Skiing and snowboarding are both exciting pursuits and terrific exercise – we’d never say otherwise! There’s nothing like zipping down the slopes, leaving a spray of powder in your wake. However, there are times when the thought of suiting up and getting on the chairlifts is… well, it’s just too much work. Thankfully, our alpine hotels feature a range of activities to keep you relaxed, happy and suitably entertained while the rest of the family hurls themselves downhill.
It’s not just for those who wish to ease sore muscles after a day on-piste. Our favourite ski hotels all come with a fully-equipped spa for guests. Hotel Bellerive in Zermatt, Switzerland is no exception – not only does it feature jacuzzis in which to soak, but also jacuzzis, a hammam, solariums and a full range of massages on offer. Don’t feel guilty – think of it as a chance to revitalise and spend a few hours of blessed tranquility while the kids or the other half enjoys some quality time on the slopes. Besides, the mountains are hardly going anyway, are they?
With ski-bunnies and alpine aficionados flocking to ski resorts, high-end shopping was always going to follow closely behind. Now, many ski resorts are just as likely to feature a Prada stockist as they are ski-hire shop . If you’ve found yourself at the Hermitage Bio Hotel in the Breda Dolomites, you’ll find this region is no different. Alongside a number of fashion boutiques, the small village of Madonna di Campiglio is also home to delicatessens and artisanal food producers, stocking a delightful range of local produce for you to sample and take home. Better yet, the village is pretty much devoid of traffic, so you can wander to you heart’s content. Once you’re done, may we suggest you head back to the hotel and dine in the hotel’s restaurant, Stube Heritage? Yes, thought you might like that. (Image credit: Campiglio Dolomiti)
There’s a funny correlation between the mountains and a good bottle of wine – it seems that where ski resorts are found, excellent wine-producing regions can be found close by. Don’t believe us? Consider Samoëns in the French Alps – as part of the Haute Savoie region, it is known for its dry whites and intense reds, grown from grapes that enjoy an exceptional amount of sunlight. Should you decide to stay in the Villa Rose, the village’s beautiful boutique hotel, you will be able to sample a wide selection of the local tipple in the restaurant and bar. Indeed, the hotel is known for the wine tastings and festivals that take plac throughout the year. Personally, we can’t think of a better way to spend your time in the fresh mountain air than with a glass in your hand. (Image credit: Samoëns Ski Resort)
While there are many beautiful vistas to be taken in as you ski or snowboard, the ultimate way to take in mountain views is by helicopter. On clear days, you can see for up to fifty miles across the mountains, making for some truly spectacular photographs. Many of our ski hotels, including Hameau Les Cleves, Hotel Paradies and Hotel Spa La Torre, offer both planned and bespoke helicopter tour services nearby, for small groups.
If you dig gliding along, just not necessarily downhill at a forty-five degree angle, you’re in luck. Ice-skating rinks at ski resorts allow for the graceful (and not so graceful) to show their stuff at a slightly slower pace than their cousins on the piste. Great for kids, most resorts offer ice-skate hire alongside skis so those who might initially be reluctant can have a go. Try it out at Chalet Cygnet, Montagne Alternative and Hotel Spa La Torre, Best of all, where there’s an ice-skating rink there’s usually a stand selling vin au chaud – the perfect medicinal drop for those who might have taken a tumble.
Why do all the work when you can ride in style? It used to be that sleighs, pulled by dogs or horses, were vital to the survival of alpine communities. Now, they’re a pleasant way of taking in ski resorts throughout the French and Swiss Alps. Our hotels, Aiguille Grive Chalet, Hotel Ermitage and Sasso Al Melo all boast sleigh ride services close by. Sleigh rides are great for the whole family, especially the younger members. Kids will love interacting with the animals, asking questions of the driver and the whole experience can make for some fantastic memories. Remember to take your camera!
Just because you’re on top of the world, doesn’t mean those in search of a culture fix have to go without. Alpine regions often boast tremendous cultural treasures, a legacy of their important past as trading posts. Our favourite ski resorts are no exception. Near Hotel Bellerive in Zermatt, the ‘Matterhorn Museum’, a museum dedicated to the incredible story of the first summiting of the Matterhorn. Over in Samoens, near the Villa Rose, the beautiful medieval church and the chapel trail are a must-see for history and art obsessives. Finally, if you find yourself at the Hermitage Bio Hotel, you must explore the churches in the vicinity with their outstanding medieval frescoes and nativity scenes.
Alpine regions are made for walking, especially during the winter. Indeed, you can get some of the best mountain views from high trails. Pack some lunch in a small backpack, take your camera and prepare to get some awesome pictures of your alpine playground. Our hotels, Hotel Bellerive, Bentley’s House and Hotel Bellevue Wiesen all boast excellent walking trails nearby, with routes clearly signposted.
With most of our ski resorts located in the alpine range that divides western and central Europe, you will encounter a shared cuisine with its own unique charms. Raclette and fondue are cheesy delights best enjoyed in a group, while Switzerland, Italy and France all have their own distinct spins on smoked sausage and pork – the perfect thing for hungry skiiers to fill up on. That’s not to say you you have to forgo modern, contemporary cuisine during your stay -many of our hotels boast a number of restaurants offering Michelin-star dining, such as Hotel Paradies and Bentley’s House. Still, we don’t think you can go past the simple, hearty delights offered at traditional eateries, like the Stube Hermitage at Heritage Bio Hotel.
Tempted? Got you over the line? Go on, make a booking today!