If you like a combination of world-class pistes and luxury living when you go skiing, book a stay at the Chalet Chopine in Meribel. The resort has slopes suitable for all abilities and fantastic aprs-ski. Chalet Chopine itself excels in providing everything you need to relax in comfort after a day on the slopes.
How they rate it
The chalet "has a spectacular situation in the very exclusive Dou du Pont quarter", just above the main base station area, says Felix Milns in The Daily Telegraph.
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There are "glorious valley views" and, while it's not strictly speaking 'ski-in, ski-out', there is an off-piste route, or a one-minute drive to the slopes. The chalet was renovated in 2008 and now offers a ground-floor spa with steam room, sauna and a hot tub. But the best thing about it is that you get "five-star hotel service in a private chalet setting". There are four full-time members of staff on hand, including a chef.
The rooms are "beautifully designed", but not as spacious as some other top-ranking chalets.
The chalet sleeps ten people and costs from £8,500 to £29,500 per week on a chalet-board basis. For more, visit www.consensioholidays.co.uk, or call 020-3393 0833.
Big groups looking for a base in Meribel should consider Chalet Isba, which is one of the resort's largest chalets. It boasts an excellent location close to the centre of the resort, so it's ideal for those who want to take full advantage of Meribel's impressive aprs-ski scene. The pistes are a five-minute walk away.
How they rate it
Chalet Isba "is one of the town's most popular options for groups who want to ski and play, but not pay a fortune", says Deborah Ross in The Times. "The picture-pretty, wooden, three-storey chalet" is set on a hillside and offers excellent views that you can enjoy while soaking in the hot-tub on the terrace. It "even comes with a cinema set-up for slouchy film evenings" and a games room with a pool table. There is a large, open fire to defrost in front of when you come in from the snow. Three members of staff are on hand during your stay: a host/hostess, resort manager and driver.
The size of the chalet means there are ten bedrooms, all with en-suite facilities, but none of the rooms themselves are especially spacious.
A week costs from £529 per person, including flights, transfers and full-board accommodation.
To find out more, visit www.oxfordski.com, or call 01865-398130.
What the travel writers are saying
If you want to do more than just relax on your holiday, try one of these weekend courses, suggested by Lonely Planet.
The Elmayer Dance School in Vienna has been teaching students to waltz since 1919. It offers private tuition for singles or couples in any of the standard or Latin American ballroom dances. "If you're hoping to attend a Viennese ball, the Opera Ball is the big one, it's the waltz you'll want to practice." Classes cost from £50 (www.elmayer.at).
If you'd like to spend your weekend living like Ray Mears, head to the Welsh coast. The Coast Hunter course "will bring out any latent hunter-gatherer genes" by teaching you how to identify edible plants and to spear fish. "The emphasis is squarely on having fun, rather than hard-core endurance, but you will be camping out." The course costs £125 (www.coastalsurvival.com).
Learn how to take the perfect shot on a photography course in County Kerry. "Ireland is blessed with more shutter-friendly landscapes than it knows what to do with" and the folks at Frui will teach you all the fundamentals for taking photos, as well as how to edit them on your computer. Prices start at £299 (www.frui.co.uk).
Learn the secrets of making chocolate at Zaabar in Brussels. A chocolatier will guide you through the initial process, "before you are let loose to customise your creations with dustings and spices ready to take home". There is a workshop every Saturday and it costs from £18 (www.zaabar.be).
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