Five best: Mountain Spa Hotels
Danielle Demetriou kicks off her ski boots and indulges in some slope-side pampering
Saturday 04 February 2006
Palace Hotel Gstaad, Switzerland
This grand retreat is in the heart of regal Gstaad. Sybarites should head straight to the Wellness Centre and its renowned spa. The list of treatments is dizzyingly vast from the scientific (manual lymph drainage) to the luxurious (La Prairie caviar face treatments). Perfect for the most rigorous of spa makeovers.
Palace Hotel, Gstaad, Switzerland (00 41 33 748 5000; www.palace.ch). Doubles start at Sf610 (£271) half board from mid-September to mid-June, and Sf590 (£262) during the rest of the year.
Le Mélézin, Courchevel, France
Le Mélézin provides a slice of minimalist Asia in the Alps. The sole European outpost of the luxury Asian Amanresorts, the interior is as stylish as its location on the fashionable Bellecôte piste in Courchevel. Here, pampering is elevated to an art form - pass between two stone columns for a signature massage détente in the spa, a peaceful haven illuminated by a glass pyramid skylight. The Turkish hammam, with Capri-stone walls and vaulted ceiling, provides the perfect sanctuary for weary post-piste limbs.
Le Mélézin, Rue de Bellecôte, Courchevel 1850, France (00 33 4 79 08 01 33; www.amanresorts. com). Doubles start at €580 (£398), room only. The hotel closes for the summer on 9 April.
St Regis, Aspen, US
A majestic redbrick edifice at the foot of Ajax Mountain, the St Regis is a fashionable skiing retreat. A trip to the east wing leads to the Remède spa, which opened a year ago. It features 15 treatment rooms, an oxygen lounge, steam room, vapour caves, whirlpool and a yoga studio. From tailor-made après-ski massages to facials and seaweed mineral wraps, treatments cover the normal spa spectrum. The pièce de résistance is the Confluence, a swirling stonewall pool with hot and cold waterfalls, inspired by the natural springs of Colorado.
St Regis Resort, Aspen, Colorado, US (001 970 920 3300; www.stregis.com/aspen). Doubles start at $543 (£307), room only.
Les Fermes de Marie Megève, France
An idyllic wooden lodge in glamorous Megève, thisis an elegant take on the traditional ski chalet. And at its heart lies the Pure Altitude spa, which has stone fountains, walls made from tree trunks, and its own range of products inspired by the surroundings and based on the native edelweiss plant. The treatments are as in tune with the Alpine landscape as the products, with snow crystal exfoliation treatments and oil body packs as well as an extensive array of massages.
Les Fermes de Marie, Chemin de Riante Colline, Megève, France (00 33 4 50 93 03 10; www.fermesdemarie.com). Doubles start at €198 (£136), room only.
La Pleta Baqueira-Lleida, Spain
A chic lodge in the Pyrenees, La Pleta is the winter retreat for style-conscious Spaniards. Filled with dark wood and cream furnishings, it has 67 rooms with mountain views. The Occitania Spa, which opened last year, is filled with candles, white drapes and the scent of pine and juniper, and provides the ultimate break from slogging it out on the slopes. Treatments use Pyrenean herbs and fruit such as essence of cassis, orange tree oil and Catalan blackberries. Swiss showers, snow baths and a steam room complete the pampering.
La Pleta Hotel & Spa, Baqueira-Lleida, Spain (00 34 973 645 550; www.lapleta.com). Doubles start at €188 (£129), including breakfast.
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