Travel, Food & Drink

Explore the Snow Globe: Select Ski Resorts

With sophisticated spas, contemporary design, and award-winning cuisine, mountain getaways in resorts worldwide are reaching new peaks of perfection

Lovers of days spent on pristine, powder-filled runs and evenings in front of a roaring log fire (or in a rooftop hot tub) are spoiled for choice this winter. Vacations on the slopes are becoming ever more sophisticated, with purpose-built resorts that cater to an elite ski community who place as much value on great food, luxurious spas, and better-than-home comforts as on the sport itself. Here are our editors’ top seven picks of the 2016 season’s must-visit ski resorts from around the world.

1. Bighorn
Revelstoke Mountain Resort, British Columbia, Canada
There’s something of the Bond villain’s lair about Bighorn, a ski chalet with the trappings of a luxury hotel. Perhaps it’s the way this decadent hideout is designed to cater to your every need, or how the imposing timber-framed structure looms over its very own helipad. Either way, Bighorn is impressive. Little wonder it’s been voted the world’s best ski chalet for three years running.


Bighorn has dominated the World’s Best Ski Chalet category at the World Ski Awards, winning it three years in a row

Guests can enjoy private helicopter access to the mountain’s most adventurous pistes, before being whisked back to five-star accommodation in the heart of Revelstoke Mountain Resort

The chalet boasts eight sumptuous staterooms, each with balcony, TV, and Blu-ray player

Guests can unwind at the end of the day by playing a game of pool in the chalet’s games den

Every day at Bighorn starts with a full Canadian breakfast cooked to order by the in-chalet chef and served in the dining room

Nothing eases the aches of a long day on the slopes like a soak in an outdoor hot tub, particularly one with views like this

Set in the heart of Canada’s largest heliski terrain, the chalet provides helicopter access to the forest-studded slopes and powder-soft ski bowls of Revelstoke Mountain Resort. After a long day of carving through the wintry wonderland, guests can kick off their snow-crusted boots and settle down next to a roaring log fire in the chalet’s triple-height great room. Every evening, the award-winning private chef serves a four-course dinner, after which guests can entertain themselves in the high-tech cinema room, games den, or indoor swimming pool, or luxuriate in the outdoor hot tub with its panoramic views over the frozen lake below.

Revelstoke is the only ski resort in the world to offer lift, cat, heli, and backcountry skiing
Revelstoke is the only ski resort in the world to offer lift, cat, heli, and backcountry skiing

2. Hotel Aurelio
Lech am Arlberg, Austria
An exclusive mountain hideaway in the pristine Austrian Alps, Hotel Aurelio has the intimate feel of a private chalet with its cozy pine finish and scattering of bookcases and table lights. A dream location at the foot of the slopes in Lech am Arlberg means that as soon as guests step out of the front door, they can buckle up and start skiing. With a consistently great snow record, it’s one of Austria’s more reliable ski destinations for perfect champagne powder.


As of 2014, skiers at Lech am Arlberg are able to explore 50 per cent more pistes and off-piste zones thanks to a new gondola link to the Alps at neighboring Warth

Every bedroom in the Aurelio hotel has been individually designed to maximize the outstanding views of the surrounding mountains, so nobody feels like they have a second-rate view

The gem in the Aurelio crown is its indulgent spa, which includes sauna cabins, aroma salt steam rooms, herbal baths, and multisensory showers
With sophisticated spas, contemporary design, and award-winning cuisine, mountain getaways in resorts worldwide are reaching new peaks of perfection
3. Adler Mountain Lodge
Dolomites, Italy
German chancellor Konrad Adenauer was among the VIPs frequenting the Hotel Mezdì – as it was then known – in its 1940s heyday. Although its ownership has changed since then, the Adler Mountain Lodge is still renowned for its magnificent views across the snow-covered meadows to the proud peaks of the Italian Dolomites.


The towering Alpine peaks of the Dolomites are snow-capped nearly all year round, but when the snowy mists descend to the meadows below in the winter the scenery takes on a particularly dramatic effect

The Adler Mountain Lodge is surrounded by 18 peaks more than 9,800 feet in height covering an area of 384,000 acres

Each plank that was used to construct the Adler Mountain Lodge was hand planed by craftsmen from nearby Val Gardena
With sophisticated spas, contemporary design, and award-winning cuisine, mountain getaways in resorts worldwide are reaching new peaks of perfection
4. Hotel Terra
Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, Wyoming, USA
There’s a Spaghetti Western charm to boutique eco hotel Terra, with its cowhide footstools and dark wood finish. This season, the famous ski town in the American west will be celebrating its half-century with the opening of the Teton high-speed quad lift. That means even more snowy terrain to explore, particularly for expert skiers who can make the most of the resort’s steep black runs, mogul fields, and testing off-piste zones. A 10.5-mile track of unspoiled snow provides the perfect opportunity to snowshoe or kite snowboard your way across the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. After last lifts, bundle your way into the Mangy Moose, arguably America’s most famous après-ski venue, for a local brew.


There’s no better way to appreciate the beautiful scenery of Jackson Hole than by relaxing on the private balcony of your hotel room with a bottle of wine and a specially curated cheeseboard

Hotel Terra’s rooftop Chill Spa is the ideal place to unwind. Soak in the outdoor hot tubs, work out in the state-of-the-art fitness center, and even blend your very own spa products at the Chill Blend Bar

Jackson Hole Mountain Resort has been named the top Ski Resort in North America by Forbes, and for good reason. Skiing aside, there’s a wealth of winter sports activities to enjoy including winter wildlife expeditions and dog sledding

5. White 1921 Courchevel
Courchevel, France
Cruising along the Creux blue run in the early morning sunshine is the stuff of skiing dreams, if you can bear to peel yourself out of bed in time for first lifts. It’s a challenge for anybody, but especially so for guests of the impeccably appointed White 1921 Courchevel.

Courchevel 1850 is home to many exciting events this winter, including the Women's Alpine Ski World Cup in December and the 13th International Festival of Pyrotechnic Art in February
Courchevel 1850 is home to many exciting events this winter, including the Women's Alpine Ski World Cup in December and the 13th International Festival of Pyrotechnic Art in February

Designed by French architect Jean-Michel Wilmotte, White 1921 Courchevel will be opening its doors this December. The hotel was built with its surroundings in mind, and the white-painted façade and geometric design echo the snowy backdrop of the mountains. Inside, the all-white theme continues, with accents of color creating an inviting yet contemporary atmosphere. Guests can indulge in a gourmet breakfast served in the Grand Salon before venturing out to the slopes in the morning. At the end of the day, an in-hotel sauna and Turkish hammam provide a welcome moment of relaxation. Or, curl up in the hotel’s Petit Salon and lose yourself in a good book from the winter library.

Buy a three valleys pass, and you'll be able to venture beyond the Courchevel valley into neighbouring Meribel and Val Thorens
Buy a three valleys pass, and you'll be able to venture beyond the Courchevel valley into neighbouring Meribel and Val Thorens

6. Tschuggen Grand Hotel
Arosa, Switzerland
When the Tschuggen Grand Hotel says it goes the extra mile, it means it. In 2009, the hotel built its own mountain railway to ferry guests to and from the snowy slopes of the Schanfigg Valley.

Enjoy beautiful views over the wintry Alpine landscape as the Tschuggen Express climbs the 492 feet to the main skiing area of Arosa
Enjoy beautiful views over the wintry Alpine landscape as the Tschuggen Express climbs the 492 feet to the main skiing area of Arosa
Even so, you wouldn’t be blamed for choosing to stay behind and properly explore the resort. Choice is the greatest benefit of staying at the Tschuggen Grand Hotel, with its six restaurants, ranging from the classic tastes of La Vetta to the more relaxed La Collina with its fantastic views over the dramatic Graubünden scenery. Beyond breakfast, lunch, and dinner, guests can while away the time at the elegant shopping arcade, or indulge in a pampering session in one of the 12 treatment rooms of the Tschuggen Bergoase spa­ – a renowned wellness center in the Arosa area.

Designed by Mario Botta, the Tschuggen Bergoase offers a complete spa experience with pools, saunas, sun terraces, and a hair salon
Designed by Mario Botta, the Tschuggen Bergoase offers a complete spa experience with pools, saunas, sun terraces, and a hair salon

7. The Spire Hotel
Queenstown, New Zealand
Just 10 miles from Coronet Peak, The Spire Hotel in Queenstown is the ideal destination for those who want to enjoy the thrill of New Zealand’s spectacular snow-capped mountains by day before returning to the hubbub of downtown Queenstown by night. The resort is a favorite among snowboarders and lovers of night skiing, with most slopes staying open until 9pm on Fridays and Saturdays (July-September).

The Spire Hotel was recently named Oceania and Australasia's best luxury boutique hotel at the 2015 World Luxury Hotel Awards
The Spire Hotel was recently named Oceania and Australasia's best luxury boutique hotel at the 2015 World Luxury Hotel Awards

Unlike traditional alpine resorts, however, Queenstown isn’t purely about the skiing. Guests can also visit Minaret Station, a working high country farm. After flying in by helicopter, guides will help you to explore the 50,000-acre wilderness at the head of a glacial valley. Or you can book onto a local winery tour, bungee jump, canyon swing, or trek through the pine forests surrounding Lake Wakatipu. Or simply relax at the hotel’s in-house bar and restaurant, No5 Church Lane. The luxurious decision is all yours.

Discover all of the delights Queenstown has to offer from your base in The Spire Hotel
Discover all of the delights Queenstown has to offer from your base in The Spire Hotel