8 New Hotels for Winter Enthusiasts in the U.S. and Europe
Interested in skiing? Snowshoeing? Tubing? Birding in the snow? From central Oregon to Vermont, and across the Atlantic to the Alps, a cross-section of new and reimagined hotels in the United States and Europe will offer travelers a stylish base for all kinds of cold-weather adventures. Here are eight standouts.
Aspen Meadows Resort
Aspen Meadows Resort, designed by Herbert Bayer, is emerging from a multimillion-dollar revamp.Credit…Aspen Meadows Resort
Tucked into the grounds of the Aspen Institute, this Herbert Bayer-designed hotel has been a homage to Bauhaus utilitarianism since 1950. But even functionality can get fusty. The all-suite hotel is emerging from a multimillion-dollar revamp that suffused its 98 rooms with much-needed verve while remaining faithful to the less-is-more vision. To wit: Legacy furniture like Bertoia Bird and Diamond chairs have been refurbished; Eero Saarinen’s Knoll Tulip tables have been refinished in blue lacquer; colorful cushions, cozy throw blankets and textured wood walls add warmth; hooks, benches and under-bed storage allow for gear stashing. And the location itself is enchanting: There are 40 sculpture-studded acres to explore by snowshoe (complimentary to guests), and the outdoor deck (tricked out with dining igloos during the winter)offers views of all four of Aspen’s mountains.
In Aspen, skiing may be the recreational juggernaut, but it’s just one of many wintry activities. Hiking is a year-round endeavor. You can affix stabilizers to your snow boots and trek the Hunter Creek Trail from downtown Aspen. There are 80 miles of cross-country ski and snowshoe trails that connect the communities of Aspen, Snowmass and Basalt. Daredevils can whip through frosty meadows to the Maroon Bells or over to Independence Pass via snowmobile with T Lazy 7 Ranch. Kids love the tubing areas at Elk Camp in Snowmass. Birders go gaga for nature walks through Aspen Center for Environmental Studies, a 22-acre wildlife preserve, to observe red-breasted nuthatches, black-billed magpies and other wildlife. For an adventurous evening, book a snowcat dinner at Lynn Britt Cabin or a horse-drawn sleigh ride to Pine Creek Cookhouse.
Aspen Meadows Resort; rates from around $620; view on Google Maps.
Catskill, New York
In July 2021, Nolan McHugh and Trevor Briggs, the creatives behind the homewares brand Piaule, debuted their eco-friendly “landscape hotel” set on 50 acres in upstate New York, halfway between the town of Hudson and Hunter Mountain. Twenty-four modular cabins on stilts with floor-to-ceiling windows invite guests to gorge themselves on wraparound views of the Catskill Mountains as they chill out in the treetops. Details like heated floors, waffle-weave towels and a spa-style waterfall shower underscore the luxe cabin-in-the-woodlands vibe. The restaurant and lobby are in the main building, with a downstairs spa, complete with a cedar-lined sauna, cold plunge, heated pool and yoga studio.
You’ll need a car to get to the hotel and activities. Two of New York’s top ski areas, Hunter Mountain and Windham, are nearby, as is the Shawangunk Ridge for ice climbing. Guided snowshoeing and hiking are available through Catskill Outfitters. The lively shop and restaurant-filled town of Hudson is a 20-minute drive away.
Piaule Catskill; rates from around $400; view on Google Maps.
Silverthorne, located 30 minutes from prime Colorado ski resorts, may not be top of mind when considering a mountain getaway. The arrival of a boutique hotel in this Rocky Mountain town may change that. The husband-and-wife team of Lynne and Rob Baer set out to create an affordable, eco-conscious property that had the communal energy of a hostel infused with amenities associated with fancier digs. Their design concept? Incorporating 18 upcycled shipping containers into their lodging scheme of shared hostel-style bunk rooms, micro-rooms, traditional rooms and suites with prices from $52 for a bed in the bunk room to $350 for a private suite. The property is contemporary to the core: bright white rooms with pops of vivid green echoing the surrounding nature, a stylish rooftop bar and hot tub, an on-site restaurant and happenings like open-mic nights and sound healings.
For skiers and snowboarders, Breckenridge, Copper Mountain, Keystone, Arapahoe Basin and Loveland are all about 15 miles away. Other outdoor adventures include ice fishing on the Dillon Reservoir, ice climbing, skinning or snowshoeing to moonlight dinners, and visiting local hot springs.
The Pad; rates from around $50; view on Google Maps.
Tälta Lodge Bluebird
If you associate lodging in northern Vermont with 1960s shag carpeting and musty bedspreads, you’re not alone. This perception is precisely why a timeworn motel recast as a modernist “mountain-base camp” in Stowe was roundly applauded by tourists. The 51-room property, which opened in October 2021, is functional yet cozy; think modular wall racks for skis and bikes set against white walls and minimalist Scandi-style furnishings — with throw blankets, whimsical, eco-friendly bedding and retro lighting. Amenities include an indoor pool, sauna, hot tub and boot-drying rooms, though there is no restaurant on site.
Its prime location at the foot of Mount Mansfield offers easy access to skiing (the resort is seven miles from the hotel) as well as dog-sledding, fat-biking along the Stowe Recreation Path, ice climbing, backcountry mountaineering and snowshoeing. For an evening romp, the hotel organizes a guided moonlight snowshoe tour (with headlights) through Cady Hill Forest. The reward afterward: a fondue feast.
Tälta Lodge Bluebird; rates from around $200; view on Google Maps.
With its Cascades-adjacent location and temperate climate, Bend, in central Oregon, is a Pacific Northwest paradise for nature lovers in every season. Mount Bachelor, among the Pacific Northwest’s largest ski resorts, is 30 minutes to the west of town, with 4,300 acres for snowboarding, downhill skiing and Nordic skiing.
The resort also offers free 90-minute guided snowshoe tours with a mountain ranger. Wanoga Sno-Park has groomed fat bike trails, Nordic skiing and a hill for sledding and tubing. A rock climbing hot spot during the summer, Smith Rock State Park’s towering red cliffs are also popular for winter hikes. Another spot for wildlife-filled hikes is the Oregon Badlands Wilderness Area, which is famous for its lava-molded formations and gnarled juniper trees. For a nighttime idyll, Wanderlust Tours offers a guided moonlight snowshoe experience that culminates with vodka-laced hot cocoa and sweets by a bonfire.
A mid-Covid opening date may not have been ideal. But now the locally owned Campfire Hotel, with views of the Three Sisters mountains, is reaping the rewards as the cool kids flock to the motor-lodge-style property for live music, cocktails around a 10-foot “campfire” fire pit and the year-round scene at the outdoor heated saltwater pool. The 100 affordably priced retro-veering rooms have leather-studded headboards and vintage touches like rotary phones and wallpaper crafted from old-fashioned photos. While there is no restaurant, a grab-and-go breakfast is available, and a food truck is stationed outside the hotel on afternoons from Wednesday to Sunday, serving tacos, quesadillas and Cuban sandwiches.
Campfire Hotel; rates from around $100; view on Google Maps.
Life House, Berkshires
Once you get past its punishingly poeticdescription as a “contextual hotel with a narrative designed through the lens of a unique protagonist,” Life House, which opened in August, is quite cool. The 65-room property aims to channel a 1970s-era writer’s retreat with crackling fireplaces, sofas upholstered in ikat patterns, massive Murano chandeliers and shelves laden with books and curios. Rooms also have a literary bent, with secretary-style desks, framed poetry as art and lampshades with marbled paper that evokes the backing of old books. There is a restaurant and cocktail bar, plus outdoor firepits for nightly s’mores.
When it comes to recreation, there’s everything from skiing at Jiminy Peak, Bosquet Mountain and Butternut (the latter two have tubing, too) to cross-country skiing and snowshoeing at various farms and trails overseen by the Berkshire Natural Resource Council. For a shot of culture, you can visit the Norman Rockwell Museum, take in a performance at Berkshire Theatre Group and visit a cluster of preserved homes on the Berkshire 18th Century Trail.
Life House, Berkshires; rates from around $225; view on Google Maps.
Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy
HOTEL de LËN
Hand-hewed local timber — “da len” translates to “of wood” in Ladin, the dialect of the region — is the primary material of this recently opened hotel, both as a nod to tradition and a sustainability initiative, since wood produces lower carbon emissions than mineral-based construction materials. Wood, locals believe, can also impart a sense of tranquillity; the 22 rooms are crafted with Swiss pine and fir. To further maximize well-being, filtration systems were installed to promote calm by minimizing electromagnetic pollution. There is also a rooftop spa with various saunas, a hammam, an outdoor Jacuzzi and a restaurant that serves a straightforward menu of pasta, salads and roasted meats.
Skiing the famed peaks in the Dolomites (a new cable car opened last season connecting Cortina with Cinque Torri and Mount Lagazuoi) is one way to spend your days. Other outdoor pursuits include snowshoeing, rock climbing, snowmobiling, dog-sledding and even remote moonlight dinners via snowcat. The hotel can organize all of these, and even cooking classes, through their partner, aptly named Dolomite Mountains.
HOTEL de LËN; rates from around $350; view on Google Maps.
Six Senses Crans-Montana
St. Moritz and Zermatt may be top-of-mind Swiss ski resorts, but Crans-Montana, which sits above the Rhône Valley in the French-speaking canton of Valais, serves up peak pistes and views that stretch from Mont Blanc in the west to the Matterhorn to the east. Relaxed, groomer-rich terrain and an abundance of facilities for young children, including Snow Island, a kid zone with a magic carpet lift for beginners, make the resort a magnet for families. The 300 days of sunshine add to the allure.
Beyond skiing, there is tubing and tobogganing; ice skating and curling at the Ycoor Centre; dog sledding on the Plaine-Morte glacier; snowshoe excursions to the village of Aminona; and, if you visit over the festive holidays, the Etoile Bella Lui festival of lights offers nightly entertainment and a mile-long illuminated path that winds through the trees.
When the Thai hotel chain Six Senses opens its ski-in, ski-out hotel in February, a shiny, new brand of hospitality will descend upon this pocket of Switzerland. The luxury group, known for wellness programming and a three-to-one staff-to-guest ratio, aims to “bring the outside in” through design evocative of the alpine forest. The Pierre de Vals stone-and-timber lobby, for example, echoes a grotto beneath a canopy of trees with light streaming through glass panels, as it would in nature. The 78 rooms are quietly elegant, with organic bedding, walls of rough timber and textured plasterwork, oak parquet floors and leather furniture designed by Reda Amalou. Floor-to-ceiling windows offer views of craggy, snow-kissed vistas.
The spa is the heart of the building, with a statement-making sculptural ceiling fashioned of 15,000 wooden battens, which reflect in the swimming pool. There are So Sound lounger chairs; Finnish, rock and bio salt saunas; a stretching pod; and a Biohacking Recovery Lounge with treatments involving infrared heat and vibration.
Six Senses Crans-Montana; rates from around $700; view on Google Maps.
More ideas to embrace the cold:
8 New Hotels for Winter Enthusiasts in the U.S. and Europe: New and reimagined hotels in New England, the Alps and beyond offer stylish accommodations near the snow.
The Quiet Thrill of Winter Wildlife Viewing: In Colorado’s Rockies, birds and other animals stand out against the snow, and even if you can’t see them, their tracks let you know they’re around.
At a Club Med Ski Resort, Learning to Love the Apéro: Will the company’s all-inclusive approach work in the North American market? An avid skier puts Québec’s Massif de Charlevoix to the test.
Taking Back the Mountains: Big resorts are crowded, pricey and exclusive. But some skiers and snowboarders are trying to reclaim their sports by building a culture that is more inclusive and sustainable.
Making the Slopes Fun From Day 1: When it comes to designing terrain and the learning experience, resorts have finally started thinking about beginners.
Faster Rides, Shorter Waits: New Ski Lifts Changing U.S. Slopes This Winter: A flurry of construction at major ski resorts has led to a high number of notable new chairlifts and gondolas opening this season.
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