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Help with ski holiday in Europe

Help with ski holiday in Europe

Old Aug 26, 20, 5:19 am
  #1  
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Help with ski holiday in Europe

I would like to tap into the collective wisdom of this forum to help me pick a location and hotel for a ski holiday in Europe in February 2021.



We have been going mostly to Lech the last few years (Almhof Schneider / Aurelio), and were very happy there. However, hotels there insist on their restrictive cancellation policies – cancel at least 60 or 90 days in advance, else pay in full. Also, they have added some clauses to make it very clear that they expect payment in full also in case of closure of ski lifts and border closures. Given the remaining Covid uncertainty, this is not a risk we are comfortable with. By the way, other people don’t seem to mind – the booking situation seems to be good, with many places already booked out.



These are our requirements:

1) Luxury hotel, preferably smaller/boutique style. Suitable for families (e.g., 2-Bedroom suites / connecting rooms available)

2) Reachable by car from central Europe, i.e., Swiss/Austrian/French/Italian Alps

3) Preferably ski-in/ski-out location, or very close to lifts

4) Large ski area suitable both for beginners and advanced skiers

5) Not 6,000 EUR per night for a suite (which unfortunately seems to rule out Courchevel, which would otherwise fulfil the requirements)


Grateful for any pointers!
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Old Aug 26, 20, 5:35 am
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Hello Kamel

Yes, it is not easy with the ski resorts' cancellation conditions for this winter - Lech in particular is already very well booked because people did not have summer holidays - mostly guests from Austria or neighboring countries. With some hotels we have our own cancellation conditions or we can customize the cancellation conditions with the hotels (depending on the date).
For the American market, we recommend the Kempinski St. Moritz this winter because we have set the cancellation policy here to usually 7 days before arrival. We also combine that with a 4th night free promotion and free ski pass. The hotel is great and is right next to the ski lift. If you are interested, please visit our website we will be happy to help you XXXXXXXXXXXXX. Greets from Switzerland!

Last edited by obscure2k; Aug 28, 20 at 1:46 pm Reason: Removed advertising for OPs website
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Old Aug 26, 20, 6:23 am
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I suppose a first consideration is whether you would possibly be permitted to enter whatever country in Europe you plan to visit. You don't state your country of residence/origin.
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Old Aug 26, 20, 7:17 am
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Originally Posted by Privateupgrades View Post
Hello Kamel

For the American market, we recommend the Kempinski St. Moritz this winter because we have set the cancellation policy here to usually 7 days before arrival. We also combine that with a 4th night free promotion and free ski pass. The hotel is great and is right next to the ski lift. If you are interested, please visit our website or send an email to [email protected] - we will be happy to help you. Greets from Switzerland!
Thanks - will look into it. Spent a week in St. Moritz 3 years ago at Suvretta House. Not so thrilled with the hotel, but great ski area.

Originally Posted by LondonElite View Post
I suppose a first consideration is whether you would possibly be permitted to enter whatever country in Europe you plan to visit. You don't state your country of residence/origin.
EU citizenship + Swiss residency, so staying in Switzerland would be safest. I don't expect renewed EU border closures at this point, but who knows.
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Old Aug 26, 20, 7:25 am
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So you should be fine. Just stay away from Apres Ski groups.
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Old Aug 27, 20, 1:59 am
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Will be interested if there will be après-ski at all. At the moment ski regions are looking for ways to manage queues at the lift - because here people are often out of breath and emit more aerosols - besides, it is difficult to introduce mandatory masking here. It remains exciting to see how the 2020 ski season will turn out
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Old Aug 27, 20, 11:09 pm
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I feel you. This ski season is certainly going to be a tricky one, but glad you are making an attempt to get out there and take some turns! The most difficult part is the fact things are changing daily (hourly!) in terms of cancellation policies. It's hard to stay on top of it all, unfortunately.

It sounds like your main obstacles are flexible cancellation policies, location (preferably Switzerland due to your Swiss residency), and cost. I wouldn't necessarily rule out Courchevel due to cost, if it's checking all of your other boxes. That is, as long as you are ok being in France? If so, I would suggest considering properties like La Sivoliere, Le Lana, or even K2 Altitude... Maybe Six Senses too. If you are used to paying Almhof Schneider and Aurelio rates, we can probably find you something at Courchevel in that same price range.

The other thing to consider is if Lech has been great for you the last few years, have you considered trying another property that might have a more flexible cancellation policy? Perhaps Kristiania Lech...
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Old Aug 28, 20, 10:57 pm
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We have done a couple of family trips to Hotel Post Lermoos, and I can highly recommend it as it seems to tick all your boxes. It's in the resort of Lermoos, which is part of the large interconnected Zugspitzarena ski region. Nearest lift to the hotel is approx 100m.

The hotel itself is a full board arrangement, with 7 course dinners, enormous suite rooms, and outstanding views of the Zugspitz massif. The pool and spa area is also exceptional.

https://www.post-lermoos.at/en/

The village is on the direct train line from Munich, so you can actually get a train from Munich all the way into the resort (about 2 hours from memory) and the hotel collects you from the station, so you don't need a car.
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Old Nov 3, 20, 9:26 am
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Andermatt (the Chedi) - Superb hard product, walk from the lifts, and F&B on the Slopes vastly improved. Con: Limited ski area for beginners

Zermatt - arguable best ski for different opportunity levels. Would look into Cervo, Omnia or Mont Cervin.

Gstaad - best from a luxury and F&B perspective. Alpina Gstaad, Park Hotel Gstaad. Although not the best skiing / season dependant.

Last edited by yhm85; Nov 3, 20 at 9:31 am Reason: typo
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Old Nov 3, 20, 1:21 pm
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Thanks everyone. For the moment, I have booked Burg Vital in Lech. Fully ski-in, ski-out, next to the children's snowgarden, so pretty ideal in terms of location.

However, I am having second thoughts given their cancellation policy: 60 days in advance, and they insist on full payment as long as they are allowed to stay open even if ski lifts are closed. For the moment, Swiss ski areas remain open, while surrounding countries have closed theirs (including Austria). That is in contradiction to prior government statements. It thus looks like a very difficult ski season, with potentially multiple lockdowns, and it is impossible to predict what the situation in February will be like.

So most likely I will cancel and just do day trips, or rebook somewhere with a more flexible policy. I can somewhat understand it from a hotel perspective - they want/need the guaranteed cash flow, but I cannot see myself stay in a ski town with lifts and restaurants closed.
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Old Nov 3, 20, 2:16 pm
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I would simply wait. If you are looking at travel in February, put it all in a folder and look at it between 21-30 days out. At that point you can make a more considered judgment. While things can always change overnight, they are at least more predictable. Once January rolls around, consider whether it is Lech or somewhere else or nothing at all.
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Old Nov 3, 20, 3:33 pm
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Originally Posted by kamel123 View Post
Thanks everyone. For the moment, I have booked Burg Vital in Lech. Fully ski-in, ski-out, next to the children's snowgarden, so pretty ideal in terms of location.

However, I am having second thoughts given their cancellation policy: 60 days in advance, and they insist on full payment as long as they are allowed to stay open even if ski lifts are closed. For the moment, Swiss ski areas remain open, while surrounding countries have closed theirs (including Austria). That is in contradiction to prior government statements. It thus looks like a very difficult ski season, with potentially multiple lockdowns, and it is impossible to predict what the situation in February will be like.

So most likely I will cancel and just do day trips, or rebook somewhere with a more flexible policy. I can somewhat understand it from a hotel perspective - they want/need the guaranteed cash flow, but I cannot see myself stay in a ski town with lifts and restaurants closed.
As a data point...

I spoke with the family who own and run a small luxury hotel in Austria (not far from Kitzbuehel) where we have been skiing for the last four or five years, that they do not expect anything close to a normal ski season. They don’t know if they will be able to open or not, whether they will be able to offer the gourmet F&B programme, whether lifts would be open, etc. With so much uncertainty, they have not been able to give certainty to the many seasonal staff they hire. As a consequence, the whole thing bites itself in the tail because nobody can commit to anything, including whether the usual visitors even want to or can come. He told me that it is unlikely they’ll ultimately be open, so thank you for the loyalty, but we’d prefer to see you back under normal circumstances. I won’t be booking anything for February.
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Old Nov 3, 20, 5:15 pm
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Thanks, that's a helpful datapoint. Looks indeed like I should cancel for the moment, and reconsider in January.

The only thing I still cannot understand is why hotels do not offer more flexible cancellation terms - it must be clear that their insistence on their usual terms actively drives bookings away.
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Old Nov 3, 20, 5:23 pm
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Originally Posted by kamel123 View Post
Thanks, that's a helpful datapoint. Looks indeed like I should cancel for the moment, and reconsider in January.

The only thing I still cannot understand is why hotels do not offer more flexible cancellation terms - it must be clear that their insistence on their usual terms actively drives bookings away.
Because in order to open in a few months’ time, they have to make commitments to (seasonal) staff and suppliers today. Most of these places are family owned/run and don’t have a big cushion to fall back on.
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Old Nov 3, 20, 9:24 pm
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Originally Posted by kamel123 View Post
Thanks, that's a helpful datapoint. Looks indeed like I should cancel for the moment, and reconsider in January.

The only thing I still cannot understand is why hotels do not offer more flexible cancellation terms - it must be clear that their insistence on their usual terms actively drives bookings away.
This is going to be a very different ski season for sure! January sounds like a better time to reassess and book with more confidence. It's interesting to compare the European luxury ski market to the United States luxury ski market this year, because most of the US ski accommodations (hotels, condos, townhomes, private homes) are offering pretty flexible policies in order to give travelers the peace of mind they are looking for. This encourages booking! In most cases, the people who book genuinely do want to travel, unless they are not able to due to restrictions or health or otherwise. I know the US policies aren't relevant to you for this season, but it's just an observation.

Here's a wild idea. If you're not able to take a big ski trip this winter, and things look more stable with COVID come summer 2021, how about a summer ski trip to South America??
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