Skiers devoutly defend their favorite mountains and trails, but powder hounds are always seeking new hotels and resorts. ForbesLife’s Larry Olmsted recently named his top 5 new ski properties for the current season.
Club Med has numerous resorts across the Alps and Dolomites, and the newest hotel, above, is a family-friendly property located in the heart of the French Alps, an hour from Geneva airport, with a stunning 360-degree view of the surrounding mountains. The resort straddles two neighboring ski areas: Le Grand Massif is ideal for beginners while Flaine’s high-altitude above tree line terrain is ideal for advanced skiers. Club Med Samoëns has 420 guest rooms, and a real sense of place, with a Savoyard environment and local fare—think fondue and raclette—at every meal. In addition to a great value proposition, Club Med ski resorts offer a welcoming experience for those skiing for the first time in Europe, with English-speaking instructors.
Opened in December, this is the global luxury brand’s first ski resort outside North America, where it has properties in Whistler, Vail, and Jackson Hole. An hour from Geneva, near Chamonix and Mont Blanc, Megève was the original ski destination for French aristocracy, conceived in the 1920s as an alternative to Switzerland’s St. Moritz. The new Four Seasons, below, is a ski-in/ski-out slopeside hotel conceived as a modern interpretation of the traditional Alpine mountain resort, with easy access to 136 trails. The hotel has a luxurious spa with fitness center and a heated indoor-outdoor pool, in-house ski concierge and ski valet services, and in summer, preferred guest access to the Mont d’Arbois Golf Course located next to the resort.
Following a $60 million renovation, the former Vail Cascade Lodge has been transformed into the first North American ski property in Starwood’s Luxury Collection portfolio. The reborn 285-room Hotel Talisa kept the most important feature of the old Cascade, its own chairlift and trail access, making it the only real ski-in/ski-out hotel in Vail, America’s most popular ski resort. The Talisa is very self-contained, with its own full-service ski rental shop and ski concierge, Swiss Alps/Colorado Rockies fusion mountain restaurant, and a 24-hour fitness center in case skiing isn’t enough exercise.
The first Hyatt-branded hotel in Keystone, Colorado is being operated by Keystone’s owner, Vail Resorts, which runs North America’s largest and most popular ski resorts (Whistler, Park City, Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge. Hyatt Place Keystone has 103 guestrooms, all with work spaces, sofas and family-friendly mini-fridges. The hotel offers a new opportunity for anyone with Hyatt frequent guest points to splurge on a family ski trip.
Hyatt’s first ski resort in Europe, above, and the first Hyatt Centric hotel in France is located in the center of La Rosière, the popular Franco-Italian skiing destination in the Tarentaise Valley. The Centric is a boutique ski-in/ski-out slope-side hotel with just 69-rooms, including 12 family suites. One of the highlights is the signature Summit Spa, with a huge indoor swimming pool, sauna, steam room and indoor and outdoor hot tubs. In keeping with the local flavor, it has a French bistro and an Italian trattoria, and a relative rarity in the Alps, onsite heli-skiing.
The Most Luxurious Way to Explore the Galapagos: The Celebrity Xpedition
Traveling to the Galapagos Islands has seriously evolved since the days of Charles Darwin. But nearly 200 years since the British naturalist first traveled to the region, the Galapagos remains a highly fragile and delicate ecosystem, which means that mammoth cruise ships are still not permitted.
The Celebrity Xpedition, which was built in 2001, holds up to 100 passengers and features enough amenities to make the voyage thoroughly comfortable, but not over-the-top luxurious. (After all, the point of traveling there is to experience nature up close and personal.)
The ship has seven categories of accommodations—from the Outside Stateroom (the smallest) to the Penthouse Suite (the largest). And the signature restaurant—fittingly named Darwin’s, below—features fairly straightforward cuisine. (Eggs-to-order for breakfast, a salad bar for lunch, and multi-course menu for dinner.)
Daily excursions are broken into morning and afternoon sessions, and can be tailored to guests’ comfort and fitness levels—including leisurely walks, steep hikes, zodiac rides, and snorkeling. (And all are guided by a certified naturalist.) No matter what you choose, expect to see a lot of wildlife on this adventure—particularly sea lions, fur seals, red rock crabs, finches, hawks, and marine iguanas.
Want to start your 2018 travels on the right foot? ForbesLife travel guru Johnny Jethas 5 simple tips for infrequent fliers and jetsetters alike:
Boost Your Miles with Travel Rewards Credit Cards: Not only can you earn points toward travel by you can also earn sign-up bonuses that can help fund multiple trips. Consult Airlines’ Awards Charts: These charts will help you to find the best deals, and help you tailor your points/miles toward a specific goal. Track Flight Fares: In addition to Google Flights, there are plenty of apps—including Kayak and Skyscanner—that let you track flight prices and will send you alerts when prices drop. And Hopper actually recommends changes to your itinerary—airports, dates, and times—based on when flights are cheapest. Skip the Lines: If you haven’t signed up for TSA Pre✓ or Global Entry yet, what are you waiting for? The latter, which costs $100 for five years, includes automatic enrollment in TSA Pre✓, which is $85 for five years. Back Up Your Documents: Always keep a copy of your passport as well as proof of travel insurance, health insurance and any relevant visas in case you lose the originals.
Travel Coworking Spaces That Will Give You Serious Wanderlust
Most people take vacations to escape work. But there are plenty who also want to stay connected while they’re away—or even work alongside local entrepreneurs while traveling. Hence the rise of travel coworking spaces.
According to a recent survey by Deskmag, there are now around 14,000 coworking spaces worldwide. And Laura Begley Bloom has uncovered a handful that will give you serious wanderlust.
With Outsite, you can take a “workation” that combines coworking with the convenience of Airbnb. The company has nine locations—including Bali (above), San Diego (below), Costa Rica, Hawaii and Santa Cruz. The company also has a commitment to female entrepreneurship and creating environments for both men and women.
For those who want to a mix of travel and adventure, Roam provides coworking (and coliving) spaces in London, Tokyo, Miami and Bali (below), starting at $500 per week. Guests come and go as they please, balancing privacy and community—with the occasional yoga class.
Hera Hub is the first international female-focuses coworking concept and business incubator that offers spa-inspired environments for women. The company has six locations—including Sweden—with more on the way in Atlanta and Irvine, California.
Like Hera Hub, Behere provides a flexible-lifestyle service for women around the world, with coworking and living spaces in six European cities (below) and Southeast Asia. Members can stay month-to-month or for as long as they like.
Visit here to see all of Laura Begley Bloom’s coworking recommendations.