St. Moritz and Zermatt may be top-of-mind Swiss ski resorts, but Crans-Montana, which sits above the Rhône Valley in the French-speaking canton of Valais, serves up peak pistes and views that stretch from Mont Blanc in the west to the Matterhorn to the east. Relaxed, groomer-rich terrain and an abundance of facilities for young children, including Snow Island, a kid zone with a magic carpet lift for beginners, make the resort a magnet for families. The 300 days of sunshine add to the allure.
Beyond skiing, there is tubing and tobogganing; ice skating and curling at the Ycoor Centre; dog sledding on the Plaine-Morte glacier; snowshoe excursions to the village of Aminona; and, if you visit over the festive holidays, the Etoile Bella Lui festival of lights offers nightly entertainment and a mile-long illuminated path that winds through the trees.
When the Thai hotel chain Six Senses opens its ski-in, ski-out hotel in February, a shiny, new brand of hospitality will descend upon this pocket of Switzerland. The luxury group, known for wellness programming and a three-to-one staff-to-guest ratio, aims to “bring the outside in” through design evocative of the alpine forest. The Pierre de Vals stone-and-timber lobby, for example, echoes a grotto beneath a canopy of trees with light streaming through glass panels, as it would in nature. The 78 rooms are quietly elegant, with organic bedding, walls of rough timber and textured plasterwork, oak parquet floors and leather furniture designed by Reda Amalou. Floor-to-ceiling windows offer views of craggy, snow-kissed vistas.
The spa is the heart of the building, with a statement-making sculptural ceiling fashioned of 15,000 wooden battens, which reflect in the swimming pool. There are So Sound lounger chairs; Finnish, rock and bio salt saunas; a stretching pod; and a Biohacking Recovery Lounge with treatments involving infrared heat and vibration.
Six Senses Crans-Montana; rates from around $700; view on Google Maps.
More ideas to embrace the cold:
8 New Hotels for Winter Enthusiasts in the U.S. and Europe: New and reimagined hotels in New England, the Alps and beyond offer stylish accommodations near the snow.
The Quiet Thrill of Winter Wildlife Viewing: In Colorado’s Rockies, birds and other animals stand out against the snow, and even if you can’t see them, their tracks let you know they’re around.
At a Club Med Ski Resort, Learning to Love the Apéro: Will the company’s all-inclusive approach work in the North American market? An avid skier puts Québec’s Massif de Charlevoix to the test.
Taking Back the Mountains: Big resorts are crowded, pricey and exclusive. But some skiers and snowboarders are trying to reclaim their sports by building a culture that is more inclusive and sustainable.
Making the Slopes Fun From Day 1: When it comes to designing terrain and the learning experience, resorts have finally started thinking about beginners.
Faster Rides, Shorter Waits: New Ski Lifts Changing U.S. Slopes This Winter: A flurry of construction at major ski resorts has led to a high number of notable new chairlifts and gondolas opening this season.
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