How would you build the perfect ski hotel? Start with a slope-side location at a notable mountain, add a world-class spa, and decorate the hotel with native stone and Navajo carpets. Factor in an après-ski sushi bar and ever-smiling ski valets to help you with your boots. You’d end up with the Four Seasons Resort Jackson Hole — one of America’s best ski hotels.
Culled from Travel + Leisure’s World’s Best Hotels — named by T+L readers through our annual survey — the best ski hotels must meet some basic requirements. First, alpine skiing has to be the raison d’être for staying there, not an afterthought. And the ski mountain should be close by. Ideally, that’s “close” as in outside the front door, though a few minutes’ walk or driving a mile or so is still okay.
At the winning hotels, the ski experience begins at check-in. Cozy lobby fireplace with comfy chairs? Check. A friendly and ski-savvy staff who know every powder stash and are generous enough to divulge a favorite? Check. And dining is as important as the snow conditions — places where the wine cellar rivals those found in any big-city restaurant.
Of course, it’s even better if there are ski valets to help with all that equipment. And a ski concierge doesn’t hurt, either — after all, you want someone who can nail that impossible dinner reservation in Aspen or direct you to an après-ski bar beloved by locals.
Hotels that have a European ski tradition at their core tend to rank high in our listings, places like the Sonnenalp Resort of Vail, which has European ownership along with carved wood and antiques. Or the Stein Eriksen Lodge in Deer Valley, which borrows smartly from the Norwegian design of Olympic skier Stein Eriksen’s homeland.
And the best ski hotels are true getaways, where a day on the slopes is easily paired with an afternoon of spa relaxation, like the Whiteface Lodge in Lake Placid or Topnotch at Stowe.
Whether these resorts are in Alaska or New Hampshire, Colorado or the Canadian Rockies, they celebrate the sport of skiing and are in their prime during the winter season.