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One of our picks for the top hotels to check out in 2014 was W hotel brand’s first foray into the ski resort world opened in Verbier, Switzerland, in December. TPG Contributor Casey Hatfield-Chiotti recently visited the town in the Swiss Alps known for some of the best off-piste (backcountry) skiing in the world and got an exclusive tour of the property.
Verbier is an idyllic town set high in the hills in the Val de Bagnes, south of Martigny. It’s accessible by road but many take the cable car up, which drops you right in the middle of town. Just 3,000 people live in Verbier year-round, but in winter the population swells to about 45,000, resulting in a lively après-ski atmosphere and quite inflated prices– Verbier is one of the most expensive and therefore exclusive ski resort towns in the world, so if you want to stay at the W Verbier start saving your points (and Swiss francs) now.
Access and Public Areas
By staying at the W you get the best access to everything in Verbier. It’s conveniently located right next to Médran Station, Verbier’s main gondola. The resort even diverted its main lower run to land right at the W’s doorstep so it’s basically ski in ski out, and you can end your last run easily at Off-Piste, the W’s outdoor après-ski bar.
With its wooden façade and copper accents, the W Verbier fits in nicely with the town’s rustic architecture but is a touch more streamlined and modern than the your average chalet. The property is all new construction (the land used to be a parking lot) and when you start to explore the interior, you’ll find designers went to great lengths to incorporate local elements into the décor, including cowbell-shaped lights and cowhide chairs, while adhering to the W branding and vibe.
The common areas and amenities at the hotel are impressive, starting with the Living Room, a bar and lounge with sunken booths and a great view of the valley. It’s the perfect place for small bites and cocktails post ski like the W Fever—fresh muddled basil, vodka, peach liquor and pear juice. Take a good look at the curving orange and white mountain-inspired art on the walls – it’s actually tape and was created by Berlin-based artist Buff Diss during a week-long residency.
There are several other restaurants at the W Verbier including a Spanish tapas bar, and upscale Arola which specializes in Swiss Spanish fusion. Carve nightclub, accessible through a long red tunnel, is open on weekends, and the casual W Cafe serves Swiss wines and gourmet coffee. An excellent breakfast is included in your stay and features mouthwatering pastries like local berry-filled tarts, muffins, fresh fruit, granola and made-to-order eggs.
The W Verbier’s 123 rooms come in a wide range of sizes and configurations. The entry level Cozy Room is 36 square meters (388 square feet) and has a fireplace, private balcony and rustic wooden chalet-style interior contrasted with sleek modern furnishings. The largest room, the penthouse, has a loft, a rotating bed, a private sauna and a bar.
If you can swing it opt for a two-story Wow Suite. At 150 square meters (1,615 square feet), it’s a category below the penthouse but still has a loft, living room, panoramic views and wood-beamed ceilings. All rooms feature punches of the same color red as the Swiss flag and you’ll find the flag’s cross detail playfully echoed in the bathroom fixtures and on the walls. If you’re looking for something larger, the W also offers seven two- to four-bedroom apartments in The Residences at W Verbier.
The Away spa at the W uses gem-based products and features treatments that are geared towards rejuvenating muscles and organs that are taxed during the winter ski seasons. The Mogul Leg Pump treatment, a deep-tissue massage that rids the body of lactic acid, helps the body recuperate after a long day on the slopes. The spa also has an indoor/outdoor pool and lounge area.
In Verbier, rooms in the winter do not come cheap, and the W Verbier is no exception. Rooms rates start at $650 and go up to $10,000 a night for the penthouse. During the slower summer months, prices drop drastically and rooms start at just $250 per night. The area offers hiking, mountain biking and an International music festival in late July/early August.
Verbier is on many powder hounds’ bucket lists, and the W Verbier should certainly be on the short list of any Starwood Preferred Guest member.
This is an SPG Category 7 property and requires 30,000 to 35,000 Starpoints for a free night.