Well, here we are, nine months have gone by and still no end in sight to travel restrictions and social distancing. It’s understandable that some people are starting to get a little cheesed off. They are the lucky ones. There is hope though for those that really don’t want to miss out on their annual ski trip.
I’m pleased to report that nearly all ski chalets in the Alps, particularly in Switzerland, France and Austria, are now being offered with terms to protect you in the event of COVID-19 travel disruption. You can book in confidence knowing that should you be unable to leave your country of residence or enter the destination country as a result of government restrictions, or if the ski areas are closed, then you will receive a credit for the full value of your booking to use on a future stay. In some cases a full refund is offered. Many will think this is worth the gamble. In reality you have nothing to lose.
Understandably the ski industry is very keen to kick start the coming season and is doing everything it can to make sure confidence is restored. Strict health and safety measures are in place that adhere to the latest government advice. Every property already includes daily housekeeping and even more exacting standards of cleanliness will be applied. As standard, a full deep clean of the entire chalet before any new guests arrive is de riguer. As is the strict monitoring of the health and well being of all staff.
Private transfers from the airport to your chalet can also be arranged. Should you want to drive to the Alps to avoid the airports nearly all the properties have private parking facilities.
It’s probably safe to say that the resorts will be less crowded than usual. The queues at the lifts will likely be thinned out. You can rest assured that everything possible is being done to lessen the risk to you and your loved ones.
Les Anges, Zermatt
Standing proud, over-looking the entire town, Les Anges has enormous floor to ceiling windows so the jaw dropping views can be your constant companion. This is one of the Alps most impressive ski chalets and deserves it’s spot in our Top 5 selection. When you relax in the lounge drinking in the view of the village below and the iconic Matterhorn beyond, you’ll likely feel on top of the world.
Les Anges will be your home from home, a place to kick back and totally relax. A chalet that enhances your feeling of well being. You already know that the place you hang your hat is important to the success of your vacation, Les Anges confirms that belief and more than plays it’s part. Children are more than welcome – this is not some show home with priceless and delicate ornaments peppered around the place. Les Anges is a real home, a place to be lived in. Positioned far enough away from the crowds to feel the serenity of the mountains yet never too far from the action, you can walk down to the main lift station within 5 minutes, or zip down in an electro taxi in no time at all. The village centre isn’t much further either and is a place that comes alive in the winter months, a place to eat, drink, shop and for some, to simply be seen.
Les Anges will keep all the family happy, the kids will love the space to roam, 750 square meters of it, and the TV come cinema room will no doubt be transformed into their very own lair, leaving you free to relax and enjoy the peace. Any non-skiers amongst the group will love the chalets long list of luxury features and proximity to great shopping boutiques and cafes.
Hidden Dragon, Veysonnaz
Nestled in a forest, Hidden Dragon could be the home from home of your dreams. Located along a private road and set within its own exclusive grounds, complete with panoramic views over the Rhone Valley and the true luxury of ski-in and ski-out access.
The 700m² of luxurious living space has been created with the ancient feng shui principles in mind. There’s a hint of Asia, balanced by a healthy dose of Swiss charm. Exquisite antique pieces sit harmoniously alongside both the contemporary design of the chalet and the use of organic materials. When a chalet is designed to celebrate all of the best things in life, an exceptional spa comes guaranteed. If you can tear yourself away from your master suite’s spectacular views, make your way down to the garden level. Here you will find complete and utter peace on Earth. Immerse yourself in the tranquillity of the hammam, sauna, hot tub and rain shower. The site of Hidden Dragon was prepared with Shinto rituals to cleanse the earth and appease the mountain spirits. Hidden Dragon is not your everyday wood clad mountain retreat.
When you are staying somewhere as fabulous as Hidden Dragon, staying in is the new going out. Every nurturing minute spent in the chalet is a chance to absorb the positive energy that flows around your surroundings.
Having travelled the world, staying in some of the finest luxury ski chalets, the owner of Chalet Sapphire noticed one thing. Every single one of them came with a compromise. Whether that be the layout, facilities, location, or the logistics; nothing was truly built for purpose. And so came about the vision for Chalet Sapphire. A quest to build the ultimate luxury ski chalet. A property never conceived as a second home, but rather built from the ground up for one purpose; to be the most exceptional mountain residence, a haven for luxurious ski holidays in winter and incredible retreats come summer. We talked to the owner to find out the real story behind this incredible new ski chalet.
“Chalet Sapphire is the result of being lucky enough for many years to stay in some of the best catered ski chalets around Europe with my friends and family. We enjoyed every trip but I couldn’t help but notice that on every holiday and in every chalet, there was always a compromise involved. Each chalet experience was unique with its own merits, but all came with their own challenges, whether that be in terms of the location, the way it was run day-to-day, the internal and external layout, or the facilities the chalet was able to offer”.
“What was needed was a luxury residence, built with the mind-set of a 5 star hotel, that offered you your own private and cosy hideaway from it all. Guests were experiencing only small glimpses of that. I wanted guests to have it all. It became a personal ambition to build a ski chalet that truly ticked all the boxes; and so it started and I spent over 5 years looking for the perfect location”.
“My mind was finally made up when I was offered a piece of land. I’d looked at lots of plots but that word… compromise… applied to most. They either had great views but were hard to access, or central but small and closed in. When I first walked onto the site in Morzine I knew it was the perfect location. It’s only a quick walk into town but it also enjoys the most fabulous view over the village and of the mountains beyond. I knew then that we could do it all here, and so it really started”.
Marco Polo, Val d’sere
This chalet is the last word in opulence and exotic luxury. Carved wood, chandeliers, exotic fabrics and furnishings lift this fabulous chalet out of the ordinary and elevate it to a league of it’s own. Situated in the heart of Val d’Isere, yet set back from the main road, the chalet affords privacy, sumptuous luxury and easy access to the centre of this beautiful high altitude ski resort.
Marco Polo himself wasn’t averse to a little luxury and the finer things in life, after all he did much to introduce Europeans to the delights of Central Asia’s and China’s exotic tastes and treasures. He left a lasting legacy and inspired others to follow in his footsteps. One wonders, were he still around today, what he would make of his namesake, Chalet Marco Polo, my guess is that he would be very impressed indeed.
Chalet Marco Polo is certainly spacious, with over 750sqm of space, Marco Polo comfortably accommodates 12 adults and 2 children. The living area is expansive with a large open plan living/dining area set around a central fire place. A wonderful cocktail bar is a feature not often found in a regular ski chalet, perfect for pre-dinner Perrier-Jouet, the house champagne.
Large doors open out onto a huge balcony where you will find outdoor heated seating, a BBQ and magnificent panoramic views of the La Face piste and the surrounding mountains. The six beautifully appointed bedrooms are all en-suite with all the fixtures and fittings that you would expect to find in this calibre of accommodation.
Wellness is at the heart of Marco Polo as the whole of the first floor is dedicated to your relaxation and well being. The spacious pool with jet stream sits adjacent the hot tub and is flooded with natural light from floor to ceiling windows. The sauna and relaxation area, complete with entertainment system allows you to completely unwind and enjoy the ultimate luxury ski chalet experience.
This plush presence is no mere dwelling, no ordinary chalet even by Verbier standards, and once viewed she will not be forgotten. She stands above all others and gazes down on Verbier with affection.
Chalet Norte promises nothing less than Verbier’s most sublime living experience, and on this she will more than deliver. You arrive by private car, driven into the cavernous underground car park, home to your prized vehicle during your sojourn. The entrance hall is spectacular; priceless works of art adorn the walls, and unique pieces of furniture speak of style and grandeur as your eye is led towards the spectacular marble staircase, which carves up through the four floors of the chalet.
Beautiful though the staircase is, you are on holiday; here to be indulged and pampered, so why not take the lift instead. Installed for your comfort, the lift accesses all four floors and sets the scene for what will be an effortless experience for you and your guests. Apart from the effort of actually skiing, of course.
A holiday at Chalet Norte is like no other. The vast footprint of Norte abounds with spaces in which to while away the hours creating special holiday memories with those you love. The gym will give you the most inspiring work out of your life as you gaze out across the mountain ranges.
The spa area is simply heaven and long after you depart your mind will wander back to that magnificent Eden with its striking, heated indoor pool. Sitting on the luxurious deep sofas in the relaxation area, sipping champagne, you watch on as the children delight in this aquatic paradise. You and your glass of champagne retire to the outdoor hot tub to bask in the late afternoon sunshine and here you truly unwind and prepare yourself for the next task at hand; a hot stone massage in one of the 4 massage rooms at your disposal.
Danny Frith is Director at SkiBoutique. SkiBoutique is a luxury ski chalet agency based in Switzerland.