Book It: Seven incredible hotels for a European skiing holiday

STELLA magazine writers
Suvretta House is a Belle Epoque masterpiece in the Swiss resort of St Moritz

Dust off your snowsuit and buckle up. We’ve trawled the snowy peaks of Europe for the best ski destinations… and brought you some corkers...

 

Das Central, Sölden, Austria

Best for… wine buffs

This showstopping hotel strikes a fine balance: it is deeply luxurious, and yet feels cosy with home comforts. Bedrooms have soft blankets, bleached-oak floors and expansive windows. After a hard day on the slopes, retire to one of the hotel’s five restaurants – our favourite is Ice Q, almost 10,000ft above sea level, which was the stunning setting for scenes from the Bond film, Spectre. Try the local lamb, accompanied by the hotel's own wine, Pino 3000, which has a distinctively crisp taste. 

Stella loves: The spa – try the 45-minute salt and grape-seed massage, which is beautifully soothing and set us up for our best night’s sleep in ages. 

Out and about: For ski hire, Intersport is a minute from the hotel. Complimentary coaches shuttle you from the hotel to ski lifts, three minutes away. Afterwards, warm up with cocktails at the lively Paparazzi Café & Bar – the negronis aren’t to be missed. Diehard Bond fans should visit 007 Elements, a themed ‘cinematic installation’ that reveals the process of making of the films. There's also a gift shop with Bond memorabilia.

From £169 per person, per night, based on two people sharing on a half-board basis; central-soelden.com

Das Central strikes a fine balance between luxury and homely comfort

The best hotels in Tyrol

Suvretta House, St Moritz, Switzerland

Best for... old-school luxury lovers

The Belle Epoque exterior of this majestic place, which calls to mind the Grand Budapest Hotel, rises out of the trees of the Upper Engadine mountains. Open since 1912, the hotel has a glamorous history: it was in the ballroom that dancer Vaslaw Nijinsky performed for the last time in front of an audience. Today, the mix of guests includes young families as well as lifelong regulars, who can be seen playing bridge in the wood-panelled lobby. For dinner, choose between the formal Grand Restaurant (the coffee mousse and lemon emulsion with hazelnut brittle must be tried) and the casual Stubbe, which serves generous helpings of fondue. Breakfast is opulent, and Bollinger is served on Sunday mornings.

Stella loves: The curling masterclasses, held at the hotel.

Out and about: Between December and April, a private ski lift transports guests to more than 127.5 miles of downhill runs, ideal for both beginners and expert skiers. The glitz of St Moritz is a five-minute drive away. Alternatively, make the short walk to Suvretta House's sister dining spot, the rustically romantic Restaurant Chasellas – order the exquisite truffle linguine. Or head to the top of the ski lift (7,250ft above sea level), to Suvretta's mountain hut Trutz, which has striking views – for venison with sharply fresh sauerkraut.

From £517 a night in a double room, based on two people sharing on a half-board basis; suvrettahouse.ch

Read the full expert review: Suvretta House

Open for more than a century, Suvretta House has racked up a glamorous history

The best hotels in St Moritz

Our Retreat, Chamonix, France

Best for… fitness bunnies 

Our Retreat’s ski and fitness breaks are hosted by some of the world’s most in-demand yoga and wellbeing experts, including David Beckham’s former trainer Shona Vertue and Olympic snowboarder Aimee Fuller. Action-packed days begin early with yoga and mobility sessions, followed by a breakfast of overnight oats, avocado, eggs and sourdough to fire up guests for the slopes. Visit different ski areas each day, with stretch sessions afterwards – a gong bath ceremony was held one night during our stay. The beauty is just how effortless everything feels: rooms are quiet and cosy, skiers are guided to the best runs, there’s a banquet-style supper in the evening... All you have to do is concentrate on perfecting your red runs.

Stella loves: The gorgeous Aesop and Sarah Chapman bathroom products.

Out and about: Head to Chamonix spa, a short drive away, and defrost chilled limbs in the swimming-pool-sized hot tub overlooking the mountains. Afterwards, make your way through the sauna, steam and relaxation rooms. Bliss.

Retreats from £1,250 per person for six nights, all-inclusive (including meals, accommodation, classes, activities and airport transfers). Lift passes and ski hire can be purchased on arrival. Dates available from January to March 2020; ourretreat.co.uk

Our Retreat is a quiet and cosy base where great skiing combines with yoga and wellbeing

The best hotels in Chamonix

Schweizerhof Zermatt, Zermatt, Switzerland

Best for... super-stylish jetsetters 

Seconds from the train station on Zermatt’s bustling main street, this is the people-watching epicentre of the ritzy resort’s ski scene, frequented by celebrities and socialites. While the recently renovated hotel is cosy – with fires, sumptuous (faux) fur rugs and wood panelling – traditionally twee it is not; the revamp has turned the interior into a glamorous design-centric space. The après-ski is on-point, with a beautiful cocktail bar and low-lit library, and the food goes a step beyond the usual slopes fare; a restaurant with Peruvian and Japanese influences offers a lighter take. 

Stella loves: The indulgent truffle and champagne fondue served at Cheese Factory, which is owned by the hotel.

Out and about: The hotel is slap-bang in the centre of Zermatt, in close proximity to the ski lifts and lively après-ski scene.

Rooms from £383 a night; schweizerhofzermatt.ch. The Swiss Travel System provides a range of travel passes and tickets; call Switzerland Travel Centre on 00800 100 200 30 or visit swisstravelsystem.co.uk

The après-ski at Schweizerhof Zermatt is on-point, with a beautiful cocktail bar and low-lit library

The best hotels in Zermatt

The Residence, Severin's Alpine Retreat, Lech, Austria

Best for… hardcore foodies

The four-bedroom Residence, decorated in understated modern-Alpine style, feels like a private cocoon, but residents can also use the facilities of the adjoining boutique hotel, accessible via underground tunnels. There’s a beautiful neon-lit subterranean swimming pool, as well as an excellent sauna and steam room. But the highlight is the basement with its packed wine cellar (it contains 3,000 bottles), which doubles as a private dining room. The 24 staff members who tend to the Residence include head chef Kevin Szalai, who whips up Austrian dishes using local produce, much of it sourced from organic farms. During our stay, the venison, Périgord truffles and Jerusalem artichoke adorned with foraged moss and pine were all exquisite – as were the Austrian wines. 

Stella loves: The grand piano in the sitting room, which plays itself. It’s programmed by iPad so you can channel Elton John, Lady Gaga and Alicia Keys all night.

Out and about: After a hard morning on the mountain, ski over to 500-year-old restaurant Alter Goldener Berg for traditional Austrian food. The schnitzel is highly recommended, sourced from local organic farms. 

Rooms from £583 a night for a junior suite, b&b, based on two people sharing; severins-lech.at

Read the full expert review: Severin's Alpine Retreat

Guests in the four-bedroom Residence at Severin's are waited upon by 24 staff members

The best hotels in Lech

Chalet Sapphire, Morzine, France

Best for… big families (who like the finer things)

This grand chalet is ideal for luxury-loving families. Imagine a five-star hotel shrunk to the dimensions of a six-bedroom chalet, complete with a butler, driver and ski fitters and masseuses on hand, and you’ll get an idea of what it’s like, starting with the champagne reception on arrival. The superb chef greets guests before dinner to talk through the menu, which is served on a huge wooden table. There’s also a cinema room, gym, pool, steam room, bar and spa, plus a hot tub. Settle in with a glass of champagne and watch the skiers zip down the mountain. Will you join them? Five more minutes…

Stella loves: Afternoon teas in the fire-lit sitting room.

Out and about: If you’re a strong enough skier, you can get to Switzerland and back, via a network of slopes and cable cars, in a day. Closer to home, break up your day with lunch at Le Vaffieu, a steamy Alpine cabin with decorative saucepans hanging from the ceiling. In the evening, try one of Morzine’s upmarket bars, such as La Chaudanne, which occupies a vaulted cellar. Or, if you’re daring enough, go night-sledging – bumpy but exhilarating. 

Seven nights from £1,870 per person, including breakfast, afternoon tea and dinner on five nights, plus a resort driver and open bar. Rates based on 12 guests sharing; call The Chalet Edit on 020 8133 1130 or visit thechaletedit.com  

Chalet Sapphire alluring features include a cinema room, gym, pool, steam room, bar and spa, and hot tub

The best hotels in Morzine

Chalet Beluga, Avoriaz, France

Best for… serious skiers and snowboarders

This chalet in a blissfully motor-vehicle-free ski resort, with five en-suite bedrooms (it sleeps 10-14), has beautiful west-facing views to take in the sunsets. Best of all, it’s perched on the side of the slope with ski-in/out access (a lift in the chalet whisks you to piste level). Inside, it's cosy yet luxurious, with wood-clad, minimalist rooms and plenty of space for lounging – think squishy sofas and fluffy sheep's-wool cushions. The highlight, though, is the small spa with a pool and hammam to ease achy skied-out muscles. After a hard day, return to a sumptuous feast (the lamb loin with roasted artichokes was delicious), followed by a hearty cooked breakfast the next morning. 

Stella loves: Tea and cake to unwind back at the chalet after a day on the slopes.

Out and about: Avoriaz sits within the Portes du Soleil network of resorts, with over 650km of on-piste and extensive off-piste to explore. Great for both skiers and boarders, it is easy to get around and ideal for all levels of ability. The horse-drawn sleighs are a fun way to tour the resort.

Seven nights from £1,369 per person, based on two people sharing a room on a chalet-board basis (includes return flights and transfers). VIP Ski’s Platinum Service is available with bespoke menus with matched wines, a complimentary minibar, valet parking at the departure airport and a private taxi transfer to the resort. Upgrade prices from £300 to £500. Visit vip-chalets.com or call 020 8875 1957 

Chalet Beluga is perched on the side of the slope with ski-in/out access

Edited by: Laura Powell. Reviews by: Kuchar Swara, Olivia Walmsley, Boudicca Fox-Leonard, Stephen Doig, Tom Ough and Andy Greenacre