The ski season is finally back. After not one, but two disappointing winters in the Alps due to Covid-19 (ski resorts forced to close in 2020 and restrictions in 2021), luxury hotels are rolling out the red carpet for the long-awaited comeback. of the guests. “There is a real sense of excitement about getting back on track after the pandemic,” says Damien Bastiat, managing director of Almae Collection, who has also noticed a shift in customer demands as a result of COVID-19. “Larger groups and multi-generational families are looking to travel together again; some guests seek truly unique experiences and adventures, while others seek alternative ski resorts to feel like they have discovered somewhere different,” he adds. Almae’s latest opening, Armancette, offers just that: Housed in a former bakery in the quaint French town of Saint-Nicolas-de-Veroce, the hotel’s appeal lies in its quiet and distinctly unglamorous location, though guests may enjoy action-packed, with Megève just 25 minutes skiing away.
Just across the Italian border, the Hotel de Len in Cortina d’Ampezzo is one of a new wave of trendy hideaways springing up in the Alps. (Parkhotel Mondschein in Bolzano, Italy, and the Cōmodo in Bad Gastein, Austria, are other notable newcomers.) In addition to experienced skiers, it hopes to appeal to fans of design. The property also features the city’s only rooftop spa, an ultra-contemporary space decked out in pine (supposed to improve sleep) and fir (believed to improve balance of body and mind); both were chosen for both their wellness properties and their aesthetics.
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As travelers look for ways to ease pandemic-induced stress, hotels are also focusing more on health and relaxation. “Guests are looking for wellness,” says Stéphane Gras, general manager of Four Seasons Megève, who has in response added meditation and yoga classes to his wellness program. And when Six Senses Crans-Montana debuts in February, it will bring the brand’s signature spa offerings to the Swiss resort. “We have observed a change in our clients’ travel priorities, which is why we have emphasized our pillars of sustainability and well-being to create an experience that they will remember for a lifetime,” says Cristiano Morelli, director of sales and marketing for the new retreat. . For Six Senses, this means leading the way with state-of-the-art fitness equipment, biohacking treatments, and an Alchemy Bar where you can create your own beauty products. With the additional opening of Lefay Crans-Montana in the area, where an award-winning spa will be complemented by nutritious menus focused on locally sourced and organic produce, the region looks poised to become a winter wellness hotspot.
But perhaps everyone’s greatest desire is privacy, and hotels are doing everything they can this season to offer guests a space of their own. Airelles Courchevel has spent its downtime planning the launch of two new private villas, a first for accommodation, which are discreetly connected to the main building via secret underground tunnels. Once inside, guests can enjoy private facilities such as an indoor swimming pool and fully equipped ski room, and be attended to by a personal ski valet, private chef and sommelier while enjoying access to all Airelles facilities. . For those not looking for the nearly $150,000-a-night price tag, the four-bedroom Penthouse Apartment has also been given a new look and comes with extras like a private butler, Rolls-Royce Cullinan, and driver plus helicopter. transhipments. In addition to upping its wellness game, Four Seasons Megève has launched the Suite Idéal, located at a dizzying elevation of 6,000 feet and accessible only by chairlift or snowcat for maximum privacy. “It’s the perfect place to recharge your batteries in front of an impressive panorama”, says Gras.
As part of Mandarin Oriental’s new portfolio of exclusive homes, the group’s first alpine property, Mandarin Oriental Chalet überHaus, is a ski-in/ski-out chalet that has its own cinema, billiards room and hot tub with glass floor to soak after skiing. . Guests can also take advantage of the full-service Mandarin Oriental hotel, from concierge to private chefs and spa therapists. Similarly, Zannier Hotels has opened Le Chalet as part of its Zannier Private Estates collection. The perfect alpine retreat, previously used only by the Zannier family, boasts roaring fireplaces, a spa, movie theater, and wine cellar, plus a full-service concierge for when and if you feel like venturing outdoors.
And after failing to meet customer accommodation needs during the pandemic, luxury rental group AMA Selections is now making a strong entry into the French Alps with numerous openings in Courchevel, Megève, Val d’Isère and Méribel. Checking in not only offers the privacy guests now crave, but also the exclusivity of experiences such as helicopter jumps led by a triple world record-winning skydiver and scenic helicopter rides followed by a fondue lunch in the Massif del Mont Blanc, all the ingredients of a ski season to remember.
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