It may be the norm for British skiers to hire private chalets when skiing in the Alps, but this winter ushers in an abundance of new Alpine hotels worth noting. Pick of the bunch is the Four Seasons Hotel Megève, the brand’s first Alpine opening and the French resort’s only slopeside hotel.
A collaboration between the venerable hotel company and Edmond de Rothschild Heritage group, the 55-room property comprises three interlinked timber and stone chalets set at the base of the pistes of Mont d’Arbois. When it opens on December 15, a trusty ski valet will be in attendance to carry guests’ skis to the lift (unless the concierge is instead arranging a helicopter transfer to nearby Chamonix, Courchevel or Val d’Isère).
Four Seasons Hotel Megeve
Afterwards, guests can dine at Megève’s celebrated Le 1920 (the two Michelin-starred restaurant has relocated to the property); admire an art collection provided by Baroness Ariane de Rothschild; choose from 12,000 bottles during a private tasting in the wine cellar; or retreat to the largest hotel spa in the region, a 10,000sq ft snow-white haven with indoor-outdoor pool.
Terminal Neige Refuge du Montenvers
Frequent visitors to Megève will also be familiar with the Sibuet family’s plush line of eponymous hotels, which dot the town. The son of the company’s founders, Nicolas Sibuet, this season opens Terminal Neige Refuge du Montenvers, perched 6,725ft up the flanks of Mont Blanc, at the foot of the spectacular Mer de Glace glacier.
It’s an interesting proposition: young adults ready for their first solo skiing holiday are a target audience (with their parents perhaps choosing to stay at Hameau Albert 1er, 20 minutes away in Chamonix), and the hope is that it will serve as a gateway to the family’s more established properties. Among the 20 rooms is a 10-person dormitory, but the best abodes are the suites (from €350/£315), with unbroken views of the glacier and surrounding peaks, claw-foot bathtubs and timber-clad bedrooms.
The Six Senses Residences in Courchevel
In Courchevel 1850, the K2 Collection is expanding its portfolio with the opening of K2 Djola, a “little brother” to the resort’s K2 Palace and K2 Altitude. While less extravagant than its siblings, the intimate 24-room retreat shows the same commitment to design and is, conveniently, steps from the main Croisette lift hub.
In Switzerland, lakeside Arosa has long been a favourite winter haunt of well-heeled Swiss skiers, yet it remains under the radar of most British travellers. Launching there this month, the Valsana Hotel is set to bring a dash of quirky luxury to the tranquil town – interiors are by Carlo Rampazzi, the man behind Tschuggen Grand in Arosa and the Carlton in St Moritz, and feature bold floral-design furnishings, ethnic prints and encaustic tiles. The hotel’s open-plan bar and restaurant promises to be the most popular place in town this season.
As for other hot spots, Kitzbühel, in Austria, and Crans-Montana, in Switzerland, should be increasingly attractive destinations in seasons to come. Following last year’s opening of the Six Senses Residences in Courchevel, the hotel group has announced it will open properties in the aforementioned resorts – but fans of the brand will need to wait until 2020.