Just two hours drive from Geneva, the town of Courcheval is a little enclave of ultra-luxury in the heart of the Alps three-valleys ski resort. Often dubbed the St Tropez of the ski crowd, this is where the money comes to hit the slopes and the place to stay is the Cheval Blanc. This 36-room residence with a five-star palace rating (one of only 16 in the country) is small but near perfect as a combined base for skiing and the delights of après ski, and feels like much more than just a typical hotel. In fact, they prefer to be called a maison rather than a hotel. Owned by Bernard Arnault, chairman of Louis Vuitton Moët & Hennessy, the Cheval Blanc offers class and luxury inside and direct access to the slopes just outside the rear door via a ski service area. They will even warm up your ski boots for you, and then you’re right on the snow with access via lifts to a huge range of runs and activities.
Les 3 Vallees area, the largest ski area in the world, including legendary runs, fun zones and forest skiing, plus the size, number and variety of slopes means queues – even at peak times – are near non-existent. If you’re after a bit of extra bit of excitement, there’s a heliport nearby and staff can arrange for you to be choppered 40-minutes across the border to Italy for some heliskiing (it’s not allowed in France) and then be back at the hotel in time for aperitifs and tales of black runs and pretending to be Roger Moore in The Spy Who Loved Me. Après ski is covered in style here. Yannick Alléno’s onsite restaurant Le 1947 has recently received its third-Michelin star and it’s one of the very best in the whole of France. (Trust us, it’s incredible). There’s a Guerlain spa with treatments designed especially for skiers a sauna, steam room and indoor pool as well as a private chromotherapy hammam in your own bathroom. If you want to really splash out stay in The Apartment with 650 sqm of space, triple reception room, a grand piano, dining room, bar and kitchen, private spa treatment room and fitness centre. You’ll also have your own lift and access to a private ski salon opening directly out onto the slopes. This isn’t just the best hotel in Courcheval, it’s arguably the best ski hotel in the world.