Since 1969, restaurant, hotel, travel & other witty reviews by a handpicked, worldwide team of discerning professionals—and your views, too.

Top 10 Ski Resorts 2005


There is certainly no dearth of slopeside luxury and service around the globe. We even discovered a swanky ski property in Lebanon (the IC Mountain Resort & Spa Mzaar), but it didn’t make the cut because just getting there is more dangerous than navigating a black diamond run. Instead, we’re simply giving you—as we always do—our favorites, chosen for their locations and style. Among them you’re sure to find a mountain retreat that’s just right for you.

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UNITED STATES

New Hampshire

Mount Washington Hotel
www.mtwashington.com

Most mountain resorts embrace a casual, laid-back, slope-friendly lifestyle. But it’s an old-fashioned formality that gives this property its charm—colonial-style décor in the bedrooms, and jackets required in the Dining Room, where an orchestra serenades diners. After two years of construction by 250 master craftsmen, this hotel opened in 1902, and today it’s a National Historic Landmark. It’s a part of The Mount Washington Resort at Bretton Woods, and right outside the door are hundreds of acres of ski terrain. You’ll find 101 trails and glades (including plenty of black diamond glades), White Mountain National Park for cross-country skiing, high-speed quad lifts and a gorgeous landscape for night skiing.

Utah
Stein Eriksen Lodge
www.steinlodge.com

When seeking the ideal ski retreat, a lodge founded by an Olympic gold medallist seems a good choice. Stein Eriksen created this place in 1982 to bring full-service luxury slopeside. With its blond wood and mountain décor, the property has a Scandinavian feel. But while the look is rustic, the ambience is anything but. Ski-in/ski-out access is offered to Deer Valley Resort, and if you need skis, boots or other snow-friendly accoutrements, you can pick them up or rent them at the onsite Stein Eriksen Sport. Glitretind Restaurant pays tribute to alpine style, and the full-service spa includes treatments suited to a day on the slopes. For sun-damaged skin, try the Nordic Princess. And to relieve sore muscles, go for a Deep Tissue Massage.

Wyoming
Four Seasons Resort Jackson Hole
www.fourseasons.com/jacksonhole/vacations/index.html

Whatever lodging endeavor the Four Seasons undertakes, it can be counted on to do it well. Its first ski resort is no exception. This property is suitably mountainish for its Jackson Hole setting, but it also manages to blend Western chic and Native American accents with a tasteful Arts & Crafts feel. Of note, the unity of graceful Mission-style light fixtures and a rugged stone fireplace in the Westbank Grill. Like most resorts on our list, this one has ski-in/ski-out access. There’s also a dedicated ski concierge, private ski instruction and racing programs. You can even try heli-skiing. The spa is inspired by the quiet of the surrounding wilderness, and among its yummy treatments are Après Massage and the Willow Wisp Body Wrap, using a willow bark herbal infusion to soothe aches and pains.

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AUSTRIA

Lech am Arlberg
Gasthof Post
www.postlech.com

If you’re a jet-setter looking for a high profile getaway, this place isn’t for you. It’s all about serious skiing, serious eating and peace and quiet. This family-run (since 1937) chalet-style lodging offers the kind of charms you’d expect from a homegrown mountain retreat. A former post house, it is cozy and sweet, with its antique furniture, hand-painted woodwork and tile stoves. Each of the 37 rooms is unique, and décor ranges from rustic lodge to quaint alpine country. Adorned with antlers and gun racks, public areas evoke a hunting lodge. There’s a good restaurant serving Austrian cuisine accompanied by an excellent wine list. Lech was founded in the 14th century (the original church is still standing), and its great skiing starts right outside the hotel’s front door.

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CANADA

Quebec

Fairmont Tremblant
www.fairmont.com/tremblant/

Across Canada, Fairmont Hotels & Resorts seem to have cornered the market on luxe ski lodgings. They operate high profile properties in places such as Whistler and Banff, and then they have a few sleepers, like this best kept secret in charming Tremblant Village at the foot of Mont-Tremblant in the Laurentian mountains. This contemporary château was designed to harmonize architecturally with the village it inhabits, and its interior lodge style is homey and subtle. On the slopes, skiers will find almost 100 runs over 600 acres. There’s also a high-speed chairlift at the hotel doorstep, as well as a complimentary ski valet for hotel guests.

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CHILE

Portillo
Hotel Portillo

Hot summer months north of the border mean it’s time to head for the slopes down south. In the Andes on the shores of Lake Inca, Portillo Resort attracts quite the range, from Fidel Castro to the U.S. and Austrian ski teams. It got its official start in the late 1940s, pulled in Stein Eriksen to run its ski school in the 1950s, and hosted the Alpine World Championships in 1966—needless to say, it has an impressive pedigree. As for the hotel, it’s hard to separate it from the resort, even though there are a few other lodgings in the area. It’s quite a sight, a bright yellow arc beaming in the snow. The rooms are fairly simple, but there’s a nice Old School feel, and a great fostering of camaraderie, since most people skiing in the area stay here.

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FRANCE

Courchevel 1850

Byblos Courchevel
www.byblos.com

Considering that the resort of Courchevel was essentially created to draw an elite ski crowd, and that this hotel was designed by the people behind the Byblos in Saint-Tropez, the jaunty style here shouldn’t come as a surprise. There is a modish playfulness that has the Rat Pack written all over it. Yet at the same time the hotel manages a warm chalet feel, which can be credited in large part to the way it uses wood, from carved woodwork to impressive pillars. The hotel resides in Courchevel 1850 (named for its altitude), one of the villages that make up the Courchevel resort in the French Alps. A ski lift and cable car can be caught right at the lobby, and there is a dedicated concierge to arrange passes and lessons.

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ITALY

Cortina d’Ampezzo
Cristallo
www.cristallo.it

Technically, the Cristallo isn’t a dedicated ski resort. But it is a fabulous historic hotel in one of Italy’s most popular ski destinations. Tucked into the Dolomites, Cortina was home to the 1956 Winter Olympics. It has eight ski areas with miles of slopes and dozens of cables cars—we recommend taking the Freccia nel Cielo (Arrow to the Sky) for the spectacular views. The Cristallo has a palatial feel, and its bedrooms are particularly beautiful, with hand-painted boiserie and frescoes and ceilings that feel like works of art. This is also a great après ski sanctuary, featuring the Monkey Club (a jet-setting hotspot in the 1960s and ‘70s), the glassed-in La Veranda with mountain views and a wellness center with sauna, Turkish bath and hydro-massage.

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NEW ZEALAND

Queenstown
Remarkables Lodge

www.remarkables.co.nz

A former farm homestead that dates back to the 1860s, this Southern Hemisphere getaway features a contemporary, streamlined style that would make Frank Lloyd Wright proud. Hospitality is warm, casual and distinctly Kiwi (this is the sort of place where you while away the time playing billiards and sipping local wines), and the setting is great. The lodge sits in the foothills of the Remarkables mountain range and is within easy driving distance of Cardrona, Treble Cone and Coronet Peak. The latter features night skiing on weekends—hit floodlit slopes under the stars with beautiful views of Queenstown. If you need equipment, you can be fitted right at the lodge. And you can enjoy heli-skiing from the lodge’s own helipad.

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SWEDEN

Åre
Hotel Diplomat Åregården

www.diplomathotel.com

Bottom line: This hotel is downright pretty, with its clean, countrified Scandinavian style. It opened in 1895 and is a mainstay in Åre, one of Northern Europe’s most popular ski resorts. On the slopes you’re bound to find lots of fun-loving, partying Swedes, but the hotel itself is classy and subdued, with a wonderfully quiet ambience. Its Restaurant Bakfickan serves modern Swedish dishes in Åre’s first bank. And it is close to the ski lifts. Among Åre’s many snowy attractions is a World Cup downhill run. Åre also hosted the Alpine World Championships in 2007.

(Updated: 10/20/10 NW)


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