Austria: So this is how the other half skis...

The service and luxuries on offer at a sumptuous chalet in St Anton leave Chris Moran feeling rather pampered

I'm bubbling away in the chalet hot tub wondering how to test the tour operator's "nothing is too much trouble" pledge. Should I ask for some champagne to be delivered to the Turkish sauna? See if they'll cut short that evening's five-course meal so that I can watch some television in the private cinema? Have my room filled with white flowers? In the end, I settle for a cup-of-tea wake-up call (which duly arrives at 7.30am) followed by a cooked breakfast, and even then, I can't help feeling a little like a diva.

Welcome to Scott Dunn's Chalet Artemis in St Anton, Austria, a luxurious four-storey pad with a statue of the eponymous Greek goddess on the top floor and a basement crammed with Wellness goodies.

This is not, by any stretch of imagination, a regular ski holiday experience. Known for their sumptuous service and high-end holidays, Scott Dunn's three "Flagship" winter chalets are architectural wonders, with distinct characters. In addition to Artemis, the company has two more abodes in the French resort of Val d'Isère: a hilltop chateau called Eagle's Nest – the mere mention of which is enough to have you gestured past the VIP ropes in every bar in town – and Chalet Le Rocher, a converted farmhouse where antler chandeliers and cow-skin sofas create an atmosphere often described as shabby chic, but with rather more emphasis on the chic.

Artemis is the latest addition to the Flagship roster. The minimalist steel and pine-clad building has a hexagonal shape and houses a sauna, a pool and a Turkish bath in its angular basement. It's the sort of place you imagine Kevin McCloud skiing to after a hard day on the slopes.

It's probably easier to list the things the Flagship service doesn't include: lunches, ski hire and the nanny service (though each can, of course, be arranged for a surcharge). Everything else – including BA Club Europe flights, luxury vehicle transfers, extremely fine wines, masseuse, cocktails, five-course meals, champagne delivered to Turkish baths, your favourite TV in wide-screen surround sound, etc – comes as standard, provided you can stump up the requisite minimum of £325 per person per night.

It's early season when I visit and St Anton is 15 degrees below zero – and being blasted by a ferocious wind. Snowflakes come in sideways, everything is covered in frost, and the slopes are either light, fresh powder, or bullet-proof ice. Perfect conditions to test legs that haven't had much exercise since last spring.

"It's definitely winter," smiles my guide Bruno, an ex-ski racer whose optimism is trumped only by his knowledge of St Anton's secret runs. "Perfect weather for Christmas."

Testing the theory that there are no bad conditions, only bad clothing, we head up on the gondola before ploughing into some deep, epic powder in the trees.

The slopes are empty, and what tracks we make are smoothed by the wind for the next run. Bruno glides effortlessly through the Arctic conditions, while I follow with the grace of a new-born calf.

On the cable car back to the top, I get talking to Andreas Narfstrom, a Swedish snowboarder who just happens to be cycling from Sweden to South Africa. St Anton is a beacon for such types, its mountains forming a powder trap that ensnares young-yet-hardy types.

Most come to take on the steep slopes and powder meadows, in the process turning one of the Alps' oldest resorts into an outdoor adventure conference-cum-university campus (albeit with the world's most expensive student bar).

Mix in a few multimillionaire winter sports fans and it's little wonder that the producers looking for the perfect backdrop for last season's Chalet Girl film settled on the Austrian town: the Cinderella-on-snow storyline mirrors the real clientele well.

Back at Artemis, chef Rob Daley announces the menu. Pre-dinner drinks and snacks include a Mont d'Or mini-fondue followed by a trio of beetroot (some foam, slices and juice imprisoning a goat's cheese cube). Heston Blumenthal would surely approve. This is Alpine cooking with a twist – and each of the courses is utterly outstanding. The backdrop is a 200-bottle wine wall; I feel pampered beyond belief.

While there are plenty of other high-end chalets in the Alps, they tend be privately owned and run. Scott Dunn's tour-operator status is its ace up the sleeve.

An army of unseen operational staff is able to smooth over enough problems to offer a "protection against strikes and ash clouds" guarantee – a service I have need for when my return flight from Innsbruck is cancelled owing to "great Christmas conditions", as Bruno would have it.

Driver Jim effortlessly reprogrammes the luxury people carrier's sat nav towards Munich, as the behind-the-scenes Scott Dunn team switches my flight.

While the formalities are taken care of, I have the option of cracking open the champagne in the transfer hamper (transfer hamper!). Instead, I sit in the passenger seat and chat to Jim about surfing. I can't thank him enough for what will, for him, be a six-hour detour. "Don't worry about it," he says.

It turns out that the "nothing is too much trouble" slogan really works.

Travel ESSENTIALS

Seven nights at the Scott Dunn Flagship Chalet Artemis (020 8682 5050; scottdunn.com/artemis) start from £2,275 per person including return BA Club Europe flights from Gatwick, private transfers, gourmet half-board including full breakfast, afternoon tea and five-course evening meals on six evenings, an experienced Scott Dunn Flagship chef and chalet hosts, Laurent-Perrier champagne and canapés each evening and in-resort driver service.

Suggested Topics
News
Shoppers at Selfridges department store in central London
news

News
Jeremy Paxman has admitted he is a 'one-nation Tory' and complained that Newsnight is made by idealistic '13-year-olds' who foolishly think they can 'change the world'.
peopleFormer Newsnight presenter is being touted for a brand new role
News
Michael Buerk in the I'm A Celebrity jungle 2014
people
Voices
File: David Cameron offers a toast during a State Dinner in his honour March 14, 2012
voicesAnd nobody from Ukip said babies born to migrants should be classed as migrants, says Nigel Farage
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Avatar grossed $2.8bn at the box office after its release in 2009
filmJames Cameron is excited
Arts and Entertainment
Stik on the crane as he completed the mural
art
News
Happy in his hat: Pharrell Williams
people
Arts and Entertainment
Stella Gibson is getting closer to catching her killer
tvReview: It's gripping edge-of-the-seat drama, so a curveball can be forgiven at such a late stage
News
Brazilian football legend Pele pictured in 2011
peopleFans had feared the worst when it was announced the Brazil legand was in a 'special care' unit
News
i100(More than you think)
Sport
Brendan Rodgers seems more stressed than ever before as Liverpool manager
FOOTBALLI like Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
News
The Magna Carta
archaeologyContemporary account of historic signing discovered
News
Phyllis Dorothy James on stage during a reading of her book 'Death Comes to Pemberley' last year
peopleJohn Walsh pays tribute to PD James, who died today
Sport
Benjamin Stambouli celebrates his goal for Tottenham last night
FOOTBALL
Life and Style
Dishing it out: the head chef in ‘Ratatouille’
food + drinkShould UK restaurants follow suit?
News
peopleExclusive: Maryum and Hana Ali share their stories of the family man behind the boxing gloves
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    h2 Recruit Ltd: Sales Manager - Holiday Homes - £100,000 OTE

    £40000 - £60000 per annum + £100,000 OTE: h2 Recruit Ltd: Birmingham, Derby, L...

    Investigo: Finance Manager - Global Leisure Business

    £55000 - £65000 per annum: Investigo: My client, a global leader in their fiel...

    Investigo: Senior Finance Analyst - Global Leisure Business

    £45000 - £52000 per annum + bonus+bens : Investigo: My client, a global leader...

    Investigo: Financial reporting Accountant

    £40000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits : Investigo: One of the fastest growing g...

    Day In a Page

    Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

    Christmas Appeal

    Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
    Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

    Is it always right to try to prolong life?

    Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
    Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

    What does it take for women to get to the top?

    Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
    Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

    Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

    Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
    French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

    French chefs campaign against bullying

    A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
    Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

    Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

    Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
    Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

    Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

    Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
    Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

    Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

    Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
    Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

    Paul Scholes column

    I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
    Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

    Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

    So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
    Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

    Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

    It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
    Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

    Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

    The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
    Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

    Sarkozy returns

    The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
    Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

    Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

    Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
    Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

    Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

    Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game