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7 of the best luxury ski resorts for a five-star experience

Exclusive resorts, from Colorado to Hokkaido, are home to a wealth of catered chalets, groomed pistes and Michelin-starred restaurants

Natalie Wilson
Monday 16 October 2023 08:41 BST
Chalets complete with hot tubs line are easily found in luze ski resorts
Chalets complete with hot tubs line are easily found in luze ski resorts (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

If the unbecoming lug of skis back from the slopes has you envious of the privately chauffeured other side of the mountain, it’s time to join in with your own glamorous winter getaway.

Picture indulging in delectable regional dishes from personal chefs, Michelin-star dining and exhaustive pillow menus, or upgrading your après pints to champagne flutes as you peruse high-end Alpine boutiques. From the Swiss slopes of Zermatt to the pistes of Vail in Colorado, it’s not just the snow that sparkles.

Bespoke adventure sports, including heliskiing, meet private ski instructors and pre-warmed boots in these prestigious resorts, while chalet board accommodation ensures there’s post-slope cake and canapes waiting, with a side of steamy hot tub sessions.

Here are the world’s most exclusive ski resorts for a five-star holiday, and the lavish gondola-hugging chalets to book for unrivalled luxury off-piste.

Zermatt, Switzerland

At the foot of the Matterhorn Zermatt’s rustic charm and designer boutiques exude elegance (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

With 360km of high-altitude slopes, Zermatt is an oasis for advanced skiers to cruise down linked blues and tackle advanced reds at the foot of the Matterhorn. Rustic charm oozes from the Swiss resort’s chalet lodgings and the car-free town is where you’ll find glitzy brands – Moncler to Omega – if you fancy a taste of the finer things in life.

Read more on ski holidays:

How to ski in Zermatt

Ski Solutions offers a seven-night stay at Ulysse 8, a five-star chalet in Zermatt, for £1,565pp, chalet board, and with a ski instructor available from Monday to Friday at no extra cost. Six cosy bedrooms sleep 12 keen skiers in the chalet opposite the charming Winkelmatten chapel, a short walk from the Matterhorn Express gondola, and wellness rooms that guarantee relaxation after a day on the slopes. Departing 13 January 2024.

Return flights from London Luton to Zurich Airport from £107 with easyJet in January.

Megève, France

This exclusive destination in the Alps twinkles in front of Mont Blanc (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

A popular French resort for cross-country trails, Megève guarantees great skiing on 400km of slopes while exuding luxury in extravagant chalets between adventures on the pistes. Plenty of French bistros, boutiques and Michelin-starred favourites are within walking distance of traditional five-star hotels, and views of Mont Blanc compliment al fresco morning coffees.

How to ski in Megève

Oxford Ski has a contemporary catered chalet in the heart of Megève, Chalet Ariana, that sleeps up to 10 adults and four children in six en-suite bedrooms. Standout features include an indoor swimming pool, boot warmers and proximity to the Chamois gondola. A seven-night stay in the luxury accommodation, including daily housekeeping and advice from a resort expert, will set groups back a hefty €14,750 (£12,720). Departing 3 December 2023.

Return flights from London Luton to Geneva Airport from £51 with Wizz Air in December.

Whistler, Canada

North America’s largest ski resort oozes prestige (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Canada’s Whistler, North America’s largest ski resort at the base of the Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains, is legendary for its steep off-piste trails, peak-to-peak gondola ride and high-end après bars. Besides the sparkling layer of snow from November to April, prestige chalets house world-class spa facilities. Expect over 200 piste runs, oyster menus and live music sessions during a glam Whistler ski holiday.

How to ski in Whistler 

Inghams is offering seven nights at the prestigious chateau-style Fairmont Chateau Whistler, below Whistler’s Blackcomb Mountain, from £1,559pp, based on four adults sharing, including return flights from London Heathrow, access to the hotel’s health club and a shuttle that runs into Whistler Village. Departing 1 December 2023.

Vail, USA

Celebrated après and scenic gondola rides dot Colorado’s pistes (Getty Images)

This Colorado resort is North America’s premium ski destination and the third-largest mountain ski resort in the US. Vail’s iconic peaks, celebrated après and glamorous villages foster an exclusive atmosphere for travellers to share piste stories over Swiss-style fondue, likely in the company of some famous faces.

How to ski in Vail

With Iglu Ski, sophisticated skiers can spend seven nights at the ski-in, ski-out Arrabelle in Lionshead Village from £1,888.50pp. On-site spa facilities, a rooftop pool and a lavish plaza of boutiques complement the old-world opulence, and the Eagle Bahn gondola is right outside. Departs 2 December 2023.

Return flights from London Heathrow to Eagle County Regional Airport from £868 with United in January.

Lech, Austria

High-end hotels in Alpine Austria’s Lech see shedloads of snow (and famous faces) (Getty Images)

Almost 305km of pistes welcome – almost guaranteed – shedloads of snow each season in the Austrian Alpine resort of Lech, making it the deluxe spot for seasoned skiers to holiday in lavish hotels and chalets. An extensive lift network, the legendary White Ring circuit, transports skiers not only to well-groomed runs lined with firs but elegant apres ski haunts above the upmarket Alpine village.

How to ski in Lech

Bramble Ski offers a grand alpine retreat, Chalech M, with rich wooden interiors and just a three-minute walk from the Schlosskopf chairlift. Highlights of the all-inclusive stay include a complimentary ski instructor for the first two days, pre-dinner canapés and champagne, and an in-resort driver service until 1am. The decadent six-bedroom space, complete with a spa, sleeps 10 for a cool €46,790 (£40,444) per week.

Return flights from London Gatwick to Innsbruck Airport from £64 with easyJet in November.

Ólafsfjörður, Iceland

Ólafsfjörður offers thrillseekers heli adventures in north Iceland (Getty Images)

Ólafsfjörður, a small fishing village on northern Iceland’s Troll Peninsula, is a haven for heliskiing across 4,000km of terrain, with over 256 marked landings. Wellness hotels can be found the rugged landscape, with geothermal pools ideal for decompressing. Intrepid skiers lusting for the ultimate exclusive adventure can fly between March and June, then ski from summit to sea on Ólafsfjörður’s bespoke backcountry journeys.

How to ski in Ólafsfjörður

Scandic Guides offers a five-day heli-assisted ski touring package with professional mountain guides from €4,990pp (£4,314.69). There’ll be two summit heli drops per day and five nights of accommodation at the luxe Sigló Hotel, including of all meals and airport transfers.

Return flights from London Gatwick to Akureyri Airport from £55 with easyJet in November.

Niseko, Japan

Japan’s premier ski destination blends year-round powder with ski chalet sushi (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

A magnet for Asia’s elite, Niseko on Hokkaido Island is not short of deep “champagne” powder, traditional onsen hot springs and platters of après sushi at mountainside Michelin restaurants – there’s a reason it’s considered Japan’s best. With 51km of pistes, the powder playground is a maze of groomed runs and tree-weaving trails for skiers to enjoy before they retire to grand hotels with sprawling Mount Yotei views.

How to ski in Niseko

Crystal Ski Holidays has seven nights B&B at the Hilton Niseko Village, less than a minute’s walk to the Niseko gondola. It’s home to three Japanese restaurants, welcomes skiers enjoy après in the hotel’s onsen, and has views of the volcano, Mount Yōtei, from its elegant hotel rooms. From £1,994pp, including return flights from London Heathrow, 23kg luggage per person and airport coach transfers. Departing 26 February 2024.

Read our reviews of the best ski hotels in Europe

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