Having sore muscles massaged after skiing; inhaling essential oils while overlooking the mountains; meditating and stretching during a yoga session; following tailored advice from a sports coach; relaxing with friends in a hot tub under the stars... holidays in the snow aren’t just about skiing. They’re also about refreshing the mind and taking care of your body. Spas in Alpine resorts are multiplying all the time – and we’ve rounded up some of the best places to feel good at the foot of the slopes.
Frequented by celebrities from all over the world, Megève spas regularly make the magazines with their sumptuous décor of driftwood, stone and fur – and their unique treatments. Pure Altitude is a range of natural products made with wild mountain flowers, and used in the luxurious massage cabins of the five-star Les Fermes de Marie hotel, and in the hammams of the five-star L’Alpaga facing Mont Blanc. Having opened its ‘Palais’ last winter – a vast bubble (30,000m2) of wellness suites, punctuated with huge indoor and outdoor pools, massage alcoves, saunas and fitness equipment – this Savoyard resort, with its charming dolls’-house-like chalets, is about to launch the Alps’ first Four Seasons, whose spa is one of the most beautiful in Europe. We can’t wait to see it!
One of Brides-les-Bains’ best assets is its ‘Grand Spa Thermal’, a temple of wellbeing fed by thermal waters, known since ancient times for their circulatory and slimming benefits. Soon to be refurbished from top to bottom and enlarged by 600m2, the centre offers a whole range of Sothys massages including Ayurvedic, lomi lomi, tui na and lymphatic drainage. The resort of Brides is health-conscious as a whole, thanks to several hoteliers who have created low-calorie/vegetarian/gluten-free gourmet menus for summer and winter, and the Tourist Office which organised the “Eskilibre and Goumandise” festival in January 2018, a thematic week aimed at relaxation and losing those extra pounds. The programme included rituals of care, coaching, stretching, yoga and light cookery classes.
With 21 five-star hotels and three palaces, the Alps’ most exclusive resort is known worldwide for its extraordinary spas hallmarked by leading brands – think Guerlain at the Cheval Blanc spa, and Clarins at Lana. In its own spa, the Barrière Les Neiges hotel offers a range of treatments using caviar, supposedly offering powerful firming qualities. And the spa of five-star L’Apogée has developed amazing treaments with La Prairie, including white truffle to regenerate the scalp. Last season, the resort launched Aquamotion, a splendid 15,000 square metres of swimming pools, ice fountains, saunas, hammams and a salt cave to clear the airways. More recently, the spa of hotel La Sivolière has released Nuriss, an innovative anti-wrinkle treatment that promises a new face!
The sportiest of ski resorts in Les Trois Vallées deserves well-being areas that match its sporting ambitions. Try one of the Cinq Mondes treatments at the five-star Koh-I Nor hotel, which claim to increase muscle tone tenfold – or those at the five-star Altapura hotel, whose extracts of horsetail and edelweiss are supposed to eliminate toxins while you relax. At the resort’s sports centre, top therapists offer massages using Gil Amsallem essential oils, famous for their health benefits. The Spa by L’Occitane of the five-star hotel Le Pashmina goes even further. He now puts at your disposal a sports coach who will prepare your body for the effort with vitamin-enriched breakfast strokes, stretching exercises, yoga exercises and meditation.
The flagship resort of the Southern Alps has created its own collection of experiences for its loyal well-being fans. Take the Pure Altitude Spa at the four-star Hotel Le Grand Aigle, for instance, which secretes its magnificent cabins and scented pools in a curious setting of underground caves. The Ahimsa Spa Mountain Hotel Alliey is famous for its beautiful wood interiors and for its Décléor and Cinq Mondes treatments; and Village Club Med for its use of products by Payot. As for the Tiphaine Richard-Cochet spa, it’s developed a series of sports rituals, originating in India, to relieve tension in the body. After skiing, the whole resort rushes to the Bain Nordique to meet friends for drinks in a vast, scented hot tub – while at the Grand Bains du Monêtier, mineral-rich spring water rich gushes forth at 44°C. Serre Chevalier is the place to indulge in that contrast between hot and cold.