The 10 best Ski Hotels for Families

14.08.2017 | 09:29

From snowman-building to round-the-clock nannies and ice cream-making, these ski hotels go above and beyond to ensure everyone's entertained on and off the slopes.


Les Fermes de Marie, Megève, France

This one's a classic: the sprawling suite of cabins that rescued fading Megève from irrelevance. It's traditional without being twee, luxurious without being obvious, and the Chamois lift is a few blocks away, past restaurants, bars and the Saint-Jean Baptiste church. But why splurge on bringing the kids along? For the junior après ski. Here it's set in a 'children's hamlet' and run by a concierge with staff trained in stagecraft, baking and various sports. That's the kids sorted, then, leaving you more time to avail yourself of the Fermes' cookery school, indoor pool, games room and half-dozen restaurants.


Rosa Alpina, Dolomites, Italy

San Cassiano, in the Alta Badia, is Shangri-La for kids, with long, gentle blue runs to explore and a twinkling village to poke around. But most will agree Rosa Alpina is the best base to come home to - its Michelin-star St Hubertus restaurant, tea parlour and even casual pizza joint are all local draws. Those lucky enough to be dragged here will be doted on by Relais & Chateaux staff when they're not practicing handstands in the garden-view pool while mum cuts up the last leg of the Sellaronda. They may even get their own room - some regular doubles convert into two-bed suites with connecting doors.


Rocks Resort, Laax, Switzerland

When 'après ravers' evolve into 6am bottle-feeders, a nightclub in the lobby just won't do - no matter how much it's pined for. Rocks Resort is a suitable alternative, the responsible parent to the mythical Riders Palace in the Swiss resort of Laax. They share the same blocky, contemporary look, rendered in wood and jagged grey slate. But Riders' all-back-to-mine bunk rooms have been reconsidered here at Rocks as eat-in two-bedroom apartments that sleep five comfortably on built-in oak beds (ample Cassina sofas can take a sixth in a pinch). Common rooms are chic and cheerful, carrying through the theme of cool slate and wood. And capricious kids can successfully demand a panini, pizza or burger at anything o'clock.


Le Yule, Val d'Isère, France

The newest opening in this ever-popular village began taking reservations this month. Le Yule has cleverly taken the stellar slopeside setting of the old Grand Paradis Hotel, where the chairlifts are a snowball's throw from the front door and little legs can ski in, ski out, rather than dragging heavy boots too far. Inside it's completely revamped with a cheery Scandi vibe, masses of wood paneling, fur pelts, sheepskins and Aztec-print cushions. Book one of the south-facing family suites whose balcony looks out over the nursery slope on the front de neige.


El Lodge, Sierra Nevada, Spain

Part of the Marbella Club gang (Malaga is just two hours away), El Lodge is back in the game after a devastating fire in 2013. The Finnish-style log chalet is fully restored and the Andrew Martin-designed bedrooms (some with their own outdoor hot tub) freshly kitted out with vintage leather trunks and cowhide cushions; the Minimec games room is absurdly smart. What you'll find outside, on slopes that whizz straight past the hotel's sun terrace, are empty runs, quiet lifts and piste-side restaurants serving sangria and tapas instead of fondue.


Tschuggen Grand, Arosa, Switzerland

Swiss modernist Mario Botta designed the magnificent wellness centre, with its jagged mountainscape of skylights. But that's not even the best thing about the Tschuggen Grand. The hotel's Tschuggen Express is a private funicular available only to guests keen to dodge Arosa's expanding queues. The resort's first-ever monorail, it has access to 10 red and black runs and a giant slalom, with nary a punter in sight, apart from your fellow Grand-ees. At sundown it's back to your Family Suite, with space to play, build snowmen on the balcony and even dine - though the kids might prefer fondue on a fur rug in the igloo outside (book well ahead).


Portetta, Courchevel, France

Are ski-junkies with means going to be derailed by the logistical challenges imposed by children? No, they are not. Not as long as the lanterns still glow outside Portetta. The alpine cousin of the indulgent Lime Wood resort in the New Forest, Portetta employs a round-the-clock roster of English nannies who 'disappear' children to meals or ski school or the blissful kids' club at sticky moments. While they manoeuvre in the background, tufted easy chairs and flickering fires keep up a façade of calm, cool luxury. Parents can ski out in the morning, then wave hello as they glide back down from Moriond. Lifts leave from the hotel's front yard, so it's a boots-to-socks existence.


L'Alpaga, Megève, France

What a difference modern design makes. This village of cottages located at a comfortable 1,100m is a breath of fresh air in every sense of the word, with clean, contemporary, bleached-wood interiors and picture windows that give the impression of floating among the peaks. The main chalet has a sunny, vaulted lounge with open fires and access to a more buttoned-up dining room; the suit-optional La Colline spa is in a dimmer, sexier space downstairs. But a second structure is entirely dedicated to the Smallable kids' club, staffed four hours daily from 4pm. Off-hours the kids can tour acres of gardens by sleigh.


Hotel Vanessa, Verbier, Switzerland

Blondes have more fun. And Vanessa, tarted up with fair wood and faux fur in a whip-smart refurb three years ago, is no exception. This Swiss chalet dead centre of vivacious Verbier is worth a stay whether or not you're even skiing, which is great news for parents of little ones who might consider bombing down a mountain on two planks of wood slightly out of their wheelhouse. Cafés, markets, skating rinks, climbing walls, swimming pools and the vibrant town square beckon from every direction; beyond them, the hills, and ski schools for toddlers to teens. Back home, they can crash on the sofabed while you carry on downstairs in the bar.


Hotel Ameron, Davos, Switzerland

German hotel group Ameron built this vast contemporary lodge opposite the Congress Centre, but the smaller members of the party will be less interested in the World Economic Forum than bombing into the hotel's steamy swimming pool. Armbands, water toys and water polo kit are on hand, and there's a kids club for ages three and up, piled high with Lego. On whiteout days, children can take a cooking class with pancake-flipping and ice cream-making. The slick building is softened with updated Alpine motifs: cow bells as art, antler chandeliers and acres of warm slate-grey wood.


Valbella Inn, Lenzerheide, Switzerland

Valbella's four disjointed buildings seem rather austere for a remote Swiss resort that's remained resolutely local (the closest thing to a jetset presence is Basel-born Roger Federer, who keeps a chalet nearby). But then you see the inside of your room - clad in natural pine, minimally furnished, flooded with light - and the Scandinavian aesthetic makes perfect sense. Take a suite in the new Tgiasa Fastatsch lodge, where kids get their own room, so there's life after bedtime for parents. LEGO invested big in this venture - you'll see the toymaker's hand at work in the all-singing, all-dancing kids' club, but happily nowhere else. The open-grill restaurant is pleasantly free of primary colours.



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