Winter Ski Spotlight 2011/12

With snow falling in London and all over the UK, Scotland could well be a contender as one of the top Christmas and New Year holiday spots this year.

Shared ownership at ski resorts is growing, with the US leading the way although there are more and more swish ski developments in France, Italy, Switzerland and Canada which offer vacation ownership or fractional shares.

GoTimeshare spotlights five of the most luxurious ski getaways for the new snow season:

The Sebastian, Vail, Colorado – Timbers Resorts

Why go? It opened just in time for last Christmas and already this 100-room boutique hotel with 38 private residence units is a firm favourite. It’s part of the Timbers Resorts portfolio, a company with a reputation for exclusive properties set in spectacular scenery and its global portfolio reads like a dream holiday wish list.

Where? Timbers have properties in Snowmass and Steamboat Springs in Colorado; Cabo San Lucas, Mexico; St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands; Scottsdale, Arizona; the Napa Valley and San Diego, California; Tuscany, Italy and Doonberg, Co. Clare, Ireland.

Private residence club owners can use the boutique hotel facilities and concierge service at The Sebastian, which include the Bloom spa, Frost Bar, The Library, Market (an artisan deli) and Block 16 for farm-to-table cuisine.

Membership: Four-week membership starts at around $310,000; Founder’s Club, eight-weeks from $580,000. Both include membership to the entire Timbers Collection, plus various perks and privileges from travel partners, so it’s possible to trade a week “at home” for a week in Tuscany’s wine country or head to Ireland, perhaps, for a spot of golf. With a bit of Irish luck you might even spot young Irish champion Rory McIlroy out and about on the fairways.

Four Seasons Resort and Residences Vail – Vail, Colorado

Why go? Just over a year old this week, the Four Seasons Resort and Residences in Vail enjoys a privileged setting at the base of one of North America’s most fashionable ski resorts. The development boasts a 121-room resort as well as Four Season Private Residences Vail (16 whole-ownership homes) and Four Seasons Residence Club Vail (19 fractional-ownership residences).

There’s a dedicated Ski Concierge service at the base of the Vista Bahn lift with private lockers, a cosy lounge and top class ski and snowboard equipment but it’s not all about life on the slopes. There’s a full service, 11,000 sq. ft. spa, hair and nail salon, relaxation lounge, a lovely courtyard with 75-foot all-season outdoor pool, whirlpools and fireplace, and fitness centre.

The hotel restaurant, Flame, offers a full fine dining menu as well as 24-hour room service, while the cool après-ski scene takes place at the Fireside Bar & Lounge. Mini skiers will like the Four Seasons’ Kids for All Seasons programme for fun on and off the slopes. If being close to a vibrant urban environment matters, this resort is really well placed for instant access all the boutiques, restaurants and outdoor activities that Vail offers.

Membership: The 19 fractional residences at Four Seasons Residence Club Vail are sold in 1/12 deeded interests with annual usage throughout all seasons. Homeowners can choose from one-, two-, three- and four-bedroom condominiums that span 1,835 to 3,500 sq. ft. Prices range from $299,900-$528,900 for residences within a private wing of the resort.

Chalet Lune, Four Valleys, Haute Nendaz, Switzerland – The Hideaways Club

Why go? Fancy a cognac by the fireside after a fabulous day’s skiing? But don’t want to stay in a hotel? Chalet Lune, part of the Hideaways Club portfolio will make you feel like you own your very own Grand Designs mountain chalet. And it’s exclusive: Hideaways’ ratio of six members to each property is among the lowest around.

After you’ve woken up to a blue sky and hot croissants for breakfast, and padded around on the underfloor heating, you can ski in and ski out of your own front door. Apres ski? A dip in the chalet’s private hot tub. With picture postcard views and direct access to the slopes, this totally private hideaway is a mere two kilometres from Nendaz village (20 mins from Sion Airport and 105 mins drive from Geneva). The region enjoys high levels of sunshine (it’s Switzerland’s second largest ski valley) and excellent snow from December to April is almost guaranteed. Chalet Lune is the perfect ski hideaway, with five bedrooms that sleep ten, all en-suites, perfect for a family and friends escape.

Membership: The Hideaways Club owns twenty-seven properties (rising to forty-seven through its alliances with Equity Estates and Banyan Tree Private Collection). Minimum investment is £127,500 with an annual contribution of £7,000.

Locations: Switzerland, France, Portugal, Spain, Morocco, South Africa, Mauritius, Croatia, Italy, Thailand, Bali, Japan and Turkey. Its high end properties have an average value of €1.75 million.

The Little Nell Hotel & Residences, Aspen, Colorado

Why go? As luxurious as it is legendary, The Little Nell is only one of two ski-in, ski-out resorts in swish snow haven Aspen. Complete with its own rooftop pool surrounded by pine trees and mountain peaks, the multiple award-winning resort has scooped the Forbes Five-Star Hotel Award fourteen years running and is a member of the prestigious worldwide hotel collection Relais and Chateaux. One owner described it as: “On a scale of one to ten, The Residences at The Little Nell are a twenty.”

It’s about star service and mountain-inspired interior design here. Warm, woody and seriously rustic chic, the huge guest rooms have touches like barn-style doors and soothing chocolate and cream colour schemes.

The Little Nell’s wine cellar consistently wins the Wine Spectator Grand Award and food takes centre stage here, too. Montagna Restaurant specialises in Italian-inspired farm-fresh cuisine while the relaxed yet glamorous Ajax Tavern (“Ajax” is the locals’ nickname for Aspen Mountain) scores high with its French-American bistro fare.

Twenty-six homes nestled on the edge of Aspen Mountain adjacent to the Silver Queen Gondola make up The Residences and owners benefit from all the five star services at the Hotel. This Aspen retreat is hard to beat: it offers a perfectly balanced mix of privacy and facilities in a glittering Christmas card setting.

Membership: A cool $1.3 million for a one-eighth share of a three-bedroom residence (four bedroom homes are available too). Annual assessments come to approx. $30,000 and cover utilities, maintenance, liability insurance, property taxes, capital reserve fund, snow removal and on-demand airport transportation. Lucky resident pooches are pampered with cosy dog beds, grooming and gourmet biscuits all part of the impeccable service. There’s even a Puppy Jet Lag Kit “in case the altitude isn’t suiting your Airdales”.

Mountain Spirit Resort & Spa, Kimberly, British Columbia, Canada

Why go? “Phenomenally luxurious considering the price”, as one guest put it, a quarter share fractional at one of BC’s newest shared ownership ski resorts starts at just $86,000. Stylishly-furnished studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom suites, underground parking, a year-round outdoor pool, 6,000 sq ft spa area and slopeside ski lockers are all part of the tempting offer at this resort a few minutes’ drive from one of Canada’s most popular ski centres.

Ski-in, ski-out, Mountain Spirit is fully managed with a well-structured optional rental pool to boost owners’ income. The resort is only five minutes from downtown Kimberley (known as the Bavarian City of the Rockies) and fifteen from the Canadian Rockies International Airport.

Membership: Quarter share owners who buy in to the resort for $86,000 receive a deeded title to their shares and have access every fourth week throughout the year. The resort gives owners the choice to opt in to the profit-sharing rental pool programme which is well managed by Bellstar Hotels and Resorts. There’s also a concierge service, while whole ownership, for those who want more of the Mountain Spirit experience, starts at $298,900.

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