11 of the Most Extravagant Ski Resorts in the World

fSkiing has certainly never been a sport for the poor. Between the expensive equipment, pricey lift tickets and spendy slope side resort hotels, getting up and out on the mountain in any fashion is bound to cost you at least a small fortune. And for those powder lovers with lots of cash to burn, there are several resorts around the world that cater to a set of jet-setting adrenaline junkies who love to hit the slopes in luxury.

These are the places where those who are willing to shell out the big bucks can ski up to their hotel suite door, get a post-ski rub down by a masseuse while sipping a glass of bubbly and then have a 5-star meal cooked by an award winning chef before turning in on their higher-than-you could-imagine-thread-count Egyptian cotton sheets. For anywhere from $500-$5,000 per night all of this could be yours too, and you could soon be rubbing elbows with the rich and famous as you bask in luxurious elegance amidst snow-capped peaks.

1 – Badrutt’s Palace Hotel, St. Moritz, Switzerland

If you are looking for THE luxury ski resort, look no further than Badrutt’s Palace in the  ski town of St. Moritz, Switzerland. An historic and internationally known hotel famous for its glitz and glamour, Badrutt’s Palace’s prime location in the Swiss Alps overlooking stunning mountain views and beautiful lake, make it an enviably wonderful place to rejuvenate for a few days. Badrutt’s has been in operation since 1896, making it the first cold weather winter resort in the world and is credited with not only popularizing winter sports, but also winter resorts that now dot the mountainous regions of the globe. With its long historical importance, this resort has not only has housed royalty, nouveau riche, dignitaries, artists and the rich and famous, it has also played a large role in the development of skiing as a sport. It is also situated at the base of one of the world’s best, and most challenging ski areas, where guests can take to the slopes before being pampered at the hotel.

Today this hotel is still one of the most luxurious and well-known ski resorts in the world and is a place of furs, big ski slopes and lots of champagne. For more than one hundred years, Badrutt’s has set the standard in ski resort luxury and over-the-top opulence, with high-end spas, 5-star restaurants, private nightclub and incredible service. Here guests are treated like royalty, where even pets are served the freshest foods and a full staff is prepared to wait on guests hand and foot. From ski concierges to mud baths and richly decorated rooms, here guests can also expect to pay for service, luxury and the chance to rub elbows with the world elite with rooms starting at $500/night.

>>book cheap flights to Switzerland and read our Switzerland Travel Guide

2 – Game Creek Chalet, Vail, Colorado

Vail is known for its glitzy crowd and glamorous ski base village, and this chalet is la crème de la crème of Vail. Perched at 10,500 feet in a secluded spot above Game Creek Bowl atop Vail Mountain, this chalet not only offers stunning views and ski-in, ski-out lodging, but a private chef, personal mountain guides for private ski instruction and hot tubs in this three-bedroom, five-bath European-style chalet you get all to yourself.

With someone warming your boots before you hit the slopes and being able to open your door in the morning and drop into the wide, open and powder filled Game Creek Bowl below, this chalet is opulence at its best. Seclusion and serenity is the goal of this mountaintop chalet, and for those who want to spend time skiing and return to their own private mountain home (complete with someone to cook you dinner and top end furnishings), then this is the place for you—that is if you have the $2,800 per night to spend on the place 

>>book flights to Colorado

3 – Capella Niseko Hotel in Niseko, Japan

For those who want to tag on a cultural experience and add a little exoticism to their next ski vacation, there is a new over-the-top luxurious ski resort slated to open in the mountains of Japan in 2010. Not only is Japan renowned for its light-as-air, fluffy powder that blows in from Siberian weather fronts, now those with extra cash to shell out will have a top-end place to stay while enjoying top-end snow. In fact, legendary hotelier Horst Schultz of Ritz-Carlton fame has unveiled the blue prints for a Capella Niseko, which will be a 32-acre luxury resort and residence adjacent to Annupri Niseko Mountain in Japan. Not only will this beautiful new hotel be designed by famed Japanese architect Tadao Ando, but the resort will feature 80-rooms, which will each feature its own private onsen (natural hot spring bath), fireplace and the finest luxury amenities. The hotel will also feature a spa, wellness center, pools, fine dining, après ski lounge, tennis courts and high-end retail store.

With personalized luxury transportation to the nearby slopes and ski valets and recreation concierges ready to serve the every need and whim of its visitors, guests will be in ski heaven from the moment they arrive at the six-star Capella Niseko—but expect to pay for this service, as rooms will go for a minimum of several hundreds of dollars per night.

>>book cheap flights to Japan and read our Japan Travel Guide

4 – Chalet du Mont d’Arbois, Megève, France

Perched on the mountain above Megève in the French Alps, this sumptuous Swiss style chalet is by far the most stylish and opulent resort on the mountain. Nestled among high alpine trees, this ski resort seeks to share the beauty of the Alps with its guests while pampering them with Savoyard cuisine, a cellar of Bordeaux wines and a spirit of luxury unseen at many other ski resorts. With only 37 units, this small hotel is not only peaceful, but also uber exclusive and luxurious.

Megève was one of France’s original ski resorts, opening in the 1920s and has long had a tradition of high-end and luxury resorts and wide open ski slopes. The Chalet at Mont d’Arbois keeps with this tradition with free-standing apartments that go for $2,200/night and hotel rooms starting at $450/night. With the high-beamed ceilings, rich leather and velvet furnishings and grand fireplaces, guests can absorb the flavor of the Alps in style.

>>book a flight to France

5 – Hotel Portillo, Chile

For those who simply cannot wait through the entire summer without getting in some ski action, then heading to the southern hemisphere is the answer. And for those truly adventurous who have deep pockets (or are willing to go broke in search of fluffy powder in July), then the Portfillo Hotel in Chile is the way to go. For seven nights lodging, four meals a day and lift tickets, rates start at $1500 during the low season per person, and a suite can cost as much as $5300 for a week.

While those looking for luxury in the form of personal boot warmers and over-the-top amenities, may not find what they are looking for here. However, for those interested in comfortable rooms and suites with mountain and lake views as well as ski-in, ski-out access and snow cat tours that will take you deep into untracked powder, then this is definitely the resort for you. While it may not be the place to be seen like Badrutt’s Palace in the Swiss Alps, this is a great luxury destination for the truly adventurous, who want comfort and luxury, as well as access to some of the world’s best skiing.

>>look for Chile Airfare and read our Chile Travel Guide

6 – Stein Eriksen Lodge, Deer Valley Utah

This 5-star and 5-diamind award winning lodge located on theslopes of Deer Valley, Utah bears the name of the Norwegian Olympic Gold Medalist who dreamed of opening a luxury resort in the Utah Rockies.

The European style lodge has 180 rooms, each with their own distinct look and outfitted with private jetted tubs for that post-ski soak, terry cloth robes and fireplaces. The lodge also seeks to be the best in hospitality, accommodating its guests in any way possible—delivering any request to your room and providing above and beyond service. The lodge is also accustomed to celebrity guests and was the location of Hollywood starlet Katherine Hegel wedding with her singer beau last winter.

The lodge also features a full service spa, where sore skiers can get a massage after a long day on the mountain or relax for a steam or warm up in the sauna. This beautifully designed hotel that combines European style with Western mountain architecture seeks to pamper and serve its customers at all costs—and with standard rooms going for $700/night, guests can certainly expect to be treated well.

>>book a flight to Salt Lake City, Utah

7 – Fairmont Chateau, Whistler, British Columbia

With its striking rooftop distinctly marking the base of Whistler Blackcomb in the Canadian Rockies, the Fairmont Chateau is one of the premier luxury ski resorts in the world.

The hotel has been ranked by Conde Nast Traveler as one of the top 50 resorts in the world and the hotel is known as not only Canada’s premier ski hotels, but also one of the best ski resorts in North America. Situated adjacent to ski lifts in the center of the Whistler village, this hotel is known for its luxurious amenities and top-notch service.

The hotel is also home to a popular and well known restaurant, Wildflower, which relies on local produce and locally raised meats. The best part of staying in this immense 12-story chateau style resort? The personal “ski concierge” who meets you at the base of the mountain, whisks your skis and boots away and serves you homemade apple cider and directs you to the nearest hot tub to unwind. With rooms starting at $300/night, this hotel is also one of Canada’s
most expensive places to rest your head for a night.

>>book a flight to Canada

8 – Arlberg Hospiz Hotel, Tirol, Austria

Nestled in the Austrian mountains, where many of the most famous and most winning ski racers were born and raised, is the 600-year old Arlberg Hospiz Hotel (yes, 600 years old) that was once a remote mountain refuge and now is an award winning, 5-star hotel.

With private huts perched below stunning mountain peaks, this hotel seeks to not only grant every wish of its high-paying customers, but also anticipate their desires. With an award winning restaurant, extensive wine cellar and full service spa on site, guests are sure to be pampered and well taken care of at this luxurious hotel in the Austrian mountains.

This area is known for its stunning beauty, light-as-air
powder and terrific slopes, all of which guests have ski-in, ski-out access to right out their doors. Known for its terrific skiing and winter sports recreation opportunities, guests will be dissuaded from wanting to sit inside the opulent lodge and sip hot chocolate all day by the fire place or hang out in the spa taking a mud bath with the glimmering slopes calling outside. But with a hot tub and sauna waiting to ease the aches and pains after a brutal day out on these gorgeous slopes, guests will hardly remember that they are shelling out a minimum of $480/night to stay in this high mountain spot.

>>book a flight to Austria and read our Austria Travel Guide

9 – Ritz Carlton Club, Aspen Highlands, Colorado

Aspen has long been known as a star studded, luxury mountain resort, and at the Ritz Carlton Club—where members pay between $180,000 to $520,000 in membership fees (on top of annual dues)—those with a lot of extra cash laying around can experience the utmost in ski luxury and rub elbows with the rich and famous.

Perched on a ski-in, ski-out spot at the base of the famed Aspen Highlands Resorts, members here are treated like ski royalty, with a bevy of staff members ready to wait hand and foot on their every need. With private ski valets who warm your boots before hitting the slopes, to an expert boot fitter to a personal concierge and ski nanny to watch the kids while you hit the slopes, the only thing you’ll have to do here is work on your turns and perfect your technique out on the mountain.

Not only will guests here have access to some of the best skiing in the world, along with luxurious accommodation and 5-star dining, but the staff here aims to fulfill every wish and desire for the customer, bending over backwards to make this elegant sanctuary one of the premier spots in the world.

>>look for Colorado Airfare

10 – Hotel Hermitage,Valle d’Aosta, Italy

Nestled high in the Italian Alps, in the world-renowned Breuil Vervina ski area, this hotel brings luxury and worldliness to its guests. Backing up to the Matterhorn, skiers here can ski into Switzerland for lunch and then return to the hotel for a finely prepared Italian meal at the hotel made from the finest and freshest ingredients.

At the hotel, whose rooms start at $525/night, a huge open
fireplace greets skiers coming in from the slopes. Rooms are decorated in rich reds and browns, adding to the cozy, ski-feel and opulent look. For guests that love to hit the slopes (which are most), this hotel is also perfectly situated
at a spot where the ski area Valtourneche connects to Zermatt, and the hotel boasts incredible views of the village below and the impressive Matterhorn in the background. After a tough day out on the world-class slopes, skiers can relax at the Turkish bath, in the pool, get a massage or soak in a mud bath before indulging in an après-ski cocktail. With award winning service and stunning landscapes, this hotel is sure to impress anyone looking for a true luxury ski holiday.

>>book cheap airfare to Italy

11 – Points North Heli Adventures, Cordova, Alaska

For those big time skiers who are looking for a way to have the ultimate ski adventure— and are willing to shell out big bucks to get it—helicopter skiing in the Alaskan mountains is about as extravagant as you can get. Although skiers won’t find themselves being pampered in spas and sipping aged bourbons next to crackling fireplaces in decadent lodges, these heli ski vacations are definitely extravagant in the adventure (and price department). Plus, what could be more decadent than helicopters transporting you to some of the greatest ski terrain in the west?

For a whopping $77, 200, you can book a private Heli Ski adventure on a boat with a heli pad. As featured in the most recent Warren Miller film, “Children of Winter,” you and 7 friends can have the boat Maritime Maid complete with a helipad all to yourselves and spend 7 nights skiing the Alaskan mountains, get 8 hours of helicopter time, stay in private cabins all while being fed all the food you can eat. While you won’t have anyone waiting to give you an hour long rub down at a spa after a tough day on the mountain, you will certainly have boasting rights about having skied the biggest and baddest terrain in the world from a helicopter.

>>book a flight to Anchorage, Alaska

About the Author

BootsnAll staff writer Julie Blakley grew up skiing in the Colorado Rockies, though her ski vacations never seemed to include apres-ski massages, mud baths or expensive bottles of champagn. When Julie’s not playing the lottery in an effort to somehow afford the luxury destinations on this list, she’s writing the France Travel Guide and dreaming of her next travel and ski adventure (even if doesn’t include a private ski concierge or boot warmer).


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Photo credits:Badrutt’s Palace, Game Creek Chalet, Stein Eriksen Lodge , Capella Niseko Hotel in Niseko, Chalet du Mont d’Arbois, Hotel Portillo,
Fairmont Chateau, Arlberg Hospiz Hotel, Ritz Carlton Club,Hotel Hermitage, Heli skiing