Bedrooms with panoramic views of mountains, bubbling hot tub spas, cultivated cuisine – there’s more to skiing holidays than just hitting the slopes. The chalets of today are about the all-round alpine experience, giving guests the best of ski and après-ski.
For a ski holiday that goes against the norm, Unsuburbia has headed off-piste to find four chalets with a difference to bring a new edge to this season on the slopes.
Location: Alta Badia, Italy
Situated in the heart of the breath-taking Dolomites, Hotel Tofana effortlessly integrates itself into its surroundings through modernist architecture and design. Acclaimed design studio noa* transformed this early-20th century ski retreat into an “explorer’s home”, through entwining the building with the natural environment – the craggy silhouette, zigzagging staircases and asymmetrical terraces give Hotel Tofana a mountain-esque appearance.
Inside, you’ll find the different by design ethos continues to create one of the best ski chalets in Europe. The hotel describes the restaurant as being an “alpine pastures and the mountain cave”, whilst the bar symbolises the traditional ski lodge fireplace – it brings a juxtaposition of an authentic feel in a modernist setting.
The alpine sunlight floods the hotel’s 35 bedrooms, thanks to the capacious windows and balcony which come as standard, whilst soft larch, stone and light, earthy hues make up the décor to give a simplistic ski ambience to the chambers. Not to mention the picturesque views of the Dolomites, the Tofana’s rooms act as your very own tranquillity base.
Tofana’s crowning glory however is at its summit, with a fifth-floor spa and wellness area – the perfect relaxation spot for your après-ski.
Full details: http://www.hoteltofana.it/en/winter.html
Terminal Neige – Refuge du Montenvers
Location: Chamonix, France
If only the walls of Terminal Neige could speak. Overlooking the magnificent Mer de Glace, this iconic refuge has played home to scores of writers, adventurers, skiers and climbers over its almost 140-year existence.
The chalet has maintained its origins of an 1880 alpine hiking hotel, yet has flourished with the introduction of modern quirks and style choices. Authentic dark leathers, wood panelling and woollen fabrics mix eclectically with modernist climbing rope lighting and retro memorabilia to create a uniquely welcoming interior.
The simplistic bedrooms are practical and homely, offering expansive views over the valley below. For a larger group, the attic house is perfect – a bright 10-person dormitory designed with communal living in mind.
For that true alpine experience, make sure to dine in the on-site restaurant. Stays are available on a half-board basis, so expect croissants and pain au chocolats with a piping hot coffee for breakfast, whilst the evenings bring authentic, local specialities like pâté à croute, beef hot pot cocottes and fondue of comet.
Full details: http://montenvers.terminal-neige.com/en/#!chamonix-hotel
Hakuba Mountain Lodge
Location: Goryu Toomi, Japan
Hakuba Mountain Lodge is one of the finest ski chalets in Japan, offering guests a stylish mixture of luxurious living and authentic organics.
Built to accommodate 11 people across five bedrooms, the lodge has been designed with the idea of the ultimate ski experience at its forefront. The spacious living room comes with a fireplace and 42-inch plasma screen, making it the perfect place to warm your core after the day on the slopes, and the bar lounge and dining space act as the flawless après-ski entertainment area.
But it’s the interior styling that makes this ski chalet the region’s finest. Exposed beams are partnered with Japanese shoji screens and designer furnishings to work effortlessly with the inspired architectural lines, creating that added ambience of space – it’s a visual masterpiece, bringing together the best of contemporary and Japanese design amid a mountainous backdrop.
The chalet’s pièce de résistance is the cinema room, with a 52-inch screen and enough seats for all the guests to enjoy. Or are the two cedar Japanese bathhouses Hakuba Mountain Lodge’s shining glory? We’ll leave that for you to decide.
Location: Oberlech, Austria
For a cosy-cum-contemporary (cum-expensive) stay in the Austrian Alps, look no further than Chalet Überhaus in Oberlech. Nestled in the epicentre of a world-renowned snow sports paradise, this ski-in ski-out lodge is the epitome of alpine opulence.
From the outside, the chalet’s appearance pays homage to the cabins of the mountain with a natural wooden structure on a stone base built into the range’s slope. An outside terrace with fire pit on the ground floor acts as an après-ski arena, whilst the first floor’s balcony is simply made for dining and entertaining. The sheer number of windows on the Überhaus is astounding, allowing light to roam freely through the interior.
Inside, you’ll be equally as taken aback. Wood panelling again is prevalent through the design of this building to give that ski lodge ambience, yet the furnishings are straight from the laps of luxury and elegance.
A full house music system, cocktail bar and wood burning fireplaces are just a few of the extravagant extras that the Überhaus comes with. But the chalet’s masterstroke is the dedicated cinema room, an area designed for a seamless transition from slopes to sofa.
Befitting of the chalet’s aura, the outdoor heated hot tub spa with glass bottom oozes sophistication, and the sauna and steam room (hammam) gives guests the opportunity to relax after a day of activities. Comfortably sleeping 10 skiers in five separate bedroom suites, the Überhaus is an ideal retreat for an extended family excursion.
Full details: http://www.uberhaus-lech.com/
Location: Crans-Montana, Switzerland
Set in an abandoned cable car station atop the Crans-Montana slopes, Chetzeron is the gem of Switzerland’s ski scene. Elegant interior clashes beautifully against the rugged mountains to create a modern-day ski oasis within an industrially-rooted structure. And a 2,112m above sea-level, it’s a retreat only reachable by foot, skis or snowmobile.
The station’s cavernous mouth is no more. Now, a gargantuan full-length glass wall fills it, allowing the Swiss sunlight to beam into the entire building. The original framework partnered with this show-stopping scenic viewpoint of the Rhone Valley make up the hotel’s focal point – it’s a breathtakingly wonderful lounge area.
Throughout Chetzeron, the palatial interiors contrast rough materials. Naked concrete is put together with soft textured furnishings to create stylishly luxurious alpine retreat that still nods to its humble beginnings. This theme reoccurs within the 16 bedroom and suites, with the luxury and lavish interior harshly but beautifully contrasting with the mountainous exterior views.
As you take a break from the slopes, Chetzeron serves up unique twists of local dishes in its self-titled restaurant. Enjoy the scenic views from expansive terrace areas too, overlooking the Rhone valley on one of the picnic-style benches, loungers or sheepskin rugs, or take a relaxing dip in the heated swimming pool.
Full details: http://www.chetzeron.ch/en/
Location: Falls Creek, Victoria, Australia
Australia’s skiing heritage is built on a ‘no-frills’ ethos, founded by the hardcore rustics who understood the communal roots of mountain life and the need to enjoy this marginal season of snow. But on the modern-day slopes of Falls Creek, Fjäll brings a luxurious lodge where skiing time isn’t of the essence.
Describing itself as a “luxurious boutique ski lodge”, this ski-in ski-out chalet has taken the traditions and reinvigorated them, turning a former bunked lodge into a six-apartment complex fit for the skiers of today. The timber cladding juxtaposes against the ridged, snow-capped mountains brings a calming sense to the chalet – it’s a place where you can feel relaxed.
In the apartment’s interior, mid-tone blond woods on the walls and light-stained floorboards bring a continual flow throughout the living space. The heavyweight tables and joinery are designed with the thump of heavy boots and exhausted bodies in mind – the furnishings are made to patina, showing age and use. The mid-century furniture and marble kitchens only add to the contemporary style of the apartments, whilst the design layout has allowed enough space for window seats and recessed balconies too, to enjoy the mountainous views across Falls Creek.
All six of Fjäll’s apartments come with three bedrooms, so space is in abundance, and a separate ski and drying room means your living area isn’t cluttered with salopettes and ski jackets.
Full details: http://www.fjall.com.au