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FIVE-STAR SKIING: NEW-ERA ALPINE HOTELS

Back in 2007, the Experimental Group launched its speakeasy- style Experimental Cocktail Club on a small side street in Paris. The group has since expanded into hip boutique hotels, wine bars and restaurants, setting up venues in London, New York, Ibiza and, more recently, the Alps. The Experimental Chalet, which opened in the Swiss ski resort of Verbier last December, recently finished its first season to resounding success. This new take on mountain luxury is decked out in brighttiles and muted velvets, with a buzzy brasserie and an airy cocktail bar on the first floor. Laid-back and clubby, it’s the sort of place where you’re more likely to hang out in jeans and trainers than get dressed up for dinner.

Valsana Hotel & Appartements, which launched in the Swiss resort of Arosa last year, has a similar feel. The funky offspring of the old-school Tschuggen Grand Hotel, it’s decorated with splashes of bright colours and bold prints. There’s also a nice nod to sustainability in the form of an ice battery, which converts waste heat to reusable energy. The newly refurbished Riders Hotel in Laax, meanwhile, has a distinctly industrial feel, featuring plywood beds, polished concrete floors and a basement nightclub. It’s set to reopen in late September this year, in time for the upcoming ski season.

Another new player on the Alpine accommodation scene is the boutique Huus Hotel in Gstaad, its open-plan hang-out areas decorated with jewel-toned furniture and vast bookshelves. There’s also a weekend DJ and a temptinggin-based cocktail menu for apres-ski refreshments.

Communal areas, it seems, are key, as demonstrated by Maison et Hotels Sibuet’s Terminal Neige. The brand’s Refuge du Montenvers, in Chamonix, and Terminal Neige Totem, a ski-in ski-out hotel in Flaine, offer an on-trend mix of rough wood, exposed light bulbs and colourful statement furniture. Those who prefer the ‘apres’ to the ‘ski’ should keep an eye out for nightclub brand La Folie Douce, which last year opened its first hotel in Chamonix. Set in the former Savoy Palace, this slope side hotel has four fashionable restaurants, a spa, a cracking kids’ club and daily yoga classes.

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