stella McCartney salopettes. TheseEuro mountain retreats all make equally strong fashion statements – and have emerged from dramatic makeovers to stay ahead of interiors trends. An old Mercure in Val Thorens is unrecognisable as the über-cool Fahrenheit Seven and since Alpaga in Megève was taken under the wing of the luxurious Hôtels d’en Haut group, it’s been chic all the way. Swiss beauty Chandolin Boutique hotel was treated to a five-year revamp and Huus Gstaad (previously a Steigenberger hotel) has been entirely reimagined by architect and designer Erik Nissen Johansen. Finally, the Barrière group has transformed the Les Neiges hotel, while drawing on the history of its Courchevel setting. Still glamorous, but with a fresh face.
HOTELBARRIERE LES NEIGES
The lowdown Ultimate luxury in a magnificent ski setting.
Best for Those accustomed to high-altitude living.
With exceptional rooms and a ski-in, ski-out location that gives access to Les Trois Vallées, this hotel knows it’s a bit of a star. The aura of old-school glamour is reinforced by the moody black-and-white photographs of Hollywood’s finest silver screen icons and the private screening room.
Rooms are clad in pale larch wood and beds and sofas are layered with impossibly soft mountainsof cushions and faux furs – the perfect vantage point toadmire the views over pristine slopes.For fine dining,Parisian brasserie Fouquet’s has an outpost here offeringa deliciously classic menu. This establishment dines out on its past, but feels new all over again for 2018.
VAL THORENS, FRANCE
The lowdown A retro rework of Seventies and Sixties ski style.
Best for Fondue and vin chaud in furry retro moon boots.
If you’re wondering, the hotel name refers to the exact temperature at which the ‘perfect’ snowflake is formed. The founders have taken an equally precise approach to reworking this hotel’s interiors, casting an eye back to the Seventies design and adding luxe touches that infuse it with fresh character.
Cosy wood cabin walls are cool rather than cutesy when they are set against soft leather sofas, slate and velvet. Moody hues include the can’t-fail combo of teal and mustard, while geometric tiling and mirrors add a bit of edge to the bedrooms.The ski room opens directly on to the slopes, while the lively village is only 10 minutes away. Or, stay put for the retro-feel après bars and outstanding La Rôtisserie restaurant. The perfect base to cosy up and watch era-appropriate reruns of The Spy Who Loved Me.
The lowdownGentlemen’s club decor heads for the hills.
Best for Family adventures without sacrificing style.
Cute cuckoo clocks peek out from the walls of some Huus bedrooms, but that’s where the Swiss-style clichés stop. This hotel is perched above Gstaad, with views over the celeb-heavy resort, and it’s a breath of fresh air – literally.
The setting is amazingly pretty, all snow-topped chalets and craggy peaks beyond. London members’ club decor has been imported, but the snug blankets, cosseting dark panelling and atmospheric lighting are a surprisingly good fit for the Alps.
Some luxury touches – the beds are by Hästens – and plenty of ‘extras’ are included in the price. A couple of Range Rovers are parked up for guests to bagsie too and activities such as rafting, hiking and climbingare all included, as is the ski school for under nines.
The lowdown Chalet chic with a pared-back, Scandi feel.
Best for Feeling at one with nature, but in luxurious surroundings.
Wood-clad chalet style is nothing new for ski regulars, but amid the pale, bleached and thoroughly serene setting of boutique hotel Alpaga, any bad memories of lurid orange pine fade away, as if that era never happened. Wood grain-rich rooms cohere with the palest, calmest shades of nature, with faux-fur throws and pillows snuggled up to warmed wood and soft white towels cosying up the slate bathrooms.
The hotel is a short drive from the centre of Megève and there’s a regular shuttle to the ski lifts. Ease ski-weary muscles in the superior La Colline spa, which takes pampering seriously, plus there’s a hot tub and sauna cabin. If Ibiza is your natural summer habitat, you’ll love the beach club style of the winter sun terrace with fire pits. And if you’re travelling with family, consider the larger chalets – perfect to spread out in.
CHANDOLIN BOUTIQUE HOTEL
The lowdown It’s all about the views – inside and out.
Best for Natural highs with a Swiss twist.
The rooms of this newly redesigned hotel are individual, yet all have one thing in common – large windows to take in the spectacular mountain views. Chandolin Boutique Hotel’s typical Swiss chalet style has been redesigned by architects Kittel SA and the new spaces manage to be superbly comfortable inside, while keeping the focus firmly on the great outdoors.
Natural materials in the shape of wood and smooth stone flooring act as reminders of the dramatic setting, complemented by softer bespoke furnishings. The dining room brings in hues of bronze and copper and, once more, floor-to-ceiling windows beckon in the views.
The hotel has a darkly seductive wine bar, while the spa with, yes, more mountain views, offers rejuvenation of a more clean-living kind.
Shining a spotlight on the now and the next in home design and decor, Livingetc is the UK's best selling high end and contemporary home design magazine. As a brand, Livingetc showcases the world's very best homes, breaks and makes the trends, and has access to leading international designers for insight and ideas. It was first published in 1998, and is currently edited by Pip Rich.
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