Travel & Places Skiing

Luxury Ski Holidays

Why 'the L word' is so crucial to ski holidays this season, and how pushing the 'sledge' out a bit can banish the credit crunch blues...
Luxury ski holidays have been around a while - the winter breaks that used to be just about snow and piste are now very much about high end style, delicious food and drink, and top class service too.
As demand for luxury ski holidays has grown, so has the number of companies who specialise in providing them.
Normal ski operators have created high-end luxury divisions such as Mark Warner, and other companies such as Elegant Resorts or Scott Dunn have created the perfect bespoke one stop ski holiday service.
The scope for what is possible on these kinds of tailor-made holidays is enormous - whether its hotel or chalet, these companies can ensure you get the very finest things in life -from Michelin trained chefs and vintage champagne, to indoor swimming pools and mountainside hot tubs.
As the credit crunch has taken hold, it has become clear that people are not actually canceling their ski holidays, but are taking the attitude that the little extras really need to count.
Those people who love to ski so much that they may in the past have gone three or four times per season, for short weekend breaks, are now just travelling the once, but for a longer period and in real luxury.
They see that they get more value from their day on the piste by being able to ski to their door, or by being driven to the lift; or that they save valuable skiing time by having their boots and skis fitted in house; or that they can guarantee every meal is memorable and every glass of champagne is perfectly chilled if they spend that little bit more.
The luxury ski holidays have become more about an absolute guarantee, in tougher times, of having the best ski experience money can possibly buy.
Less intimate than a chalet, and slightly more anonymous, the luxury ski hotel can provide more flexibility for smaller groups or for arrival and departure.
If you want four days skiing instead of week, or if you want a two centre holiday and want to ski two regions instead of just one, the hotel is the way to go.
A good luxury operator will offer various types of luxury ski hotels - small boutique and family run properties, or huge mountain residences or 'super-resorts'.
Both can exhibit the ultimate luxury and sophistication but in very different ways.
Huge rooms and state of the art business centres - go for the larger, more modern, hotels.
Handmade traditional furniture and original Alpine design and décor - try a cosy candlelit boutique hotel.
Whichever you go for, both should have stone fireplaces, private balconies and superb views pretty much as standard.
Look out too for luxurious bathrooms, fabulous free products, and superb hotel concierge services - all give real added value to your holiday.
A good luxury chalet holiday should place emphasis on impeccable service and attention to detail.
At companies such as Scott Dunn the majority of chalets have a wellness area of some sort, or an indoor swimming pool.
Laurent-Perrier Champagne is served every evening and dinner is five-course feast.
Look for in chalet ski, snowboard and boot fitting, ski pass on arrival, rainforest showers, or private in chalet cinemas.
And your staff? Concierge, hosts, driver, housekeeper, experienced chef, dedicated ski guides and instructors, sports therapists and nannies, pretty much anyone and everyone should be available at your beck and call.
Again the added value of a luxury ski chalet comes from the detail - the fresh flowers and complimentary bar, the well-stocked cellar and the classic movies and board games.
If your money is spent wisely, with reputable companies who really know what luxury is, then you can be sure to have the best ski trip going.
In fact, the only thing they can't guarantee you is the snow!

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