With the Alps rapidly reinventing themselves with a neoteric facelift to stay ahead of the competition, the chi chi Chalet Husky is leading the way…
With a growing trend towards holiday stays that offer more than just a room in a box, highflying holidaymakers are looking for full-blown experiences that pre-empt all your needs and whims – while still managing to surprise you. Step forward Chalet Husky, a sublime lodgings that can sleep up to 14 guests which comes complete with a chef, an army of friendly staff, a heavenly spa and – who would have guessed it – a climbing wall!
A firm favourite with the in-crowd, Val d’Isère’s nonchalant charm and innate je ne sais quoi make it feel as though you are in an intimate ski resort in spite of its scae. Its deceptive size means you can benefit from an impressive array of ski runs – no less than over 300km of marked pistes to be exact – so that no two days on the slopes have to be the same. Chalet Husky sits right in the thick of it, although once you step inside this dreamlike den, you feel a million miles away from the rest of the universe.
With its wooden exterior, it may give off the impression that it’s a traditional mountain chalet, but step inside and you’ll discover that Chalet Husky wouldn’t look out of place on a Tim Burton film set. Not in the unhinged, gothic sense, but more in its appreciation for German Expressionist films where lighting is used to great effect. There’s a preoccupation with mirrors, glass, and other reflective surfaces, from the animated ‘disco floor’ – a glass footbridge overlooking the spa and indoor garden below that changes colour– to the bouquets of tasselled lampshades hanging from exposed rafters and dainty steel single-stemmed flower lights standing to attention on the sideboard.
The attention to detail is astounding and you’re likely to spot something new every day – from the embroidered bar stool covers to the almost invisible Perspex chairs and the mix of pop and retro art. How the décor manages to seamlessly blend pieces from Rajasthan, Europe and Southeast Asia boggles the mind, yet it doesso with aplomb.
You won’t find any of Burton’s monsters lurking under the beds, but there is a playful nod to anthropomorphism through its use of deer antler-shaped mirrors, animal head-printed cushions and cartoon animals peering out at you from gold frames. It’s abstract, retro, modern, chic and off the wall all rolled in to one. Above all, it’s devilishly fun.
Starting with just two ski resorts in Switzerland in the ’80s, luxury travel operator Scott Dunn has taken on the world. They even have a toll free service in the UAE now, meaning you can speak to anyone, anytime about customising a holiday specifically tailored around you and your friends and family. With a philosophy of ‘nothing is too much trouble’, the company – which is still helmed by founder Andrew Dunn – offers an array of experiences across the world with a sought-after portfolio of hotels, villas and chalets.
EAT YOUR HEART OUT
The accomplished chalet chef takes great pride in the food he dishes up with every serving making an impression. Aside from fresh juices, smoothies, cereals, yoghurt compotes and pastries, breakfasts also include a hot choice from an a la carte menu. Every morning a hot drink is delivered to your bed and each afternoon – if you can squeeze it in – tea, cake and tart is served. This is followed by pre-dinner drinks (the house beverage is Laurent Perrier, just saying) and canapé followed by a three-course meal. Yes, you really do need to ski a lot to justify even half of it!
SHOPPING AND SIGHTSEEING
There are plenty of bijoux boutiques to keep visitors in Louis Vuitton sunglasses and Mont Blanc watches. There are also fantastic cheese shops and bakeries. If the main focus of your visit is to master the art of skiing, then be sure to book yourself lessons with Oxygene, who provide both ski hire and lessons. Because there’s no better way to get a bird’s eye view of the slopes that you’ve been whizzing down, treat yourself to a spin in a chopper with Whitetracks helicopters. You’ll want to savour breakfasts and dinners in Chalet Husky, but for lunch up on top of a mountain you can’t beat the fine spread at Tete de Solaise. Dig into a heady fondue at Le Grand Ourse, the oldest restaurant in town and for après ski, pop into the recently refurbished Cocorico – perfectly positioned so that you can virtually ski into it off your last run.
WHAT TO WEAR
Because not all UAE residents have an annual pass to Ski Dubai, it can be difficult to know where to start when it comes to shopping for stylish ski gear that will keep frost bite ay bay. We’re huge fans of excellent winter staple The North Face – check out the Women’s Thermoball Full Zip jacket available from Sun and Sand Sports – as well as Norweigan brand Helly Hansen who manages to deliver both style and practicality in spades. The ever-dependable Net-a-Porter’s fun, functional and incredibly fashionable fitness range in their aptly titled spin off category, net-a-sporter.com boasts brands like KJUS, Eugenia Kim and Lacroix.
Prices for a trip to Chalet Husky in Val D’Isere start at Dhs11,475 per person including flights with Emirates airline, private chef, villa host, in-resort driver service, fully-inclusive half-board and airport transfers to and from Geneva. Emirates have daily flights to Geneva departing at 8.55am. Prices based on a full chalet. Book via 800 035 703 722 (toll free) or scottdunn.com.