Midwinter night’s dream
Dans un paysage poudré de blanc, glisser léger entre les conifères, puis se lover dans un cocon douillet : des Alpes à la Sierra Nevada, telle est la promesse des cimes.
A gondola station converted into a cozy eagle’s nest, accessible by ski or snowmobile. Huge windows, exposed concrete enhanced with wood or stone, roaring fire in the lounge and crystalline parapets around the heated outdoor pool. There’s skiing and mountain biking, and picnic and barbecue hikes offer an alternative to Lucia Cordonier’s alpine cuisine. The panoramic vistas of the Alps, Matterhorn and Mont Blanc vary with the path of the sun. Silently bewitching, viewed from a deckchair on the terraces.
Crans-Montana, Suisse. Tél. +41 27 485 08 00.www.chetzeron.ch
Closing time on the slopes is often a bummer: it’s way too early, time to sneak a final run. But in this part of Savoie, skiiers head straight to La Bouitte—“little house” in the local dialect. The humble name sums up the feel of this star-studded Relais & Châteaux: five for the rooms, three for René and Maxime Meilleur’s restaurant. Dishes feature mountain bounty, like the crozet risotto with sorrel, and roasted apple and sorbet with hay (photo). For its 40th anniversary, the house has spruced up its spa (milk and honey treatments, steam bath with herbs). It’s pure pleasure, alpine-style.
Hameau de Saint-Marcel, France. Tél. +33 (0)4 79 08 96 77.www.la-bouitte.com
Club Med Grand Massif Samoëns Morillon
This Club Med is on the Plateau des Saix in the midst of the slopes, overlooking the Grand Massif an hour outside Geneva. Everything here is about skiing, with ski lessons, ski passes, full board, kids’ clubs (four, age-defined) all included. After the gravity-defying sensations on the 265 km of ski slopes, the Carita spa pampers chilled bones, while the Club’s range of après-ski treatments takes you fully in hand. The “little chefs” invite their parents to Bread & Co, unless Michelin-starred chef Édouard Loubet’s menu has lured them instead to the Skyline—before heading off to sleep.
club med Grand Massif Samoëns Morillon
Plateau des Saix, France. Tél. +33 (0)4 26 83 69 43.www.clubmed.fr
The crystal-clear air snakes along the rocky outcrops of the Alpe di Siusi, Europe’s largest mountain plateau. It grazes a ski lift, tumbles through the snowpark, follows a cross-country ski trail and polishes the stone facade of this Italian lodge, a gem in the Dolomites. The glassed-in pool is a high-altitude lake, the rooms as pristine as the peaks, and the restaurant features alpine delights—immersed in a clarity found in every downhill schuss and snowshoe footprint.
Compatsch 62/3, Alpe di Siusi, Italie. Tél. +39 (0)4 71 79 60 04.www.alpinadolomites.it
You don’t get a key when you check in here but a backpack with headlamp, binoculars and snowshoes. Getting to your room requires a 20-minute walk through the mountains (luggage is snowmobiled over). The 18 geodesic-dome pods are set in the midst of 2,000 hectares of grasslands and forests, 1,400 meters in altitude. The huge dome-shaped tents offer wood-burning stoves, full service bathrooms, king-size beds. Never has communing with nature been so cozy.
Route des Cerniers, Monthey, Suisse. Tél +41 24 471 38 38.www.whitepod.com
ho 36 Les Menuires 3 vallées
After the success of their two hotel-cum-youth hostels in Lyon, the founders of ho 36 are hoisting their concept up to the chairlifts of Les Menuires. Here, friendly clans, cousins and siblings fill the huge rooms, while parents and more contemplative souls can go for the calm of a room with a view. Everyone meets up on the 600 kilometers of ski trails and, in the evening, swaps ski adventure stories, DJ backdrop included.
HO 36 les Menuires
Route de Val Thorens, Saint-Martin-de-Belleville, France. Tél. +33 (0)4 79 55 08 40.www.ho36hostels.com
This dreamy Sierra Nevada chalet in Finnish wood with huge windows and mountain views lies at the foot of the slopes. Après-ski includes a relaxing dip in the pool gazing at the mountain peaks or a Jacuzzi on the balcony. Everything at this tiny hotel is designed for indulgence, from the fragrant larch flooring to the billowy comforters.
Calle Maribel, 8, Monachil, Espagne. Tél. +34 958 480 600.www.ellodge.com
Set in a village of 600 inhabitants in the midst of a forest in Swedish Lapland, Britta and Kent’s guesthouse offers an elegant getaway. There’s the Mirrorcube, reflecting fir trees and snowflakes; the Bird’s Nest, that looks just like one, with its exterior network of branches; and the ovoid UFO. Each treetop cabin-suite was designed by an architect and features ultimate comfort and Scandinavian design. In the new 7th Room, a natural pine grows through the net balcony and its branches spread out, and the beds embedded in the ashwood floor offer a view of the aurora borealis through the skylight, whirling through the night.
Edeforsväg 2A, Harads, Suède. Tél. +46 (0)928 103 00.www.treehotel.se
© Martin Gardelliano - DR - M. Cellard © DR Club Med - Andrea Cazzaniga - Whitepod Hotel Switzerland © Pierrick Verny - Ho 36 - Frankie & Nikki - Johan Jansson