Looking for something special chalet wise for next ski season, 2023/24?
It’s always somewhat contentious when compiling a top ten list of anything and never more so in the ski world. As well as personal preference and bias we also have to take into consideration the demographic that we are communicating to. Clearly you 20-something years will want to be close to the nightlife, whereas you empty nesters will prefer something more secluded. The family market will want in-house childcare and easy to navigate access for pushchairs and little legs. It’s horses for courses, so instead of a top 10 we at Snowpads have designed our 10 chalets of note (in no particular order)…beware though, whilst some are moderately priced others come with a handsome price tag!
[caption id="attachment_85884" align="alignleft" width="200"] Chalet Bighorn, Revelstoke[/caption]
This 16 sleeper stand-alone mountain retreat has eight grand bedrooms with balcony, T.V., and Blu-ray player in each. No wonder it’s consistently voted for in the world ski awards as best in class chalet. Although equipped with its own helipad (yes we’d all love a big chopper...fnaaa fnaaa), Revelstoke is after all the place to go heli-skiing, it’s not just for the hard core skier. The property boasts a plethora of features including a wellness area with exercise pool, gym, sauna and massage rooms, bar with pool table and games console (wide selection of games obviously included), private cinema with an amazing choice of movies, and study with computer station. The outdoor hot tub affords superb views across the Columbia River and the Monashee mountains offer the perfect backdrop as the sun goes down; sipping bubbly in the bubbles at sunset. The state of the art ski room also has a service area for any repairs and tweaks required and of course there is Wifi and an entertainment system throughout the lodge. The triple height Great room offers a huge open fireplace with River-rock surround and the tartan furnishings complete the Baronial grandiose. In-resort transportation is on hand for all of your apres ski and daytime requirements, a chauffeur service to suit all of your demands.
[caption id="attachment_85885" align="alignright" width="300"] Chalet Domaine Toit du Monde, Val d'Isere, France[/caption]
This stone built chalet exudes piste-side opulence that the Russians would just love. Accommodating 16 guests this previous monastery can sleep up to 20 or alternatively be split into two separate units to sleep 8 in each. The ambitious conversion has retained many original features such as the thick walls constructed from the local stone. These features are harmonised perfectly with a dazzling display of chic furnishings and haberdashery. Stepping in from a day on the mountain is akin to walking into the King’s Chamber of a pyramid; it’s another world of Eastern/Moorish fusion- it’s like King Tut meets Kublai Kahn meets Tariq ibn Ziyad (I had to google that one but he was a Moor warrior fyi). The indoor-outdoor pool and spa areas are perfect for apres ski relaxation with a glass of champagne in hand. Here at the Toit du Monde the chefs will entertain you with a bespoke itinerary of cuisine perfectly tailored to your party’s requirements and rest assured you will be dazzled.
[caption id="attachment_85886" align="alignleft" width="300"] Chalet Chez Bugi, St Martin de Belleville, France.[/caption]
For those wishing to avoid the “Ra-Ra’s” of Meribel but still wanting to enjoy the wonderful skiing of the Three Valleys then St Martin is the perfect destination. Let’s be honest no one wants to meet up with the Bullingdon Club and Bungle Johnson when they are skiing. The thought of a BoJo the clown, sweating profusely charging down a red run with all the finesse of a wounded wildebeest in its death throes on the Serengeti isn’t my idea of fun…….then again! A traditional unspoilt village with a lower proportion of British holiday-makers gives St Martin a special place in my heart. The Jerusalem blue run which meanders into the blue Biollay terminating at the village is also one of the most fun pisted runs I have ever skied. Chez Bugi reflects the resort’s modest nature to a tee, it is perfect in every sense but not brash or flash or overtly demonstrative. Internally natural light cascades across local timbers and muted creams harmonise with light greys and taupes to offer a gentle flow of luxurious tranquillity. The chalet is a perfect blend of contemporary alpine elegance - hats off to all involved. Wonderful food and service accompanies this 12 sleeper chalet, as one would expect.
[caption id="attachment_85887" align="alignright" width="300"] Chalet Shemshak Lodge, Courchevel 1850, France.[/caption]
Courchevel 1850 is the millionaires’ playground attracting popstars, sport stars, and oligarchs alike and the Shemshak lodge has hosted many of those over the seasons. This winter hideaway sleeps between 10 and 13 guests in 4 double rooms plus a family room and its situation above the village offers the privacy that its guests require whilst also providing the convenience of being ski-in-ski-out. The lodge boasts a generously sized indoor swimming pool with a separate Jacuzzi, sauna, hammam, massage room, and well equipped gym. There is a lift to all floors and as an added touch fresh flowers are arranged throughout the property for your entire stay. Champagne, quality wines, and spirits are all complimentary, as is the 4 x 4 in-resort chauffeur service.
[caption id="attachment_85888" align="alignleft" width="300"] Chalet Sweet Little Home, St Anton, Austria.[/caption]
Dating back to 1911 “this house may be an old lady, but ooh la la! she’s still in her prime”. Is it a villa, is it a chalet, is it a townhouse, who cares? To me it sings “little house of the prairie” and offers a nod to a gold rush prospector’s clapboard shack, but that’s just me. Inside it is totally unique and designed to (im)perfection with a sense of fun and joviality – this is a place for the free spirited skier to stay, one that doesn’t take themselves too seriously but still enjoys the best in life. Perfectly situated for the rocking nightlife of St Anton and yet just a short stroll to the state of the art lift systems makes its positioning unrivalled. The service levels are second to none, as you would expect from the Raffl family who also own the St Antoner Hof and Raffl’s Tyrolhotel, and no this is nothing to do with The Raffles Hotel in Asia but I’m sure they’d still knock you up an amazing Singapore sling. SLH (Sweet Little Home) sleeps up to 14 guests and as an added bonus has a sauna and hot tub in its wonderful winter garden.
[caption id="attachment_85889" align="alignright" width="300"] Chalet Bambis, Meribel, France.[/caption]
Located on the gentle home run Doran piste and marginally above the village, the Bambis is as perfect a location as one could hope for. The chalet has recently undergone major renovation and now offers a more Scandinavian feel where light glances across ergonomic furnishings, it’s a symbiosis of simplicity and excellence. With a 180m2 footprint the chalet isn’t overly large (come on this is central Meribel folks) but it is perfect for a family group of 8-10 guests. The views are breathtaking and can be enjoyed from all over the chalet but especially the sauna or Scandinavian hot tub. Book early as this one sells like a brolly in a monsoon.
[caption id="attachment_85890" align="alignleft" width="300"] Chalet Backstage, Zermatt, Switzerland.[/caption]
Well this chalet certainly lives up to its name; it’s pure rock ‘n’ roll and you’ll have stagehands pampering to your every diva tantrum. No blue M and Ms, no problem! Jump into the internal hot tub, press a button and it rises up through the ceiling onto the roof top- now that’s some entrance that would make the Cirque du Soleil blush. With wonderful views across the resort and on to the majestic Matterhorn you will feel like a rock star….with apornstar martini in hand no doubt. Accommodating up to 11 guests in exquisite surroundings the Backstage chalet also boasts a plethora of leisure and living facilities including a sauna, steam room, gym, log burner, cinema room, Sonos system, Apple tv, Wifi, balconies overlooking the Matterhorn, and access to the wellness area at the Hotel Back Stage, which I doubt you’d bother to use but who knows?
[caption id="attachment_85891" align="alignright" width="300"] Chalet Manoir, Morzine, France.[/caption]
Built in 1970 this rendered and wooden shuttered chalet looks like the archetypal French farmhouse. Rooms are of extremely generous proportions with high ceilings giving it an airy and roomy feel that is missing in so many up market ski holiday residences. With wooden panelling to both ceilings and walls and parquet flooring the Manoir exudes a Period feel but one which is tempered by modern furnishing with a country house twist. Housing between 10-15 guests and just 200m from the lifts this chalet is ideal for families and groups alike. In particular the unfussy nature and generously proportioned rooms lend itself to those with young children. Sounding like a Raymond Blanc hotel (one of my favourite chefs and such a gentle soul too) foodies will be comforted to know that the culinary delights awaiting them will not disappoint.
[caption id="attachment_85892" align="alignleft" width="300"] Chalet Panorama, Maria Alm, Austria.[/caption]
Chalets in Austria are like hen’s teeth and chalets that sleep 17 guests are like a member of the cabinet that speaks the truth. Chalets in Maria Alm, Austria, for 17? Well, that’s like an honest cabinet minister with a buck toothed chicken on his shoulder riding a unicorn!. Explore this amazing ski region from this affordable chalet and you will not fail to be impressed. The Chalet Panorama is one of the best value chalets I can think of in the Alps, drop it in Courchevel 1850 and you will easily quadruple the price, if not more. The Great room has picture windows with views over the stunning ski slopes and further afield. The bar area also has a stube and in fact there are so many places to relax back after a hard day on the slopes that this makes the chalet an ideal retreat for multigenerational families. The chalet’s own private wellness area offers a relaxation room with a sauna and steam room off of it. Be brave, don’t follow leaders and watch the parking meters as Bob Dylan once said, so book something different.
[caption id="attachment_85893" align="alignright" width="300"] Chalet Valcastello Chateau & Polo Club, Alta Pustria (Drie Zinnen), Italy.[/caption]
I know, I know, it’s a “reet ode mouthful is that”, but once you’ve learned to pronounce it you’ll be braying from your pulpit to a curious congregation of fellow skiers. Drie Zinnen is relatively new to the UK market but it’s a great place to ski this section of the Dolomites with its 115km of piste and more skiing available just a 15 minute drive away. I firmly believe there is no more picturesque ski area in the world than the Dolomites,okay, maybe Swadlincote dry ski slope in South Derbyshire gives it a run for its money, but I digress. The chateau is set in a 5 acre estate which is also home to Italy’s only permanent winter polo club. The historical artefacts include enormous woven wall tapestries, vintage furnishings and original pieces of art. The regal dining room affords tremendous views of the surrounding Dolomites and the open bar with pool table is ideal for unwinding after a hard day on the slopes. The three luxurious suites offer 4 bedrooms and accommodate up to 8 guests. Overall this hunting lodge is a gem of a find in a hidden gem of a resort, in fact it’s gemtastic!
Thanks for reading, or scan reading, or just glancing at the nice pictures in awe whilst cooing. Much appreciated and hopefully I can report back soon with more cracking ski properties. Until then...bon ski me ducks.