In the not so dim and distant past, going on a self-catered ski holiday was the budget option that demanded a strong constitution. The apartments, particularly in France, were small, cramped and rather dismal. Even a 25m2 apartment slept 4 people with the inevitable rickerty bunk beds in the corridor. The cooking facilities were usually basic and ‘self-catering ‘ often consisted of re-heating the baked beans brought in the ski bag or takeaway pizza. Cooking anything else was too challenging on a meagre 2 electric ring hob and tiny oven. As soon as age and budget allowed, you moved on to the luxury of a catered chalet.
But just as the ski chalet has evolved into the luxury product we know and love today with hot tubs, spas and cinema rooms becoming ‘de rigeur‘ and ever larger swimming pools slowing becoming the norm, so too has the humble self-catering apartment changed. Today they can be spacious, stylish and stuffed full of luxury amenities and gadgets from Sonos sound systems to Nespresso machines.
This new breed of luxury self-catered apartments allow you to have the ultimate flexibility – you get to be as independent as you want to be but many now also offer additional services from pre-arrival shopping and housekeeping to meal delivery and private chefs. So if your ideal ski day involves a great long lunch stop and then drinks and light supper in the evening, a luxury self-catered ski holiday may be the answer.
In Zermatt, where a delicious long lunch on the mountain is the norm, there are great apartments such as La Vue where breakfast service and housekeeping are provided leaving you free to enjoy the many restaurants on and off the slopes.
In Verbier, in addition to the fantastic array of restaurants, there is a fabulous deli, La Cucina that offers freshly cooked dishes including delicious gluten-free options. Stay in the wonderful Rosalp apartments, just a stone’s throw from the Médran lift and arrange a pre-arrival shop to ensure your stay is completely stress-free.
Maybe your concern is the quality of the accommodation or the facilities available? Worry not – there are even ski-in/out chalets and apartments with hot tub, sauna, gym and cinema room available on a self-catered basis. The Centauree apartment in the Legattaz area of Val d’Isère, just 150m from the piste, has TV room, swim spa and a great contemporary design. You can add extra housekeeping or indeed a butler and private chef so you get to decide what staffing levels are important to you and build the holiday completely around your requirements.
This isn’t the option for everyone and there are definitely resorts better suited to luxury self-catering than others. Ski resorts such as Zermatt and Val d’Isère with their more defined village centres and great choice of restaurants are ideal choices. These properties can be very competitively priced so if you’re looking for the ultimate in flexibility but don’t want to compromise on the quality of accommodation, it may be time to have another look at this sector of the luxury ski market.