After skiing hard all day it's time to treat your aching muscles to all the massage and hydrotherapy they can take. Here's our pick of ten of the most stylish and luxurious ski and spa hotels the mountains have to offer.
Some would say that going on a ski holiday is luxury enough. They're wrong. While there is time and place in the mountains for chapped lips and helmet hair, it's just not as nice as the place where people are perfectly groomed and have skin as soft as fallen snow.
Be the centre of attention at the impeccably luxurious Arlberg Hospiz Hotel. Set in St Christoph, a peaceful ski village connected to the St Anton ski area, the Arlberg Hospiz is one of the top 5-star hotels in Austria and the spa facilities are outstanding. You can make use of the swimming pool, whirlpool, health bar, fitness area, cosmetics salon, massage rooms, sauna area and large chill-out area with an open fireplace. The atmosphere is refined and relaxed with natural materials, clean lines and touches of brilliant colour. Choose from a range of classic and Asian face and body treatments including shiatsu, thai massages, reiki and aromatherapy.
The Gstaad Palace Hotel is a beacon of luxury and elegance perched on a hilltop overlooking the town. The Gstaad Palace Spa offers a wide range of body and facial treatments using chic beauty products in a serene environment of rich natural colours. There is a gym, a pilates studio, steam rooms, saunas and a deliciously relaxing warm stone area. To really treat yourself, indulge in the unique hammam experience, a sensory odyssey that lasts two hours and travels through seven rooms. Beginning with a soothing footbath, it continues with a steam bath, infinity room, a cleansing soap and body massage, a floating pool, relaxation pool and finally a hydrating warm oil massage.
Arosa's Tschuggen Bergoase Spa was designed by renowned Swiss interior designer Mario Botta and even from the outside it's a show stopper. The building resembles nine huge glass sails of glowing light and inside there is a vast expanse of bubbling pools to ease your battered body. The spa offers an impressive selection of treatments from around the world including a variety of massages, reflexology, facials, full body peelings and purifying algae baths. There is also a swimming pool that is partly indoors and partly outdoors, a sauna, steam room, a hair salon, a solarium, and an exercise gym.
Set in the huge Ski Amadé area amid towering mountain peaks, the Alpine Resort & Spa Hotel Übergossene Alm is one of Salzburg regions finest wellness hotels and completely dedicated to your wellbeing. The World of Vitality Spa offers experiences as diverse as the Devil's Sauna, a super-hot cabin for only the very hardy and the fragrant Mountain Crystal Steam Bath, where the steam soothes your skin as the gentle violet light prepares you for a peaceful night's sleep. Try an Alpine massage if you want to pummel the tension away from your muscles, or for relaxation try an ayurvedic massage. Your stay at the Übergossene Alm will make you more balanced, healthy and resistant to stress.
Les Fermes de Marie, Megeve, is a complex of eight chalet-style farmhouses that have been transformed into a luxury hotel with rustic charm. The elgant spa facilities include an indoor pool, a sauna and an open air hot tub, but it's the treatments that really set this place apart. You can be exfoliated with salt, lie suspended in dry flotation beds, get wrapped in clay, horsetail, dandelion and arnica. You can even enjoy the weightless sensation of a moisturising bath or a massage with semi-precious stones. The products are largely La Ferme de Beauté's own, using herbs and mountain plants such as edelweiss, rhododendron and St John's Wort.
The ultra-luxurious Westin Resort & Spa, Whistler, is perfectly located adjacent to the slopes yet still in the heart of Whistler Village. It boasts indoor and outdoor pools and hot tubs for evening relaxation, and an exercise room that is glass-fronted so that you can enjoy views of the mountain as you work out. The bright and invigorating Avello Spa and Health Club offers more than 75 different treatments including facials, body wraps, mud packs, hot rock massages and holistic treatments by a doctor of traditional Chinese medicine. You could even treat your feet to a trip to the pedicure lounge after a long day imprisoned in ski boots.
Enjoy the ski area of Grünberg and the extensive crosscountry skiing trails of the Mieminger Plateau from the Alpenresort Schwarz Hotel and its beautiful lakeside setting. This traditional hotel has great facilities including indoor and outdoor pools, a gym and the Asian-inspired Sunwelly Spa. The Spa is elegant and spacious, and it offers a full range of traditional and contemporary massage and beauty treatments, as well a wide variety of sauna experiences ranging from salt water to Turkish hammam, and from herbal bio-baths to a soothing outdoor alpine sauna. The Sunwelly Spa is also renowned for its rejuvenating baths, including thalasso therapy and moor peat water.
If St Moritz is the undisputed glitz capital of the Alps then Badrutt's Palace is its HQ. Badrutt's Palace is a favourite haunt of royalty and celebrity and the glamorous location of the Cartier Polo World Cup on Ice. Along with use of the indoor pool, steam and sauna, guests can enjoy The Daniela Steiner Beauty Spa. By the glow of candlelight they experience ancient purifying rituals performed by the skilled staff of beauty specialists and fitness instructors. The spa offers a wide range of facials and body treatments and uses natural products including volcanic clays, seaweeds, salts and oils which are the ultimate in nourishment and rejuvenation.
Saas-Fee's chalet-style Ferienart Resort & Spa Hotel offers first class service, excellent facilities and a central location in the chocolate box resort of Saas Fee. Better yet, it contains The Paradia Spa, which will delight spa connoisseurs with its remarkable array of treatments. You can choose from ayurveda massages, reflexology, hot stone therapy, Moroccan facials and Tibetan honey massage. For true indulgence you could try a Cleopatra wrap where you are slathered in goat's milk and oils or a Wallis hay bath. There is a split level pool and Jacuzzi area with running water features, a caldarium, a rasul area and individual treatment rooms. There are even massage programmes for kids and babies.
The Cheval Blanc, Courchevel 1850, France
Set amongst the trees on the Jardin Alpin piste, The Cheval Blanc Hotel in Courchevel 1850 combines a quiet alpine setting with the ultimate in chic, decadent living. This fantastically glamorous hotel was created by design legend Bernard Arnault, and is home to the one and only Givenchy Snow Spa. The centrepiece of the spa is the Infinity Pool, where the natural materials and organic forms of the waterfalls cascading over pebbles make it feel as though the mountain has followed you inside. Improve your ski performance with pre and post-ski massages, and indulge in a huge range of natural and restorative treatments.
The Cliff Lodge & Spa is the flagship hotel of Snowbird resort. The skiing is world class, and the spa offers treatments which rejuvenate the body, relax the mind and refresh the spirit. The plush facilities include two swimming pools, one of which is on the roof, a trio of hot tubs, a giant rooftop whirlpool, make and female saunas, a steam room, a solarium and a fitness and aerobics centre. The Cliff Spa offers hot stone therapy, reflexology and shiatsu, as well as exfoliation, herbal wraps, and massages treatments including deep tissue, relaxation and even altitude, four-handed or maternity massages.