Six super stylish ski hotels for the winter season ahead

This season brings a new breed of super-stylish alpine hotels to the ski world, with slick bars, gourmet restaurants and access to some of the very best slopes around. And not all of these sleek spots are budget-busters. Here’s our pick of the best.

The pool at M Lodge.

Photograph by M Lodges
By Nick Dalton
Published 26 Nov 2022, 08:00 GMT

Lockdown didn’t shutdown hotel building in the Alps. In most cases, it simply provided enough time to get on with it properly. The result is a new breed of uber-stylish ski accommodation with bars and restaurants to match. Pascal de Thiersant, chief executive officer of the Société des Trois-Vallées, the organisation that represents France’s Trois Vallées, the world’s biggest ski area, says most openings there are, in ecologically sound manner, set in refurbished buildings — but that’s not what catches the eye or imagination.

What defines the hottest new openings on both sides of the Atlantic is their prime slope-side setting — that and the requisite opulent furry sofas, open fires and bars that fizz with artisan cocktails. But while most new hotels strive for that glossy outdoors lifestyle, there’s still plenty of variation within that, including price range. Luxe style doesn’t always spell big bucks. And this season, ski trips to the Canada and the USA are very much back on the horizon with travellers feeling more confident about long haul trips in a Covid-savvy era.

1. M Lodge, Saint-Martin-de-Belleville, France

This the grandiose five-star reimagines Saint-Martin-de-Belleville, a little village often seen as the quiet back door into France’s Trois Vallées, the world’s biggest ski area. A visual prism effect of timber chalets proliferates up a forested slope, an Alpine design dream (opening December) that changes the local accommodation offering. It only features 25 rooms and suites but comes with a stunning 50ft swimming pool in a cool spa, while the Table du M Lodge restaurant promises to be a major attraction. There are also two five-bedroom chalets, each with swimming pool, private chef, butler and driver. Doubles from €400 (£350) per night, B&B.

2. Revier Mountain Lodge Montafon, St Gallenkirch, Austria

Opened last season (2021/22), this is the fifth in a series of hip, moderately priced, fuss-free (and reception-free) hotels from Dubai to the Alps. Set in a box-like part of St Gallenkirch’s new gondola base station, inside it’s a wonderland of stone, glass and good humour — the lofty ceilings of the Josper Grill bar/restaurant, the feet-on-sofa lounge ambiance, the steely sheen of the gym. Rooms range from ‘cabins’ from Smart Cabin — little more than a bed, TV and huge window in timber simplicity — to the five-bed bunk playroom of the Team Cabin. Smart Cabin from €99 (£84) per night, sleeping two, room only.

3. Desolation Hotel, Tahoe, USA

Inspired by Scottish-American naturalist John Muir, ‘father of the national parks’, Desolation Hotel, in California’s South Lake Tahoe, is a ‘micro-resort’ in timber. Set among the pines, only 200 yards from the Nevada state line, it opened this summer, looking as if it’s dropped in from pioneer-era Yellowstone National Park, although the studios, town homes and suites are chic with Nordic and Japanese-tinged design. Named after nearby Desolation Wilderness, it’s only a brief stroll from the gondola that links Tahoe town and Heavenly lakeview ski resort. Doubles from $399 (£335), room-only.

A twin room at Hotel Eringer.

A twin room at Hotel Eringer.

Photograph by November Studio

4. Eringer Hotel, Thyon, Switzerland

Sleek Swiss Alpine design made the Eringer an instant hit when it opened last season in this purpose-built resort. It’s contemporary but with a playful chalet flair — the first-floor restaurant has a suntrap terrace, the tucked-away Stubli is a place for fondue while the Le Deck bar is an apres-ski party waiting to happen. It’s reborn this winter — the just-opened spa where outdoor pools have Matterhorn views. Doubles from €180 (£150), B&B.

5. A-frame Club, Winter Park, Colorado, USA

Riding the rails has always had a different meaning at this Colorado resort, where the train from Denver stops slopeside. Now the past calls again with this mid-century modern creation. The 31 cabins pointing at the big sky from the side of the Fraser River at 9,000ft, a mere stroll from the lifts, have vintage furnishings (even the brown, non-flat-screen TVs) and, given this is cowboy country, the bar/restaurant’s in an old saloon building. Cabin for four from $500 (£415), accommodation only, including wi-fi.

The bar at the Grand Hotel Cervino.

The bar at the Grand Hotel Cervino.

Photograph by Diego Brandolin

5. Grand Hotel Cervino, Cervinia, Italy

Stylishly understated, Grand Hotel Cervino stands aloof in a quiet spot on the edge of this Italian resort with its cross-border skiing into Switzerland’s Zermatt. Magnificent views of the Matterhorn are on offer from the Le Saveur restaurant serving seasonal, regional cuisine, and there’s another panorama from the glass-walled, contemporary Santus bar. Guest rooms are sophisticated, many with a balcony and most with mountain views. This is a great place to hide away, with a shuttle to the lifts when needed. Doubles from €370 (£315), B&B.

6. Aïda Hôtel & Spa, Crans-Montana, Switzerland

The extravagant stone-clad indoor pool area — vaulted timber ceiling and blazing fireplace next to the whirlpool bath — wows in this adults-only Relais & Châteaux five-star boutique dream. The hotel is actually 300 years old but emerged after majestic restoration last mid-season in the posh Swiss ski playground. Expect a stunning mix of tradition and contemporary design flair, not least the log cabin-style rooms. Doubles from CHF490 (£420), B&B.

Published in the Winter Sports 2022/23 guide, distributed with the December 2022 issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK)

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