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Ski Trends 2014
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Ski Trends 2014
There’s Much More To Winter in the Mountains Than Just Skiing
Think slope-side gastro cuisine, ‘home from home’ uber-luxe and fabulous activities for non-skiers
Ardent ski bunnies may be happy with just the white stuff, but there’s so much more to mountain holidays than skiing and more skiing. From Verbier and The Dolomites reputation as gourmet destinations to Megeve’s shopping mecca, there’s everything from dog-sledding, heli-tours, cookery lessons and even golf going on in The Alps this winter.
A foodie’s guide to the slopes
Verbier is home to a kaleidoscope of legendary restaurants. Perfect piste-side pitstops include the bright, airy and child-friendly Le Dahu (accessible by gondola for non-skiiers) and the bustling and atmospheric La Vache at the top of Les Attelas chair, opened last winter by 3 celebrity Verbier fans including James Blunt, Lawrence Dallaglio and Carl Fogarty.
Cosy chalet charm is the vibe at Le Namaste, a nineteenth century panelled gem below the blue Planards. Valais cuisine is on the menu finished off, in the evening, by an (optional) quick toboggan run down to the village for the fun-loving. Chez Dany is another snuggly charmer, just off the red Harrey, specialising in imaginative local cuisine and also open in the evening with a snowmobile or toboggan return.
For the adventurous after hearty Swiss mountain fare, Les Chottes is a fabulous converted barn next to the eponymous draglift en route to the far end of the 4 valleys, whilst Cabane Tortin is a blissfully isolated hideaway beside the glacier and only accessible by experts or on snowshoes.
Back in the village, Cordee des Alpes serves Alpine haute cuisine in glamourous open-plan surroundings whilst La Grange defies its unprepossessing exterior with delicious homely gourmet food and an impressive wine list to boot. More relaxed options include Fer a Cheval, a lively favourite with locals and seasonaires and the basement Le Caveau, a cheese-lover’s dream with raclette and fondues to die for.
A hit with locals for its terrific value regional cuisine, Relais des Neiges remains ever popular whilst the Offshore Café, with its surfer dude décor, pink VW beetle inside the door and delicious brunch/burger offerings, is packed with instructors …..no need to say more.
To sample Verbier’s culinary delights, stay in Chalet Bella Coola, a spectacular new sensation on the Verbier scene. Full of surprises, this traditional-looking chalet conceals a host of designer delights, ranging from ultra-modern bathrooms and kitchens to 4 sumptuous en-suite double bedrooms reminiscent of the Raj and a triple single for extras. Add in a master suite complete with study, dressing room, bathroom and private terrace, fully networked entertainment systems, in-house massages and beauty treatments, a brilliantly stocked vaulted wine cellar and full-sized Jo Malone toiletries for total bliss.
Alternatively, Chalet Montana is one of Verbier’s most stylish private homes. A palatial ski-in ski-out expanse set over 4 floors linked by stairs and an elevator, it offers a soothing yet lavish décor with neutral fabrics, reclaimed 17th century wooden panelling, carved 18th century ceilings and natural stone floors. It also has sensational views, an enormous library with a home cinema, 7 deliciously comfortable bedrooms with dedicated bathrooms, a huge children’s playroom cum disco and oodles of space.
Having one’s cake and eating it is the deal in the Dolomites, where a private rental with the full service back up of a seriously swanky hotel is a dream combination come true. In the heart of San Cassiano in Alta Badia, Hotel Rosa Alpina is the elegant mothership for Penthouse Alpina, offering room service, a Michelin star restaurant and the facilities of the 5 star Daniela Steiner spa as part of the package. Set within Rosa Alpina itself, the luxurious and intimate 2 bedroom Penthouse Alpina is the epitome of contemporary mountain chic.
Much more to Megeve than snow
For those not into skiing, there can be few more alluring mountain escapes than Megeve. Shopping here is an art form, with an array of world class shops that knocks most capital cities into the shade. There are sensational restaurants and spas, endless non-skiing activities for taking in that exhilarating mountain air without the slippy stuff and, just minutes away, one of the coolest chalets in the Alps. For sheer modern élan, there’s little to beat Chalet One Oak. With floor to ceiling windows, stunning views, a lavish contemporary décor, a master suite with a private balcony, fireplace and jacuzzi, a chef who excels in culinary pyrotechnics and intuitive service that produces that glass of champagne before the thought has even crystallised, this is chalet chic at its very best.
Active escapes in the Dolomites
Or for a really whacky winter interlude, why not head to San Lorenzo Mountain Lodge in the Dolomites and throw in a hole or two of unforgettable winter golf? This stunning chalet is quite simply one of the most outstanding properties in Europe. It lies within an idyllic 42 acre estate, cocooning guests in privacy and luxury, pampering them with sublime levels of service and surrounding them with jaw-dropping views over three valleys, countless hilltop village forts and, incredibly, the lodge’s own 19 hole golf course.
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