For avid skiers, the days of fresh powder cannot come fast enough. However, if you’re someone just dipping your toe into the wonderful world of winter sports, it can be an intimidating arena. These getaways provide the full spectrum of what one looks for when hitting the mountains, everything from ski-in, ski-out resorts to quiet hotels off the beaten path. Whether you’re serious about the slopes or just the Champagne in the chalet, these properties will cater to every snow-topped need, keeping spirits high when the temperature goes low.
Kempinski Palace (kempinski.com/en/kempinski-palace-engelberg), nestled in the quaint and graceful village of Engelberg, Switzerland, serves as the quintessential winter-wonderland destination to explore this ski season. Originally constructed in the nascent years of the 20th century by the three Cattani brothers – an architect, a doctor, and a hotelier – the establishment has noble beginnings.
At the end of the 19th century, many Londoners, afflicted by the poor air quality caused by the remnants of the Industrial Revolution, sought refuge from city life and aspired to heal holistically. The idea was born to utilize Engelberg’s fresh-aired valley as the ultimate nature retreat.
The rich history of Kempinski isn’t relegated to history books; the original structure, built in 1904, still stands, adorned with the delicate ornamentation of the Cattani family crest – the Cattani Flower – on its original floor paneling and banisters. Every corner of Kempinski Palace showcases generations of artisan craftsmanship. Alongside the historic edifice, a modern wing was added, housing the remarkable Cattani restaurant, as well as the rooftop pool, spa, and fitness rooms.
Surrounded by the Titlis, Hahnen, Brunni, and Wissberg mountain ranges, the first and only five-star resort in the largest winter and summer destination of Central Switzerland offers something to appease everyone’s tastes. The siren song of the region is the ski trails. While Titlis offers more advanced ski routes, Brunni presents slopes suitable for families and beginners who seek the thrill of skiing. Additionally, a variety of other, more unexpected activities are available, including cross-country skiing, electric biking, hiking, paragliding, or simply taking a leisurely stroll through Engelberg’s picturesque landmarks. Both ski lifts are easily accessible via free shuttle service, city buses, or even a short walk.
Should you feel the need for respite, you can unwind in Kempinski’s indoor rooftop pool, which offers breathtaking views of the Titlis mountain, indulge in a massage at their luxury spa, or pick up one of their distinctive cocktails and bask in the warmth of the wood-burning fireplace found in the Palace Bar.
Kempinski Palace’s amenities make it near-impossible to conjure excuses to leave its grounds, and this sentiment extends to their two restaurants as well. The Cattani Restaurant provides an elevated and exceptionally curated farm-to-table dining experience, highlighting the local flavors of the Swiss Alps while meticulously attending to detail. Just like every other facet of the stay, you find yourself enveloped in a sophisticatedly tailored experience devoid of the overbearing atmosphere often encountered in other upscale establishments. Don’t miss the opportunity to savor their braised beef cheek from cattle raised and pastured in the nearby mountain ranges. For a more local and immersive dining adventure, consider visiting their on-site Chalet Ruinart; here, you can partake in an enjoyable evening sharing a large fondue pot of local cheeses with friends, loved ones, or significant others.This splendid retreat, cradled by the breathtaking Swiss mountain range, presents the perfect winter getaway. Enveloped in both excitement and tranquility, leaving once you arrive may prove to be a challenge. Fortunately, the charming village of Engelberg and its crown jewel, Kempinski Palace, are equally vibrant during the summer season. Rates begin at $490 USD/night. —WX
Pickering House Inn
Wolfeboro, New Hampshire
A candle in every window greets you upon arrival at Pickering House Inn (pickeringhousewolfeboro.com) and with them the promise of warmth, attention to detail, and a cozy escape from the cold dark night.
Built in the rustic style that echoes ski retreats from the past, the inn is home to 200-year-old wooden posts and beams and a legacy and history that are intentionally honored in innumerable small touches. Time slows further, transforming your sojourn into a collection of languid moments meant to be savored. That’s exactly the vibe owners Patty and Peter Cooke were hoping for. It’s safe to say that when Pickering House was named the 2022 Travel + Leisure World’s Best #1 Resort Hotel in the U.S., they could consider that achieved.
Ten expertly curated rooms styled with top-of-the-line furnishings and luxurious amenities coupled with mountain views make the stay a tranquil time to recharge. Opening as a boutique hotel in 2018, the property was originally the homestead to one of Wolfeboro’s most prominent citizens — the meaningful touches you’ll find around the inn feel like a tribute to the journey as much as the historic destination itself.
A gourmet breakfast, included in the room fee, finds you in the Gathering Kitchen, where savories and sweets abound. Reach for an airy brioche French toast with roasted apples that make syrup an afterthought or notice the backsplash, subtly pieced together with wooden post-ends from the inn’s renovation. PAVILION, the in-house restaurant, is headed by Executive Chef Chris Viaud (also PAVILION’s owner). Chef Viaud focuses on a rotating menu of fresh local ingredients that is as dedicated to the farmers he purchases from to the guests at his tables having an unparalleled culinary experience.
The Abenaki ski area, a short 10-minute drive outside of town, buzzes with activity any time you visit. Luxuriate in the well-groomed cross-country skiing trail and let your senses ease into the curves of the mountain. Head over to Gunstock Mountain for the excitement of their night skiing. If you’re lucky, you might catch a light flurry for some extra powder and whimsy. Sporting 22 brightly lit trails, five lifts, a reimagined terrain park, and eight tubing lanes, there is ample room for beginners, experts, or novices who are just there for tubing and lodge.
The area’s aura of joyfulness tends to spill into every moment of the day – you are inevitably filled with so much goodwill that driving home, being caught behind the snowplow, felt like there was nowhere you’d rather be but right there enjoying the ride, basking in the memories made that day.
Whether for a fleeting weekend or a longer stay, Pickering House Inn is a sanctuary – an enchanting refuge of light in the cold, dark New England winter and a reserve for some of the values that matter most and bind humanity across time. In-season rates begin at $650/night. —JH
Within the heart of the quaint town of Stowe (dubbed “The Ski Capital of the East), Edson Hill (edsonhill.com) offers a well-tailored balance of serenity and sophistication. Housing 22 rooms on 38 acres of unbridled wilderness, the property extends beyond a standard bed and breakfast experience. From the slopes and beyond, opportunities are at your fingertips during your Green Mountain getaway.
For the outdoorsy traveler, the property’s historic trails span back to the 1950’s. The calling card for Edson Hill’s Nordic Center is the pristine cross country and snowshoe trails. If you’re not exactly an outdoor enthusiast (yet!), the resort offers private lessons and guided snowshoe tours. On property equipment rentals are also available or take out a fat-tire bike for a spin around the trails for the day.
After a day spent in the crisp Vermont outdoors, The Dining Room at Edson Hill offers an exquisite dining experience that will be sure to impress even the most selective palate. Nibble on some of the locally sourced cheeses, house-made pickles, or meticulously curated duck prosciutto to begin the meal. Main dish highlights include maple miso-glazed New England striped bass, black truffle tagliatelle, and American Wagyu NY strip.
When it’s time to settle down for the night, the accommodations here have comfort and charm written all over them. The resort boasts 15 rooms in The Guest Houses and seven in The Manor House, each proffering a signature New England charm. Picture sinking into a plush, Egyptian cotton blanketed bed with a cozy fire in your private fireplace or unwinding in a luxurious soaking tub after a day on the trails.
Edson Hill is an endearing resort that blends outdoor adventure, savory food, and cozy accommodations, making it a destination that you will keep on the books to return year after year. Seasonal rates begin at $600/night. —AB
Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Traverse the foothills of the Grand Tetons in style at the Amangani (aman.com/resorts/amangani). Channel the rugged spirit of the Old West as you immerse yourself in the wild beauty of Wyoming.
“Amangani,” meaning peaceful home, creates an atmosphere to escape into: a blanket of revitalization to slip under to recharge at one’s own pace. Contemporary suites with large windows that look out across the Snake River Valley and Western-themed decor set the tone for a stylish and chic stay. For a more private stay ideal for families, the Amangani offers homes that are spacious sanctuaries set into the hillside of East Gros Ventre Butte, complete with private bedrooms and en suite bathrooms. Whether you’re in a suite with a balcony overlooking Grand Teton views or curled up in a residence by the fireplace, all stays include wellness classes, morning coffee and pastries, welcome amenities, and a new sense of joie de vivre.
Sporting around 2,500 hectares of skiing terrain, the ski resort of Jackson Hole Mountain caters to all levels of skill with its spacious, manicured slopes, as well as challenging the more advanced skiers with chutes, couloirs, glades, and off-piste areas. If you don’t fall into that category, there are myriad activities for guests wishing to explore the region’s snow-covered landscapes, such as cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, and dogsledding. Relax after a full mountain day in the Amangani ski lounge, located at the resort’s base. Explore the mountains from another point of view: take a wildlife tour to spot local game (think bison, elk, grizzly bears, moose), including the famous Elk Refuge and Antelope Flats.
Retiring from the cold, the spa, outdoor heated pool, and whirlpool, await. Slow down and focus on small pleasures in the spa, which blends ancient practices with holistic wellness techniques. Dine in the redwood paneled restaurant, that shines a focus on ranch meats, fresh fish, and cocktails made with locally sourced ingredients. Have a night cap at the Zinc Bar, sipping on area-distilled spirits in front of a snowy Wyoming horizon for the dreamiest way to say goodnight to your alpine ambience.
Immerse yourself in the simplicity of nature and take a walk on the wild-adjacent side, where comfort and raw nature meet to mingle. Amangani offers a welcome disconnect from reality, to exist pleasantly in one’s own bubble of peace and hospitality. Rooms begin at $1,485/night. —CC
Montage Big Sky
Big Sky, Montana
There is a stillness that echoes through the mountains of Montana. An amorphous feeling that overcomes the moment the Spanish Peaks hit your line of sight, a sudden hush that seeps into your bones to tell you to slow down and appreciate the symbiosis of your own body in nature. Erupting from a clearing in the enclave is a haven for everyone who crosses the threshold and the largest building in the state: Montage Big Sky (montage.com/bigsky).
Featuring a modern design with timeless flourishes including regional woods and stones and art from local Indigenous people, the ski-in, ski-out resort offers a catalog of moments crafted to take your breath away. It’s home to 100 guest rooms and 39 residences (fully furnished three- to four-bedroom spaces that are deeded in one quarter ownership interests), the signature top-of the-line Spa Montage, and outdoor pool and hot tub, all in the shadow of marvelous vistas.
Shred the slopes on Big Sky’s 5,850 skiable acres (the second largest ski resort in the United States by acreage) via the intricate web of 38 chair lifts. If your winter adventure is taking it easy on the green trails or heading up to the mountain’s bowl, there is no shortage of lush powder or friendly faces on the path there. For athletes looking to elevate their form, Montage offers a biomechanics assessment that includes an on-mountain video session for performance development.
Upper-echelon skiing and snowboarding aren’t the five-star experiences on property – and one would be remiss to skip any of the six dining options. Indulge in a post-ski sip at Backcast, located conveniently mountainside for your nibbling needs. Warm up with homestyle barbecue options or cocktails as balanced as the skiers on the double black diamonds. Snuggle up on one of the couches or sit alfresco by the roaring firepit dressed up with cozy pillows and blankets and take in the scenery. As if the moment couldn’t get any lusher, the chalet has partnered with renowned Champagne maker Veuve Clicquot to offer a rare selection of vintage bubbly flutes and flights. Cortina, complete with an open-hearth wood-fire oven, brings Northern Italian elegance to the Montana wilderness. Seasonally rotating dishes curate distinctive bites, including fresh pasta, and intricately weaving in local fare. For a laidback evening, sequester yourself to the Beartooth Pub, complete with vintage arcade games, flatscreen TVs, shuffleboard, and a three-lane bowling alley. Nosh on wood-fired pizza while sipping on brews from around the state (we highly recommend anything huckleberry).
For a break from heading up and back down the trails, take a snowshoe tour of the Madison Range, a topographic point mapped by the Lewis and Clark expedition, or find peace on the well-groomed Nordic skiing trails. The fun doesn’t stop when the slopes close – the ice-skating rink comes alive with twinkle lights and the bunny hill converts into a tubbing run for nonstop laughs.
Snowcapped, sun splashed, and sitting 7,300 feet about sea level (don’t forget to hydrate!) Montage Big Sky sets the standard for quiet luxury, cloaked in rugged flourishes and unparalleled service in every aspect. Rates begin at $2,125/night in-season. –CC