Beach holidays are wondrous – there’s no doubting that. But there’s something about a winter mountain getaway – with its dramatic landscapes, endless adventures and cosy fires – that revitalises all the senses. Whether you’re an après-ski reveller or a luxury-loving spa bunny, here are eight of the most unique ski hotels in Europe to make the most of the season.
1. Hotel Falken: Wengen, Switzerland
Just a short walk from the station and the main street of car-free Wengen, Hotel Falken is a Victorian-style stay furnished in traditional alpine style. Think wooden floors, chandeliers and centuries-old furniture which transport you back to 19th-century glory. Whether you crave steep peaks or gentle, wide runs, the local area has plenty of choice for skiers. There’s pistes galore on the Grindelwald side – served by wonderfully speedy chairlifts.
2. Hotel Castel Rundegg: Merano, Italy
High-altitude adventurers will fall in love with the glaciers of South Tyrol. Head to the valley of Schnalstal and experience your favourite winter sports in a breathtaking 185-acre natural park. In dream-like Merano, ski-lovers can dive into a duvet of snow. With 40km of slopes providing wide and pleasant descents, the only thing that can top it off is nearby Hotel Castel Rundegg. Savour many a delicious delicacy in the South Tyrolean restaurant and marvel at the 12th-century castle and its spacious, fine-furnished rooms.
3. Storsätra Fjällhotell: Idre, Sweden
Spend blissful days pursuing the Grövelsjö pistes, which straddles the border of Sweden and Norway, before returning to Storsätra Fjällhotell for open-fire nourishment. The snuggly rooms provide comfort in the wild mountains, with crisp, squishy beds and even a TV. Not that you’ll spend much time there – the outdoor sauna overlooking the bubbling Grövlan may be more tempting. Guests of the past used to bathe in the river’s crystal clear waters – hardier souls still brave a dip today.
4. Sierakow Manor: Dobczyce, Poland
After a revitalising day in the mountains, a beautiful night’s sleep is just the thing. Sierakow Manor is one of the most charming ski hotels in Europe, delivering endless comfort to skied-out guests. Bask in winter sun on the peaceful Wieliczka slopes before retiring to an English-style masterpiece. There are paintings, engravings, photographs and furniture filled with soul – savour a wine by the roaring fire and admire them all. Slow food buffs will delight at the award-winning menu here – chefs blend modern and traditional recipes for natural, local cuisine you’ll never want to end.
5. Hotel Monte Rosa: Zermatt, Switzerland
You’ll feel reborn after a stay at Hotel Monte Rosa. The Belle-Époque beauty was the first hotel ever built in Zermatt, retaining its alpine charm of yesteryear without forgoing modern comforts. From the moment you arrive, you’re made to feel at home in the laid-back haven – ran by the Seiler family for five generations. If you can tear yourself from the indoor and outdoor pools, saunas and spa therapies, the local skiing and snowboarding opportunities are endless.
6. Antiq Palace: Ljubljana, Slovenia
Out of more than 100 ski areas in Slovenia, the biggest and bestest is in Ljubljana. Kranjska Gora is where the world cup competitions are held, with slopes for all levels of experience. Less than a half-hour drive from the city centre is Krvavec ski resort – named the best winter sports region of Slovenia multiple times. Make Antiq Palace your winter base: in the heart of the capital and brimming with majestic old-world charm, it’s close to Ljubljana’s most iconic landmarks and all the ski-based fun.
7. Vetrov Castle: Aš, Czech Republic
The scenery is splendid. The slopes are well-groomed. The sleeping arrangements are regal. Welcome to your dream ski holiday – among the clean soft stretches in the westernmost part of Czech Republic. Aš Ski Resort is entirely illuminated, making it ideal for night-skiing lovers. After a day (or dusk) on the pistes, dive under a goose-down duvet at Vetrov Castle – a regal 19th-century castle in the heart of a natural Bohemian park and one of the most historical ski hotels in Europe. Expect queen-sized beds, aromatic gardens and freshwater ponds (where the team fishes for one of the hotel’s finest dishes – its famous grate-baked trout).
8. Røisheim Hotell: Bøverdalen, Norway
Between three to four hours from Oslo, Jotunheimen National Park is one of the easiest skiing destinations to reach. Its name literally means ‘the home of the giants’ in Norwegian – so rest assured you’ll be meeting some steep peaks on your adventures. But newbies needn’t fear – terrain is diverse, providing slopes for every skill set. Right at the park’s gateway, Røisheim Hotell allows you to experience authentic mountain culture at its grandest. Originally an old posting station dating from 1858, the now-hotel has retained its wood-clad history – all four-poster beds, open fires and fine Norwegian dining.