Suite Wars: Ski

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As winter kicks into full swing, the question on every Haute traveller’s mind is which slopes to hit. We make the choice a little harder with five outstanding suites in the world’s top ski destinations

By Ayesha Khan

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There are those who look forward to winter because of the fresh skiing and snowboarding challenges it brings, and those who are quite content to frequent the world’s most exclusive ski resorts and do anything but ski. Our selection of Europe‘s and North America’s five finest ski suites are bound to appeal to both. Allow us to transport you to five distinct places that will change your definition of “black diamond,” “moguls,” and “powder.”

No one does the Canadian ski resort quite like Fairmont Hotels and Resorts. The hotel group’s 10 ski hotels scattered across British Columbia, Alberta and Quebec offer unrivalled décor, spas, dining, and, most importantly, suites. The Banff/Lake Louise area offers some of the best eye candy in North America, if not the world, and it just so happens Fairmont has two properties there. Declared a national historic site, and designed as an old Scottish baronial castle, the Fairmont Banff Springs is the best place to luxuriate in the Canadian Rockies.

Its 1000-square-foot Presidential Suite comes with all the pomp and circumstance befitting castle accommodation. The split level living room features a grand piano and separate library, while the expansive master bedroom features stunning views of the Spray and Bow River Valleys and a marble-clad en-suite bathroom. There is a pantry and powder room, and up to seven Fairmont Deluxe rooms may be added to the Presidential Suite, offering elevator access to the 10th, 11th and 12th floors.

Another home-grown Canadian hospitality group, Four Seasons, offers the ideal ski refuge in Whistler/Blackcomb, two towering peaks in Canada’s Coast Mountain Range that burst into the spotlight from virtual obscurity over the past 30 years (with the help of some $600 million dollars, of course). Voted the best ski resort in the world several times over, Whistler/Blackcomb is the site of the 2010 winter Olympics. Serious skiers will appreciate the sheerest vertical drop in North America, while others will appreciate the host of international restaurants.

 Badrutt’s Palace has been synonymous with St. Moritz luxury for over a century, owing, in part, to its commitment to world-renowned cuisine, sports, and fashion.

The best way to enjoy the Four Seasons Whistler is in the sprawling private residences that range from two-to-four-bedrooms. Each residence features gas burning fireplaces, gourmet kitchens, one-touch entertainment/heating control, private furnished terraces and generous bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms. Appointed in luxurious stainless steel-capped stone and wood panelling, the décor of each residence type is truly unique.

And then, of course, there are the Alps, the undisputed origin of alpine skiing, après ski, and ski hospitality. Set in France’s Courchevel 1850, directly alongside the Bellecôte Piste, Le Mélézin promises an unforgettable alpine experience (it is, after all, an Amanresort in les Trios Vallées, the world’s largest ski region).
The Suite Le Mélézin is 90-square-meters of red cedar-clad walls and ceilings appointed with plush designer furniture and a super sized rose-tinted granite bathroom. A separate sitting room with attached guest bathroom offers far reaching views to the surrounding ski slopes and village through cedar-panelled floor to ceiling windows. Being an Amanresort, Le Mélézin also offers a touch of Oriental exoticism in its Turkish style hammam, a dedicated steam room with vaulted ceiling and Capri-stone clad walls.

Badrutt’s Palace has been synonymous with St. Moritz luxury for over a century, owing, in part, to its commitment to world-renowned cuisine, sports, and fashion. The resort also played a key role in the invention of the luge, skeleton, and bobsled in order to keep the thrill-seeking glitterati entertained. And, let’s face it, no one does hospitality like the Swiss. At this most exclusive St. Moritz address, you will find Nobu’s Switzerland installment; a lifetime supply of celebs, royalty, and billionaires; the exclusive members-only Club Privé and Corviglia Ski Club; and, most importantly, the Hans Badrutt’s Suite.

The ideal palatial home away from home, the Hans Badrutt’s suite offers unrivalled views of Lake St. Moritz and surrounding landscape through luxuriously dressed windows in all of its rooms. A large Italian marble bathroom features an exclusive deep soak Jacuzzi with far reaching views. The bedroom and living room are well appointed in European luxury coupled with state-of-the-art technology (a Denon sound system, Internet access via plasma screen TV, wireless LAN and video and music on demand).

Of course, it would be foolish to compile a list of the finest ski destinations without mention of Aspen, Colorado’s ski (and more importantly après ski) haven. Aspen is the place to see and be seen in the winter months, an undeniable fact that has the town’s ultra-luxe hotels clamouring to lure the oh-so-important VIPs into their elaborate suites- the ultimate snowy Suite War.

Our choice for the ultimate suite in Aspen is to be found at the Little Nell. The 2,500 square foot Paepcke Suite features maple panelled walls, hardwood floors and gas log fireplaces. Bathrooms boast exquisite heated marble floors, and oversized soaking tubs. But what truly sets the Little Nell apart is its dedication to unrivalled service that begins even before check-in. The Little Nell’s award winning concierge service will plan your Aspen vacation, with baby-sitting schedules, restaurant reservations, and even a pet service menu all before you even set foot in the hotel. A separate team of Ski Concierges will make sure you get the most out of the slopes.

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