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Five new Alpine retreats | Financial Times


Chalet La Fenice, Cervinia, Italy

The Italian resort on the south side of the Matterhorn has always been the poor relation to Zermatt, its illustrious neighbour on the Swiss side. This season, the balance will be slightly redressed thanks to the opening, late next month, of Cervinia’s first super-chalet, La Fenice. Sitting on a grassy plateau above the resort, the chalet was built in 1936 for a wealthy Italian engineering family but had fallen into ruin.

The new British owners set out on a sympathetic reconstruction, keeping the same footprint but adding an extra floor below ground level. It now has seven double bedrooms, a 10m indoor pool, private cinema and a staff of five. Two chauffeur-driven Land Rover’s are on hand to take guests around the resort.

Best of all, perhaps, are the two balconies and five terraces that make the most of the breathtaking situation — looking over the roofs of Cervinia in one direction, straight up to the bulk of the Matterhorn in the other. A week, for 14 people, half-board and with afternoon tea, fine wines, and staff, costs from €65,000, via oxfordski.com


Kempinski Palace, Engelberg, Switzerland

The former Grandhotel Winterhaus, a belle époque pile originally opened in 1904, relaunched this summer after five years of building work, emerging as the smartest hotel in Engelberg. An extension has been added, and there’s a light-filled top-floor spa, but much of the historic style has been retained and the Palace Bar and Cigar Lounge are intended “to revive the Roaring Twenties”. Doubles from about SFr520 (£412) per night; kempinski.com


Le K2 Chogori, Val d’Isere, France

A clear indicator of Val d’Isère’s move upmarket: the old Moris Pub and the rough-and-ready hotel above it have been demolished to make way for an offshoot of Courchevel’s three-strong K2 group of hotels (one of which boasts “palace” status and a two-Michelin star restaurant). The Val d’Isère hotel, opening on December 17, is set across two dark wood and stone chalets, with 21 rooms, a spa and a Peruvian restaurant. Doubles from €540 per night, including breakfast; lek2chogori.com


Hotel Edelweiss, Pralognan, France

Less than five miles from Courchevel as the alpine chough flies, but a world away in terms of atmosphere and clientele, Pralognan-la-Vanoise is a low-key farming village on the edge of the vast wilderness of the Vanoise National Park. This winter, it gets its first four-star hotel, the 23-room Edelweiss, in the heart of the village and close to the cable car. The dozen lifts and 30km of pistes don’t link with the 600km of slopes over the hill in the Trois Vallées but offer peace, great views and some excellent off-piste. Doubles from €180 per night, half-board; hotel-edelweiss-pralognan.com


Hygna Chalets, Reith im Alpbachtal, Austria

If your dream ski trip is about escaping the crowds and finding peace amid pristine mountain scenery, this could be the perfect choice. Hygna is an idealised vision of the alpine hamlet: a collection of 11 chocolate-box chalets, surrounded by fields and forests in the gorgeous Alpbach valley.

Though they look traditional, the chalets are actually brand new, and so come with lavish bathrooms and kitchens, saunas and, in some cases, outdoor whirlpools. There’s a larger pool in an old hay barn, where there are also yoga sessions. Breakfasts are delivered to the chalets, after which the slopes of the Ski Juwel area are a short drive away. Chalets for two from €432 per night; hygna.at

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