From Courchevel in the French Alps to Beaver Creek nestled away in the Vail resorts in the USA, there are a large variety of luxurious ski resorts that attract millionaires, royalty and swanky skiers who are able to splash the cash for their holidays. Discover world-class ski areas, extraordinary chalets and luxurious features on our selection of the world’s most exclusive ski resorts. You may even spot a famous face when you're there too!
Courchevel has long been the flagship for exclusive ski holidays in France. It is at one end of the huge 3 Valleys ski area but couldn’t be more different from its neighbours Meribel and Val Thorens. Courchevel boasts SEVEN Michelin-starred restaurants, one at the Chabichou Hotel (Michel Rochedy and Stephane Buron), Les Airelles (Pierre Gagnaire), Le 1947 (Yannick Alleno), La Baumaniere (Jean Andre Charial), Le Kintessence (Jean Remi Caillon), La Montgomerie (Gatien Demczyna), and L'Azimut (Francois Moureaux). Although the place to be seen is Le Cap Horn which is up on the slopes at 2,050m. From Le Cap Horn you can watch other diners flying into the tiny snow covered Altiport airfield, right below the restaurant deck, for lunch with the rest of the Euro elite.
Our favourite luxury accommodation in located in Courchevel 1850 are the Hotel Carlina and Chalet Darkoum Kalo.
Chalet Darkoum Kalo Dining Room
Since Brigitte Bardot was spotted in Meribel during the 1960s, it has become the hub for the rich and famous including the Beckhams, The Middletons and Emma Watson who even bought a £1 million chalet when she turned 18! Meribel lies at the heart of the 3 Valleys ski area and is known for its picturesque chocolate box chalets. It's a popular resort for famous visitors as it is a lot more private than its neighbour Courchevel and many stars stay in secluded private chalets here.
For ultimate luxury, the only 5 star hotel in Meribel, Hotel Kaila, is the one to go for located right in the resort centre. Mont Tremblant is a fantastic accommodation only 12 person chalet which is beautifully furnished. It features a heated outdoor pool, wellness area, games room, large cinema and bar. Slightly further out from the resort centre, the Bellacima Lodge also features a cinema and swimming pool and has its own chauffeur service to and from the lifts.
Hotel Kaila Junior Charme Suite
St Moritz, Switzerland
There are numerous beautiful, chocolate-box chalet-style resorts in Switzerland but the two most exclusive resorts are a little different. The king of bling is the incomparable St Moritz in the Graubünden region. Here the adventurous eccentrics of the gentry risk their lives on the infamous Cresta Toboggan Run, race their horses on the frozen lake, and then try a little skijoring (skiing dragged behind unbroken horses on the lake at speeds over 50kph). The skiing is great, but the people watching combined with the off mountain activities make it a mind blowing destination. Go in February to do the Cresta and see the horse races.
Our top luxury hotels in St Moritz are the five star Hotel Kulm, the stylish Hotel Schweizerhof and the Club Med St Moritz which is situated right by the lake in the town centre.
Hotel Kulm Lobby
The second most exclusive resort in Switzerland was a tough choice but we have given it to Zermatt because Klosters is found in the Graubünden region with St Moritz. No view anywhere in the world can match the magnificence of the Matterhorn. Zermatt is a large town but it keeps its charm due to the absence of cars, with all arrivals by train and all traffic electric. The old Zermatt area has a lovely rustic feel and the new area has tried very hard to keep the alpine style and elegance. This is a huge resort with countless stunning mountain restaurants that all seem to face the Matterhorn but our favourite is the charming Chez Vrony.
We love the grandeur of the Grand Hotel Zermatterhof and the Park Hotel Beausite.
Grand Hotel Zermatterhof
Known as the playground for the rich and famous, Verbier year on year is THE location for royals and celebs to go skiing with many having their own luxe chalet to stay in. Located in the Four Valleys, the resort has the highest price premium of all resorts which not only means pricey accommodation but pricey après ski too! Its combination of world class ski terrain and legendary après ski and nightlife is what makes it such an attractive resort and an elite and glamorous ambiance. But the rich and famous go here as they can go under the radar when they are out and about as there are lots of people around.
The centrally located Hotel Vanessa offers comfortable and spacious rooms, a ski room with boot hearters, sauna and jacuzzi and an à la carte restaurant.
Hotel Vanessa Hot Tub
The best ski area in Austria is the Arlberg ski area which includes the famous resort of St Anton. Just around the corner from this riotous extreme skier’s paradise is the lovely and refined resort of Lech which is on the same lift pass and linked by a 15 minute bus ride. The skiing here is on wide and perfectly groomed pistes, and they make any skier look very good indeed. The town is full of traditional styled hotels and range of restaurants is first class. This resort is renowned for its snow record and attracting the beautiful people of Austria and Germany.
We recommend the excellently located Hotel Berghof which overlooks the village centre and the Hotel Arlberg for a luxurious ambiance and ultimate relaxation with a large spa area including indoor pool and gym, an outdoor heated pool and beauty salon.
Hotel Arlberg Jagdhof Rooftop Suite
Our second recommendation for Austria is the Spa resort of Obergurgl. This incredibly popular resort is the highest parish in Europe and has an excellent snow record. All the accommodation is of high quality and it is a popular destination year round for spa visits. The number of beds here is limited and the exclusivity attracts a repeat crowd every year. There are never queues here and for the adventurous there is the large resort of Sölden with a huge glacier just 15 minutes down the road.
We recommend the Hotel Edelweiss and Gurgl for its great name and central location near the lifts and town centre as well as the Hotel Alpina which is one of the resort's leading hotels.
Hotel Edelweiss and Gurgl Spa
There can be only one choice for Italy and Cortina is the place where the affluent and fabulous Italians spend their winter breaks. The Italian way of skiing follows pretty closely to their laid back lifestyle and in this resort skiing after lunch is only for the foreigners. The village is very pretty and the shopping straight out of Milan and Florence. In Cortina you rise late, ski in a beautiful setting all morning, find a great mountain restaurant for a 3 hour lunch, siesta, shop, and then eat late and drink well into the morning. Sounds pretty good to us!
The Grand Hotel Miramonti Majestic is a few minutes out of town but it is magic.
Grand Hotel Miramonti Majestic
The Fairmont Banff Springs is hard to beat for a glamorous ski resort hotel but our vote goes for Whistler which attracts the jet set crowd from across the world to ski its two amazing mountains and experience the Canadian hospitality. The ski school and guiding services here are arguably the best in the world and well worth the costs. The amount of terrain which is available from the lifts is staggering and a guide will show you the tricky little entrances to some of the finest bowl skiing on the planet. Heli-skiing here is very popular and needs to be booked early. It is also a great resort to try skidooing.
The Fairmont Chateau Whistler Hotel is simply superb with an amazing ski in ski out location and a luxurous chateau-style exterior and interior. The Four Seasons Resort is also a great five star complete with a Four Seasons Spa, a bistro-style restaurant and heated outdoor pool, three whirlpoolsm steam rooms and a health club.
Fairmont Chateau Hotel Whistler Penthouse Suite
Narrowing down the selection for the most exclusive resorts in the USA is very tough but three do stand out from all the rest. Aspen in Colorado has been the home to celebrities and billionaires for a long time but still stays true to its mining town roots with down to earth locals and strict adherence to an architectural code. For posing and celeb spotting you have to ski on the Ajax Mountain right above the town. The restaurants here are typically large American fare but you can also go very upscale at Piñons, Renaissance, Olives in The St. Regis, and Syzygy. The J Bar in Jeromes Hotel is probaly the best restaurant/bar to catch sight of a few celebrities, but a town like Aspen is way too cool for anyone to consciously notice. We prefer Little Nells which is less pretentious.
For outstanding five star luxury, we recommend The Viceroy and the Hotel Jerome which is popular with movie stars and billionaires alike.
Hotel Jerome Underground Bar
Jackson Hole, USA
The next selection for the USA is our absolute favourite resort anywhere and it stands out in so many ways. Jackson Hole in Wyoming, is a serious skier’s mountain and attracts the best of the best. The county of Jackson Hole claims to have more billionaires per capita than any other in the USA. This is one of the most beautiful places on Earth. The national park has abundant wildlife and you will see moose, elk and deer on the slopes. The town of Jackson is at heart still a country town with lots of shops selling cowboy gear. In between those shops though are some of the most expensive clothing botiques and art galleries in the world. The Millionaires Cowboy bar is a regular movie setting and is adorned with pictures of the actors who have visited there. The village of Teton is at the bottom of the ski area and we recommend staying there rather than in town which is 20 minutes away.
For a great ski in ski out location, the Four Seasons Resort Jackson Hole, offers ultimate luxury at the base of the ski area.
Four Seasons Jackson Hole Two-Bedroom Resort Residence Mountain View
Beaver Creek, USA
Finally for the USA we have selected Beaver Creek which is part of Vail Resorts and part of the same lift ticket along with Vail, Breckenridge and Keystone Resorts. The buses between each resort are regular and don’t take long. Vail has the best skiing but the resort is ugly with a massive freeway going right through it. Beaver Creek is where most of the best ski in/ski out hotels and restaurants are. The hotels here offer ski concierge services. They help you get your skis and boots off and offer you slippers to wear indoors. When you return the next day your skis are waxed sitting on the ground to ski away on and your boots are warmed and dry. These are the kind of luxury touches we like.
We recommend the Ritz Carlton Bachelor Gulch for its grotto and outdoor pool and for being in the brilliantly named Bachelor Gulch. The Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa is also superb. It is a new five star hotel and is adjacent to the Riverfront Express gondola complete with a huge spa, fitness centre, 25m lap pool and three large jacuzzi's, onsite kids club, business centre, concierge, ski valet, restaurant, deli and ski shop.
Ritz Carleton Bachelor Gulch