St. Moritz may have glitz, and Gstaad certainly has money. But for a European ski vacation that has style without attitude—think St.-Tropez, but with evergreens instead of palms—cognoscenti flock to Courchevel, in the French Alps. Stay at the ultradeluxe Hotel Byblos (33-4-79-00-98-00; from $860, including two meals daily), in the most exclusive of Courchevel’s four villages, and your days will go something like this: Order pain au chocolat in your rustic room. Walk to the gondola, just outside your door. Break for a slopeside lunch (avec vin, naturellement). Ski a bit more, or just chill at the spa. Nap. Take in a Savoyard feast (try Le Génépi; 33-4-79-08-08-63). Dance at Les Caves. Magnifique.
With more than 28,000 skiable acres, Courchevel offers plenty of traditional lift-served skiing (Jardin Alpine, right outside the Byblos, is a prime spot for long, gentle warm-up cruisers). But for a more classic European ski experience, consider hiring a guide. The scenic trip to Val Thorens requires a full day of skiing (accessed by gondola rides, short hikes, and a few cross-country trails), and gives a great overview of Les Trois Vallées. Book an outing through L’Ecole du Ski (33-4-79-08-07-72).
Deal of the Week
With lift tickets around $40, Courchevel is always a decent deal. But package addicts should check out the Byblos’s “Powder & Pampering” offer: a “Classic” room and two meals daily, plus a one-hour massage and four-day ski pass for $485 per person, per night (33-4-79-00-98-00).
The latest luxe additions.
After a full gutting, Hotel Le Chabichou (home to a Michelin two-star restaurant) has reopened with a new four-star rating (33-4-79-08-00-55; from $469).
The Byblos’s new Mediterranean-meets-Savoyard restaurant Bayader includes such mysterious (yet delicious) dishes as fish couscous and pigeon pie.
For hearty portions of traditional fare (roast chicken, beef ribs, fondue), book a table at the new Le Bal restaurant, on Rue Park City (33-4-79-08-13-83).
The glitzy new shop Avenue Montagne (33-6-14-63-75-25) carries Pucci, Fendi, and swank ski-bunny gear by Dior, plus a sporty new line of John Galliano skis.
If You’re Going To . . .
It’s taken the Beverly Hills Hotel almost a century to open a spa, but considering the offerings at its new La Prairie spa—caviar facials, private outdoor treatment cabanas—we’d say it was worth the wait; opens February 2 (310-281-2505; beverlyhillshotel.com).
The of-the-moment Caribbean archipelago St. Vincent and the Grenadines is upping the ante. The latest? Donald Trump has agreed to build luxury villas and operate a casino on the burgeoning island of Canouan, where a Raffles hotel is scheduled to open midyear.
The sun-splashed beaches that once warmed the toes of Cleopatra and Alexander the Great now welcome the island’s first boutique hotel. The 62-room Thalassa, opening early this year, will feature personal butlers, a Cypriot restaurant, high-tech amenities, and a holistic spa (800-525-4800; from $342).
The trendsetting Oasis Day Spa is about to open its third New York location—at the airport. Starting this month, JetBlue passengers will be able to fight flight anxiety with, say, a preboarding massage, or freshen up with a facial, hot shave, or manicure on arrival (718-995-9101).