Calling all snow bunnies – there’s still time to book a last-minute ski trip to Europe and the US before the snow runs out in April, or plan ahead and set your sights on the south when New Zealand’s season kicks off in June. Boutique hotel experts Mr & Mrs Smith have hand-picked three luxe lodges in the Rhône-Alpes, Jackson Hole and Queenstown, each promising plenty of powder and a stellar après-ski scene.
Le Lodge Park, Rhône-Alpes, France
Style Alpine cowboy
Setting Middle of Megève
Nothing says winter wonderland like the French Alps, where the white velvet slopes of Megève, near Mont Blanc, draw Europe’s flashiest skiers. Pack your favourite Prada ski suit for a stint at Rhône-Alpes boutique retreat Le Lodge Park, a chic chalet decked out with furs, antler chandeliers and cosy fireside couches. This 49-room abode is located just steps from the ski lifts, putting you front and centre for the pristine piste action.
Later, soothe ski-weary bodies with a steam in the hammam and a snow crystal scrub in the day spa, then indulge in fondue, saucisson and Côtes du Rhone at the hotel’s feather-fringed restaurant. End the night sipping a champagne cocktail on a Chesterfield in Le Bar Espace Trappeurs or snuggled under a fur rug on one of the outside seats – if you ask us, life doesn’t get much better than this! The resort is easily reached from Geneva Airport and is near Chamonix and Courchevel if you fancy sampling slopes further afield. The 2012 season runs until 22 April, or book early for next year.
Amangani, Jackson Hole, United States
Style Ravishing Rockies retreat
Setting Tête a Teton
There’s still time to squeeze in a United States sojourn, too, with Jackson Hole luxury hotel Amangani our top pick. That four-letter prefix is enough to imply that this is going to be an ultra-sleek stay, with Aman’s trademark contemporary-cool styling and switched-on unobtrusive service in play.
Crafted from sandstone and redwood, the majestic three-storey lodge houses 29 lavish suites, each with artfully framed vistas of the Rocky Mountains. Grill restaurant flaunts the game meats this region is famed for, such as elk sirloin or bison ribs, and the Zinc Bar mixes a mean huckleberry martini. But don’t get too cosy indoors… Jackson Hole’s 1,000 hectares of ski fields (best explored from the base of Teton village, a free 20-minute shuttle ride away) beckon. Hurry, though – 2012’s season wraps on 8 April, and goes into hiatus until next November.
Matakauri Lodge, Queenstown, New Zealand
Style Alpine elegance
Setting Shores of Lake Wakatipu
If the Northern winter has passed you by, then maybe it’s time to consider the Southern Hemisphere for your ski fix. Just as Hong Kong starts to get steamy, escape to Queenstown boutique hotel Matakauri Lodge, a romantic retreat in New Zealand’s South Island adventure capital. Sitting pretty on the edge of Lake Wakatipu, this 11-room resort totes jaw-dropping aquatic and alpine views (the scene from the bath tub is hard to beat), serene light-filled interiors, and a dreamy day spa – plump for the Glacial Facial after a day outdoors. Fortify yourself with a modern European meal in the welcoming restaurant, and a Central Otago pinot noir in the bijou four-seater bar.
When it comes to ski trails you’re spoiled for choice, with six world-class slopes within easy reach of the hotel – Coronet Peak and the Remarkables are the closest. Outside the ski season (June–October), you can still get your pulse racing, thanks to Queenstown’s line-up of action-packed pursuits, from bungee jumping (the sport was invented here) to jet boating.
To book any of Mr & Mrs Smith’s stylish ski hotels, visit www.mrandmrssmith.com or call the expert Travel Team on 800 905 326. What’s more, BlackSmith membership is now free for life, so sign up today to receive life-enhancing extras and exclusive offers at more than 850 hotels and holiday houses around the world.