If you've stepped outside lately, then you've likely discovered an indisputable fact: winter has landed. While many (maybe even you) are busying themselves dreaming of summer's sunny days, I think it's only fair we give this season a go. Here, the 8 mountain lodges, alpine ski chalets, and historic hotels pulling us through.
Resort at Squaw Creek, Olympic Valley, California
With dramatic views of the Sierra Nevada range, heated outdoor hot tubs, and ski-in/ski-out access to Squaw Valley – the host of the 1960 Winter Olympics – this resort does winter revelers right. Whether you plan on parking your butt in front of your suite’s private fireplace; drinking in the snowy sights and sounds from floor-to-ceiling picture windows (toasty spiked beverage in hand); hitting the inspired Sierra mountain slopes; or catching your reflection in nearby Lake Tahoe’s never-ending alpine waters, the spot won't disappoint.
Topnotch Resort, Stowe, Vermont
As the reigning “ski capital of the East,” Stowe’s resorts have pretty big shoes to fill. Near Mount Mansfield, Vermont’s highest peak, on 120 wooded-acres lies the intimate Topnotch Resort – the village’s answer to luxury ski lodging. The hotel’s mountain contemporary design maintains New England’s aesthetic roots without going too rustic, as well-appointed rooms and common spaces rely on stacked stone walls and dark furnishings. As a true testament to Stowe’s worthwhileness – neighboring New Hampshirites, Bostonians, and even New Yorkers make the trek up north to hit the mountain’s packed powder and bliss out at the resort’s gargantuan spa (fireside massage, anyone?).
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Amangani, Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Jackson Hole has 2,471 acres of premier skiing, boarding, snowshoeing, and insert-your-fave-winter-sport-here terrain. Making the most of the Rocky Mountain locale is Amangani, a minimalist, all-suite resort that’s hugged to the north by Grand Teton National Park, and right beyond that, Yellowstone. The Wyoming retreat is done up in refined wood, leather, and stone, offset by cowhide chairs, enormous picture windows that let the outside in, and mountain-view deep-soaking tubs, all of which embrace its Western origins.
Nita Lake Lodge, Whistler, B.C.
If serene and sophisticated outweigh sceney and raucous on your list of Whistler getaway wishes, then Nita Lake Lodge should be a good fit. Right on the edge of a piercing glacier-fed lake, the retreat’s spacious open concept suites are airy and flooded with natural light, putting to work soaring exposed beam ceilings and picture windows. Time indoors is best spent in the comfort of your double soaking tub, while outdoors the resort’s jacuzzis bubble away in view of the mountain slopes. PS: Remind yourself of all the money you’re saving taking advantage of complimentary snowshoe rental and shuttle service to Whistler Village as you go for a splurge-worthy Himalayan salt scrub or mud wrap at the spa.
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BlueSky Breckenridge, Breckenridge, Colorado
We’re sure we’re not the first to tell you – but Breckenridge is a mecca for all things world-class winter. Despite its well-known status, Breck has remained a small town relic of the West’s gold mining days, and it's a great, laid-back alternative to the see-and-be-seen slopes and high-priced shops of Telluride and Aspen. Minutes from the town’s quaint Main Street, at the base of Snowflake Lift between Peaks 8 and 9, is BlueSky Breckenridge, a residence-style stay with ski-in/ski-out convenience. Cozy interiors strike a mountain contemporary balance with imposing stone fireplaces, plush leather couches, Aztec printed rugs, and rough hewn wooden accents.
Gstaad Palace, Gstaad, Switzerland
When it comes to curb appeal, the iconic Gstaad Palace takes every cake ever baked. The Swiss Alps hideaway has been an icon since it debuted in 1913, but in the 70s, a certain set of high-profile clientele (hey, Liz Taylor and Richard Burton) really upped the resort’s stock. Any stay here surrenders to the raw beauty of the surroundings, but guestrooms aren’t too shabby (think: luxe faux-fur throws, plush tufted headboards, and private saunas). From the Palace you can also cable car your way up to Wispile for skiing, snowshoeing, dog sledding, or, if you fancy, hot air ballooning and heli-skiing. So next time you’re roaming the Bernese Oberland in search of chic digs, don’t forget about it.
Blue on Water, St John’s, Newfoundland
On Canada’s Atlantic Coast, primary-colored row houses, hole in the wall pubs, and boutique shops mark the hilly port city of St. John’s. Stop by anytime from October to May (sometimes as late as June!) and you’ll find the Newfoundland town buried under a thick blanket of snow. No joke – the seasonal average accumulation is just over 10 feet. Blue on Water is the place to keep cozy as it all comes down; exposed brick walls, simple white linens, and muted pastel accents keep rooms casual and inviting.
Grand Hotel, Oslo, Norway
Couched between the Norwegian Parliament building and the Royal Palace is Oslo’s prestigious Grand Hotel. Since opening more than a century ago, the white granite, Louis XVI revival style venue has hosted every type of traveler, from locals and international visitors, to pop stars and Nobel Peace Prize laureates. Individually-decorated guestrooms and suites play with typical Scandinavian styles as well as contemporary velvet furnishings, purposefully-mismatched linens, and boldly patterned wallpapers. The hotel’s location does its decor one better – since it’s parked on the main road – Karl Johans Gate – it puts you just minutes away from a spread of the city’s best traditional Christmas markets.