There are fewer winter than summer resorts, so it’s easier to rank the places. Courchevel in France must be number 1. The first skiing center in France was “tailor-made”, it encompasses 5 towns. Once small villages, they are now an oasis of elegance, luxury, excellent skiing conditions and world-class social life.
The most popular of the five is Courchevel 1850. The numbers by the names specify the location above the sea level. The capital of this skiing conglomerate can boast 150 km of skiing pistes, 52 lifts and the highest skiing point at 2,738 meters. It offers truly luxurious conditions for skiing, and even more things to do afterwards. There are three “palace” hotels, 17 five-star hotels and 8 restaurants awarded Michelin stars. As the English say: Anybody who’s somebody has to be there.
We recommend the hotel Les Grandes Alpes, composed of apartments for 4 to 8 guests. Grand, comfortable and expensive, with luxurious furnishings. A 300 m2 apartment for 8 people costs EUR 8,700 a night. The best way to get there is by car, as the small airport Courchevel Altiport is considered one of the most dangerous airports in the world.
The Swiss Klosters is sometimes called “Hollywood of the rocks”. American movie stars regard it as an iconic place. It attracts billionaires and blue bloods, including the British royal family. It is a peculiar settlement that looks like a big village, where you can encounter Julia Roberts, George Clooney or Prince Charles on a walk. The locals haven’t gotten carried away by greed and oppose the construction of luxurious, 5-star hotels. Here, the valuable qualities are genuine hospitality, cozy restaurants, 4-star hotels and guesthouses.
But the skiing conditions are magnificent. The biggest ski lift goes from the town center up to the mountain top of Verstanclahorn (3,298 m). There are 307 km of skiing trails, and a ride down a 12 km Parsenn Weiss flugjoch is an experience. Note: You should avoid going there from mid-January to early February. World Economic Forum in the nearby Davos makes life difficult for everyone around.
St. Moritz is known as the two-times host of the Winter Olympics and a host of many world championships. In St. Moritz and its vicinity alone, there are 350 km of skiing trails, mostly blue and red, for beginning and intermediate skiers. Ski passes allow you to go by a skibus or train free of charge. Still, the biggest advantage of St. Moritz are its 322 sunny days in a year. While other places are ravaged by snow blizzards or freezing rain, the society in St. Moritz sunbathe on the slopes only to look stunning afterwards in excellent restaurants and night clubs. In the most popular King’s Club you have to be careful not to bump into a movie or business star on the dance floor, as in season they go there in great numbers.
The most famous hotel is Badrutt’s Palace Hotel. If in season you get a suite or even an ordinary room in that hotel, it’s as if you won a lottery. And the prize would be much needed, as the prices start at CHF 1,500 per night in the cheapest room, and go up to CHF 6,000 in a suite. Breakfast inclusive, of course.
A big advantage of St. Moritz are its hot springs, where you can relax after skiing or club excesses. Since recently, local attractions also include Jan Kulczyk’s estate “The Lonsdaleite”, whose size and elegant architecture are just breathtaking. Starting price – USD 185 million. The best way to get there is by car or a helicopter. The transfer from the airport in Bergamo takes about 3 hours.