Monday, 8 March 2010
Hidden Dragon Review for Snow Magazine
Chris Sayer discovers luxury of a very different kind in one of Switzerland’s exclusive resorts.
Luxury can be measured in many ways on a skiing holiday: the luxury of ski-in ski-out; of fine dining; or even of a private cinema. All of these are available at Veysonnaz brand new idyllic retreat but what’s more, not many chalets can offer the luxury of returning home healthier, re-energised, and entirely relaxed.
Hidden Dragon is a privately-owned sophisticated and elegant hideaway alpine lodge, with Eastern touches and Feng-Shui principles through-out. Owner Ashlee Benis’ Japanese heritage has played a huge part in her architectural design, but even so the emphasis remains on comfort, tranquillity and select furnishings. You’ll sink into each bed and sofa and love the air of exclusivity in the Gentleman’s boot-room, decked out with a leather Union Jack ottoman and pop-art cow prints.
The lodge’s private chef, Jon, is enchantingly passionate about his food and the range of local sources he uses. Following the healthy ethos of the lodge, Chef can offer a variety of dishes that won’t undo all the exercise you’ve done on the mountain and that use the finest ingredients from the surrounding community. The homemade frozen banana yoghurt in the morning is a welcome energy boost for aching muscles.
But if that doesn’t help you loosen up, then spa manager Carol will. A tailor-made treatment can be produced for you, from deep tissue massages to the more relaxing therapies: enough to make the toughest of clients weep or sleep, respectively. The spa also provides a hot-tub as well as an indoor and outdoor Yoga deck. The Hamam, a Turkish wet steam bath, is an effective way to cleanse the body and alleviate any lactic acid to make sure the next day’s skiing is as good as possible.
And the skiing is certainly as good as it gets. Veysonnaz is in the heart of the 400km 4 Valleys domain which links with Nendaz, Verbier and Thyon, but remains a quaint and quiet resort with only 4000 beds: a fraction of the size of Verbier, but equally beautiful slopes. The ski to Nendaz and back is an ideal goal for a day with a variety of skiing surroundings and many places to grab a quick weissbier or lunch.
On return, the staff are waiting in your own private outdoor ice-bar, complete with log fire for toasting marshmallows and a ‘snow-fa’ (a sofa carved into the snow with thick blankets draped over the top) to kick back and enjoy a drink or two. With Hidden Dragon’s mantra of “surprise and delight”, little unexpected details like this continue through your stay, so many of which I can’t bring myself to discuss for fear of spoiling the surprise for you.
This is a luxury that can’t be found in expensive shops, designer labels or costly commodities. Hidden Dragon is more concerned with the luxury of you returning home feeling unexpectedly brilliant. In fact, it’s the luxury of having your expectations exceeded at every opportunity. I know mine were.
This isn’t just a five-star holiday. It’s a five-star experience.
Prices for a week at Hidden Dragon start at approximately £24,000 and sleeps 12 people. For more information, visit www.hidden-dragon.com.