Les Arcs goes five-star
Slap-bang next to the slopes at Arc 2000, the addition of a five-star resort seriously ups the ante of the otherwise workaday Les Arcs. Taj-I Mah Hotel is a classy, calm contrast to the scramble for lifts outside — a refined world of soft fabrics, ambient lighting and quietly attentive staff. The 48 stylish rooms are awash with wood and leather, fur throws and thick carpets; the elegant spa comes with a 15m pool, carved wooden beds and deft masseuses. Double rooms from €180 (£160) per night.
Four Seasons arrives in Megève
Megève, a resort known for keeping up appearances, sees the opening of Europe’s first Four Seasons hotel this winter. With just 55 rooms — 14 of them suites — this luxury hotel group will deliver city slicker service and design to the slopes. The pistes of Mont d’Arbois, littered with blues and greens, are right outside, overlooked by the extravagant spa and pool, and a two Michelin-starred restaurant to get your teeth into (which might be your biggest challenge of the week). Double rooms from €650 (£571) per night.
City chic in the Morzine mountains
As far from alpine twee as can be, Morzine’s new Colibri Uno apartment comes with Italian-designed walk-in showers, contemporary lighting and sleek furniture, this isn’t chocolate box Alps. There’s still a reassuring amount of wood around — namely on the floors and some of the walls — not to mention the requisite hot tub for apres ski soaks. And, it’s just five minutes’ walk from the slopes. Seven-nights stay from £879pp, includes full board accommodation, return flights from Gatwick and transfers.
Slope-side luxury in Jasna
The new, slope-side Hotel Posta in Jasna, Slovakia has all the luxury trimmings you’d expect in a central European resort, but at a price that would barely buy a long weekend in France, Switzerland, Austria or Italy. With just 24 rooms and eight suites, it’ll never feel crowded here — whether you’re curling up by the fire in one of the contemporary leather chairs in the lobby, or chilling in the spa. Double rooms from €120 (£105) per night including breakfast.
A grande dame make-over
She’s 110 this year but Belle Époque Hotel Walther in Pontresina, near St Mortiz, is as spry as a slalom racer, thanks to an artful revamp by Zurich-based designer, Virginia Maissen. The venerable Engadin Skimarathon (11 March 2018; engadin-skimarathon.ch), one of Europe’s best-known ski races, passes through the village. Double rooms from CFH300 (£239).
Pangea ‘pod’ hotel opening in Whistler
It may aim to break North America’s big hotel mould, but this bijou billet won’t bust the budget. Opening early 2018, Pangea will offer the privacy of a hotel but the ‘social vibe’ of a hostel. Check in and enjoy a craft beer or a macchiato, then retire to your ‘pod’ — more ship’s cabin than hotel room. There are no rooms with a view, but at least you can’t fall out of bed. Room rates yet to be announced.
More terrain, less people in Utah
This season, Powder Mountain will cap the number of daily lift-ticket sales to 2,000 — despite opening up more than 1,000 acres of new terrain and two new lifts. With a whopping total of 8,464 acres, Powder Mountain now tops Canada’s mighty Whistler Blackcomb for skiable terrain. Seven-nights costs from £1,105pp, including flights, car hire and room-only accommodation.
Published in the Winter Sports 2018 guide, free with the October 2017 issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK)