Skiing is one of the most expensive hobbies in the world, so it’s no surprise that Europe’s finest resorts are scattered with luxurious snow palaces equipped with helipads, hammams and nightclubs, not to mention a bevvy of staff. While the majority of us will be frantically trawling the internet for last-minute ski deals, we can’t help but wonder what lurks within the timber-clad walls of those piste-side pads. So satisfy your inner voyeuer, then check out this much more affordable option.

Chalet Marco Polo

Val-d’Isère, France

King of couture Christian Lacroix decked out the ground-floor hamman and swimming pool of this chalet with gold tiles, a thumping sound system and a fully stocked bar. There’s also a fromagerie and “wine cave”, as well as a custom-made Scalextric track – unsurprising given that Val-D is popular among the the F1 crowd.

Baita 1697

Pragelato, Italy

Interior designer Lucie McCullough restored this 17th-century derelict farmhouse into a rustic bolthole with vaulted stone ceilings, wood burners and cow-hide throws. Freestanding copper bathtubs beckon after a day on the slopes, while retractable sliding doors upstairs open out onto an outdoor hot tub and fire pit with the region’s highest mountain, Banchett, as a backdrop.

Le Petit Palais

Courcheval 1850, France

There’s certainly nothing petite about this palace. Set over four floors and geared up for parties which continue far beyond après, the state-of-the-art basement nightclub comes with a DJ mixing booth, poker table and bar. Personal therapists are on hand to soothe Eddie the Eagle-style injuries and hangovers.

Chalet Toit du Monde

Val-d’Isère, France

This 17th-century former monastery combines characterful listed features with striking contemporary design. A concealed swimming pool lies between the dining room and the outdoor terrace, while the bathtub is so large it’s officially regarded as a swimming pool under French law. A click of the fingers summons a film projector that transforms the living room into a private cinema, while a red-marble cigar room offers uninterrupted views of the mountains.

Chalet Chouqui

Verbier, Switzerland

No less than 12 staff man the ropes at this behemoth of a chalet in Verbier. Cosy interiors are decked out with herringbone tweed, faux fur, custom-made furniture and architectural fireplaces, while the expansive terrace looks straight at Mont Blanc.  The pièce de résistance, however, has got to be the 15ft swimming pool which screams out for a pool party.

Deplar Farm

Trollaskagi, Iceland

The USP of this Icelandic former sheep farm has got to be floor-to-ceiling windows offering guests the chance to kill two birds with one stone and combine a ski trip with seeing the Northern Lights. It sleeps 28, has its own spa (as well as an indoor-outdoor saltwater pool and two flotation tanks) and is surrounded by some of the best heli-skiing in Europe, making us wonder why we’ve never headed north for our snow fix.

Aufberg 113

Piesendorf, Austria

Throwing the traditional wooden chalet straight out of a shuttered window, this striking combination of stone, wood and felt (yes, really) is set in Austria’s oldest national park. Two houses blend into one – Swallows Nest and Sparrows Nest – in a very contemporary gingerbread house of exposed concrete, glass and minimalist interiors making it look like something out of a James Bond film.

Chalet Alpaca

Meribel, France

One of the prettiest French ski resorts has just added another jewel to its crown. This brand-new chalet is a mere 100 metres away from the piste, and if that’s not enough to entertain there’s an indoor rock-climbing wall to make sure you’re well and truly knackered. A team of private chefs will cook up a bespoke feast before guests settle down in the well-stocked library with a vin chaud.


Discover More:

Eight Quintessential English Villages to Visit this Winter



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