Making first tracks in the French Alps. Jumping into Japan’s famed powdery snow. Drinking magnums of mile-high wines from Italy and Switzerland from the comfort of a Mies van der Rohe chair. Let’s face it: Skiing has never been about austerity, and that’s especially true of the experiences on offer at luxury ski lodges around the world.
The top ski resorts and their lodges today want you to play hard on the slopes and pamper yourself even harder après-ski. A new crop of winter activities, including rides on electric mobiles, expanded night skiing, and dusk sleigh rides complement wellness and après-ski activities, including Wyda (silent Celtic yoga), night sky viewing, sake tastings, and on-property food markets.
As part of AFAR’s Hotels We Love series, we’ve selected the best ski lodges to book this year, from woodsy châteaus in Canada and sleek Swiss hideaways to Japan’s newest and biggest slopes-adjacent retreat. Here are our picks for the best ski lodges, in no particular order—strap on your moon boots, book your lift passes, and get ready to swoosh.
1. Six Senses Crans-Montana
- Location: Crans-Montana, Switzerland
- Why we love it: A stylish ski-in, ski-out bolthole with an epic spa
- Loyalty program: IHG One Rewards
- Book now
February 2023 saw the opening of the Six Senses, a 45-room ski-in, ski-out complex above the main gondola in Crans-Montana in Switzerland’s French speaking Canton Valais. The chalet-style, terraced accommodations offer killer views of either the Matterhorn or Mont Blanc and exclusive early bird access to the piste every morning.
The property’s 21,500-square-foot spa is no afterthought. Nine treatment rooms, an innovative Stretch Pod, a yoga studio, three thermal pools, steam rooms, and a hammam promise a sweet postskiing recovery. Especially intriguing is the Biohack Recovery Lounge, which uses smart tech to optimize the body’s natural healing processes. Think NormaTec compression boots for lactic acid legs, Hypervolt percussion massagers, and back wraps that soothe muscle tension after a day on the piste. From $1,360
2. The Omnia
- Location: Zermatt, Switzerland
- Why we love it: Uninterrupted Matterhorn views and a secluded setting
- Book now
This understated and contemporary 30-room member of Design Hotels will make you feel like you’re in a James Bond film, thanks to the fact that it’s built into a mountain with a discreet cave-like entrance. The timber building of the Omnia is located in a quiet back corner of Zermatt, offering easy access to the lifts along with some of the town’s best Matterhorn views.
Expect furniture from designers like Mies van der Rohe and Eero Saarinen, while a recently refurbished spa features an indoor pool, thermal bath for aching postpiste legs, and saunas and steam rooms. The restaurant is a highlight, with its hearty-but-healthy vegetable-forward dishes like Walliser dumplings with forest mushrooms and dashi and grilled cauliflower with miso Hollandaise and walnuts. Ask about the excellent wine menu, featuring many high altitude varietals from Italy and Switzerland. July 2023 saw the opening of a new lift with glass-bottom gondolas that whisk visitors from Zermatt to Italy over a glacier. From $400
3. The Alpina Gstaad
- Location: Gstaad, Switzerland
- Why we love it: A sleek retreat with nods to tradition
- Loyalty program: I Prefer (Preferred Hotels & Resorts)
- Book now
Situated on a hill a short walk from the too-pretty-to-be-real resort town of Gstaad, the Alpina Gstaad debuted in 2012 as the first luxury hotel to open there in a century. It took the French and Swiss owners, who are based in Gstaad, 15 years to create the six-story hotel on a five-acre plot in adherence with the town’s strict building codes. The lobby makes a grand first impression with its contemporary artwork, double-height ceilings, sleek central staircase, and use of reclaimed wood sourced from Switzerland, France, and Austria.
The 58 timber-walled rooms, suites, and new residences, designed by Chaletbau Matti in collaboration with regional craftspeople, are mashups of contemporary and traditional. Abstract paintings and marble and timber-clad bathrooms with large soaking tubs are juxtaposed with carved wooden ceilings, hanging lamps fashioned out of embroidered leather cowbell straps, and painted wooden cupboards inspired by the generations-old versions in Swiss Alpine homes. Gas fireplaces add an extra dose of comfort on cold nights. Read AFAR’s full review here. From $1,600
4. Four Seasons Vail Residences
- Location: Vail, Colorado
- Why we love it: Sprawling, residential-feeling digs with Four Seasons service
- Book now
The Four Seasons Resort Vail has an excellent slope-adjacent location, but its sprawling and edgier 24 on-site private retreats—ideal for longer stays to help you tackle Vail’s 195 slopes and 5,317 acres of skiable terrain—are a super cool upgrade and ideal for families or groups of friends who want more space.
Expect individually designed rooms with modern furnishings like lasso-shaped chandeliers, and balconies with private whirlpools, panoramic views of the mountains, firepits, and barbecues. Modern kitchens offer the chance to whip up your own meals (with or without the help of a private chef).
The sprawling spa offers high altitude adjustment treatments, plus steam rooms, saunas, indoor and outdoor pools, and hot tubs. The dedicated ski concierge can help facilitate back-country excursions to powder-filled bowls, ice-skating, snowmobiling, dog-sledding, cross-country, and more. Private retreats from $850
5. Aman Le Mélézin
- Location: Les Trois Vallées, Courchevel, France
- Why we love it: Sumptuous digs with insider access to the mountains
- Book now
Expect heated boot racks, ski butlers, and a hammam with vaunted ceilings and limestone-clad walls at this 31-room ski-in, ski-out Aman, 2.5 hours by train from Geneva or Lyon. It’s located on the Bellecôte piste, part of France’s mammoth Les Trois Vallées, the world’s largest ski area, boasting some 25,916 skiable acres.
This may be the place for postpiste pampering, but it’s also a cozy Alpine refuge where you can soak quietly, linger in the bilingual library, or sip champagne next to the terrace’s wood-burning heaters. A first tracks program allows you to get a jump start on the slopes, while 2023 saw the introduction of moon biking, an off-piste adventure through the snow-dusted mountainside of Pralong Farm on ultra-light electric snowbikes (a sustainable alternative to gas-powered snowmobiles). Also new are the dusk horse-drawn sleigh rides to a chalet in Les Prés de la Croix, where you’re served a traditional Savoyard fondue dinner. From $3,000
6. Park Hyatt Niseko Hanazono
- Location: Niseko, Japan
- Why we love it: Large guest rooms, private onsens, and early-bird slopes access
- Loyalty program: World of Hyatt
- Book now
Opened in 2020, Park Hyatt Niseko Hanazono’s 100 spacious guest rooms—including 28 suites, each with a private onsen—occupy four separate buildings and overlook the Annupuri range. The spa is surrounded by a stream and hemmed by birch trees. It includes a pool and a tattoo-friendly onsen—a rarity in Japan, where tattoos are often still considered taboo.
Accommodations feature deep soaking tubs, oversize beds, huge walk-in closets for storing bulky winter items, and sofas that convert to an extra bed for families or small groups. Close to a dozen restaurants are on offer, including a deli, sushi counter, cozy charcoal-grill robata, and French-Japanese teppanyaki, plus a private karaoke dining room. On-site ski valet services pamper powder pilgrims, while an early-bird first tracks program with the general manager himself gets you on the piste before it opens. From $250
7. Hoshino Resorts Bandaisan Onsen Hotel
- Location: Nekoma Mountain, Japan
- Why we love it: Family and group friendly, with cultural activities and gentle prices
- Book now
In December 2023, Japan will see the debut of Nekoma Mountain, a fusion of two ski resorts—Alts Bandai and Nekoma Snow Park & Resort, joined together by a new lift—with a total of 13 lifts and 33 courses on offer. The ski-in, ski-out Hoshino Resorts Bandaisan Onsen Hotel is exceptionally affordable and offers several room configurations for groups or families.
The 149-room resort features a plethora of activities between trips to the slopes, including morning food markets, hands-on programs for making local Aizu handicrafts, night sky viewing, sake tastings in the convivial sake bar, and a tiled onsen, spa, and pool. A relaxed creperie and café offer casual fare, while Aizu Yushoku Takazen restaurant serves excellent Aizu cuisine, including local beef and miso dengaku dishes—glazed vegetables from Tohoku. From $90
8. Das Edelweiss
- Location: Grossarl, Austria
- Why we love it: A family-friendly wellness sanctuary with spacious new suites
- Book now
Deck after deck of wellness experiences are on offer in the new wing of this sprawling Alpine-style resort. It’s positioned at the foot of Grossarltal-Dorfgastein Ski Area, located about an hour by train from Salzburg, with 18 lifts, 494 acres, and more than 25 miles of skiable piste with wide slopes and reliable snow.
Book one of the 17 new Family Suites, with their knotty wood paneling and large terraces; they have extra space for groups with gear. The family wellness area includes more than a dozen pools, including a three-story waterslide and kid’s area, while a subdued new adults-only spa features relaxing rooms, infrared saunas, fragrant steam rooms, and multiple thermal baths where you can gaze out at the surrounding Alps. From $395
- Location: Südtirol, Dolomites, Italy
- Why we love it: A modern-feeling hideaway with a wellness focus
- Loyalty program: Invited (Small Luxury Hotels of the World)
- Book now
This former tuberculosis sanatorium designed for Austrian royalty opened in Italy’s German-speaking Südtirol in July 2020. The ski-in, ski-out property’s 62 wood-lined suites sit atop Mount Plose’s Palmschoss chairlift and overlook numerous slopes where 26 miles of piste twist and turn under the watch of the jagged, honey-colored Dolomites.
At the property’s heart is a 21,528-square-foot spa made of mountain pine, spruce, larch, and stone pine. It uses the Celtic Tree astrology system and Celtic-based holistic treatments, which includes silent rooms for Wyda (Celtic yoga), saunas, and thermal baths. Snowshoeing, off-piste adventures, and sledding can also be arranged. From $620
10. Fairmont Chateau Whistler
- Location: Whistler, British Columbia, Canada
- Why we love it: Top-notch hospitality in a château setting
- Loyalty program: Accor Live Limitless
- Book now
If it’s a ski château you’re looking for, look no further. Fairmont Chateau Whistler‘s 539-room fairy-tale château, which sits in a forest of snow-frosted evergreens, is a masterpiece of ski resort hospitality. The ski-in, ski-out lodge is a five-minute walk from the Blackcomb gondola, which whisks you to North America’s largest ski resort (the 200 marked runs, 8,171 acres of terrain, 16 alpine bowls, and three glaciers are a great option for advanced skiers looking for an extended season in the summer).
While the resort is a handy 15-minute walk to the buzzy Olympic Plaza, you’ll find everything you need on property—including a spa leaning into ancient Indian Ayurveda techniques, numerous indoor and outdoor heated and thermal pools, eucalyptus steam rooms, and three restaurants—plus cultural excursions to the local Indigenous Squamish and Lil’wat Nations. From $230