Europe is the original chalet continent and, try as they might, nowhere else on the planet has outdone it. France takes top spot as the biggest chalet nation, with properties of all shapes and sizes, often perched right on the piste-side. Meanwhile, with the levels of luxury going on in Switzerland, the chalets there are where we’d see out our days (if given half the choice...). Austria rounds off the lot by offering some of the most affordable lodgings, balancing out its rip-roaring après ski.
Though resorts get more and more modern by the day, luckily the catered package of breakfast, afternoon tea and supper with wine isn’t going anywhere in a hurry.
But versatility has never troubled the chalet, and a number can be booked on a self-catered basis, if the fine fare of Europe’s restaurants beckons.
With everything from all-out opulence (think private cinemas and wine cellars) to quiet luxury (a personal hot tub or private sauna), Europe’s 4 and 5* chalets, like its resorts, defy categorisation. Find something that fits your tastes and budget, and there’s no better way to ski.
Cosseted by your own private staff, let your aches melt away in private wellness facilities, before having meals put before you in warm, well-designed interiors. Literally everything is taken care of.
Putting nothing between you and the mountains, ski-in, ski-out convenience was the only thing that could’ve made the European chalets better. The famed French purpose-built resorts have scores of chalets dotted right next to the ski area, with options at the foot of the nursery slope, next to the ski school meeting point and halfway down the piste. Let our ski specialists know what you’re after, and we’ll help find a property that perfectly suits.
Independently run chalets are dotted all over Europe, run by groups of friends or families with huge passion for their ski resorts. Sometimes chalets come as a one-off, while others are part of a group in one resort or various resorts. You’ll find chalets dedicated to foodies, chalets focussed on families, cheap and cheerful lodgings and others all about luxury.
Generally these chalets don’t come in a package with flights and transfers – instead they’re booked as accommodation-only, leaving the travel plans down to you. The freedom to choose the airports, airline, flight times – or train / ferry times – that work best for you can be a big bonus, but if you’d rather someone else sorted out the journey, we’ll happily arrange it for you.
But that’s not to say you’ll have to sort out meals too. Most indie chalets come with the classic chalet catering: six days of breakfast, afternoon tea and dinner with wine, and a chalet hosts day off where you can explore the local restaurants. There tends to be more flexibility with meal times and menus with the smaller companies, and some will even send you off with a packed lunch or snacks for the slopes as well.