Five coolest places to combine a city break with a ski holiday

Craving a ski holiday… but don’t want to miss out on the cosmopolitan quirks of a city escape?

At Historic Hotels of Europe, we say that you don’t have to choose. Get the best of both worlds with the suggestions listed below, and plan a holiday that’s equal parts filled with snowy slopes and sightseeing from the comfort of one of our historic hotels. Grab your snow boots and your camera: you’re in for an exciting escape…

1. Hotel l´Hélios & Spa: Méribel, France

Hotel l´Hélios & Spa is the crème de la crème of alpine hotels. This chalet-style wonder sits amid the French Alps with a view of Les 3 Vallées: the world’s largest ski area. Enjoy easy access to a huge range of runs, with 166 ski lifts dotted about helping you to reach whichever snowy slope catches your eye. You’ll be flying down the mountainside, leaving glittering snow dust in your wake, before you know it… that is, if you don’t opt to stay inside and snuggle up instead. This hotel is filled with rustic charm and comforting touches, including warm panelled bedrooms and a flickering fireplace located in the bar. Perfect for cosying up in front of with a hot chocolate in-hand.

For activities of a more urban variety, Albertville is only a short drive away. Hosts of the 16th Winter Olympic Games, this quaint city is filled with activities, history… and more astounding views. Stroll around the remains of Conflans, a medieval town, taking special note of the 12th century ‘Saracen’ tower and castle of Manuel de Locatel. Alternatively, soak up some art culture in the museum of art and history in Albertville or visit the old Olympic Hall to follow in the footsteps of established athletes. However you plan your day in the city, you can rest assured that it’ll be a great one.

2. Hotel Villa Westend: Merano, Italy

Looking for a hotel defined by a sweeping Mediterranean park and traditional South Tyrol food? Hotel Villa Westend is the place for you. This stately home is filled with historic stories and special touches, including a spa that’s perfectly kitted out to help you unwind your body and mind. Hotel Villa Westend is only a stone’s throw away from two spectacular ski resorts, too: Merano 2000 and Schnalstal. Go skiing, snowboarding, sledding and more while admiring the striking glaciers and slopes that South Tyrol has to offer. It’ll be a ski holiday for the ages.

Image: Kurhaus in Merano, Source: Unsplash

Merano isn’t far away either. This city may be small, but it wears a lot of hats, and is home to 18km of walking paths, a fascinating old town, a variety of museums and a gorgeous castle. View-seekers should also take the time to hop onto the Küchelberg panoramic chairlift, built in the 1950s. It’s the best and quickest way to soak up Merano’s captivating cityscape.

3. Marktgasse Hotel: Zurich, Switzerland

The Uetliberg is known as Zurich’s mountain. Neighbouring the city, this picturesque peak is the place to indulge in snow sports during your winter getaway. A lookout tower at the top grants you incredible views of the city, lake and Alps: and once snow hits the mountain, things get pretty exciting. The Uetliberg’s hiking routes are converted into sledding runs, which tourists and locals alike are welcome to whistle down at their leisure. Hop on the S10 line of the Sihltal Zürich Uetliberg Railway to get to the mountain’s base in just half an hour.

Of course, there’s plenty to do in Zurich itself, too. This Swiss hotspot is crammed with cultural sights and exciting activities that’ll add more than a touch of panache to your ski holiday… not to mention the very best comfort food. The country is known for its love of fondue, which consists of charcuterie items dipped into decadent cheese, and there are several places to partake in the gooey and much-loved custom around the city. After dairy-filled and ski-centric days, reserve yourself a room at Marktgasse Hotel for some four-star treatment in a historic setting. Built in 1291, this beautiful building has perfected the balance between traditional and contemporary vibes.

4. Antiq Palace: Ljubljana, Slovenia

Ljubljana is one of Europe’s smallest capitals… with one of the biggest hearts. There’s always something to do in this colourful locale, from exploring new and extravagant exhibitions like EXPO 2020 to wandering the cobbled streets of the city centre, passing by its trademark Town Hall and Ljubljana Castle as you go. Those with an eye for architecture will be particularly impressed by what they see. The city is filled with Baroque and Art Nouveau influences, and boasts a wealth of unique sights including a famous Dragon Bridge. Our historic hotel, Antiq Palace, casts a stunning silhouette as well: a 16th century residence that’s decked out in artistic touches from head (or, rather, facade) to foot. Once the home of several noble families, it now acts as a hub of sophisticated service and elegant accommodation for guests from around the world.

A short drive out of the city will see to the other half of your city and ski holiday. Kranjska Gora is well-known for its international ‘slalom’ competitions: a type of skiing and snowboarding which involves snaking between poles or gates. With 18 ski slopes of varying levels of difficulty, this resort can facilitate any skill level of skier… including total beginners, who will benefit from the ski schools and instructors available. Nobody misses out.

5. Hotel Waldhaus Sils: Engadin, Switzerland

Hotel Waldhaus Sils is a wonderful addition to our Collection. The family-run property intersects with Switzerland’s finest countryside, and is encompassed by lush forestry, mountains and a sparkling lake. What’s more, care has been built into every brick of this property, and between its expansive spa and attentive chefs – who work closely with local producers to bring you only the finest in seasonal Swiss wares – you’re bound to be in bliss.

As you would expect from its Sils-Maria location, the hotel is excellent for skiing, too. Head for the Corvatsch Furtschellas area to quench your thirst for adrenaline-filled winter sports: you’ll be more than satiated here. On Fridays, the resort even lights up to bring you Switzerland’s longest floodlit slope! It’s an incredible way to kick off your weekend daytripping to the town of St. Moritz. Straight out of a Christmas picture book, this bustling resort is known for its signature snow capped structures that ooze with alpine charm. It’s got an engaging history, to boot, considered as both ‘the birthplace of Alpine winter tourism’ and being a two-time host to the Winter Olympics. An ideal spot to see on your ski holiday.


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