Years ago, skiing was considered to be an activity only for the rich and famous – aristocracy and celebrities who spent their winters in the mountains whooshing down beautifully groomed pistes and finishing of slinging back something warming in an après-ski bar. Nowadays, skiing and snowboarding are frequented by a wider range of holidaymakers, meaning that there are now plenty more luxury ski resorts to choose from.
If you’re looking for a luxury resort, the finest facilities and second-to-none service, Oliver’s Travels is here to help. Not only do we offer a range of breathtaking chalets and a concierge service to match, but by analysing a variety of factors, we’ve also found out which European ski resorts are in fact the most luxurious when it comes to the après-ski experience. This includes the number of Michelin Guide restaurants, the number of spas available and the number of high-end designer shops. Read on to find out our pick of the best luxury après-ski resorts in Europe!
The Most Luxurious Après-Ski Resorts In Europe
1. Zermatt, Switzerland
Sitting in the top spot is Zermatt, the much-loved ski resort in southern Switzerland’s Valais canton. The resort’s town sits at an elevation of 1,600m, boasting traditional brown, wooden chalets and winding alleys. Part of its charm is that Zermatt is car-free, but don’t worry: you won’t have to walk everywhere as there are electric vehicles and horse-drawn cabs instead.
The Swiss town was ranked the most luxurious après-ski resort for several reasons, but a key factor is the number of spa and wellness centres that it has to offer. These havens offer relaxing moments - or hours - after a long, hard day on the piste. Just a short ride out of the main resort, you can visit Europe’s highest spa at 2,222m, relaxing in the outdoor pool and gazing out at a breathtaking view of the impressive Matterhorn peak.
2. Chamonix, France
Taking second place is France’s Chamonix. This ski resort sits at the base of Mont Blanc, the highest mountain in the Alps, at an elevation of over 1,000m. As a result of this height, Chamonix is a popular choice for many skiers, guaranteeing you snow until the end of April.
However, this resort is also beloved for its extensive choice of designer shops, including Ralph Lauren, Lacoste and Moncler, its 64 relaxing spas and 10 Michelin Guide restaurants - Albert 1er even holds one of the prestigious stars, founded in 1903 and housing around 19,000 bottles of wine in its cellar. Stressing about getting a reservation? No need! Our concierge team will gladly sort it for you.
Where to stay: Chalet Charmante
This warm and welcoming 3-bedroom chalet home is the perfect spot for your Chamonix escapades. You'll be surrounded by fabulous scenery including L’Aiguille Verte peak and the Argentière glacier along the ‘Route d'Argentière’ and will have great access to all the finest slopes in the area. This home is family-friendly, making it the perfect home-from-home if you've got little skiers keen to hone their skills on the trip too.
Looking for somewhere to stay? Our luxury ski chalets and apartments in Chamonix are beautiful, homely and give a real winter wonderland vibe. Add that special touch to your stay by contacting our concierge service.
3. Courchevel, France
Courchevel, Les Trois Vallées is located in the largest linked ski area in the world. It offers access to a fantastic range of beautifully groomed slopes - 600km of them in fact - but it's the number of Michelin Guide restaurants that earns Courchevel a place in the top three.
Impressively, Courchevel is also home to Le 1947, a 3-star Michelin restaurant - one of only 135 in the world. The establishment serves high-end cuisine with ‘refined French technique and astonishing creativity’. Be warned, though: the average price per person is £250.
Where to stay: Le Lapin
This beautiful and timeless French lodge combines traditional architecture with ultra modern touches. Ideal for families or large groups, you'll love to ski in and ski out of the lodge between runs on the slopes, or spend all day unwinding in its awesome spa and taking in that all important luxury après-ski.
Looking for somewhere to stay? Our luxury ski chalets and apartments in Courchevel are bursting with character, featuring sloping ceilings, wooden beams and facilities like saunas and steam rooms. Add that special touch to your stay by contacting our concierge service.
4. Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy
Taking fourth position, and first place for Italy, is Cortina d’Ampezzo. Known as the Queen of the Dolomites, this classic mountain resort in the Italian Alps became well-known after hosting the 1956 Winter Olympics. The pretty town offers visitors lots to see and do, and the likes of George Clooney and Naomi Campbell have wandered its streets.
This resort also ranked highly thanks to its seven Michelin Guide restaurants, with two of them holding the coveted star status. Cortina also boasts over 50 spa and wellness centres to relax in, plus luxury shops like Dior, Patagonia and Guess to pick up a premium souvenir.
5. Saint Moritz, Switzerland
Rounding up the top five is another Swiss favourite, Saint Moritz. Famed for its cosmopolitan ambience, the resort is located in the Albula Alps at 1,856m above sea level. Of course, you can fly or drive to the beautiful Swiss resort, but what could be more luxurious than arriving by train? On the Bernina Express, you cross the Alps on Europe’s highest train route, tracking a railway line that is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The huge windows offer stunning panoramic views of the landscapes of Graubünden.
Saint Moritz is particularly perfect for those who enjoy a little retail therapy - it ranked in first place for the number of designer shops, spanning Prada handbags, Gucci shoes and Cartier watches. The resort also offers ample opportunity to don your Ray-Ban or Oakley shades as the sun shines 322 days a year!
To determine the most luxurious ski resorts in Europe, we first collated a list of the best-rated and most popular ski resorts across the continent and then analysed each on the below factors:
- Number of Michelin Guide restaurants
- Number of spa and wellness centres
- Number of well-known high-end designer shops
We used a variety of credible sources* to find data for each of the above categories and then ranked the ski resorts based on this data. Ski resorts where a full dataset was not available were omitted from the index. Only the top 40 ski resorts were included in the final list. The full dataset and source list are available upon request.
*Sources include The Michelin Guide, Booking.com, The Telegraph and Conde Nast Traveler.