With ski season upon us, these chalets and mountain lodges in Europe and North America make for the perfect snowy bolthole in cosy surroundings that project both style and sophistication
1. Chalet N
The jewel in the Arlberg massif’s snowy crown, Chalet N sets the standard for luxury alpine retreats in the Austrian Alps, sitting at an impressive altitude of 1,660m above the elegant village of Lech. Blending traditional alpine styling with high end interior design, design dream-team Landau + Kindelbacher and Sibylle Schaschl (of Scharmer Schaschl Alpine Interiors Office) worked their magic on this five-floor property, which features an impressive 11 suites offering all-encompassing views of the dramatic peaks beyond.
Harmony between architecture and nature is evident, with regional materials combined with innovative equipment and technology. “Many houses in the Austrian mountains are dusty, old fashioned and not very stylish, so with Chalet N we wanted to change that,” says interior designer Sebastian Zenker. “We wanted to create a chalet that combines modern accents and designs with traditional construction and comfort.”
Inspired by the glamour of the James Bond and Pink Panther films, you’ll find no boring white walls or ceilings here – the design team was determined to craft everything from wood, which comes contrasted with plenty of black steel, stone and glass, alongside the cosier fabrics of velvet, linen and mohair. Fireplaces, luxuriously thick rugs and your own personal butler are delightful finishing touches.
We wanted to create a chalet that combines modern accents and designs with traditional construction and comfort.Sebastian Zenker, interior designer, Chalet N
Guests who manage to drag themselves away from their feather-down mattress should make the spa their first port of call, complete with treatment room, private hair stylist, steam showers, ice fountain, Finnish sauna, salt gallery and steam bath, while further down lies an expertly-stocked wine cellar that makes for the perfect spot for a post-piste night cap. This is a place that really does have it all.
2. L’Apogée Courchevel
Wealthy playground Courchevel is no stranger to five-star lodgings, but L’Apogée leads the way in superlative style. Part of the prestigious Oetker Collection, the property sits at the heart of the exclusive Jardin Alpin at the top of the former Olympic ski jump, conceived from an unlikely marriage of acclaimed Parisian designers India Mahdavi, queen of colour, texture and patterning, and Joseph Dirand, purveyor of monochrome minimalism. A modern alpine masterpiece, each of its 55 rooms are designed as mini ski chalets, offering spectacular views from the underfloor-heated balcony. However, it’s the pinnacle of its accommodation – the Chalet L’Alpensia – that truly commands attention.
Spread over five floors, this five-bedroom architectural jewel blends the comfort and seclusion of an exquisite private home with the amenities of a five-star hotel. Luxury interiors are finished in opulent materials, while specially commissioned furniture brings the outside in. Mahdavi and Dirand’s main focus was on mid-century styling, achieving a sense of homeliness throughout with bespoke furnishings upholstered in deep greens, mustard and reds, Fior di Bosco marble in the seven bathrooms, plus wool plaid carpets, leather and velvet. There’s also a spa and cinema on site, while guests can also take advantage of a butler and private chef. It would be rude not to.
3. Four Seasons Hotel Megève
Wake up, eat, ski, swim, sleep, repeat at the Four Seasons’ first European mountain property, which puts a contemporary spin on the traditional Megèven style pioneered by architect Henry Jacques Le Même.
Behind its ski chalet-style exterior you’ll find a space dominated by real log fires, enormous picture windows and a liberal use of natural materials such as wood, stone and lambswool. It’s the season’s new Mont Blanc Suite that’s on everyone’s lips right now, though, designed by Pierre-Yves Rochon together with Ariane de Rothschild, who handpicked the works of art that adorn the walls.
“We selected new and lighter tones in a green colour palette inspired by the region’s nature in the summer,” says Rochon. “The softness of this colour is refreshing in the summer and soothing after a long day of skiing under the winter sun. We also wanted to honour Mont Blanc by incorporating soft cream, grey and white tones; and this blending of colours, textures and materials allowed us to create an atmosphere where guests can feel at ease and relaxed at all times.”
We wanted to honour Mont Blanc by incorporating soft cream, grey and white tones; and this blending of colours, textures and materials allowed us to create an atmosphere where guests can feel at ease and relaxed at all times.Pierre-Yves Rochon, interior designer, Hotel Megève
Brimming with cosy design elements that include an alabaster dining table, wooden ceilings, and opulent free-standing bath with mountain view in the master bedroom, the five-bedroom suite spans the entire fifth floor, complete with not one but seven balconies overlooking Megève’s sprawling mountainous vistas. As for the granite bathrooms, they come inspired by Henry Jacques Le Même and the architecture style of his famous mountain chalets, making for the most stylish way to shower in sumptuous surroundings.
4. Le Coucou
Méribel in France boasts prime position in the mighty Three Valleys, and the five-star ski in/ski out hotel Le Coucou is at the height of its design game thanks to renowned Paris and New York-based interior designer Pierre Yovanovitch.
“I wanted the design of Le Coucou to reflect the boldness and grace of the mountains, while also serving as an homage to the traditional design elements for the region,” says Yovanovitch – and it’s clear that nature is a key design focal point, with the spacious lobby elaborately lined with pine sourced from nearby forests, plus plenty of leather, metals, ceramics and glass reminiscent of the designer’s signature pared-back aesthetic dispersed throughout. As with all Yovanovitch’s projects, art takes centre-stage – you’re greeted by a domed ceiling designed by artist Matthieu Cossé that depicts owls soaring across mountain ridges on arrival, while over 160 carefully curated artworks are dotted around.
The epitome of alpine elegance, the resort’s two four-bedroom luxury private chalets are defined by the detailed craftmanship typically found in traditional high-altitude homes, alongside Yavanovitch-designed furniture that takes on a 1970s twist (hello, curved velvet sofas), a large cathedral living room with immense bay window, private ski room, pool and spa. “We created over 130 site-specific furniture and lighting pieces specifically for this project, made in partnership with skilled craftsmen throughout Europe,” says the designer, “so each facet of the hotel is unique and no two rooms are exactly alike, making it as fun to explore as it is comforting to stay in.”
Elsewhere in the resort, expect two restaurants, a bar, Tata Harper spa, state-of-the-art fitness centre offering panoramic views across the peaks, two swimming pools and more. Reopening its doors on 11th December for the winter 2021 season, this Maisons Pariente property is a breath of fresh air in every way.
Alive with vivid greenery in summer and blanketed in snow in winter, Amangani (“peaceful home” in the Shoshone language) is everything you would expect from the ultra-luxury Aman Resorts – intimate, private and with extraordinary interiors. Perched on the edge of East Gros Ventre Butte in Wyoming’s Jackson Hole valley, there’s a grounding that settles your soul when you enter this 40-key, three-storey hilltop hideaway, and that’s all thanks to the late Ed Tuttle.
An intention to reflect the resort’s natural surroundings while paying tribute to the region’s culture, natural materials create a cosy home-away-from-home ambiance. Pacific redwood, faux-fur soft furnishings, cowhide, and Oklahoma sandstone are complemented by modern artworks and authentic Native American artefacts. With newly fallen snow reflecting the sunset onto the outdoor heated lap pool, it’s a place that seems to cast a spell on anyone who stays there.
Amangani is a wonderful example of when east meets west. It has a very zen-like feeling and a calming effect on those who experience the resort.
Stuart Lang, general manager, Amangani
“Amangani is a wonderful example of when east meets west,” says the resort’s general manager Stuart Lang. “It has a very zen-like feeling and a calming effect on those who experience the resort. It’s all about location – the tall floor-to-ceiling windows frame the views, thus becoming the art, while soft-hued Oklahoma sandstone, Douglas fir, cedar and Pacific redwood all work together to create a welcoming and cosy atmosphere where all guests feel at home.”
So as not to distract guests from the panoramic Grand Tetons views, suites come decorated in neutral tones, with wood, stone and slate taking precedence. All come complete with decks and outdoor seating, plus seating areas, open fires and an immense soaking tub, perfectly positioned next to floor-to-ceiling windows, creating heavenly sanctuaries that guests will never want to leave.
6. El Lodge
Spain might not be the most obvious country for a luxe alpine retreat, but this decadent ski chalet, nestled in the Sierra Nevada mountains, is no shrinking violet. With an intimate room-count of just 20, plus restaurant, bar, spa, games room and all the ski accoutrement one could need, interiors firm Andrew Martin has done a stellar design job combining exclusivity with casual comfort, and the lodge comes crafted with Finnish logs and floor-to-ceiling windows that show off stunning views of the slopes and bring the outside in.
“We designed El Lodge to embrace the ultimate luxury ski escape, and as such, it exudes a rustic cabin feel with hanging antlers, animal hides, faux fur and leather upholstery,” explains Martin Waller of Andrew Martin. Earthy colour schemes – predominantly red and brown with warm lighting – make the rooms cosy after a long day on the slopes, while large vintage ski prints mingle with colourful pop art. “Luxury elements come from clean cut glass, chrome finishes and quality furniture and fabrics that withstand the turnover of guests,” he adds. Bathrooms are a sleek combination of wood and marble-like beige bathtubs and sinks, with generous rainfall shower heads, while the real golden ticket is the hot tub on the balcony – a world away from the more sociable heated outdoor pool and Finnish hot tub.
“El Lodge is a quintessential ski lodge with a strong emphasis on exclusivity, relaxation and fun,” adds Waller. “A former ski bubble is suspended in the staircase window, ceiling high murals adorn the walls, and the adult games room is decorated like a contemporary take on a gentleman’s club lounge. This design project, as a whole, breathes playful confidence throughout all four floors of the chalet, allowing guests to relax into enjoyable luxury.”
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