Back stiff as a snowboard? Goose bumps won’t go away? Nothing says ‘welcome in from the cold’ quite like a stonkingly good ski hotel spa.
Locals have been harnessing the goodness of mountain springs and Alpine air for generations. The resulting spas? Near miracles. Now picture them moments from your bedroom door...
Even if you've yet to don your first robe and slippers, it's easy to see that spas and skiing go well together. Whether you opt for a soothing muscle-melter or a brisk, injury-averting rub, spa treatments get you in peak condition for the slopes - they aren't all mud masks and manicures.
Ski optimising massages:
Lava shell massage: For when you're feeling tender. Heated shells allow deeper penetration into those aching muscles.
Sports massage: A no-nonsense rub down focusing on areas relevant to snow sports. Releases tension, reduces aches and restores range of movement so well, it's favoured by winter Olympians.
Swedish massage: Good old fashioned massage. Long, sweeping strokes boost blood flow, and stretches decrease muscle toxins while improving flexibility– no more creaky knees.
If you know your Swedish massage from your Shiatsu
With age-old treatments, cutting-edge equipment and views that alone banish stress (check out the Hotel Josl's panoramic rooftop saunas) - there are reasons people come this far and don't leave their hotels. Opt for a place with serious spa credentials, and we're talking special detox menus, trickling waterfalls, floating water beds and nutrient rich body wraps, so that you return home with those chakras aligned (see if the Lac Salin Mountain Spa and Resort still has rooms based on which of your 7 chakras needs work...).
A lot of swimming pools in France are strictly speedos-only – but hotel spa pools are usually more relaxed. Pack a pair just in case, we suggest, or if you're strictly boardies over budgies, ask us to check the current rules and regs in your chosen hotel.
In Italy, swimming caps are the essential wear. If our hotel pages don't specify whether or not caps are needed, ask our experts to check.
You may have heard that in Austria there isn't a dress-code as such; most native spa-goers opt for their birthday suits... It's proper form to sit kit-off on a towel in many saunas and steam rooms here.
Not always, mind you… Many hotels let you choose between nude and ‘textile' areas – last time we checked, these included: Hotel Alpine Sonnberg, Hotel Tyrolerhof, Hotel Neuhaus, the Alpinresort and the Tauern Spa Kaprun.
If you're not quite comfy with your kit off, ask our team to find you somewhere that won't require you to strip off to steam, like the Hotel Gotthard, Hotel Vancouver, Alpin Resort Sport & Spa, Hotel du Golf and Hotel Sonnschein.
Alternatively, look for a chalet with a sauna where you can set your own rules.
To keep the pool peaceful most hotel spas have, at minimum, a 15 + policy - but we know of family-friendly properties that give teens and children special treatment.
Almost all Club Meds provide teen treatments – for ages 11 and up and last time we checked. Kalinda in Tignes recently offered youngsters glitter manicures and chocolate body wraps before letting them splash about in a child-only pool. The Hotel Pulverer had an under-14s menu of gentle cleansing facials and aromatherapy massages, and the largest spa in Chamonix in the Hotel Les Aiglons did special My First Spa package for 6-10s. Our favourite has to be the Family Resort Alpenpark, so pro-spa they're known to incorporate cucumber eye masks in their childcare regimes...
Often you'll find adult only spa areas (with their own pool and sauna) kept separate from children's ones, or an arrangement like the Hotel Piolets or the Princesa Parc and Diana Hotel which usually open their spas to sprogs for a set number of hours.
There are about as many saunas as there are aching glutes in the mountains, but in special hotels they're also accompanied by the likes of steam baths, hammams, tropical showers, treatment rooms, and gyms.
Access to super special facilities - like flotation chambers and solariums - may involve paying a little extra and treatments are almost always on top, but most facilities are a luxurious addition to your stay – which you can float in and out of as you please.
Sometimes you'll even find fitness programs and yoga sessions in the price of your package. The Hotel Alpin Juwel in Hinterglemm is known to have a yoga master from Sri Lanka, while classes at Hotel Eiger have included yogalates, Jazzercise and Zumba in their wellbeing programmes in recent years.
Suddenly, a slush day's not looking so bad...
See the finest spa hotels in the mountains here.
|Hotel Adler||5||Ortisei||Italy||110||Indoor & outdoor pools, subterranean rock salt lake & grotto, steam rooms, saunas & more|
|Hotel Kulm||5||St Moritz||Switzerland||172||Kulm Spa St Moritz with panoramic indoor pool, whirlpool, saunas, salt grotto, kneipp & more|
|Hotel Altapura||5||Val Thorens||France||88||1000m2 spa with indoor/outdoor pool, sauna, hammam, jacuzzi|
|Hotel Schwarzer Adler||4.5||Kitzbuhel||Austria||86||Indoor & rooftop pools, saunas & steam rooms, juice bar, gym|
|Hotel Lac Salin||4.5||Livigno||Italy||65||900m2 spa with sauna, steam room, whirlpool, relaxation area & indoor pool|
|Hotel Koh I Nor||5||Val Thorens||France||63||Spa with 2 pools, sauna, hammam, salt wall, ice fountain & more|
|Spa Hotel Jagdhof||5||Neustift||Austria||70||3000m2 jSPA with indoor & outdoor pools, 20 types of baths, steam baths saunas, waterbeds, whirlpool & more|
|Four Seasons Resort Whistler||5||Whistler||Canada||273||Heated outdoor pool, whirlpool, steam room, in-room spa treatments|
|Hotel Tirolerhof||4||Zell am See||Austria||81||Spa facilities including pool, jacuzzi, saunas & steam rooms|
|Romantik Hotel Schweizerhof||5||Grindelwald||Switzerland||48||Pool, steambath, saunas, Kneipp & more|
|Hotel Alexander||4||Livigno||Italy||57||Spa centre with saltwater lagoon, steam room, sensory showers & more|
|Kempinski Hotel Grand Arena||5||Bansko||Bulgaria||157||Excellent value ski & spa hotel, indoor & outdoor pools, saunas, experience showers, digital detox area & more|
|Waldhotel National||4.5||Arosa||Switzerland||124||1100m2 Aqua Silva Spa with indoor pool, sauna, steam room & separate adults-only Spa Salus|
|Trofana Royal||5||Ischgl||Austria||111||2500m2 spa with indoor & outdoor pools, whirlpool, relaxation areas & more|
|Hotel Heliopic||4||Chamonix||France||4||Spa with indoor pool, tepidarium, ice grotto, plunge pool, steam room & more|
|Das Central||5||Sölden||Austria||125||3 floor Venetian themed spa with, pool (featuring an original gondola), saunas, steam rooms & grottos|
|Thermal Spa Hotel Pulverer||5||Bad Kleinkirchheim||Austria||98||Own thermal spring, indoor & outdoor pools, 10 different jacuzzis, Tibetan salt rock tepidarium & more|
|Hotel Beausite Park & Jungfrau Spa||4||Wengen||Switzerland||42||Spa Jungfrau with indoor pool, sauna, whirlpool, steambath and more|
|Sport Hotel Hermitage||5||Soldeu||Andorra||120||5 floor Sport Wellness Mountain Spa with pools, saunas & outdoor hot tubs|
|Salzburger Hof||5||Zell am See||Austria||80||3500m2 spa with heated outdoor pool, natural bathing pool, 2 indoor pools, saunas & steam baths, tepidarium & more|
We update this list often but facilities can change, so if any specific feature is essential to your trip, make sure you ask us to confirm the details before you book your holiday.