Looking for an affordable ski resort? Read our guide on the eight best ski hotels for foodies, ideal for cheap ski holidays. Everything from trendy hotels in Val Thorens to modern hostels in Lake Tahoe, California. Expect outdoor swimming pools with panoramic views of the slopes, lounges with open log fires and Scandinavian style spas with steam rooms. If you want more even more foodie ski resorts, check out our guide here.
Terminal Neige Totem, France
As well as some of the resort’s best ski food, Hotel Terminal Neige Totem has the best position in calm, car-free Flaine. Part of this purpose-built resort – famously designed in ‘brutalist’ Bauhaus style by architect Marcel Breuer in the late 1960s – its picture windows frame wide-angle views of Flaine’s northwest-facing slopes. Slopes that are so close it truly is ski-in, ski-out.
Owned by France’s upmarket Sibuet hotels group, this was the first venture in a new, more affordable spin-off hotel brand called Terminal Neige (a second property has recently opened above Chamonix) – and is a return to form for Flaine, where the vision for Wallpaper-style interiors to bring out the best of Breuer’s bold concrete buildings (actually a beautifully graphic reflection of the limestone-lined bowl in which the resort sits) went dramatically off-piste in the 1980s and ‘90s as mass-market operators moved in.
The hotel is bookable on a b&b basis by the night as well as by the week, half-board (being under 90 minutes’ drive from Geneva airport also helps make it easily weekend-able). In an effort to keep prices down, there are few frills: no minibars, no fluffy bathrobes but decent bathrooms, plenty of storage space for bulky ski gear and great beds.
On the ground floor is a bar and lounge area (complete with original Breuer fireplace) that caters to the cocktails, craft beer and charcuterie crowd rather than the fine dining set. The restaurant food reflects the same philosophy, pairing carefully sourced ingredients with playful touches to suit for hungry skiers, couples and families alike. Hang out by the fire with a glass of wine from the owners’ Luberon vineyard, the Domaine de Marie, or a jam jar cocktail (we recommend the Ruby, made with gin, lime juice, raspberry liqueur and cranberry juice). Then take a seat in the restaurant for plates of charcuterie, slices of beef served with a nutmeg-spiked root vegetable gratin or pan-fried seabass with a rich ratatouille and green beans. Home-cooked pizzas, quiches and chips are usually on offer, too, as is fondue.
Doubles from €190, b&b; terminal-neige.com
The Green Leaf Niseko Village, Japan
A far flung winter option, Niseko Village, which huddles on the slopes of the soaring Mount Niseko on Hokkaido, in North Eastern Japan, is one of Asia’s most acclaimed winter playgrounds. At its heart is this traditional-style village, now also a focal point for an array of hotels, shops and restaurants.
Among the latter you can sample various strands of Japanese food including traditional kaizuko-yaki steamed crab. Stay at the resort’s ski-in, ski-out Green Leaf hotel and enjoy its Alpine/Japanese décor and the soothing waters of its own onsen, a time-honoured Japanese tradition for après ski winding down.
Credit: YTL Hotels
Doubles from £150 per night b&b; niseko-village.com
Rooms Hotel Kazbegi, Georgia
Anyone who has visited Georgia will attest that sampling the local cuisine is one of the highlights of this trending destination at the crossroads of Europe and Asia. At Rooms Hotel Kazbegi, high in the Caucasus Mountains, you can sample traditional Georgian food after hitting the slopes of the country’s most popular ski resorts. Housed in the remnants of a guesthouse formerly reserved for government officials, the style across the hotel’s 156 guestrooms is old-meets-new and most have panoramic views of the snow-shrouded peaks of Mount Kazbek.
Georgian cooks are fanatical about local produce and, as well as showcasing ingredients plucked from the surrounding mountains, river and pastures, chefs here also give impromptu workshops and cookery classes at communal tables. Don’t miss the chance to sample dumplings (khinkali), the ratatouille-like ajapsandali and a glass of local Qvervi wine.
Credit: Design Hotels
Doubles from €72 per night b&b; designhotels.com
Milk Hotel, France
Milkhotel is one of a new breed of more affordable hotels popping up all over the Alps, where the ambience and gourmet offering are every bit as important as the white stuff outside. Set in the quiet village of Les Carroz, in France’s Grand Massif, there is an intimate, chalet-style atmosphere and pared-back Alpine aesthetic here.
Don’t check in if you’re looking for a thrumming après-ski scene but do come for relaxing afternoons spent on the hotel’s sunny terrace watching the sun’s rays fade. Come nightfall there are simple Haute Savoie classics on offer at the restaurant; well executed renditions of tartiflette, raclette and fondue.
Doubles from €122 per person per night half-board; milkhotel.fr
The Chandolin Boutique Hotel, Switzerland
You won’t find too many other tourists in Chandolin, a tiny, under-the-radar village in the Swiss Alps. Set at an altitude of over 2,000m it is one of Europe’s highest year-round inhabited villages, so the views from the hotel are pretty special. Surveying a pine and larch dotted valley in the Valais canton, this winter will see the first ski season unfold since the 25-room The Chandolin swung open its doors earlier this year.
Credit: Design Hotels
The hotel’s design takes its cues from the natural surroundings, albeit with a modern mix – exposed larch and pine on the outside with natural materials like stone and aged oak parquet and warm tones on the inside. The St. Luc Chandolin and Val d’Anniviers ski areas are right on the hotel’s doorstop. Breakfast is an impressive spread of local produce, cured meats, cheese and dairy products, while at night, Le Restaurant serves Swiss classics and Val d’Hérens beef accompanied by a serious wine list of over 400 wines.
Credit: Design Hotels
Doubles from €150 per night b&b; designhotels.com
Basecamp Tahoe South, Lake Tahoe
After a day on the slopes around Lake Tahoe you can return to Basecamp and join in that quintessential American campfire tradition – roasting s’mores around one of its two outdoor fire pits. This is a mountain basecamp reimagined for a more comfort-conscious traveller. The vibe is young and adventurous, somewhere between a stylish hostel and a hotel. Its 76 rooms are done out with a nod to the Great Outdoors with reclaimed wood, plaid blankets and bright orange kerosene lamps.
Credit: Eva Kolenko
The restaurant, meanwhile, serves global mountain fare, which runs the whole gamut from Lake Tahoe chilli to Swiss fondue. Beer fans are in for a treat as the hotel’s Beer Garden has just unveiled its own Desolation Brewery and the hotel also conducts a Lake Tahoe Brewery Tour. Lake Tahoe is one of California’s great gateways to the wilderness and the Heavenly Ski Resort gondola is only four minutes’ walk from the hotel.
Credit: Eva Kolenko
Doubles from $99 per night b&b; basecamptahoesouth.com
Rocky Pop, France
Rocky Pop is a fun and affordable hotel in the Mont Blanc valley, with an emphasis on attracting the lower-budget traveller – think vibrant lamps, exposed wooden tables and video game machines. There’s an open-plan area on the ground floor where you’ll find live music, movies and a photo booth to snap some post ski shots on, too.
When it’s time for après ski, grab a bite to eat from one of the food court-style counters serving up gourmet burgers, pizzas topped with rocket, ceps and Parmesan and traditional French mountain cuisine such as tartiflette and beef with pommes Lyonnaises. If you’re going off-piste, make a beeline for the bar and order a pisco sour or a post dinner espresso martini.
Doubles from €90 per night b&b; rockypopchamonix.com
Fahrenheit Seven, France
If you’re looking for an affordable yet stylish hotel to lounge in post-ski, then Fahrenheit Seven is a good option for anyone looking for a hip ‘home from home’. The brand operates in two locations in France, Courchevel and Val Thorens; the latter has been nominated as the world’s best new ski hotel thanks to its modern design and cosy feel. Inside you’ll find most guests are comfortably accommodated, whether you’re skiing alone, as a couple or as a family of four: try to bag the top-floor suite for the most idyllic views over Val Thorens.
Away from the slopes, take some time out to relax with a hot chocolate by the hotel’s open fire, or visit the Scandinavian-style spa to soothe tired muscles in its saunas and hammam. Spend the evenings, meanwhile, indulging in fondues and listening to jazz. There’s a choice of two restaurants – lively Le Zinc offers local specialties such as tartare de Boeuf and frites, whereas La Rôtisserie serves classic roast meats, fish and a dedicated children’s menu.
Doubles from €100 per night b&b; fahrenheitseven-valthorens.com
Words | Aoife O’Riordain, Rhiannon Batten & Ellie Edwards
Images | YTL Hotels, Design Hotels, Eva Kolenko