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. Cyprus
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). JFK Airport
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).