A Lux­u­ri­ous Skiing Get­away

Hit the slopes at Courchevel, the world’s lux­u­ri­ous skiing re­sort

Where Paris - - News - By San­dra Iskan­der

Boast­ing the ti­tle of the ski re­sort with the most 5-star and “palace” ho­tels, and the most Miche­lin­starred restau­rants, Courchevel is un­sur­pris­ingly the win­ter des­ti­na­tion for the very for­tu­nate with roy­alty and A-list stars only some of the VIP guests that visit the re­sort for a lux­u­ri­ous win­ter get­away ev­ery year.

Sweep­ing views of the French Alps and un­ri­valled com­fort in ser­vice, in­clud­ing no queu­ing times at its ski lifts, even dur­ing peak times, give Courchevel a van­tage that is sought af­ter by its ex­i­gent clien­tele.

Cre­ated af­ter World War II, Courchevel was the first ski re­sort to be con­structed from noth­ing, un­like other re­sorts that were cre­ated around al­ready ex­ist­ing vil­lages. To­day, the re­sort is en­cir­cled by charm­ing chalets, both pri­vately owned or part of the lux­u­ri­ous ho­tels that are de­signed to also re­sem­ble chalets, al­beit much larger ones.

Here, hol­i­day-mak­ers look to ski, eat well, pam­per them­selves with spa treat­ments and shop, and the re­sort that was orig­i­nally cre­ated to of­fer ev­ery­one, from all walks of life, an af­ford­able skiing des­ti­na­tion, has iron­i­cally be­come where al­most only the wealthy hol­i­day.

Courchevel is home to some of the most up­mar­ket bou­tiques in the world, which open their posh doors dur­ing the skiing sea­son only, which falls be­tween mid-De­cem­ber and early April of each year. Dior, Chanel, Chopard, Graff Di­a­monds, Zilli, Her­mès, Boucheron and de Griso­gono are only some of the houses with bou­tiques here, of­fer­ing their clien­tele not only the cur­rent col­lec­tions but some houses also of­fer lim­ited edi­tion pieces re­served only for their Courchevel clients.

A bou­tique worth vis­it­ing, and which has be­come a shop­ping in­sti­tu­tion here in Courchevel, is Bernard Or­cel. The multi-brand bou­tique of­fers clients a wide range of high-end brands, in­clud­ing Brunello Cucinelli, Bal­main and Corto Moltedo. Along­side sports­wear col­lec­tions, suit­able for the slopes, in­clud­ing Toni Sailer, Bernard Or­cel also stocks ready-to-wear col­lec­tions, in­clud­ing Jimmy Choo heels. The bou­tique also has a sec­ond ad­dress, Bernard Or­cel Lab, where the glam­orous cou­ture gowns by Le­banese de­signer Elie Saab are found, ready to be worn in the evenings when vis­i­tors dine at the finest restau­rants be­fore head­ing to La Man­geoire, the hottest restau­rant­pi­ano bar where ev­ery­one goes to be seen.

An ideal way of spend­ing an af­ter­noon af­ter hit­ting the slopes all day, swish­ing and swoosh­ing down the fa­mous Alps and glimps­ing the Mont Blanc while skiing or leisurely racket walk­ing through the snow, is book­ing your­self in for a much-de­served mas­sage. With lux­u­ri­ous ho­tels nat­u­rally come equally lux­u­ri­ous spas, with each ho­tel spa man­aged by a renowned skin­care brand. A pop­u­lar spa is the Sothys

Spa at Le Strato Ho­tel, where the sig­na­ture mas­sage, sim­ply named Le Strato, uses a ton­ing oil made with a blend of es­sen­tial oils to help you re­lax. The high­light of the sig­na­ture mas­sage though is when the masseuse si­mul­ta­ne­ously mas­sages one side of your shoul­ders and one an­kle, leav­ing you in a re­lax­ation coma.

An­other equally in­tox­i­cat­ing treat­ment is of­fered at Hô­tel Bar­rière Les Neiges. The ho­tel’s spa, which uses prod­ucts by Bi­ologique Recherche, pro­motes be­spoke treat­ments, cater­ing to ev­ery client’s needs. One of the spa’s sig­na­ture treat­ments is the Well­Be­ing Mas­sage, which ge­niusly starts by work­ing on your front be­fore end­ing the treat­ment with a back mas­sage, un­like most treat­ments at other spas that start a mas­sage with the back.

For vis­i­tors who en­joy fine din­ing à la Française, Courchevel’s prized Miche­lin-starred restau­rants will leave you in com­plete ap­pre­ci­a­tion of the finer things in life. One fine din­ing restau­rant not to be missed is Bau­manière 1850, the one-star Miche­lin restau­rant at Le Strato Ho­tel. Chef Jean-An­dré Char­ial has put to­gether a menu that re­calls his Mediter­ranean cui­sine from his restau­rant in Provence while us­ing lo­cal pro­duce, cre­at­ing dishes that are both hearty and re­fined.

For lunch in the sun be­tween skiing up and down the beau­ti­ful Alps, BFire by Mauro Co­la­greco is per­fect. Lo­cated in the Hô­tel Bar­rière Les Neiges, the restau­rant is eas­ily ac­cessed from the slopes, mak­ing it easy to walk right in from the snow to its out­door din­ing area, and with warm blan­kets made avail­able you can keep warm out­side while soak­ing in the sun. The ca­sual eatery sees chef Co­la­greco put to­gether a menu of Ital­ian and Ar­gen­tinian-in­spired cui­sine, with gen­er­ous por­tions cooked on a wood stove and served in large pots, mak­ing ev­ery dish ideal to share be­fore head­ing out onto the slopes for a lit­tle more skiing fun.

Take a dip in the Les Neiges in­door pool (above) and hit the slopes in style with ski wear from Bernard Or­cel (be­low)

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