Winter is coming. Well, at least in the northern Hemisphere of the planet. Prospects of a white Christmas, holiday markets and ski getaways come to mind… but alas – ‘tis not possible for us Malaysians this 2020.
Despite this, the good news is that winter lasts until February, and some places stay snow-capped for much longer. With news of a possible vaccine around the corner, there is a glimmer of hope for international travel come 2021.
In any case, we’ve scouted for a list of the most gorgeous and luxurious ski resorts around the globe to keep in mind for your next après holiday. Oh, how we’re dreaming of a white Christmas ski getaway…
Nestled in the Coast Mountains 75 miles north of Vancouver, Whistler is widely acclaimed as a year-round getaway destination. The resort boasts two separate mountains to explore, Whistler and Blackcomb – altogether featuring over 8,000 acres of skiable terrain. It’s frequently ranked the number one ski resort in North America, though there’s plenty else to enjoy – from dining at fancy restaurants to visiting art galleries to relaxing at the world-famous Scandinave Spa.
Where to stay: Four Seasons Resort & Residences
Home to 273 lodge guest rooms, hotel suites and townhouses minutes away from Whistler Village, its strategic location offers easy access to the best experiences in the town – in addition to its own ski concierge and private facilities. W fourseasons.com
With the commanding Matterhorn in the backdrop, there are postcard-worthy views at almost every corner in Zermatt. The villages are lined with boutique shops, Michelin-starred restaurants and bustling bars that form its beating heart. There are quaint eateries on the way down the groomed runs too, with a side of unparalleled vistas for dessert.
Where to stay: Grand Hotel Zermatterhof
First opened in 1879, this traditional hotel exudes an old charm – which starts with the pick-up from the train station either by an electric car or in a blue horse-drawn carriage. The hotel itself features storied rooms and halls that have been refurbished with old meets new opulent furnishings. Additionally, it’s home to a 1-Michelin star restaurant, spa, pool, sauna and a large outdoor terrace. W zermatterhorf.com
An enduring favourite among ski regulars, Aspen boasts four mountains to offer diverse terrains for beginners to experts at skiing. Visitors from every corner of the globe flock to the resort (some in their own private jets) not just for the winter sport, but also for prestigious restaurants, landmarks and boutiques. There’s even an Aspen Fashion Week!
Where to stay: The St Regis Aspen Resort
While there are plenty of high-end accommodations in Aspen, The St Regis offers winning vantage points from its 5-star rooms, premier spas, heated outdoor pools and hot tubs. After a day of skiing and exploration, anyone can appreciate 400-thread-count Frette linens, airy marble bathrooms and custom furnishings by Ralph Lauren. W marriott.com
Set in the heart of the Valais region, Verbier is the largest ski area in Switzerland with 410km of runs. Though recognised for advanced and off-piste skiing, there are also several slopes for beginner and intermediate levels – plus a host of luxuries for non-skiers. Despite coronavirus concerns earlier this year, the resort has reopened with extra regulations in place for visitors to safely enjoy the lively night spots, high-end eateries and sporting facilties. (P.S. This is where Princess Eugenie met her husband!)
Where to stay: W Verbier
Launched as the W’s first ski retreat and property in Switzerland, W Verbier brings the brand’s hip, modern identity to the resort town. With ski-in/ski-out access, guests can hit the fresh powder slopes in no time in between relaxing at the indoor heated swimming pool, spa, hammam or in their private rooms. W marriott.com
Courchevel forms a part of Les Trois Vallées in France, one of the largest linked ski areas in the world. Frequented by royalty and celebrities for decades, it often holds skiing championships and sporting events all-year-round. There’s also an Aquamotion water complex, a premium wellness centre and heated pools alongside fine dining and shopping facilities.
Where to stay: Aman Le Melezin
As the sole alpine property of Aman Resorts, this ultra-luxurious resort spares no expense to offer its signature hospitality and amenities to skiers and non-skiers alike. With spacious chambres and suits that come with astounding apres views, the resort promises to wrap you in warmth from the comfort of your room – or its spa, jacuzzi, dining venues and outdoor hot tub. W aman.com
St Moritz, Switzerland
Of course, St Moritz makes the list. After all, it’s the birthplace of alpine tourism since 1864, attracting royals and the rich and famous. Not to mention, it has hosted two Winter Olympics. Titles aside, the Swiss mountain resort town features natural mineral springs, gourmet restaurants, historic landmarks and state-of-the-art infrastructure for skiing and all kinds of winter activities.
Where to stay: Hotel Kulm
Awarded the “Hotel of the Year 2018” by GaultMillau Switzerland, Hotel Kulm has 164 rooms and suites to offer with views of the picturesque Engadine mountains and/or Lake Moritz. Complete with an equally award-winning spa and haute cuisine, guests are ensured an exquisite respite after skiing or visiting the neighbouring boutiques. W kulm.com
Deer Valley, Utah
Utah’s Deer Valley is another ski location for the high-rollers and avid skiers with its combination of expansive skiable terrain, cultural and film festivals and mountain lodgings. More discreet and refined than its neighbouring Park City, the ski destination is commonly ranked among the top in North America and boasts upscale amenities including art galleries and specialty boutiques.
Where to stay: Montage Deer Valley
Home to a 35,000-square-foot spa sanctuary, 29 treatment rooms and a bowling alley, Montage Deer Valley is unrivalled in luxury experiences at the resort town/ Thanks to its mid-mountain location, guests can enjoy ski-in ski-out access to the slopes. Throw in the 400-thread-count Egyptian cotton sheets and gas fireplace and you’re in ski heaven. W montagehotels.com
Gstaad was once famously called the ‘last paradise in a crazy world’ by Julie Andrews – for good reason. Featuring cross-country ski slopes and hiking trails, Gstaad attracts a healthy mix of visitors including winter sports enthusiasts and families. Peppering the car-free idyllic mountain village are museums, public parks, posh restaurants and leisure amenities embodying the town’s “come up, slow down” motto.
Where to stay: Gstaad Palace
One of the most ritzy accommodations here is Gstaad Palace, which has over a century of history to its name. Many international stars have graced its halls for galas or booked one of its suites, huts or rooms to cosy up in, including Louis Armstrong and Marlene Dietrich. With a slew of dining and wining locations and wellness facilities in on site, luxury is uncompromised. W palace.ch
Photos courtesy of respective establishments