LE KAÏLA, FRANCE

Harper’s Bazaar (Malaysia) - - Life -

Méri­bel has al­ways been pop­u­lar with fam­i­lies from the Home Coun­ties, who book out rooms a year in ad­vance. The good news is that there is now a five-starho­tel al­ter­na­tive to the many chalets. Le Kaïla is the town’s first true lux­ury ho­tel, com­plete with a restau­rant for food lovers and five de­signer shops. The 600-squareme­tre Spa Nuxe is a sell­ing point, with a large pool com­plete with aqua bikes, hy­dro-mas­sage chairs, and gey­sers. In keep­ing with the over­all style of the ho­tel, the spa is dec­o­rated in slate and wood, with warm, nat­u­ral tones. For fam­i­lies, there is a des­ig­nated club area, with dozens of ac­tiv­i­ties rang­ing from cook­ing and jew­ellery-mak­ing to DJing ses­sions.

BEST FOR HELI-SKI­ING

AT­LAS MOUN­TAINS, MOROCCO

BEST VALUE

CHALET AMELIE, FRANCE

Put the flex­i­bil­ity back into the ski ex­pe­ri­ence, by choos­ing from chalets that can be rented fully staffed or on a self-cater­ing ba­sis, or holidays that can be booked with or with­out flight trans­fers – the pack­age can be trimmed to suit the bud­get. The wood-and-stone Chalet Amelie is one of the best-value and pret­ti­est spots to stay in Courchevel 1650, now a vi­able al­ter­na­tive to the fab­u­lously ex­pen­sive Courchevel 1850. Slightly off the beaten track, this area of the re­gion is never as busy as parts of the Three Val­leys. Sleep­ing eight, Chalet Amelie has an open-plan liv­ing/ din­ing room com­plete with bal­cony and fire­place. Africa’s first heli-ski­ing out­fit has a base camp in Mar­rakesh and flies skiers into the At­las Moun­tains – the top of Toubkal in the south­west or the Bou Igue­nouane in the northeast – for drops of more than 4,000 me­tres. Snow con­di­tions are sim­i­lar to those of the Alps, but the rocky and tree­less ter­rain is a dif­fer­ent world. A well-known French ski school, Evo­lu­tion 2, pro­vides heli-ski coach­ing with knowl­edge­able lo­cal guides from the small moun­tain vil­lage of Imlil. Af­ter a day in the moun­tains, you can catch the sun and take a dip in the pool at char­ac­ter­ful Le Bled de Gre, a tra­di­tional Ber­ber kas­bah on the out­skirts of Mar­rakesh.

Le Kaïla

Chalet Amelie

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