A ski holiday in a luxury mountain lodge is about more than, well, skiing… It can be a family gathering, a gourmet getaway and a spa break all in one. The latter is especially important if you’re stumbling around the slopes and shimmying through slaloms. We’ve found ski hotels with the best spas for Alpine R’n’R. Heal element-battled limbs or swap powder for pampering, with our pick of treatments…
VALSANA HOTEL, AROSA, SWITZERLAND
Nestled between Arosa‘s frosty ranges is this cosy, colourful lodge. Within, the spa is a cosseting space with wicker easy-chairs and scented air. It has a comprehensive menu of treat-yourself massages and facials, but here you’ll want to get your heart-rate up. Your legs may be sore after the piste (and your head even more so), but a brisk forest run will do you good. Raise your pulse without risking frostbite in Valsana’s gym, which overlooks a twinkling, snow-tipped panorama of pine trees. Then ease yourself into the glazed-in pool to admire its Xmassy views. Or feel the burn (lovely toasty warmth) in the reclaimed-wood sauna and Jacuzzis. You’ll leave on a Heidi high.
WIESERGUT, HINTERGLEMM, AUSTRIA
This mountainside stay in Austria is surrounded by pine-strewn peaks – and little else – so you’re set for relaxation. Go for the Happy Hours treatment, and don’t get too in the weeds with the name: it’s neither time allotted to drunken revelry, nor anything insalubrious. No, for this, you’ll be slathered in Swiss pine-oil, after being exfoliated, then warm chips of Swiss pine wood will be laid along your spine and solar plexus to shoo all that pesky tension away. Once you smell like a divine air-freshener, take a long soak. The spa’s pick of baths – infused with St John’s Wort, herbal whey and yet more Swiss pine – will help untangle knots and soothe. If you’re in the upper-tier rooms, sink into your private hot tub.
THE SEBASTIAN VAIL, COLORADO, US
Amid the powdery slopes of the Colorado Rockies, is a polished pampering space. The Sebastian Vail’s Bloom Spa gives the ski-worn a zhuzh with open-air hot tubs and a pool with a refreshing waterfall. It also favours ‘hic chic’, with its Crazy Mountain Pedicure. We promise you won’t end up with whimsical mountain decals on your tootsies, but you’ll soak up some local culture… Colorado’s Crazy Mountain Brewing Co make excellent craft ales, which you’ll submerge your feet in for Bloom Spa’s unique finishing touch. Afterwards, your legs and feet will be gently buffed as you imbibe their beer the traditional way, via your mouth. If beer’s not your poison? The Wine-Down Pedicure (see what they did there) swaps grain for grape. Otherwise, book the Alpenglow, a scrub and vanilla-chai wrap, which will leave you shining like an Alpine sunrise.
THE CAMBRIAN, ADELBODEN, SWITZERLAND
The Cambrian is a showcase of svelte Swiss minimalism, using the colours of the native flag with some sultry blacks and greys. This restraint shifts focus to Adelboden‘s straight-from-an-Alpen-advert views, as is correct. But decadence abounds here, too: the spa throws all the goodness of nature at you. Take the Alpine honey body-scrub with mountain-salt crystals. This burnishing treatment sees you drizzled in bee bling liked a bowl of muesli and saltily buffeted like a brisk seaside walk. The result? You’ll be smooth and jazzed. Chase this with some ‘erbs to take the edge off. A warming mountain-moor herbal pack, plus back massage, or an all-over herbal poultice with a foot rub.
LE LODGE PARK, MEGÈVE, FRANCE
Ski lodge trappings – furry throws, barn-wood finishes, tartan, antlers – are thrown together with stylish French insouciance in this Megève stay. Its spa, all rough stone and rustic wood, has a relaxation room with a trompe l’oeil forest on the walls and a Jacuzzi. Its treatment menu is delectable: we’d choose the Snowflake scrub followed by a blackcurrant and cranberry wrap. Snowflakes have had bad press of late, but the delicate things are surprisingly brusque. Pure Altitude’s Snowflake Scrub sloughs away tension, before you’re swaddled in a delicious fruity wrap. On your second visit, up the après-piste ante with le Skieur. A tip-to-toe treatment with a conditioning and sports massage, chased with hot-stone healing.
LAGACIÓ, SOUTH TYROL, ITALY
We’re taking a trip to South Tyrol in the Dolomites, where we’ll go for a roll in the hay – but not that kind. La Palsa Spa offers a traditional (allegedly) hay bath, where you’re covered with cow chow and Alpine herbs to be infused with their goodness as you swelter. It’s not for everyone, but, hay: it’s worth a go… If not, perhaps an Alpine mud bath is your poison, or a massage using herbs or honey. A quick schwitz in the suite of saunas will see you right, too.
DEPLAR FARM, TROLL PENINSULA, ICELAND
If schlepping out to the icy – and already fairly isolated Troll Peninsula – to stay at luxurious homestead Deplar Farm, doesn’t get you far enough away from it all, hop into one of the spa’s i-sopod flotation tanks. Being shut in a stylish watery coffin in total darkness will allow for the deep reflection you’ve come all that way to seek. Claustrophobes, steer clear, but otherwise, it’s an experience that some find transcendental. After the dark, comes the light: stay a spell in the Sunroom to readjust (or to top up when there’s round-the-clock darkness) and a nighttime swim in the pool to see the stars reflected, and, if you’re lucky, those shy Northern Lights.
LE GRAND BELLEVUE, GSTAAD, SWITZERLAND
This high-end hotel’s Hay Sauna is a new take on smoking grass. It uses warmed hay instead of wood or stone. Grasses release their active elements into the steam, working their natural magic on the respiratory system and leaving you feeling meadow-fresh. By the end, you’ll conclude that being ‘born in a barn’ may not be a bad thing. The healing doesn’t stop there: as one of Gstaad’s fanciest, le Grand Spa has 17 wellness zones to hit. Tick off the herbal and Finnish saunas, thermal circuit, salt-inhalation grotto and ice fountain to leave feeling fully recharged.