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Five of the best European ski spa resorts, from Italy to Austria

There’s more to the Alps than the pistes and partying; they’re home to some of the world’s best spas, too. From romantic retreats to medispas and wellness centres, here's our pick.

At Tschuggen Grand Hotel, the spa is arranged over four floors in a clutch of buildings with sail-shaped windows wedged into the mountainside.

Photograph by Alex Moling
By Julia Buckley
Published 27 Jan 2022, 06:00 GMT, Updated 31 Jan 2022, 09:50 GMT

1. Hotel Störes, Italy

Best for lovebirds

Hotel Störes is ideally placed, right by Alta Badia’s Piz Sorega cable-car in the San Cassiano ski region. However, there’s more to it than its location. Take in the snowy scenery from the indoor-outdoor pool and choose from spa treatments based on local Ladin traditions using whey, herbs and arnica. Hay baths are novel but you’ll also find hot stone and lomi lomi massages, and ayurvedic treatments such as the ultra-relaxing shirodhara, in which oil is poured continuously onto your forehead. There are great couples and family treatments, too. Doubles from €190 (£161), half-board (plus afternoon tea). 

2. Hotel Marmotte, France

Best for beauty buffs

Sitting at the foot of the slopes, in the middle of Les Gets, Hotel Marmotte is small but packs a big punch with its much-lauded spa. Here in a vintage wooden chalet is French wellness at its best: ‘gommages’ (scrubs), hydrotherapy and ‘lifting’ facials are on offer, using respected brands such as Decléor and Thalgo. If you’ve been hankering after long-haul during the pandemic, the ‘voyages’ packages — themed around places including Bora Bora, the Arctic and the Atlantic Ocean — will take you there. The wood-clad, glass-surrounded pool allows you to swim with a view of the snow, too. Doubles from €294 (£250), half-board.       

The Igls Mayr Clinic is a world-class medical spa.

Photograph by Alex Moling

3. Igls Mayr Clinic, Austria

Best for serious spa-lovers

For a full-on health reboot, try this spot in the cutesy village-resort of Igls above Innsbruck, just below Patscherkofel, a three-time Winter Olympic venue. Beyond the cosy, modern rooms at Park Igls, the world-class medical spa Igls Mayr Clinic uses the Mayr Method (where you chew your food 40 times — it’s all about the gut). Meals are as hardcore or gourmet as you like, and treatments range from lymphatic drainage to acupuncture and connective tissue massage. There are also a raft of free fitness activities indoors, as well as cross-country around the property. Doubles from €315 (£269), B&B (must be booked with a programme).           

4. Forestis, Italy

Best for design gurus

You can thank the Celts for this haven, which sits halfway up the Plose massif near Brixen and faces the peaks of the Dolomites. The Celts’ (supposed) love of forests and sylvan glades has informed Forestis, based in an old sanatorium with three startlingly modern tower blocks offering sublime mountain views. Trees such as pine, spruce and larch are the lodestones of the spa: massages use their essential oils and even wood as tools to hit acupuncture points or smooth skin with rolling-pin precision, while tree-scented towels are whirled at you to a Celtic rock soundtrack during daring sauna rituals. Stretch the limbs with a spot of Wyda, a sort of Celtic version of yoga, then take the ski in, ski out door to the chairlifts, which whisk you up to the top of the Plose. Doubles from €660 (£562), half-board.

5. Tschuggen Grand Hotel, Switzerland

Best for wellness warriors

You can reach the slopes of Arosa in just four minutes on the Tschuggen Express — Tschuggen's private funicular ski lift — and you can get back just as quickly to be rejuvenated in the 5,000sq ft spa, which is arranged over four floors in a clutch of buildings with sail-shaped windows wedged into the mountainside. The post-pandemic ‘Moving Mountains’ programme aims to get guests communing with nature, bringing the outside in with salt inhalation and employing unusual essential oils such as juniper and fennel. Other treatments use products from The Organic Pharmacy, plus there’s a ginger and sea salt bath to soothe worn muscles and a special ‘skier massage’ that focuses on the legs. The spa also has a series of pools, perfect for a post-treatment dip, and saunas. Doubles from €585 (£498), B&B.

Published in Winter Sports, sold with the December 2021 issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK)

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