One of the places it’s not cool to rough it with a backpack, a disposable camera and flip flops is on the slopes of an alpine resort. There’s unlikely to be bouncers prowling the piste for miscreants, but it’s still an ill-conceived approach. The truth is, the one place we all need a little relaxation is when we’ve spent the day rolling in snow, flinging ourselves down a mountain or simply freezing quietly on a swaying ski-lift covered in frost. The good news is, ski and spa is increasing becoming recognised as a winning combo; resorts are dishing up gastronomic delights and the accompanying clubs are throbbing with happy, exhilarated skiers. Anyone booking luxury ski holidays 2012 will have plenty of relaxing activities to choose from…
Hotel Manali, Courchevel 1650, France: This luxury five star hotel looks for all the world like a chocolate box village collided with a Christmas card and was airbrushed a little for good measure. Its serene spa space is the ultimate wood-panelled haven. Housing a swimming pool, herbal tea room and steam room, Mahayana is the perfect place to ensure your post-slope glow lasts long after you return home.
Badrutt’s Palace Hotel, St Moritz, Switzerland: Opened over 100 years ago, this retreat is anything but fossilised. With its well-manicured fingers firmly clasped to the pulse of what its discerning patrons want, Badrutt’s offers unmatched spa facilities, including a holistic wellness centre with ice and mist rooms. The opulent dining room serves up both French and Japanese cuisine, and it has always welcomed members of the cultural elite, including royalty, into its decadent interior. The hotel’s own nightclub, modestly named ‘The Kings Club’ is a popular hotspot among jetsetters, who can dance undisturbed ‘til dawn in winter months.
Sport Hotel Hermitage and Spa, Soldeu, Andorra: This 5 star hotel epitomises alpine luxury with bare stone and natural wood panels lending its surroundings an authentic texture which blends unobtrusively with the dramatic exterior scenery. Its vast spa and wellness area is spread over three floors, and makes the most of the surrounding mountain panoramas, its giant windows flooding the indoor spaces with light and scenery. The stratified open space is supported by striking pillars, and glass-partitioned walkways leading to the treatment areas. With saunas, a gymnasium and a menu of massage treats, this has everything you’d expect from a 5 star spa, and a little bit more besides.
Park Hyatt Beaver Creek Resort and Spa, Bachelor Gulch, United States: A newly renovated hotel with some vast indulgence opportunities for the right candidates. Its Allegria Spa, with uniquely raw, hyper modern décor, offers a thermal pool, water sanctuary and rain shower. With a tantalising menu of spa treatments, from the straightforward Swedish massage to the more intriguing High Altitude Adjustment Treatment, there’s a quandary of decisions to be made. The Fitness centre has a similar bombardment of choice, with private Pilate’s studios and four outdoor whirlpools. Just remember to pencil in some time for your skis!