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Destinations: sky-high Alpine openings

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High achievers

These recent alpine openings combine the heights of luxury with easy access to some of the world’s greatest slopes

Chalet Ubud, Tignes Les Brévières, France

Guerlain Chicherit knows a thing or two about thrill- seeking. Not content with being a four-time world champion in freeriding – that is, skiing on ungroomed terrain – the Frenchman is also a professional rally driver, currently preparing for the 2018 FIA World Rallycross Championships. In other words, when he does something, he does it properly.

It means his GC-Kollection of luxury ski chalets holds serious appeal. Among them is Chalet Ubud, newly opened in 2017 overlooking the village of Tignes Les Brévières.The stylish wood-clad sanctuary is spread across 310sq m and has six en suite bedrooms, sleeping up to 10 adults and six children at any given moment. Its design takes inspiration from the Balinese island of Ubud and incorporates various original furniture and craft pieces.

Other notable features include a double-height panoramic dining room, two balconies, a central fireplace, table football and satellite TV with a PS4.The chalet also gives direct access to a gondola lift.

This is something you’ll be glad of – Tignes Les Brévières sits just below Tignes itself (where Chicherit was born) and forms part of the colossal Espace Killy ski area, which has some 300km of skiable runs. It’s located less than two hours from Chambéry Savoie Airport by road.

Chalet Ubud

The property also has the largest hotel spa in the region, with an indoor-outdoor pool

Severin*s The Alpine Retreat, Lech, Austria

Comprising just nine luxury suites, Severin*s The Alpine Retreat has drawn significant praise since opening at the very end of 2016, including being nominated as the world’s best new ski hotel. It’s all about the details – expect Italian furnishings, cutting-edge technology and 150-year-old wood panelling, as well as an à la carte restaurant, bar, lounge and wine cellar. In the restaurant, the emphasis is on innovative dishes and local produce.

The pick of the suites is the luxurious 423sq m Residence, spread over two floors and large enough to accommodate up to eight guests, with perks including a private cinema, a spacious living room with balcony, a private ski room with heated lockers, and a lounge with its own grand piano. The hotel’s spa and wellness area, meanwhile, has an indoor pool, a fitness room, several saunas and a beauty salon.

The property is in the hamlet of Stubenbach, which in turn sits a few minutes’ drive from Lech’s nearest ski lift. As one of Europe’s most exclusive resorts, Lech has been no stranger to high society over the years (members of the Jordanian royal family are fans), but there’s a reason for its reputation – it has close to 200km of slopes to keep skiers busy and tends to draw more snow than its French counterparts at similar altitudes. The nearest airport is at Innsbruck – 90 minutes away.

Severin*s The Alpine Retreat

Four Seasons Hotel Megève, Megève, France

Luxury hotel group Four Seasons typically deals in large- scale properties, so the opening of this relatively compact new hotel in the Mont Blanc massif is an interesting proposition. Offering just 55 accommodations – including 14 suites – it represents the group’s first mountain property in Europe.The hotel is opening its doors in time for the 2017-18 winter season and will offer direct access to the pistes of Mont d’Arbois, as well as the services of a ski valet and ski concierge.

But guests can expect more than just good skiing. The property also has the largest hotel spa in the region, with an indoor-outdoor swimming pool and a VIP couples’ spa suite. Where dining is concerned, meanwhile, the hotel provides a new home for the two-Michelin-starred Le 1920 Restaurant, known for its original French dishes. Other food and drink options include Bar Edmond, which has its own terrace, and the cylindrical Wine Cellar, which is available for private dinners.

The hotel is also adjacent to the 18-hole Mont d’Arbois golf course, designed in the 1960s by three-time British Open winner Sir Henry Cotton and this season hosting the BMW Winter Golf Cup from 25-28 January. Megève is just 44 miles from Geneva Airport, and has three interlinked ski areas – Rochebrune, Le Jaillet and Mont d’Arbois.

Four Seasons Hotel Megève

As the first five-star hotel in Les Arcs, Taj-I Mah was always going to get people talking

Hotel Seehof, Davos, Switzerland

Drawing travellers to Davos since 1869, the handsome Hotel Seehof has been reinvigorated after recent up- grades to its wellness and gastronomy services resulted in it officially being granted a fifth star. Its class has never really been in doubt – the hotel sits on the alpine town’s famous Promenade and has welcomed everyone from Bill Clinton to Angelina Jolie – but these improvements help underline its status.

The property’s Bella Vita spa area now has a sauna, bio- sauna, Jacuzzi, steam bath and treatment rooms, as well as a relaxation room with a fireplace. Culinary highlights include Gourmet Stübli – a restaurant new for the 2017-18 season, specialising in Swiss and Mediterranean flavours – and Restaurant Panorama, focused on international cuisine.

For skiers, the hotel gives direct access to the Parsennbahn, a funicular railway that links Davos to Parsenn Gotschna, the largest ski area in the region. Two further ski areas can be directly reached from Davos – the snowboarding and freeriding hotspot of Jakobshorn and the high-altitude slopes of Pischa – with others close by. The hotel has 100 rooms, including 16 suites, and can be reached in just over two hours from Zürich Airport.

Hotel Seehof

Taj-I Mah, Les Arcs, France

As the first five-star hotel in Les Arcs, Taj-I Mah was always going to get people talking when it opened at the start of the 2016-17 season. The property is ski-in, ski-out for a start – all the more appealing when you note that it sits in Arc 2000, the highest of the resort’s villages – and its 48 rooms and suites meld modern stylings with a retro mountain feel. The views across the surrounding peaks are sensational.

The high bar, however, is with its dining. Michelin-starred chef Eric Samson was brought in to oversee gourmet restaurant Le Diamant Noir, where truffles feature prominently (hence the name), while the more casual L’Atelier d’Eric serves ‘rustic and modern’ dishes, mostly prepared over a wood fire. There’s also a 400sq m spa with a 15-metre pool.

The Les Arcs ski area has some 200km of descent and is linked to the similarly sizeable La Plagne ski area. The closest airport to Arc 2000 is Chambéry Savoie, around 125km away. And the hotel’s unusual name? It’s the same as that of a famous Indian diamond, and translates as ‘Crown of the Moon’. The now established Koh-I Nor hotel in Val Thorens, also named after a diamond, is Taj-I Mah’s sister property.

Hotel Taj-I Mah

Words: Staff

This article was originally published in Halcyon magazine in 2017

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