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Verbier – Class and charm in the 4 Vallées
There is so much going on in Verbier. This snow lovers oasis, situated in Switzerland’s Canton of Valais, is alive with the spirit of the outdoors and is a marvel to experience all year round.
Starting with the obvious, Verbier is famed as a retreat for the wealthy and famous, attracting the likes of Madonna, Ed Sheeran, Bear Grylls, Richard Branson, Barack Obama, Prince William and Harry… the list goes on. This roster of heavy weight luminaries resonates with the villages obvious affluence, which emerges tastefully and reserved like only the Swiss know how. Literally on the flip side, Verbier’s challenging and varied off piste terrain attracts a dedicated free ride community year after year, an in resort culture centred around the Verbier Extreme contest, the last stop on the annual Freeride World Tour. Here the worlds best free riders take on the legendary Bec Des Rosses peak, navigating a 600 meter decent from the peak of the north face which stands 3,223 meters above sea level. Dizzying.
A high profile resort, it is no surprise the world’s best ski hotel calls Verbier home, as voted for in the World Ski Awards 2018; with such an accolade to its name we had to shout “bonvoy!” and check out the W Verbier.
With stunning valley views and the silent motion of the Médran lift transporting skiers and boarders overhead, the scene outside the W is a feast for snow loving eyes.
A 2 minute dash from the main lift station, the W is ideally placed in its own idyllic spot, away from the late night baselines that have famed Verbier as a notorious party town, while still being close to the action. The ski in set-up offers seamless transfer from the slopes to the comforts of the W, with just the “never boring” W Off-Piste apres bar to navigate.
Made up of four chalet buildings, the W fits flawlessly with the surrounding picture perfect alpine scene. This extends to the bedrooms which, although traditional in style, come fully equipped with modern tech comforts including an elegant glass fireplace, Nespresso coffee maker, Geneva® Wireless Sound System, 42-inch flat TV screen and Bose® Sound System.
With six restaurants (one of which boasts a Michelin star), extensive spa and endless glam throughout, the W offers guests a new level in alpine hospitality and one to be experienced.
Bringing together 10 of the worlds most talented chef’s, with a combined 16 Michelin stars, this years 4th annual Haute Cuisine served up four days of culinary excellence from the kitchens of the W Verbier.
With cooking classes by day and themed tasting menus by night Haute Cuisine gives guests the chance to sharpen their kitchen skills under direction of the pros, while gaining an insight into how dishes are crafted for the evening tasting menu. A unique and extraordinary event, Haute Cuisine brings together W passions of design, cocktails, fashion and music while spearheading culinary events in Europe.
Oui chef! We will be back for more, save the date for Haute Cuisine 5.0 which takes place 1st-4th April 2020.
An all year round destination, Verbier’s summer season is now centred around the new for 2019 E-bike festival. Open to all abilities, this four day festival seeks to unlock the majestic Alps by electric motor assisted mountain biking. A high energy, low carbon event that is well aligned with Verbier’s continued focus on improved sustainability, with the televerbier system 100% powered by the local Valais hydraulic plant, an amazing statistic.
Located mountain side, just outside of Verbier village, Chez Dany’s ski-in/ ski-out set up means dinner service is accessed via an epic snowcat ride. At 1,720m this stunning restaurant serves breathtaking views, a mixture of international cuisine and mountain fare, and was by far one of our best meals of the week. Highlights include the Roasted Camembert with leek nest, Gratin and parsley snails bourguignonne and a variety of meats including Kangaroo and Doe cooked by hot stone. For thrill seekers, down your aqua vitae (local digestif), strap on your head light and race back down to the village by toboggan!
Think Soho House meets Great Gatsby with a twist of mountain village charm and you won’t be far off the warm, classy feel of the Experimental Chalet. This alpine retreat, complete with bistro, spa, cocktail bar and the legendary Farm Club, opened its doors in December 2018 and is part of the expanding Experimental Group who have properties in London, Ibiza, Paris and New York.
Gregory Marchand, one of Paris’ most sought-after chefs, heads up the Chalet Restaurant refining mountain favourite dishes like rösti, spaetzle, aligot and tartiflette. The selection of freshly prepared line caught fish from the surrounding crystal clear lakes proved a welcomed treat after reaching our weekly cheese quota.
Verbier’s reputation as an elite and exclusive ski resort should be taken in equal measure with its unostentatious vibe, where the focus is the mountain at hand and partying… hard. The W Verbier’s accolade as the worlds best ski hotel is well deserved, with the combination of cutting edge facilities and a fantastic team delivering an energy-infused stay to be remembered. A bucket list resort for many, Verbier continues to reinvent itself, heightening its appeal amongst A lister and free ride hedonists alike.
Verbier Fact Box
Lift passes: A six-day adult lift pass for Verbier Valley is priced from 357 CHF/ £269; a six-day adult lift pass for 4 Vallees is priced from 373 CHF / £282.
A full price list for lift passes can be found at www.verbier.ch
Flights: Flights can be booked with Easyjet www.easyjet.com
Direct return flights, from Stansted, Gatwick, Manchester, Bristol, Edinburgh and other regional airports to Geneva (GVA) cost from £47.00
Transfers by train: The Swiss Transfer Ticket covers a round-trip between the airport/Swiss border and destination. Prices are £112 in second class and £182 in first class.
Equipment rental: Located next door to the W Hotel, Mountain Air will take care of all your equipment rentals. www.mountainairverbier.com
A huge thank you to Swiss Tourism, The W Hotel & Residences, Chez Dany, The Experimental Chalet and Verbier promotions for hosting us during our stay. All opinions are our own.
Written by A N O T H E R D I S H L O N D O N
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