Recent Press Coverage

LUXURY CHALET OF THE WEEK: CHALET OWENS, COURCHEVEL

There you have it, Chalet Owens, yours for just €200,000 per week. With everything from party room to marble en suites, it's the perfect getaway for those wishing to splash the cash in one of Europe's most exclusive resorts.

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Just 7 hours door-to-door from home to hotel offering exquisite views, genuine hospitality, fantastic food and an idyllic spa. 

Talking with the owner Rupert Longsdon we commented that our two companies - that being Gentleman's Butler and his - hold similar values. We believe that Gentleman's Butler readers and clients in the main are looking for excellent service, old school values in a modern world. Luxury travel is just as much about the before and after as it is about the during and the Crans Ambassador embodies this.

It's about talking to people in the know who can give you genuine feedback, know the people, brands and locations and when you say that you need a particular type of food or Aunt Ethel is arriving from Hamburg and needs looking after and picking up you are met with open arms as opposed to crossed arms and a doubting face. I like to think of it as the difference between building a house with or without an architect. A good architect will not only build you a solid house but should save you money and importantly take your wishes and desires and turn them into action. Think of Oxford Ski as your luxury ski architect.

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What You Get For $50,000 Per Week in Meribel

Taking an Alpine chalet is the way to beat the ski crowds in this or any European season. Buy the thing if you can swing the freight, rent it if you don't want the bother, but either way, on or around almost any mountain in this grand chain, the idea is to put together a party of ten to twenty and have at it. The perks are quote handsome, which is to say, the best chalets come with staff - a chauffeur and chef, and cleaning staff, as well as a concierge through the booking agency, at a minimum. 

Chalet Lodge SHL lies on the Chaudanne slopes, by which we mean about a hundred feet from the slopes. It sleeps fifteen. Accompanying your rental, you'll be well handled by a chef and butler and you'll be served from the chalet's extensive wine cellar.

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BLOSSOM HILL, LE PRAZ

Blossom Hill is every inch the uber-chalet. Its impressive double-height sitting room, with full-length windows, makes the most of its Alpine setting in Le Praz. We love that the private cinema has a 10ft-wide screen, the fire-warmed Savoyard kitchen boasts a wine cellar, and the floor of the indoor/outdoor infinity pool can be raised to paddling-pool height, so it's safe for genuine water babies. You can ski right off the slopes into Blossom Hill's garden and the nearest lift is a two-minute boot shuffle away.

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CHALET MONT BLANC, MEGEVE

Back in 1914, Baroness Noemie de Rothschild was determined to get her aristocratic pals on board to pluck the medieval Savoyard village of Megeve out of obscurity. Supporting the launch of ski lifts, plush hotels and restaurants, she was instrumental in morphing the sleepy farming community into a glamorous winter playground that,by the 1950s, Jean Cocteau had nicknamed "Paris' 21st Arrondissement".

Today, the undulating pastures and wooded slopes continue to provide make-you-look-like-a-pro slopes, and the Baroness' legacy lives on, with Megeve still the preferred destination for much of the European jet set. Yet she surely couldn't have imagined a winter bolt hole on the scale of Chalet Mont Blanc, which, even in a town where property prices rival those of Paris' Left Bank, is set to be a game changer.

 

 

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With Krug in the mini-bar and a goodie bag of Guerlain in your bathroom, Cheval Blanc is as close to alpine ski heaven as a hotel can get. The ski in, ski out set-up gives easy access to 600km of superb slopes in the Trois Vallées, your boots are wamred for you in advance, and your ski instructors are often former world champions. Most thrilling is the chance to go heli-skiing, where you're picked up by chopper and whisked off to untouched off-piste slopes normally inaccessible to skiers. Although led by experienced guides, these are definitely not for amateurs so be warned.

Back at the hotel, your bathroom comes with a chromotherapy hammam (colour theray + hammam = surreal relaxation), delicious cedar-scented candles adn hand creams made for high altitudes. Interiors give a 'sens eof place', with animal skins, warm woods and cool cuckoo clocks. Bedrooms are spacious with mountain views. And when your limbs need a rest, head to the sensational Guerlain spa. This is the ultimate ski pad, with a gigantic dollop of luxury.

Yannick Alléno's two-Michelin starred restaurant, Le 1947, where the bouillon comes with gold leaf and the bread with truffles.

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GREAT FOR BIG GROUPS...

BAITA 1697
A 17th-century farmhouse in a small hamlet just outside the resort of Sestriere, Baita 1697 combines serious style with the best kind of rustic chic. There are five beamed bedrooms and a dorm room that sleeps up to six children, along with a pullout sofa in the media room - home to dozens of DVDs, games and a large TV. The rooftop hot tub is a highlight, as is the slate and cream lounge with exposed brickwork, roaring fire and statement furniture. The surrounding ski area, known as The Milky Way, is one of the best in Europe.

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LE GRAND SPLURGE

We chose group ski experts The Oxford Ski Company to arrange it all - and they got our team of seven into the small, cosy and luxurious Chalet Eden in Courchevel centre, easy walk slopes, even easier in the chalet shuttle.

So went the rest of our wonder weekend - early morning blasts on wide-open and incredibly quiet April pistes - blow out lunch and ski, ski, ski til they stopped the lifts, back to chalet for a zizz before doing it all over again - aperitifs and boozy chateau wine with dinner. Well it was a celebratory weekend after all.

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EUROPE'S BEST NEW SKI CHALETS

...in Méribel, the game-changing new kid on the block is Mont Tremblant, which blends traditional Savoyard touches - scalloped wooden eaves, vaulted ceilings and stone columns - with state-of-the-art technology, modern art and a spa that leads out to a large heated outdoor pool and hot tub.

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Courchevel 1850, FRANCE

Packed with ultra-luxury chalets, Michelin-starred restaurants and swanky clubs, Courchevel 1850 is the undisputed hotspot for glossy celebrities to ski and be seen. High rollers can splash out £50,000 a week for a chalet, feast on oysters and then pop cases of Cristal at Le Mangeoire's glamorous piano bar. If you must descend to Courchevel Moriond, keep the glamour alive at the four-star Portetta hotel, the snowy sibling of the UK's Pig hotels.

The five-star Cheval Blanc in Jardin Alpin has 36 sumptuously decorated rooms and suites. There's also a two Michelin starred restaurant, Guerlain spa, chic White Bar and a cigar lounge.

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Winter Wonderland

The choice can be bewildering in ski holiday options, with different countries, resorts, accommodation and, not least, is finding the right characteristics and demands of the ski terrain.

La Tene is in the very heart of the resort but is nevertheless ski in, ski out. It is newly renovated and upgraded to Swedish architects designs and is now a showpiece of elegance and comfort.

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IN THE WORLD OF SNOW...
...These are the Britons you need to know!

Back in 1998, one of Rupert Longsdon's pals asked him to recommend a five-star chalet with an excellent chef. The enterprising ski-mad Longsdon spotted a niche, found himself a chalet - Domaine de la Baronne in Crans-Montana - and ran it that winter. That first foray into chalet management proved to be the launch pad for Oxford Ski, a ski operator that now works with over 500 chalets and hotels spanning 28 European and North American resorts. And yes, that does still include Longsdon's favourite, Domaine de la Baronne.

 

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Winter chic finally sweeps into Italy

For heritage and understated style, San Lorenzo Mountain Lodge is hard to beat. As is the jaw-dropping beauty of its setting: a glade in a dense forest high above the Puster Valley, with uninterrupted views of the Dolomites. Pass through the vaulted hallway to soak up those views from the firelit library and wood-panelled dining room, heated by an old ceramic stove. 

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MAKING TRACKS

I've always stayed in catered chalets before, but on this occasion had a room in the fabulous five-star Hotel Le Saint Roch. Wow. Seriously - wow. Words fail me. Not a great position to be in as a writer, let me tell you.

Once you book your chalet with Oxford Ski their concierge service kicks in and you can arrange everything that you need to make your holiday perfect. Most chalets come with a resident host/hostess, chef and driver. Additional services like nannies, masseurs and private ski instructors can be arranged and they can even sort things like the ski hire people coming to you, picnics on the piste and parties.

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