Courchevel vs. St Anton: How to Spend the Ultimate Luxury Weekend in the Alps.

Kaluma directors Andy Butterworth and Richard Lumb have put together how they would spend their ultimate weekend in St Anton and Courchevel respectively, where money is no object.

 

In our new blog series we’ll be comparing the similarities and differences between Courchevel and St Anton, first up we have compared how Andy (lived in St Anton for 18 years) and Rich (lived in Courchevel for 11 years) would spend a luxury weekend.

 

The Basics

 

Firstly, who have you chosen to take away with you for this trip?

ANDY: I would have to take away my wife, (no kids!) for a luxury, romantic weekend away in St Anton.

RICHARD: The next person that I meet doing an act of unexpected kindness, or the last?

Where are you staying for your luxurious weekend away? 

ANDY: For me it would be between two hotels. The Antoner Hof or The Tannenhof, for romance, decadence, food and drink!

The Tannenhof has stunning food (from a locally acclaimed English chef), beautiful suites and everything is taken care of. The spa is simply beautiful.

The Antoner Hof has long been my personal favourite. The suites with open fire places have alpine feel, mixed with some contemporary twists. The food is wonderful and even the “half board” menu is like eating a la carte.

Hotel Tannenhof Suite

 

RICHARD: Chalet La Colombe in Courchevel 1850. A chalet with a modern twist, pulling off cosy and contemporary. Sophisticated and cool, yet very relaxed. With breathtaking views, a swimming pool, a steam room, a cinema, unlimited champagne and a private chef… it is the most luxurious chill and ski. If only freshly popped popcorn was available … oh there it is. Phew. 

courchevel luxury chalet

Chalet La Colombe Views

 

FOOD AND DRINK

Lunch on the slopes, where are you going to eat and what are you going to order? 

ANDY: It would have to be a choice of two. The Verwal Stube at the top of the Galzig mountain, it’s the highest Michelin rated restaurant in the alps with fresh fish delivered daily, which for a land locked country and at over 2000m, is pretty special!! I would probably have the bouillabaisse to start, followed by the dover sole with buttered spinach. Lovely. You have the choice to ski down afterwards, or relax and go down in the cable car. 

Verwal Stube, St Anton. Image copyright: Arlberger Bergbahnen

 

This would be closely followed by the next day at the Hospiz Alm in St Christoph. I’d order the starter for two, a decadent mix of steak tartar, king prawns, cured salmon and local sausage to graze through with a lovely cold bottle (probably a magnum – wife likes a drink) of Gruner Veltliner. Then onto the surf and turf. Served on hot stone, a fillet steak with a half lobster tail on top. It comes out sizzling and of course with some music and dancing waiters! This would all be drunk with a bottle of red from their incredible wine cellar (you must see it to believe it) which specialises in Bordeaux wines. I would then have to get a taxi back to the hotel as I would not be able to move!

RICHARD: In the Alps, I want to taste the flavours of France. It’s a beautiful day on my imaginary trip, but it’s quite cold, so a classic low key onion soup on the terrace at Bel Air, with a glass of Montagny and a few cured meats served on a wooden board. Now, I might even risk upsetting the best maître d’ in Les Trois Vallées (sorry Cristophe), and I would leave after the starter. My brief interlude between courses would be a fast ski over to La Soucoupe. That’s the thing with skiing in Courchevel – it is like it was formed by glaciers with an eye on the perfect ski terrain. Once there I would order the filet de boeuf with morels sauce, followed by the café gourmand – the best way to enjoy dessert is to have just a little bit of everything. The dessert and espresso provides a Popeye like sense of invincibility. I ski through my favourite tree run, directly to the front door of Nammos – party time! Greek shipping magnate style. The party beats and sheer decadence are other worldly. How do I feel so underdressed when everyone is wearing ski gear?  

Bel Air, Courchevel

 

Dinner reservation?  

ANDY: For, in my opinion, the best steaks and superb homemade pasta in a relaxed atmosphere, it would be the Hazienda right in the middle of the main street. 

If I wanted all out romance, quiet, candlelit and with Michelin service then I would go to the Tannenhof. But I think my wife would prefer to be more relaxed….

RICHARD: Dinner is a late affair. Following my swim at the chalet, another massage and a power nap, we dress like an extra in Casino Royale and head for L’Aventure for a cocktail (caipirinha or Negroni, subject to the cloud cover). Dinner at Le Mangeoire is a pasta dish, it is dressed in freshly shaved truffle and aged parmesan. Simple and delicious with the ideal carb intake required for the hours of dancing on the table after dinner.  

L’Aventure, Courchevel

OFF THE SLOPES…

 

Shopping time! Where would you go and what would be this seasons must-have?  

ANDY: If its shopping in St Anton, then there are several sports shops to choose from. If the wife had her way we would be off to Lech to shop in the more boutique shops that Lech is famous for. Only 20-minute drive away (on a good day) and you are in designer’s paradise with personal shoppers and champagne welcomes!! As for the must haves for this season…. I’m a big fan of the off piste, while I would love the very cool, all-in-one off piste suites by the likes of Narrøna, Haglöfs or Arc’teryx, I don’t think I am cool enough to carry it off! For me, boots are the most important bit of kit. They have to be comfortable and practical therefore this would mean a custom fit, moulded to your feet. The new “hybrid” boots are great, light enough for a good touring boot yet stiff enough for strong on piste skiing. 

RICHARD: Shopping is a dangerous pastime in any ski resort. However, in Courchevel the anté is significantly higher than your average shopping mall. The brandy has got the better of me so I went for the latest, impossible to get hold of, Monclér jacket, knowing that I’d found a white-hot retail item.

Moncler Boutique, Courchevel

 

You’ve got an afternoon to spend doing anything you please, what would it be? 

ANDY: I’m going to stick to my theme and give two answers here.

Romantic, no kids, I would whittle away an afternoon at the spa. in my hotel (Tannenhof), or at one of the day spas in Anton. Maybe a treatment or massage to relax completely. 

Alternatively, I would have a great ski from St Anton to Lech, taking in all the Arlberg villages and finish on a sun terrace in Oberlech, with some great food and while away several hours in the sun with good wine, in a deckchair, next to my wife would also be a great way to spend an afternoon!

Of course, these answers would be very different if I was on a boy’s weekend or a company trip! But I guess that’s another interview!!

Hotel Tannenhof Spa


RICHARD: Flying! Taking off from the Altiport in Courchevel is totally unique. The runway is a completely blind take off – relying solely on the observations of the tower. Once airborne the views are life affirming., and landing (on skis) in Meribel and enjoying a hot chocolate by the fire pit at Clos Bernard is surreal. That said, it’s Courchevel so anything is possible. 

Now, do I ski home or fly home?

Courchevel Altiport

 

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