European ski hotels: The Big Six

From panoramic views and tree trunk tables to a three-storey spa

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The Independent Travel

For Friends Hotel, Austria

Poised on the edge of the Inn Valley, For Friends Hotel is open for its first ski season, having launched this summer. The hotel's design aims to blend into the surroundings with timber cladding, glass walls that give way to panoramic views over the Tyrol region and a sauna carved into the rock face. Accommodation ranges from standard rooms to "lofts" and suites; for the biggest and best in the house, check into the Rooftop Suite, which has two bedrooms, a private sauna and garden terrace. The hotel may not be right next to the slopes, but the surrounding area has 37km of ski pistes and around 30 cable cars and lifts, some of which can be easily accessed by shuttle.

Am Wiesenhang 1, Mösern, Tyrol, Austria (00 43 5212 20300; for-friends-hotel.at). Doubles start at €170, including breakfast.

Le Mélézin, France

A stay at this atmospheric hotel gives you access to the world's largest ski area, Les Trois Vallées on the French-Swiss border. Situated on the Bellecôte ski slope – a short stroll from Courchevel 1850 – Le Mélézin's interiors feature a mix of bronze sculptures and 200-year-old oak beams framing the communal spaces. A light, modern take on French cuisine is the order of the day at The Dining Room restaurant, while a spa, sun deck, hammam and pool are ideal for après ski relaxation.

Le Mélézin, Courchevel 1850, France (00 33 4 7908 0133; amanresorts.com/lemele zin). Doubles start at €880, room only.

Nira Montana, Italy

This sister hotel to the Nira Alpina in Silvaplana, Switzerland, opens in the Aosta valley on 5 December. Set in the former mining town of La Thuile – a popular resort with families – it offers access to 160km of high altitude runs in Italy and France. Inside, you'll find warm rooms with a sylvan theme – forest wallpaper, tree trunk tables and polished wooden floors. High quality, informal Italian dining is offered in the Stars Restaurant, while the spa offers an indoor pool, sauna, steam room and treatments.

Localita Arly 87, La Thuile, Italy (niramontana.com). Double rooms start at €275, half board.

DV Chalet, Italy

Although labelled a chalet, this stylish ski lodge is in fact a small hotel with just 20 rooms, each individually designed and adorned with classic furniture by Eames, Le Corbusier and Alvar Aalto. The restaurant serves dishes made with organic Italian produce, while the slick spa features thalassotherapy treatments and Turkish baths. And DV Chalet is just 300m from Madonna di Campiglio's Spinale ski lifts, with a shuttle bus to transport guests into the Dolomites.

Via Castelletto Inferiore 10, Madonna di Campiglio, Trentino, Italy (00 39 0465 443191; dvchalet.it). Double rooms start at €210, including breakfast.

Das Central, Austria

This five-star retreat is situated in the Tyrolean village of Sölden, home to 144km of pistes and traditional slopeside restaurants. Like the mountains surrrounding the hotel, everything is on a grand scale here, with 30,000 bottles of wine in the cellar and a three-storey spa equipped with 10 saunas and 16 treatment rooms. Bedrooms offer spectacular views from their balconies. Extras such as ski safaris, Nordic walking, snowshoeing and a ski shuttle to nearby lifts are all included in the room rates.

Auweg 3, Sölden, Austria (00 43 5254 22600; central-soelden.at). Doubles start at €192, half board.

Hotel Firefly, Switzerland

This luxurious hotel at the base of the Matterhorn is all-suite, with some of the 16 rooms accommodating up to 10 people. With ski-in, ski-out access it's easy to get on to the 200km of pistes around Zermatt (20km of which are operational in summer). The Firefly's Bar 55 is ideal for an après-ski drink, but if you prefer a more supine form of relaxation there is a spa, complete with relaxation room looking out on to the mountain scenery.

Schluhmattstrasse 55, Zermatt, Switzerland (00 41 27 967 76 76; firefly-zermatt.ch). Doubles start at Sfr595 (£390), including breakfast.

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