Top Luxurious Winter Getaways

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October 30, 2015

Planning a winter getaway this year? Andrew Harper, the editor behind the luxury travel newsletter the Hideaway Report, offers his four favorite winter destinations where you and your family can have some snowy fun in style.


Sun Valley, Idaho

While Harper believes Vail has the best skiing in the world, Sun Valley, a classic mountain destination in the Idaho Rockies, is his favorite winter escape in the United States. That’s because it’s authentic, real and charming, he says.


“It’s a year-round destination that’s extraordinary,” Harper says. “It’s got lovely, old Alpine charm. On Christmas Eve, the streets are illuminated with candles, and people go for sleigh rides.”


The Kennedys used to vacation there, he says, and probably still do. Like Aspen, the streets can be lined with movie stars on any given day. Demi Moore and Tom Hanks both have homes in Sun Valley, for example.

The skiing is terrific, and there’s a big ice rink in town for those who prefer blades to boards. It also has a one-two punch, he notes, because the picturesque town of Ketchum is nearby. “It hasn’t changed in 50 years.”


Where to stay? The Sun Valley Lodge completed a massive remodel in June 2015, with larger guestrooms, a destination spa, a world-class fitness center, an outdoor pool and new restaurants.

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October 30, 2015

Zermatt, Switzerland

With Matterhorn looming above it, Zermatt is one of Harper’s favorite spots in the Swiss Alps.


“It’s exciting and beautiful and car-free,” Harper says. “You get there by train. It’s so lovely, wandering around the charming streets. I love it.”


On the mountain, a gondola lift takes skiers up to 12,000 feet.


“It’s a long way down,” he says. “It’s just a wonderful place for occasional skiers because the skiing is intermediate level. So you can just meander your way down, stop along the way for a bite to eat or a drink and then continue on.”


You can even start at the top in Switzerland, veer off and ski into Italy.

Where to stay in Zermatt? Harper recommends the Riffelalp Resort. The hotel first opened in 1884 and quickly became the playground of European high society. Today, the lovely and historic resort has all the modern conveniences mixed with old-world charm.


Gstaad, Switzerland

Also in Switzerland, Harper loves the ski resort Gstaad. “It’s the classiest place. It’s very civilized and grand.”


Like Zermatt, Gstaad is car-free. The town’s famous Promenade is lined with high-end shops and restaurants, and it’s not unusual to see European royals window shopping or sitting in cafes.


For accommodations, Harper recommends the legendary Gstaad Palace, which opened in 1913 and has a reputation for discreet, refined hospitality.

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October 30, 2015

He also recommends the new Alpina Hotel, with its Swiss authenticity combined with sophistication, its Michelin star-rated gourmet restaurant, local artwork adorning the walls and a world-class spa.


Megeve, France

“For sheer beauty alone, Megeve is the most spectacular,” Harper says. “Lovely, old hotels, true Alpine charm. It’s that traditional atmosphere, architecture and ambiance that I really like.”


Like Zermatt, the skiing in Megeve is intermediate, so people who aren’t comfortable on the black diamond runs shouldn’t shy away from Alpine skiing here. 

Another thing about Megeve that Harper loves is the food.


“Megeve is where it’s at for foodies,” he says, noting Flacons de Sel’s coveted three Michelin stars.


For accommodations, Harper likes Les Fermes de Marie, a luxury mountain destination with an old-world feel, and Le Chalet Zannier, a sophisticated, winter-only retreat.


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