Ok, so maybe these are just artists impressions but I’m excited. Another uber luxury chalet will soon be completed and joining our collection. Chalet White Pearl will join the ranks of Zermatt’s ever popular selection of chalets for the 2012 / 2013 winter season.
With five bedrooms, a cinema room and a premier location in Zermatt’s only ski-in / ski-out district, Winklematten, Chalet White Pearl sounds like it’ll quickly become a favourite and the base for many fantastic ski holidays in the coming years.
There are already a few stunning chalets in Zermatt but where Chalet White Pearl is destined to shine is in it’s wellness area which will include a swimming pool with relaxation area, not to mention the massage room, hammam, sauna and rain showers. We’ll be sure to report back with more details as the project nears completion over the course of the summer.
Archive for the ‘Chalets’ Category
Dubbed as the Monaco of the European ski kingdom, Courchevel 1850 is renowned as a hub of opulence and extravagance with an edge of mystery that many mountain travel enthusiasts can’t quite fathom. For those who understand and appreciate the guilty pleasures of 1850, Chalet Pearl should be high on your considerations list. This chalet would be in our “Über-Luxury” category if we had one (perhaps we’ll have to get to work on that) and of course has a price tag to match, ranging from around €70,000 to €140,000 for a week’s stay. That said, we think it’s worth every penny and here’s why: -
The details: Chalet Peal has seven en-suite bedrooms, most of which have balconies with astounding views over the Dent du Villard. The spa area wouldn’t look out of place in a palace – in the chalet managements’ own words “the spa and wellness area would…be impressive in a luxury hotel.” There’s an in-house massage therapist who can of course provide a cocktail menu of soothing and relaxing treatments and you can even have a pre-ski massage to get the legs ready for the day ahead. For those who enjoy indulging in pre-dinner drinks the private bar in the living room is run by an excellent bartender whose cocktail repertoire rivals those in the world’s finest watering-holes. The final detail of note is the home cinema which can seat up to fifteen people for the ultimate movie watching experience.
The service: You’ll have your every whim catered to by true hospitality professionals. There’s a chauffeur service in rather lovely and spacious Mercedes Vianos, which of course have the compulsory plasma television screens. You get a superb private chef who can conjure up pretty much any delicacy imaginable and of course we can help you to tailor the ultimate menu. As usual if you can’t get what you need at the chalet (a situation which we sincerely doubt you’ll find yourself in) then we’ll be on hand to try and make magic happen.
So if you’re finding yourself pining after something really special and think you deserve the best then Courchevel 1850′s Chalet Pearl could be for you.
The Alpine Guru blog’s newest contributor James Ferguson runs Swiss and UK companies specialising in control diagnostics for sophisticated buildings. Generally clients are of rather larger buildings (The Tower of London, for example) but as your home is your castle do drop into his blog and you will find a warm welcome. Over to you James…
As I sit down to write this this on Saturday 17th December 2011, the first snows have arrived in Niederried, in the Bernese Oberland where I aimed to live ever since as a boy I saw ABBA performing at a “Snowtime Special” for the BBC in Leysin. That was during my first school skiing trip and that was, as you may imagine, a few years back.
So I grew up and learned a trade – environmental control of buildings, little knowing that it would soon become important to my first love, the Alps, and even permit me to fulfil that childhood ambition.
Having seen the Rhône gletscher retreat over thirty years, I do worry for the snow – but like “Arnie” I am quite sure it will be back one day.
How much better though if we can stop it going altogether. Alpine Guru kindly asked me to write a little about sustainability in the context of Alpine buildings as many of you are quite passionate on the subject (sustainability rather than buildings I assume). So while nobody wants to read a textbook during a vacation, we can surely confess that after a Raclette or a good Fondue, it’s not a bad thing to be armed with some knowing tidbits to exchange in friendly banter over the brandy or perhaps a schoggie baetzli (Hot chocolate with home-distilled pear schnapps – yum). So here I am to offer what I am able…
Disclaimer: I was once advised in Tignes that one should prefer to debate subjects during holidays where one enjoys little or no real knowledge, the better to forge the mettle of ones’ rhetoric – Translating, a skiing holiday is a license to shade the hue – from true blue that looked red, to darkest black. In exactly that spirit I trust you leave this foray into the sustainable design of Alpine buildings as over-confident as a holiday skier discussing skiing this couloir, that sadly “I just didn’t have time for.”
So all, rather surprisingly, boils down to a little etymology – in England we build buildings, whereas in the Alps they construct chalets. What’s a chalet? – “a wooden shelter with a gently sloping roof and widely overhanging lateral eaves, generally south facing that is common in Switzerland and other Alpine regions.”
Key to that mouthful is the Indo-European root of chalet – “cala” that which means shelter.
If chalets are inherently Alpine; what then is an alp? My neighbour informed me in rather exquisite English that an alp is, and I quote, “the summer mountain residence of a cow”. So where Bergkäse is simply mountain cheese (milk from the alp processed into cheese in the valley), a genuine Alpkäse is cheese made by the traditional senner on the alp (think Heidi, Grandfather and Peter the goatherd perhaps) So, Alpkase is worth paying a little extra if you care for the beauty of rural alpine traditions.
To return to my thread, a chalet is a shelter, of wood, with a gently sloping roof on an alp. And an alp is infamously cold or it might otherwise be the winter mountain residence of a cow. So lets break down some aspects of efficient design regarding sustainability.
Now your acquisition rate of snippets of extra-ordinary knowledge can accelarate like a skier taking air off the Hundschopf (9.82 meters per second squared or 1g – it’s what we have all fallen for)
Insulation is naturally key to sustainable building and is measured in the poetically named units of Meter-squared-Kelvin per-Watt-inches or the R-value: In short it stops heat flowing. The best insulation I can think of is the SIGG vacuum flask (used for keeping hot-toddy hot). It is about five times better than the ski-jacket – Thinsulate, but we can see how these stack up. With building materials, thinsulate is about another five times better than the best possible building material.
It is probably hard, and rather expensive, to build a chalet of Thinsulate or SIGG flasks great products though they are – so what are the best building materials of all? – Ask an Inuit if you cannot interpret the chart below.
As far as both sustainability and good looks are concerned we really must ask what not to build with – in short as we see that both glass and concrete suck hard – and although my Granny (bless her) thought otherwise – “suckhard” is not how you pronounce a famous Swiss chocolate brand and anyway my wife prefers Ballenberg chocolate.
So, if budget is available build with bulk hardwood with high tech insulative lining, followed by softwood and miles down the line thereafter – modern bulk materials.
Another aspect of a gently sloping roof is that heat does not “pool” in the eaves – where it escapes faster, rather it is spread across the roof area near head height so it is appreciated and circulates as it cools down over the walls, to the floor where believe it or not we humans tolerate cold better.
Southern, facing with wide eaves, why ? Firstly the sun, and the wide eaves means that sun, that is low on the horizon in winter sees much of the front facade, and is partly trapped by the eaves, and in summer, the high sun provides welcome shade to the warmest point of the house the southern high points. More obviously Dach-lavinen (roof avalanches) are prevented from shooting to the front of the house, and the path is sheltered from snowfall for ease of access.
What about internal temperature settings. Colder than you are used to at home particulalry at night – for several reasons, with exercise you sleep more deeply (and your body temperature drops). Why does it drop ? You are less active, you lie flat so you lose heat less rapidly, you have cosier clothes, and there are sources of humidity which in the warmth means mugginess and potentially mold. However, a roaring fire is de-rigeur, there are expert services that can check its efficiency, but one of the single greatest sources of heat loss is an unclosed chimney. Most alpine chimneys have vent flaps of one sort or another, and they make a huge difference.
Mark Twain recommended the German oven – and I do too, though the maintenance cost is not insignificant it is a ceramic source of joy which we use in our house, heating only from wood we cut ourselves. Mr Twain exaggerates a little in this wonderfully partisan account from ‘Europe and Elsewhere’: -
“Take the German stove, for instance … where can you find it outside of German countries? I am sure I have never seen it where German was not the language of the region. Yet it is by long odds the best stove and the most convenient and economical that has yet been invented.
To the uninstructed stranger it promises nothing; but he will soon find that it is a masterly performer, for all that. It has a little bit of a door which seems foolishly out of proportion to the rest of the edifice; yet the door is right; for it is not necessary that bulky fuel shall enter it. Small-sized fuel is used, and marvelously little at that. The door opens into a tiny cavern which would not hold more fuel that a baby could fetch in its arms. The process of firing is quick and simple. At half past seven on a cold morning the servant brings a small basketful of slender pine sticks – say a modified armful – and puts half these in, lights them with a match, and closes the door. They burn out in ten or twelve minutes. He then puts in the rest and locks the door, and carries off the key. The work is done. He will not come again until the next morning.
All day long and until past midnight all parts of the room will be delightfully warm and comfortable, and there will be no headaches and no sense of closeness or oppression. In an American room, whether heated by steam, hot water, or open fires, the neighborhood of the register or the fireplace is warmest – the heat is not equally diffused throughout the room; but in a German room one is as comfortable in one part of it as in another. Nothing is gained or lost by being near the stove. Its surface is not hot; you can put your hand on it anywhere and not get burnt.
Consider these things. One firing is enough for the day; the cost is next to nothing; the heat produced is the same all day, instead of too hot and too cold by turns; one may absorb himself in his business and peace; he does not need to feel any anxieties or solicitudes about his fire; his whole day is a realized dream of bodily comfort.
America could adopt this stove, but does America do it? The American wood stove, of whatsoever breed, it is a terror. There can be no tranquility of mind where it is. It requires more attention than a baby. It has to be fed every little while, it has to be watched all the time; and for all reward you are roasted half your time and frozen the other half. It warms no part of the room but its own part; it breeds headaches and suffocation, and makes one’s skin feel dry and feverish; and when your wood bill comes in you thin you have been supporting a volcano.
We have in America many and many a breed of coal stove also – fiendish things, everyone of them. The base burner sort are heady and require but little attention, but none of them distributes its heat uniformly through the room, or keeps it at an unwavering temperature, or fails to take the life out of the atmosphere and leave it stuffy and smothery and stupefying.
Build naturally, build locally & build to last. Traditions work, poor goatherds avoided unnecessary labour. Combined with Alpine charm, and newer technologies as appropriate, your alpine home should be a joy. And if you really care, forget the heli-skiing, try instead skinning from hut-to-hut with a guide. It offers joys, warmth and a traditional cosiness that you will never forget, rounded off with lashings of tall-tales, virgin powder and a glow on your cheeks that comes from the heart.
Many of you will have booked a summer holiday, perhaps to the south of France, Egypt or maybe to Ibiza. But for those who are still looking at an opportunity to get away, why not try a luxury retreat in the mountains.
Richard Branson’s Lodge in Verbier, Switzerland, is one of the most desirable ski properties in Europe, if not the world. The levels of service are second to none, similarly to the other brands across the Virgin empire’.
You can enjoy and sample the high life in The Lodge this summer with a special 3-day retreat package. A 3-night stay comes in at just £1,165 per person based on two sharing a double room and this includes three adrenalin pumping activities that include rock climbing, paragliding, golf & canyoning.
If you’d prefer you could opt for a 3-night golfing trip from £965 per person based on two sharing a double room, this includes two rounds of golf – and if one of you isn’t so keen on driving and putting, or the fear of getting stuck in the rough then why not indulge in three luxurious spa treatments instead. Enjoy the summer sun away from the beaches and experience the best that the mountains have to offer this summer.
*Both of these packages include all meals and drinks as well as alcoholic beverages and fine champagne. For this level of service, luxury and activities you won’t find a more reasonable way to enjoy such luxury this summer.
If you’re looking to take advantage of the mountain activities that aren’t reliant on snow then you’ll be looking for somewhere peaceful to stay for a week in the summer months. Chalet Five Roses can accommodate up to 8 guests and ranges from 6000 chf – 7500 chf per week during the summer.
The chalet has a commanding location with fantastic views over the valley below, the perfect spot for a little barbeque action.
For more information and images of Chalet Five Roses in Verbier, Switzerland take a look here.
If you’ve been looking for an excuse to get-away then we’ve got just the ticket. There are a couple of our favourite chalets in the mountains that are available at phenomenal prices for this coming weekend. Last minute skiing and last minute prices don’t get better than these for such luxury properties.
Chalet Le Chardon in Val d’Isere
Best for sociable couples
At Le Chardon you can take the time to focus on you, you’ll have everything required to keep your holiday running smoothly from a chauffeur service that runs from early morning till 2am, a concierge and 5 course gourmet meals on 6 evenings. Our tip is to take some time in one of the two private outdoor hot tubs with a couple of glasses of your favourite tipple, you can’t get a better feeling after a day on the slopes.
Le Chardon is £1150 per person for the week commencing 10th April, at this price the spaces won’t last long so if you fancy a last minute ski trip next week then now is the time to book.
Chalet Aurore in Meribel
Larger groups looking to split something spectacular
Chalet Aurore has an exquisite outdoor pool that overlooks Mt Vallon, this private lodge is small enough to offer intimacy yet has enough space for families or a group of couples to share and still have privacy when desired. The chalet includes, amongst many other things, an open spirit bar and a private chauffeur service as well as fantastic champagne and canape receptions daily.
Chalet Aurore is available for up to 10 guests at £14,250 for the week, a reduction of £7,250 from it’s usual price for this time of year. That’s just £1,425 per person to stay in a place that many of us can only day dream about. Take a look in more detail at this exquisite chalet.
Seal. David Gray. Roger Hodgson. Naturally 7. Sina. Marc Sway. OneRepublic and many more…
Zermatt Unplugged, Europe’s only festival featuring exclusively acoustic instruments, presents a varied and exciting programme. Its 4th edition takes place from the12th to the16th of April 2011.
Chalet Maurice run by renowned top luxury chalet operator, Elysian Collection, is available to book for the week.
Ski the Spring snow during the day under blue skies, lunch in the sunshine at any one of Zermatt’s famous mountain restaurants, even try heli-skiing the Monte Rosa. Back at Chalet Maurice relax in the sauna, have a massage, drink champagne in the Jacuzzi, enjoy the sumptuous food prepared for you by your personal chef.
Later take a short stroll into town for Zermatt Unplugged.
The atmosphere of this festival is electric, even if most of the instruments are not. Day and night the bars, clubs and restaurants of Zermatt are filled with musicians playing every genre of music imaginable. But everything stops for the big names in the evening. The venue is small and intimate: a chance to see top famous musicians close to, and to appreciate their musicianship in its natural, acoustic state.
Exclusive occupancy of Chalet Maurice (sleeps 12) 10th – 17th April is priced at 48,647 Swiss francs. You can contact Alpine Guru today for enquiries and bookings.
As we’re settling into the New Year it looks like many are thinking about getting out to the mountains. Well if you’re looking to head out in February then we’ve got a treat for you in Verbier: Luxury Chalet Nyumba is one of the finest chalets in Verbier, sleeping up to 14 guests.
Chalet Nyumba is available for a week from Sunday 20th February and is priced at 90,000 CHF for the week. So if you’re looking for a half term family trip or just an excuse to relax or party in style, then this one is for you.
If you’re interested in this property then please feel free to take a look at the detailed page for further information on extra services and catering options.
Val d’Isere is the perfect location for early December skiing and with the early snowfalls we are currently experiencing along with the arctic temperatures it is even better than usual. This year this high altitude resort is also hosting the Alpine Skiing World Cup. Known in resort as the “Criterium de la Première Neige“, the Men’s competition can be enjoyed during the 10th-12th December and the Women will be taking to the piste the following weekend the 17th -19th December. Every year from now on, the resort has decided to take on a different theme corresponding to a competing nation. 2010 is the inaugural year and Britain is the first chosen nation. Proving that Britain really does have talented ski champions such as: Chemmy Alcott, Douglas Crawford and Alan Baxter who will be joining in the fun and games.
Chalet Elephant Blanc is available for up to 10 guests to enjoy the ski in ski out position, situated on the blue solaise piste it is the perfect chalet for all skiing abilities. The hot tub on the balcony is the perfect location to enjoy the free flowing Perrier Jouet champagne along with the fabulous views of the resort. The spa downstairs is ideally equipped with sauna, hammam and massage room perfect to enjoy a massage treatment after skiing. Your private chef will delight you with a bespoke menu and your personal chauffeur will ensure that you are transported around the resort in style. If you head to Chalet Elephant Blanc during the week of 12th December you’ll receive complimentary VIP tickets to the World Cup.
Words and photos courtesy of Ceri Tinley