experimental-chalet

It may feel like you only just got your winter coat out of storage, but with November in full swing it’s nearly time to dig out your salopettes too. With numerous winter weekends to look forward to, we’ve put together a list of the most exciting new openings in the Alps for the 2018-2019 season – drop them into a group chat and rally your ski pals.

1. Le Massif, Courmayeur, Italy

On the slopes of Mont Blanc, Le Massif Courmayeur is the latest modish hotel in Italy’s Aosta valley. Each room combines the sleek tones typical of an alpine chalet – think snow whites, dove greys and natural wood on the walls – with a Brunello Cucinelli aesthetic. Cashmere blankets draped haphazardly over the beds, plush pillows and massive mirrors make for a seductively cosy stay. Alternatively, the hotel also owns a chalet on the slopes, La Loge du Massif, so you can stop for a midday break by the fire or some après-ski aperitivo. You can forget heavy rösti while you’re here – La Loge’s restaurants offer mountain fare with an Italian twist, so substitute schnitzel and hot chocolate for caprese and Aperol.

2. La Folie Douce, Chamonix, France

Après-ski mecca La Folie Douce has at last opened an outpost in Chamonix, and in the stunning old Savoy Palace no less. Perhaps the most famous party place on the slopes, La Folie is where legendary lunches turn into afternoon-long affairs, complete with dancing on tables in ski boots and performers wearing unicorn heads. While other outposts are located on the slopes, this one is in resort meaning you can get stuck in to the vin chaud safe in the knowledge that you don’t have to ski down afterwards. In need of some detox to combat your retox? The hotel has a state-of-the-art spa and steamy outdoor pool overlooking Mont Blanc, while yoga classes are also available for to stretch out sore limbs.

3. Experimental Chalet, Verbier, Switzerland

The latest jewel in Experimental Group’s crown, Experimental Chalet is the place for party animals who take their skiing seriously – it’s located in Verbier, which has the widest variety of ski trails in all of Switzerland, after all. Milanese architect Fabrizio Casiraghi has done up the rooms in emerald greens and sorbet pinks, and many of them have jacuzzis with panoramic views of the Swiss Alps. One of our favourite parts about EC is that it’s maintained Farm Club, a Verbier nightlife stalwart for the past 45 years, in its basement for post-dinnertime boogying.

4. Chalet Beluga, Avoriaz, France

Those looking for the ultimate luxury ski getaway need look no further for the latest and greatest in high-end accommodation. Fit for a group of up to 14 people, this mammoth chalet boasts five suites spread out over six floors, each of which is accessible by a lift that plucks guests straight from the ski trail after a long day spent hors-piste. You’ll be greeted by an open fire and boot warmers for de-frosting upon your return, during which staff dole out afternoon tea (featuring champagne). Drift to the underground pool and hammam before taking a woozy nap before an extended dinner. Following that, a dance party chez toi is bound to happen, courtesy of Beluga’s killer surround-sound system.

5. Hotel Alparena, La Rosière, France

Alparena is all about well-being. Greet the morning with a swim in the wellness centre, a sun-drenched dream thanks to its all-glass walls, before hairing through 160km of pistes in the San Bernardo ski area between France and Italy. Mealtime can be split between taking in the crisp alpine air on Solario’s massive terrace and sampling cured meats and cheeses from a wooden serving board at Alpagio – before heading back to the wellness centre to meditate before bedtime.

6. Hotel Daria-I Nor, France

Named after one of the world’s most precious diamonds, a pale-pink gem known as a “sea of light,” the five-star Daria-I Nor combines said light and freshness with cosy alpine charm. With thick furry blankets, multiple swimming pools and easy ski-in ski-out access, it’s an ideal retreat for a chic long weekend in the French Alps. Make sure not to miss out on the spa, which has four treatment rooms decked out with birch trunks and golden lighting, to decompress in the most enchanting of settings.

7. Hide Hotel, Flims, Switzerland

Nestled in the charming village of Flims, Hide Hotel is the ultimate in Swiss hospitality, with a design-led atmosphere dreamt up by lauded Swedish studio Stylt Trampoli. Curl up on one of the lobby’s fuzzy navy-blue chaises grouped around a central open fire before retreating to your own groovy nook upstairs. Hide is perhaps the best new pick for serious skiers looking for an escape from the OTT glitz of many resorts while still being in a stylish environment. Bookings for this laid-back, under-the-radar stay are available from 15 December 2018.

8. Over the Moon Experience, La Plagne, France

For romantic thrill-seekers, the Over the Moon Experience is really something to write home about. Only available for two people at a time, you’ll be picked up by a snow groomer at dusk and whisked up to the summit of La Plagne at 2400m. But this is not your average snowmobile; it’s kitted out with a double bed, a minibar and home cinema (though we doubt you’ll be using that). Cosy up and stargaze before falling into the purest sleep and awaking to the sunrise dancing across the crystalline mountaintops. Return to the mountain base is at 7:30am the next morning – just in time for a cracking breakfast before hitting the slopes again.

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