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Mountain highs

Escaping the hordes and immersing yourself in nature has never been easier with the emerging trend of luxury ski hotels and chalets at altitude. Offering both seclusion and fresh tracks every morning, these properties ooze relaxation and the chance to get ahead of – and apart from - the crowd. With more on the way, Abi Butcher reveals some of the best so far


Built by local restaurateur Jean-Claude Borel in an old cable-car station, Le Refuge de Solaise is one of France’s highest hotels, set at 2,551m with floor-to-ceiling windows to maximise the wide-reaching views of the surrounding Avalin peaks. The boutique hotel has 16 rooms and four apartments as well as a dormitory with 14 beds (eight singles and three doubles), which make for flexible and surprisingly affordable accommodation for couples, families and groups of friends. Accessed on skis or via the Solaise gondola with private evening lift access for hotel guests, Le Refuge de Solaise offers a retreat from the bustle of Val d’Isère far below. There are three restaurants and bars – The Little Refuge, set on a huge sun terrace with patio heaters, blankets and sheepskin rugs, and Gigi Val d’Isère, inside the main building, both serve Italian and Chilean food every lunchtime and on three evenings a week, while The Bar du Refuge provides breakfast for guests as well as appetising snacks for passing skiers that include local cheese and charcuterie boards. The hotel’s own spa and indoor pool with Jacuzzis give ample opportunity to unwind at the end of a day’s skiing or hiking. Get an early night to make the most of guaranteed fresh tracks in the morning.

Credit Andy Parant and Thibaut Micoewska 11

Travel Details

Doubles from £680 (private); £237 (in dormitory). 00 33 458 830 090,


Waves of gold-coloured steel on the exterior of the AlpenGold, designed by Munich architects Oikios, give the impression of a giant pine cone in a forest deep in the Graubünden Alps. Set above Lake Davos at 1,600m, AlpenGold is the place for seekers of a fully immersive nature experience, with direct links to the cross-country trails of Davos and a 1,200sq m nature spa with indoor and outdoor pools, 14 treatment rooms plus saunas and steam baths. Three restaurants and a lounge bar provide a choice of cuisines for guests staying in its 216 rooms, the pinnacle of which is La Muña, the highest restaurant in Davos, serving an Asian and Peruvian fusion – dishes include black cod marinated in saikyo miso or red tuna ceviche with sesame. Italian classics are the order of the day at Sapori, while in the Cheese Factory raclette and fondue are served alongside a variety of mountain potato from the Albulatal Valley exclusive to the AlpenGold. The lounge bar, Nuts & Co, conjures cocktails inspired by the surrounds and making good use of the fruits of the forest.

Agd property exterior hotel HD

Travel Details

Doubles from £404; suites from £786. 00 41 81 414 0400,


Tucked in a sunny, sheltered position at 1,800m on the south face of the Plose massif in South Tyrol, Forestis has been a healing sanctuary for more than a century. It was first established in 1912 as an outpost for environmental research and as a tuberculosis sanatorium, but became a hotel at the turn of this century before being entirely redesigned again in 2020 to create a peaceful, sun-drenched refuge where the emphasis is still on the healing power of nature. This ski-in, ski-out hotel has a direct connection to the small Plose ski region, home to the longest valley run in South Tyrol. There’s also hiking, snowshoeing and ski touring from the doorstep, and an immense spa offers treatments based on the four elements of nature and the four native mountain trees: mountain pine, spruce, larch and stone pine. In the step-shaped restaurant, which is set up to provide guests with seclusion andprivacy at every table, executive chef Roland Lamprecht orchestrates ‘forest cuisine’ from produce brought to the doorstep by local farmers or foraged from the surrounding forests. To stay here is to hide, regenerate and restore.


Travel Details

Doubles from £567. 00 39 0472 521 008,


One of the first of several luxury Alpine hotels to be created in an old gondola station, the south-facing Chetzeron offers far-reaching panoramic views of the Rhône Valley, over neighbouring Anzère and across to Nendaz. Built at an elevation of 2,112m with cutting-edge environmental and energy-management technologies, the hotel’s 16 junior suites and rooms have been designed in urban-Alpine style to match its surroundings, with stone and oak evoking the chalets of the region. Guests must journey to the Chetzeron by skis, on foot or in an all-terrain vehicle/snowcat, and immersive experiences include outdoor barbecues, snowshoeing or languishing in the recently added heated outdoor pool. Skiers flock here for a sunny lunch on one of the four panoramic terraces and by night hotel guests are treated to an exclusive menu created this winter by two-Michelin-starred consultant chef Christophe Hardiquest. Raw wines by the glass and homemade liqueurs accompany local, contemporary slow food cuisine, created from produce sourced directly from farms including meat from the Boucherie du Rawyl – come back in summer to enjoy it grilled on the Feuerring fire pit.

Chetzeron 9

Travel Details

Doubles from £520. 00 41 27 485 08 00,


With views of the Piz Forbesch Mountains, this family-run boutique hotel with just 12 rooms sits at 2,000m in the little-known Savognin ski area close to the historic Maiensäss village of Radons in Graubünden canton. Redesigned and reimagined in 2020, in winter the Berghuus is accessible only on skis or the hotel snowmobile. Making the most of its remote location means pre-booking your ski equipment for the 80km of slopes nearby, and you can borrow snow shoes for a hike or hire a mountain guide to take you ski touring. Chef and owner Fadri Arpagaus creates high-end classics from Bündnerland and the Grisons, using the freshest local produce – in response, he says, to guests’ requests for less international fusion. Bread is brought by a farmer who bakes in her wooden stove, along with honey, jam and cheese and the hotel even produces its own beef, using everything from nose to tail. Finish your meal with their famous Berghuus Schnapps made with handpicked Swiss stone pine cones.

ST 3x2 Berghuus Radons 62726 COPYRIGHT studio at noeflum ch

Travel Details

Doubles from £397 including breakfast. 00 41 81 659 1010,


This is the spot to get first tracks – owned by the Scheiber family since 1961, the TOP Hotel Hochgurgl is set directly on the piste at 2,150m, with panoramic views of the Ötztal Alps. The Obergurgl-Hochgurgl ski resort is a family favourite but hides secret stashes of untouched off-piste for the more adventurous, with a long ski season since snow is generally guaranteed here all the way through from November to May. There’s plenty of room at this big hotel, with 30 rooms and 41 suites over seven floors – and they all come with balconies, as well as access to the 1,110sq m mountain spa with its saunas, herbal bath and salt grotto. The TOP Hotel has a handy in-house ski shop as well as direct links to Austria’s highest ski school. The two restaurants serve daily-changing, five-course menus heavily featuring Tyrolean classics such as wiener schnitzel and kaiserschmarrn; complemented with wines hand-picked by hotel director and sommelier Martin Kuprian, from one the highest cellars in the Alps.

Tophotel SPA HR 002

Travel Details

Doubles from £317 including half board. 00 43 5256 6265,


Chalet Fourmiliere, France

In Morzine, a resort in the French Alps on the edge of the Swiss border, this converted old farmhouse dating back to 1805 is all about offering the home-from-home feel. A ‘country house in the Alps’, it has six bedrooms, all with en suite and with every luxury trimming you’d want, including a pool table and hot tub. THE DETAIL Doubles from £3,100 for seven nights (£221pp per night); exclusive-use chalet sleeping 15 from £15,700 for seven nights (£149pp per night). 07710 328586,

L’Armancette, France
Set in the Plateau de la Croix, off the track in the Evasion Mont-Blanc area that forms Megève, Saint-Nicolas and Saint-Gervais, L’Armancette Hôtel also offers secluded luxury in three mountain chalets for between eight and 14 guests. Constructed from old wood and Savoyard stone, the chalets offer many of the services of the fivestar hotel – Aster & Spa comes with private spa facilities – and à la carte services including private chefs, masseurs and babysitters. THE DETAIL Chalets sleeping eight from £2,165 per night (£270pp). 00 33 4 5078 6600,

Le Bouitte, France

In a quiet corner of the Three Valleys, this three-Michelin-starred restaurant with rooms is tucked away in the tiny Savoie village of Saint-Marcel. Run by the Meilleur family for more than 40 years, chef-owners René and Marie-Louise serve Savoyard specialities to those who make the extra effort to find their hideaway in order to enjoy such delights as chamois in brown broth, poached foie gras, borlotti beans and chopped lovage. The cheeseboard is a highlight – La Bouitte offers a selection of 40 local varieties from the Savoie and Haute Savoie regions. THE DETAIL Doubles from £395. 00 33 4 7908 9677,

überHaus, Austria
Set high in the hamlet of Oberlech in the snowy Arlberg region, this exquisite contemporary Alpine chalet sleeps 10 adults and four children, with facilities that include a home cinema and ski-in terrace with glass-bottomed hot tub. There’s a ski butler to guide you around the slopes, use of toboggans and a cocktail bar and fire-pit for après, with a private chef and concierge to cater for your every whim. THE DETAIL Chalet sleeping 14 from £47,500 for seven nights (£484pp per night).

White Deer San Lorenzo Mountain Lodge, Italy
This former hunting lodge in San Lorenzo di Sebato dates back to the 16th century and offers a unique mountain experience in the forests of Val Pusteria overlooking the Puster Valley in the Dolomites. Guests can ski in and ski out – the best way to reach the secluded four-bedroom lodge (though private helicopter to the property’s own helipad in an option too). You’ll dine on local and Mediterranean-inspired dishes in a room where once Speck ham was smoked, feasting on local South Tyrolean dishes and wine. Come back in autumn to hunt and forage with owners Giorgia and Stefano. THE DETAIL Lodge sleeping six from £3,500 per night (£583pp). 00 39 0474 404042

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Travel Details

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