Wellness: where to hit the slopes for a spa break

Words by
Suzanne Duckett

19th December 2015

If you love snowy mountains but would rather pass on the skiing, why not chill out in style at luxury spa resorts like Rosa Alpina and Les Fermes de Marie?


Best for: A beauty boost

Les Fermes de Marie, Megève, France

One of France’s chicest ski resorts — even the designer pooches in this neck of the woods wear fur-trimmed Fendi. Megève’s stunning snowy pistes are the main draw, sure, but its umpteen cafés, great shopping and Les Fermes de Marie’s genuine passion for spasmean that the wellness high here can also be found indoors.


Natural interiors create a cosy cocoon at Les Fermes de Marie’s Pure Altitude spa

The recently refurbished Pure Altitude spa is wall-to-wall with terrific therapists working out of 17 beautiful wood cabins, as well as a minimalist granite lap pool, sauna with a touch of Japanese Zen, new super-scrub hammam and a unique Japanese soaking bath made from an enormous wine barrel.

Joint owner Jocelyne Sibuet’s covetable Pure Altitude products (leave room in your suitcase to bring home a year’s supply) reflect the supreme spa. Stand-out treatments include the anti-ageing Rose d’Himalaya facial, a perfect blend of technical expertise and hands-on healing that is a joy for jaded skin, or the Candle Ritual, where Fleurs de Neige fragranced balm nourishes the body, enveloping you in gentle and hugely relaxing warmth.

Super-stylish alpine chalets are just a snowball’s throw away from the main hotel with its plaid-clad walls and huge fireplaces: cosy cocoons of peaceful whites and muted greys

Even if you’ve not been exerting yourself on the slopes, try the Alpine Energy massage treatment, which combines manual techniques with linen bags of rejuvenating salts and mountain plants. And then there’s the G5 — not a political summit but a low-frequency vibration device that stimulates the circulation and relaxes muscular tension.

Super-stylish alpine chalets are just a snowball’s throw away from the main hotel with its plaid-clad walls and huge fireplaces: cosy cocoons of peaceful whites and muted greys. And Les Fermes is so family-friendly: stress levels melt on contact as the rugrats tear around the Hameau des Enfants (“Children’s hamlet”) before snuggling up with hot chocolate on loungers with mountain views under faux fur blankets to watch the skiers (“Look, there’s Daddy. Doesn’t he look cold!”). 

Prices start at €450 (£371) for a classic room in low season, up to €1,950 (£1,610) for a Mont-Blanc Suite on half board in high season for two. (fermesdemarie.com)


From the indoor pools and spa therapy to the stunning mountain views, Rosa Alpina is small and understated, accessible and inviting

Best for: Yoga and mountain guides

Rosa Alpina, Italy

Snuggled in the eye-catching, loving bosom of the mighty Dolomites you will find Rosa Alpina’s team of specialists. Everyone here has a “nothing is too much trouble” attitude, from the young, yet so wise, yogis (the Zen studio view on to the craggy foothills puts the mountain pose into context) to the older, but not a jot less agile, trusted mountain guides who will take you on a magical mystery tour snow-walking or ice climbing (book Diego Zanesco, he is marvellous) and the unassuming, diligent spa therapists.

Rosa Alpina, owned for generations by the Pizzinini family, is small and understated, accessible and inviting. Recent additions create a mix of old and new, fusing whitewashed stone walls and newly renovated treatment rooms with contemporary design thermal suites using local wood and dark grey mountain stone and floor-to-ceiling windows. It’s worth exerting yourself in the indoor pools (the new one is thoroughly modern and a child-free zone), the saunas, cold plunge (a bracing reboot) and pocket-sized gym.

Recent additions create a mix of old and new, fusing whitewashed stone walls and newly renovated treatment rooms with contemporary design thermal suites using dark grey mountain stone

Foodwise, the skiing averse can still get that snow vibe with winter hiking (hike to the hotel’s free sweetie table in the lobby to up your sugar levels first), snowshoeing, Nordic walking and terrific tobogganing. Each winter the area’s mountain huts play host to guest Michelin star chefs; back at base choose between the laid-back Wine Bar & Grill, or up the ante in the Michelin-starred St Hubertus, where dishes in the 12-course tasting menu all reflect the local terrain and cooking traditions. 

Prices start from €580 (£479) per night based on two adults sharing a Deluxe Double room. Rates include breakfast, taxes and services, but exclude tourist tax. (rosalpina.it)


Austrian boutique Alpine lodge Blumen Haus Lech combines cutting-edge fitness facilities with spacious suites decked out in the finest Italian furniture

Best for: Serious fitness 
Blumen Haus Lech, Austria

The brand spanking new Blumen Haus in Lech is an extraordinary boutique Alpine chalet hotel with nine swanky suites (three of which can be adapted for families, with uber-big bunk beds and TVs), fine dining and its own state-of-the-art health, wellness and fitness facilities attracting royalty and Europe’s high rollers. 
And the four-bedroom owner’s apartment (423sq m, home cinema, 24-hour butler… at a price) is ideal for big spenders wanting a luxurious home from home. 

Book a course with a professional photographer or artist, or order in a bespoke bootcamp or boxing trainer — all are experts in their field and some are even big name, leading sportspeople. They are the ultimate antidote to ski goggles and salopettes.

Invest in a hi-tech QMS Alpina facial, which makes your skin so marble smooth it looks like it has been buffed by a dozen elves wielding chamois cloths

The cutting-edge fitness facilities really are second to none — there’s even a hypoxic chamber, of the type popular with Ironman triathletes, ultra-marathon runners and mountaineers.

Stocked with running and rowing machines, spinning bicycles and cross-trainers, the chamber simulates conditions of around 8,500ft where lack of oxygen in the air forces your body to work harder, burning 30% more calories and increasing the body’s red blood cell count. Coming back down to earth, the TechnoGym equipment provides full cardio and training facilities. 

You can, of course, simply chill in your suite. Blumen Haus stylishly combines luxury and rigour, fashion and comfort, old and new: reclaimed Tyrol wood and copper are nods to Alpine tradition, while the highest tech and cutting-edge Italian furniture bring you bang up to date (the Blumen Haus’ moisture-controlled ventilation system is unique to Austria and prevents the usual dehydration from high altitude). 

It is smart and it is definitely clever.

Prices start at approximately €2,236 (£2,000) per suite per night; the four-bedroom private apartment starts at €62,616 (£56,000) per week. 

(blumenhauslech.com )