Got preschool kids and fancy skiing this winter? You’re in luck. We’ve picked 5 of the best chalets and hotels for families with alluring off-season prices – and availability.
Everyone with school age kids, look away now or prepare for envy. If you love to ski with the kids over their Christmas holidays or February half term, you’ll already have booked from your poolside lounger back in the summer. Leaving it until now is a rookie mistake that you only make once.
The inevitable price hike that coincides with the school holidays can make a lavish holiday more or less prohibitive. And even if you do have deep pockets, you will probably find that all the decent chalets and hotels are booked to the gunnels beyond Easter.
But if you are parents of preschoolers… Not a problem! Yours are the off-season deals. What does it matter if you skip Montessori for the last few mornings, or swing back to nursery a day or two later than the others? Nobody is going to send you a fine! So enjoy the freedom while you still have it, just try not to be too smug about paying up to 40% less than your mates who land up in the same hotel a week later…
We’ve talked to our friends at luxury family ski provider Scott Dunn to find 5 brilliant chalets and hotels that still have off-season availability this winter.
We know from our own experience that Scott Dunn deliver family ski holidays without any compromise on quality: from the food and wine, to the chalet interiors, service and crucially, the excellent, trustworthy childcare. Yes, it’s expensive but the difference is palpable. Just to know that there’s a shuttle to the lifts on tap, you can get your ski gear fitted in the chalet, have tea in bed every morning, champagne served by the fire before supper and get through an entire family holiday without having to think about a single detail beyond what the kids will wear when you get there… That’s worth the uplift if you ask us. Every penny of it.
Chalet Chinchilla, Courchevel 1850, France
A classic alpine-style chalet with all the bells and whistles, Chinchilla is in an enviable location in Courchevel, just metres from the Cospillot piste: a true ski-in ski-out property. Sleeping 8 between two doubles and a bunk room on the ground floor, and a master bedroom above, you can allow the grandparents some privacy (or opt for the master yourself, of course). Scott Dunn have a wonderful team of UK qualified private nannies who can look after children as young as four months, while preschoolers can join the ski school. Just watch the alcohol consumption: between the chef and the host, your drink will be topped up continuously, and the exquisite food is all delivered to your exact demands, leaving you time you would usually spend prepping and cooking, to enjoy games around the fire, chats in the sauna and maybe even some nightlife in the town (eyes peeled for celebs, of course).
If you’re travelling as a family of three or four and don’t want to rattle around in a chalet, there are a few truly family-friendly hotels that manage to have a grown-up feel and style and yet don’t make you fear the onset of your kids’ post-ski/pre-dinner meltdowns. Nina Alpina is one: it’s intimate and exceptionally geared towards families. Firstly, it’s right on the nursery slope for them, and has a private walkway with direct access to the Corvatsch cable car so you can get to the proper terrain quickly while they are in the hands of professionals. St Moritz has plenty of activities like dog-sledding and ice-skating for when they are tired of skiing, and back at the hotel, you can slouch into a sheepskin and knock back some apres-ski (to warm your hands, obviously) while they hit the games room, or for little ones, there’s a kids’ club open on request between 3–9pm for kids aged three and above.
Chalet Artemis, St Anton, Austria
If you are looking for a seriously slick chalet that has everything the entire extended family could hope for in one place, Artemis is the one. At 500m it’s vast and the decor is contemporary but comfortable. You’ve got a spa with an 8m indoor pool and steam room, and if the weather permits, you can take your aperitif on the roof terrace while the kids hole up in the 12-seat home cinema. The flagship service means you get a private chef, host and a chalet manager. What that really means is that you can have pretty much exactly what you want: in-chalet ski hire fittings, transport on tap, toys from the kids club delivered to the chalet, special celebrations arranged. Frankly nothing is too much trouble. Now that’s a holiday.
Chalet Shar Pei, Val d’Isere, France
If proximity to the slopes is high on your list of priorities, and you want to be in a ‘Val’ for the proper ski terrain then check out the new Chalet Shar Pei. Four bedrooms (all en suite) and a separate bunk room make this the perfect family layout, and there’s plenty of circulation space so you can all spread out. If you can drag the kids away from the indoor pool (and yourself from the hammam), trip and fall into the Belvedere chairlift and hit the slopes. The Explorers kids club will occupy little ones from 4 months upwards (unless you opt for the private nanny) and then back at the chalet you can enjoy hunkering down by the fire while a chef whips up their tea.
Alpina Dolomites, South Tyrol, Italy
If architecture, space and spa time rank highly for you, check in to the finest hotel in the Alpe di Siusi. Its prime position means skiing the famous Sella Ronda circuit and exploring the Dolomiti Superski are easy – and all the gear is available from the shop on site. Built to an extremely high eco-spec, the hotel is a festival of glass, wood, stone and light: with incredible views of the jagged Dolomites and a seriously cool, modern aesthetic. The food is a big draw, but perhaps unfairly, not as renowned as the spa. From the bio-herb sauna and salt bath to the aroma bath and indoor/outdoor pools, you can ease away the ache or just float together and watch the surrounding mountains light up under an ‘enrosadira’ sunset. With plenty of good-value restaurants in the area and some of the best terrain in the Alps, this is a perfect for kids learning to ski and intermediates getting their confidence. And, given last year’s late snowfall, the excellent local snow record makes South Tyrol a safe bet.
This piece has been written in association with Scott Dunn.