Whatever its mysterious power, the snow-capped peaks of the world make for an exciting family holiday, an adventure to unite all members of your brood, young and old.
“A family who sleighs together stays together.”
The attraction cannot be denied: a kid in the snow is a happy kid indeed. The lure of white slopes, husky-drawn sleds, carrot-nosed snowmen and snowball fights, has most children entertained for hours. There are numerous destinations across the globe that, come winter, transform into a wonderland for the whole family.
Bellevue Hotel & Spa, Italy.
One place families have been going for years is the Bellevue Hotel & Spa in Cogne, a mountain village in the heart of the Gran Paradiso National Park, in the Italian Alps.
In winter, there are cross-country ski tracks stretching 80 kilometers right from the hotel's garden. Footpaths are marked out after each snowfall, some of which are accessible with snowshoes. A mountain guide accompanies children with smaller rackets, looking for goblins in the forest or heading to the snow park outside the hotel, with its ice rink and treadmill for beginners. Kids can discover The Bellevue’s surroundings on a toboggan trail on horseback and meet the animals that call it home.
“The main reason why the Cogne Valley is an ideal place for families,” says the hotel’s Maître de Maison, Laura Roullet, “is that everything is close. You can explore without touching the car, and there is no danger of letting the kids play and walk in the snow and around. Even Father Christmas comes every year to find us and brings small gifts for all children.”
The hotel has snow-friendly strollers, backpacks to carry children and sleds available. And after a day in the snow the hotel’s restaurants offer a special menu for little ones, including everything from fondue or raclette, to "The Stone grill", where they can cook their own meat and vegetables on a hot stone at the table. There is also a game room for children and a baby-sitting service on request.
Gasthof Post, Austria.
During the winter at the Gasthof Post in the centre of Lech, Austria, trained guides at the Lech-Zürs-Oberlech Kids Club take care of your kids on the slopes whatever their age or skill level.
The historic inn is an ideal winter family retreat, set in the world-renowned Arlberg, “the Cradle of Skiing”. The Arlberg boasts 97 lifts, 340 kilometers of prepared pistes and 200 kilometers deep snow off-piste slopes on its doorstep. The slopes welcome kids to join in on magnificent downhill skiing, hikes through the snowflake-kissed landscape, cross country skiing tours, ice skating, curling, sleighing and snow-shoeing. The hotel also entertains young ones in the indoor kid’s pool with a water slide, game room and garden trampoline.
Chalet du Mont d’Arbois, Haute-Savoie, France.
In the heart of the French Alps, overlooking the village of Megève, the Chalet du Mont d'Arbois treats young ones like VIPs, with particular attention during the school holidays.
Winter brings a range of activities; the snow around the hotel invites kids to play the moment they leave the front door. The hotel is a stone’s throw from the starting point of the 445 kilometer Mont-Blanc Évasion ski slopes – an area particularly suited to family skiing and beginners, with qualified instructors available at the ski school and club, Piou-Piou. Along with skiing, go skating, dogsledding with Alaskan Malamute, alpine skiing, Nordic skiing and hiking, or on plane or helicopter trips over the Mont-Blanc.
After a morning in the slopes, the Children's Cottage welcomes children aged 5 to 12 years, during the school holidays. While parents enjoy an evening off, trained facilitators entertain the young ones with games, outings, cooking workshops, snacks and dinner and a special entertainment program, or a special New Year's Eve party.
Top Hotel Hochgurgl, Austria.
Take the kids to one of the highest Relais & Châteaux properties in the world. Located at the Alps' summit, at an altitude of 2,150 meters, the Top Hotel Hochgurgl is set in one of Austria’s snowiest mountain resorts - the Obergurgl-Hochgurgl. The resort has 21 summits at altitudes of over 3,000 meters, 110 kilometers of slopes, and 24 ski lifts.
Between mid-November and mid-May, the whole family is invited to join the hotel’s Hochgurgl ski school. Parents are welcome to take to the slopes while leaving their children to have fun in the snow under the guidance of well-trained and certified ski guides, as the school offers all-day care for children.
The hotel has one of the best settings you could ask for, close to the ski lift, with the longest slope in the resort taking you right to the entrance of your alpine holiday home.