Going off-piste

19 Dec 2017
5 min read
Still thinking about going on a ski holiday? Then look no further..incorporating sleek design and contemporary cuisine, these ski retreats offer a modern take on the winter getaway.
Skiing in luxury hedonism

Cheval Blanc |Courchevel, France

The most exclusive hotel in the Alpine resort of Courchevel in France, the Cheval Blanc redefines luxury skiing for the modern hedonist. While its ambiance tells the tale of a laid back and warm ski lodge, its modern décor and made-to-measure hospitality tell a more contemporary and stylish story.

From the outside, the Cheval Blanc looks like a traditional ski-in ski-out alpine maison. However, the giant glass horse guarding the entrance winks to the boundary-pushing décor and state-of-the-art facilities inside, put together by interior designer Sybille de Margerie who combines local textiles, a bold colour palette, contemporary features and fixtures and original pieces of art to breathe modern life into each distinctive room.

Choose from hotel’s 36 guest rooms and suites, including two Duplex suites, which are kitted out with lavish living rooms, majestic views and impressive art collections; or the recently completely three-bedroom chalet that is spread over four floors with a private spa, outdoor area and screening room; and the penthouse apartment that gives onto the spectacular view of La Saulire, Courchevel’s highest summit, and has a private bar, fitness area and private kitchen and pantry.

After a long day skiing, food is vital to the Cheval Blanc experience, and with three dining options under the expertise of chef Yannick Alléno you won’t go amiss. The two-Michelin-starred restaurant Le 1947 encompasses the avant-garde philosophy of the hotel, while remaining dedicated to traditional flavours and techniques over 22 covers only. The White is a contemporary brasserie that offers a more accessible dining experience, still under the expertise of chef Alléno. The Table de Partage offers an opportunity to dine with up to 16 family and friends, while serving dishes that are created around the local produce available each day.

Working in tandem with its eponymous restaurant, the White Bar is the social hub of the maison. Cosy and laid back, live bands complement exceptional cocktails in the evening, while afternoon tea and mountain cakes accompany the days. Next to the White Bar, the Cigar Yurt is a comfortable lair with fur rugs and armchairs to enjoy a cigar and maybe an expertly paired liquor.




Kimamaya Boutique Hotel |Hokkaido, Japan

In the finely snow-dusted slopes of Niseko Mountain Resort is the village of Hirafu, and in Hirafu village lays the exquisitely designed Kimamaya boutique hotel. While the hotel has a warming and cosy Alpine environment, it effervesces with contemporary design and luxury features, attracting international hedonists from around the world.

From the exterior, Kimamaya resembles an authentic lodge: cosy and warm, with light inviting guests through the wood panelling. Designed by Andrew Bell, the inside decor exudes modern charm with neutral tones, dark woods and soft lighting. All of the hotel’s nine rooms, which range from simple Alpine rooms to loft rooms with a mezzanine, have been designed to make for a sumptuously comfortable stay, with soft colours and textures, natural materials and minimal, bespoke accessories. The loft rooms, which house up to 4 adults and children, offer the perfect opportunity to stay with friends and family in privacy.

Also included in Kimamaya’s luxury package, the spa offers Japanese massages, shiatsu and aromatherapy in an oasis of absolute tranquillity. After a hard day of skiing and before heading for your treatment, choose from a relaxing soak in a wooden (moku) or stone (ishi) spa tub. You will be sure to be fully prepared for your next day of hitting the slopes.

Alternatively, head to the hotel’s restaurant, the Barn for a relaxed but delicious meal. Annexed to the hotel’s main lodge building, the Barn’s architecture stands the restaurant in good stead. Inspired by traditional Hokkaido farm architecture, the Barn has a magnificent floor-to-ceiling glass entrance that beams soft light into the night. The ceiling, lined with light wood is high and arched with giant black lamps hanging from it that look down onto the intimate dining area. The kitchen serves seasonal cuisine, focused on alpine flavours by combining French ingredients with Hokkaido’s freshest produce, meats and seafood. Upstairs at the Barn, the bar’s expert mixologists prepare some of the best cocktails in town, while also offering wines from the owners’ Boyer-Gontard vineyards in Burgundy, France.

Kimamaya, which lies at the epicentre of Niseko resort–often referred to as ‘the Whistler of Asia’–gives onto some the world’s finest snow. Order your ‘Obento’ (lunchbox) from the hotel and head out for an all-day adventure, before sinking into the unadulterated luxury of Kimamaya’s hospitality after.




Wiesergut |Hinterglemm, Austria

From the ski slopes of Saalbach-Hinterglemm, the white roof of a four-story house that sits on a minimal, modern glass-fronted bungalow emerges. Wiesergut retreat is a modern ode to nature, sitting quietly in the majestic mountains. The floor-to-ceiling windows reflect the surrounding’s hues, light and beauty, while inside warm and cosy nature-inspired tones, textures and contemporary minimalist décor make for a contemporary luxury sanctuary.

Wiesergut– originally a 14th-century family estate–was transformed by Gogl & Partner Architects, who refocused the design of the historic building to integrate the nature that surrounds it with a modern touch. Textiles play an important role in the décor at Wiesergut, featuring distressed wooden ceilings and floors from local sources, natural stone, granite, glass and exposed concrete. The aim is to blur the boundaries between outside and inside, and old and new.

Nothing has been over looked at Wiesergut. The rooms range from the Gutshofsuite rooms, all of which focus on mountain views, to the Gartensuite. In the Gutshofsuite, wooden tables, giant lamps, translucent pendant lampshades and soft furnishings create intimate settings that are warming and cosy, yet bright and spacious. It is the Gartensuite that steals the luxury limelight. Everything has been thought about, down to where the sun rises and that it will be best viewed from the floor-to-ceiling windows, filling the suite with natural light. Or it could even be enjoyed from the freestanding bath in the main room. Although the room provides a serene lair to warm up from the cold–especially around the beautiful modern fireplace–step outside onto the private terrace and warm up in the hot tub filled with spring water.

While décor takes an important role, owners Sepp and Martina Kröll personally see to ensuring a luxury experience at Wiesergut. From high-quality seasonal and regional products from the hotel’s own farm in the three in-house eateries, to the multi-level spa, luxury is celebrated in the personal touches. ‘To me, luxury is fresh bread,’ they explain. ‘It’s knowing that the chickens in the stall laid the eggs you ate for breakfast. Easy, and still beautiful.’




Bighorn |Revelstoke, Canada

The Bighorn ethos is simple: “unsurpassed quality, supreme comfort, unbridled enjoyment”. Lying at the bottom of Revelstoke Mountain resorts, the luxury lodge offers three floors of unadulterated hedonism, combining traditional features like roaring fires and cosy textiles, with modern décor and state-of-the-art amenities, including a heli-pad, outdoor hot tub, a private cinema and restaurant with an in-house award-winning chef.

Lain amid the forests in Revelstoke Mountain, choose from your helicopter or ski lift (the highest in North America) to head into the mountains. Revelstoke has been an exclusive retreat of the elite skiing community for decades, but now it offers ski fanatics cat- and backcountry-skiing as well. With some of Canada’s best powder snow and thousands of acres of terrain to ski through including deep bowls and glaciers, Revelstoke’s undisturbed scenery will take your breath away. Bighorn’s staff can help you tailor your bespoke ski week.

After such exhaustive skiing, you’ll be ready to sink into the lavish warmth of Bighorn. Choose from one of the eight guest suites, each with en-suites and balconies. With high ceilings that are lined with timber beams and adorned with tartan material and neutral colours, the rooms’ décor errs on the traditional side, while the retreat’s state-of-the-art amenities are modern, highlighting Bighorn as one of Canada’s most contemporary ski sanctuaries. The private cinema comes with an exceptional movie library, formal dining room, cocktail bar, gym and pool, all minimally designed with dashes of neon lighting.

With Bighorn’s lodge manager overseeing your bespoke itinerary, the in-house private chef, personal yoga instructor and spa staff are at your beck and call to whip up a gourmet meal accompanied by fine wines, massage your ski pains away or stretch and meditate you into absolute relaxation.