It’s a tough decision, choosing between relaxing in the outdoor whirlpool overlooking the Arlberg massif, being attended to by a butler baring cold, fizzing Champagne, or donning your skis and heading for the great outdoors.
However, at Chalet N in Oberlech, it is a decision that is made easier when skis and boots are sized and fitted for you in the chalet, and a private Austrian ski guide are all ready and waiting to take you into the Alps.
If that isn’t enough to persuade you, the elevator that takes you from the velvet cushioned boot room straight to the piste should help get you out of the chalet and onto the first heated chairlift. Despite all this, and however much you adore your skiing (and the Arlberg is one of Europe’s greatest ski areas), it will still feel a wrench leaving the comfort of what feels like the world’s most luxurious chalet.
Chalet N is the ultimate luxury mountain ski home. Huge and impressive in every way, the beautifully designed interiors resemble a traditional log cabin chalet, while the enormous (bullet-proof) windows frame the spectacular 360o mountain views. Sitting on the mountain-side, above the glamorous resort of Lech, the chalet benefits from the most outstanding views from every angle.
Indeed the mountains seem to have inspired the design of the chalet, since everything inside is on a very large scale. The cinema has an almost unlimited film collection for snowy days spent in, a cellar expertly stocked with fine wines (above) would keep budding sommeliers amused and 11 bedroom suites all have private sitting rooms, log fires and walk-in wardrobes. And yet, the atmosphere is welcoming and homely with a warm ambience and a friendly staff of 35.
At times staying in Chalet N can feel like a surreal experience, from the shower curtains made of hand-strung Swarovski crystals, to exploring one of the largest private chalet spas anywhere in the world (above), which includes a hay sauna, a swimming pool with underwater sound system and spa treatments on tap.
James Bond-esque it may be, and yet the Austrian charm of a traditional chalet is as alive in Chalet N as any. There is no doubt you are in Austria as the local award-winning chefs, the Marent brothers, prepare local veal dishes for supper. They have a knack of producing hearty mountain fare needed after a day’s skiing with the flourish and flare of the best artisan chefs. Supper is accompanied by local Tyrolean wines served from elegant long necked decanters shaped like swans – well, why not?
Of course this glamorous chalet is entirely in keeping with its setting. Lech is known as the Austrian resort of the royals, and has boutique shopping at sky-high prices, fashionable bars frequented by a fur-clad attractive crowd, and a plethora of very smart hotels, all set around a pretty Tyrolean village with a 14th century church and a river running through it.
The skiing is also VIP: the resort maintains quiet pistes and prevents queues for lifts by enforcing a limit on the number of ski passes sold per day making Lech one of the most exclusive ski resorts. If it is the skiing you are after and you want to enjoy the special micro-climate of good snow that the region boasts, your pass will allow you to ski in the whole of the Arlberg, incorporating St. Anton and St. Christop, all linked by an efficient bus service. Staying more local, ‘Der Weisse Ring’ is a circuit that loops around the resorts of Lech, Zürs, Zug and back to Oberlech over 22km of piste and is a brilliant way to discover the mountain range.
When your hipflask runs out then it is time to return to the chalet where the glitzy mirrored bar is, happily, stocked with almost every tipple one can imagine from single malt Highland whiskeys to plenty of Jägermeister to refuel you for a night of dancing in front of an open fire or on the terraces under the mountain stars.
Chalet N (+43 (0)5583 37 9 00; www.chalet-n.com) sleeps up to 24 people and is available for exclusive use £230,000 per week. For bookings contact Camel Snow (020 8123 2859; www.camelsnow.com).
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