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Publication: Travel Tips
Romantic Ski Resorts

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Tips & Advice for the Seasoned and Armchair Traveler Alike! 

Dec. 25, 2007 

Merry Christmas and welcome to another great edition of 
Travel Tips. Today you can discover some of 'The world's 
most romantic ski resorts'. 

P.S. If you're interested you can now post comments on this 
and recent issues on our forum at... Travel Tips Forum 

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The world's most romantic ski resorts
Pamper each other and cuddle up at these classic ski spots
By Lena Katz

"A rose on your pillow... chocolates at turndown... rose
petals sprinkled down the hallway... gifts arranged under
the tree." These are but a few of the little gestures that
Jo Jones, concierge at Deer Valley's high-end Residences at
the Chateaux, plans for couples visiting the resort.

From private fireside fondues to midnight snow shoe
adventures to couples' spa treatments, today's luxury ski
destinations are turning up the heat on wintertime passion.
Cupid has been sighted floating around European chalets,
rustic Argentinean lodges and at least one Kiwi mountaintop—
plus all the best American spots.

At fractional ownership properties such as Residences at 
the Chateaux, the staff keeps record of their guests' 
preferences, special needs and even their birthdays. They 
offer the "second home" experience plus all the concierge 
services of a luxury hotel. For guests on a romantic 
getaway, this could include a horse-drawn sleigh ride to 
the nearby Empire Lodge for a fireside meal... and then 
back home, where chilled champagne and a drawn bath await. 

A combination of beauty, history and status, Aspen proves 
itself a top romantic getaway year after year. There, 
luxury rental specialists have a your-wish-is-my-command 

"When you book a rental through most Aspen realtors, 
there's typically a service charge on top which covers 
full concierge services—any requests from catered candle-
light dinners to hard-to-come-by event tickets. I've even 
worked with local boutiques to show their wares in guests' 
houses, so they don't have to visit the stores," says Kelli 
Gardner of Five Star Destinations.

Though Gardner says most people prefer to be in the six-
by-six block radius that constitutes the "core" of Aspen 
(where the bulk of the season's social activities take 
place), she also has country properties that appeal to 
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"You get a view of majestic mountain peaks... there are 
open pastures for snowmobiling right out your back door... 
but it's easy to rent a driver, and you can still access 
the town of Aspen easily," she says. 

For in-town romance, book a penthouse through Gardner and 
arrange for a private chef to cook up spreads accented by 
caviar and truffles from the Butcher's Block. The St. Regis 
and Little Nell penthouses are popular and some insiders 
opt for the Brand Building, but for a real splurge, a 
lavish 4-bedroom private rental property will cost you from 
upwards of $12,000 a night off-season. 

"No Pizza Hut, no Gap, no chain hotels," locals proudly 
state. That means at any of the 50 restaurants, 60-odd 
hotels and B&Bs, the owners offer personalized service 
and their own informal version of concierge service. There 
are loads of romantic hideaways in Stowe, but at the Stone 
Hill Inn, proprietors Amy and Hap Jordan seem intent on 
perfecting the Cupid-friendly experience—especially as it 
applies to epicureans. 

"My husband I are foodies and plan travel around food 
experiences," says Amy, who offers a "Fun for Foodies" 
package, fondue dinner tours and chocolatier classes. 
As for the other romantic extras, she lets guests provide 
the inspiration. 

"I have hopeful grooms-to-be calling me up saying 'I want 
to propose, I'm nervous, what do I do?' so the proposal 
packages were a natural extension," she says. The Jordans 
consider all pre-planned packages to be just a "starting 
point," though they understand that everyone wants their 
special occasion to be unique. 

The legendary Canadian ski resorts of Banff/Lake Louise and 
Whistler offer every kind of accommodation from luxe five-
star hotels to ski-in, ski-out chalets. But lately, 
boutique hotel properties have been stealing international 
attention away from the big names. In Lake Louise, a team 
of Swiss brothers runs the picturesque Post Hotel to old-
world European standards, offering intimate accommodations, 
an Alpine spa and fine cuisine with a 35,000-bottle wine 
cellar. Nestled in Banff National Park, this property gets 
the insider vote for a romantic Rocky Mountain getaway. 

In Whistler, the Sundial Boutique Hotel sets the standard 
for interior style on a super-luxe but intimate scale. 

"Boutique hotels are typically authentic with the essence 
of the location/destination. When you close the curtains, 
you are going to know you are someplace special," explains 
Andrew Fine of Boutique Hotels & Resorts. In his opinion, 
the Sundial exemplifies this. 

Sundial staff recommends suite #705 for the ultimate 
romantic splurge. With two fireplaces, a heated slate floor 
in the bathroom, a jacuzzi in the bedroom and another on 
the patio, it's designed to inspire guests to...  er... 
make themselves comfortable. The concierge staff arranges 
special activities such as couples' spa treatments, moon-
lit cross-country skiing around Lost Lake, or fondue 
dinners on the mountain. 

Of course, when it comes to Alpine spas and mountaintop 
fondue, no one does it better than the Europeans. Lodgings 
run the gamut from stately to charming, modest to downright 
palatial. At Badrutt's Palace in St. Moritz, Switzerland, 
service is discreet, but everything else—the views, the 
decor, the crowd—is suitably over the top. Perched on Lake 
St. Moritz, this property offers everything from private 
dinners in its wine cellar to apres-ski high tea to horse-
drawn carriage rides through the nearby Fex Valley. Alpine 
view suites are worth the splurge. 


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Over in the French resort of Courchevel, the Hotel de 
Charme les Airelles recently wrapped up a $31 million 
renovation and is set to lure high-ticket travelers from 
every corner of the world. The property maintains a refined 
"chalet" feel, with apres-ski cocktails in the fire-lit 
piano bar and cuisine by Pierre Gagnaire. The top-floor 
suite features frescos, indoor and outdoor jacuzzis and 
two balconies that afford south and western valley views. 
Though we recommend it as an ultimate couples' getaway, it 
is a definite splurge at $14,760 a night. 

For an alternative to the Alps, venture over to the 
Baqueira-Beret resort area in the Spanish Pyrenees. La 
Pleta Hotel & Spa's spa/food/wine experience leaves you 
purring. Insiders suggest staying in the two-floor 
Presidential Suite (with infinity jacuzzi), booking the 
"Two Lovers Treatment" in the couples' treatment room, 
then retiring to the restaurant (or your suite) for dinner 
and heated spiced wine. 

If Europe's ski resorts are stately and historic, South 
America's are rustic and a bit rough around the edges—but 
they make up for it with stunning natural scenery and 
vivacious local culture. And, because of the Southern 
Hemisphere location, their peak season is July and August. 
The Argentinean town of Bariloche is a sister city to Aspen—
and with 100,000 residents, it dwarfs its Colorado sibling. 
What's more, it's located along Lake Nahuel Huapi, which 
"makes Tahoe look like a pond" according to Tom Nugent, 
mountain vacation specialist for Ski.com (formerly Aspen 
Ski Tours). 

"For romantic luxury lodgings, the Pire-Hue is as good 
as it gets," he says. "It reminds me of a rustic hunting 
lodge, with comfortable common areas, soft leather 
furniture, a great little bar and ski-in, ski-out access. 
The main chair lift is on one side of the hotel exit, and 
the ski shop is on the other." For a truly memorable 
getaway, though, he recommends taking a two-day trip to 
Llao Llao, a famous hotel between two lakes in Nahuel 
Huapi National Park. 

For off-season a deux adventures further afield, New 
Zealand offers experiences ranging from the iconic "grand 
lodge" getaway to the high-energy Queenstown urban retreat. 

Caroline Davidson of the luxury group Select Hotels says, 
"Our properties appeal to a very eclectic group of high-end 
travelers. Just juxtapose two of our top properties, the 
classic Huka Lodge on the banks of the Wa River, with the 
Spire, a brand new Queenstown property offering avant-garde 
luxury in the heart of town." 

Couples who want to run away to the rugged North Island 
stay at the Huka Lodge and spend the week heli-skiing or 
bathing in thermal springs. The Spire is for hipsters in 
search of South Island adrenaline action by day and sexy 
adventures by night—with Philippe Starck furnishings to 
provide the properly hip backdrop. 

Though Australia has fewer ski areas, it is developing more 
properties on the snow. For now, the Hotel Pension Grimus 
is a top pick. It's ski-in, ski-out, on fabulous treed 
terrain, and has won a recent industry award for "best 
Australian alpine accommodation." Pension Grimus is famous 
for its traditional Christmas in July. Austrian-style 
hospitality, great food, schnapps tastings and impromptu 
entertainment by Australian celebs are part of the annual 
program. Whether you and yours are making history or 
celebrating it, these ski resorts fit the bill for true 
snow lovers. 

Well, that's it for this week, group. Thanks again for 
reading, and please keep those comments, complaints and 
questions coming in. 

You can send me an e-mail message at: Email Pierce

Until next week, thanks for reading.   

Your Tipmeister,   



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