Last month, Ed and I were lucky enough to fit in a skiing trip to La Thuile, Italy. Skiing for us is a huge luxury and one of our most relaxing trips of the year. Though of course, it’s active, your mind is thinking about nothing but sliding down slopes all day long, and come lunch or dinner time, options are usually limited so you don’t have to think too hard about that either – especially here in Italy: it’s pizza or it’s pasta. What’s more, spas and ski resorts tend to go hand in hand, so you can start and finish your day in the sauna. Heaven.
Nira Montana was the perfect base for our 4-day trip, set in the beautiful Aosta Valley, in which you have the luxury of being able to ski both the Italian resort of La Thuile and the French resort, La Rosière. Location-wise, the hotel is brilliant: a 10-minute walk to the slopes and main ski lifts, or a short at-your-request shuttle ride. It’s a very sleepy resort, and to my liking, après-ski doesn’t really exist here. As soon as we stepped inside the hotel, we felt spoilt. Nira Montana feels rich and homely, with wood and stone interiors, a roaring fire in the lobby, low sofas, fine Italian furniture, and complimentary hot chocolate and mulled wine to welcome you and warm your cockles.
We checked in and headed straight up to our room. All 55 rooms and suites have their own balconies, so you can sit outside and connect with nature, in awe of the grand, snowy surroundings. Though cold (!), I loved being out there to watch the sun fall over the mountains in the evenings.
Our king-size bed allowed for maximum post-piste R&R! Every day after finishing on the slopes, we went to the supermarket to buy an €8 bottle of Prosecco and a bag of crisps, and had the most luxurious of early evenings sharing them in our room before dinner. The life!
We had breakfast in the hotel every morning, which was great. The sophisticated buffet set us up for the day, with fresh fruit, hams and cheeses, boiled eggs, and a selection of Italian cakes. Come evening, the space becomes Stars Restaurant, at which we ate at on the second evening. It was stunning. The Italian restaurant uses the finest and freshest local ingredients for regional and seasonal focused menus. We lost count of our courses (something to do with the paired wines perhaps…!) but it was a truly delicious and special occasion.
We never got round to trying it, but the bar area looked lovely too. In fact, there really are ample lounging spaces here, for those who don’t fancy hitting the piste all day, every day.
The boot room downstairs magically had our skis, snowboard and boots in it when we arrived — something we’d set up beforehand. Oh, the luxury of not having to queue at the ski shop! And not having to return skis to the shop every night gave us complete freedom.
Leaving the best bit until last though, let me tell you about the spa. Ahhh! Nira SPA is the dream (and known to be the nicest spa in the area). It’s simply beautiful, and in a sophisticated boutique hotel like this, reliably serene and quiet. In fact, we were probably the most boisterous ‘kids’ in the there! The beautiful warm pool looks out to mountains and has various massaging hydro-jets. There’s also a steam room, sauna, and relaxation lounge, plus a broad treatment menu if you’re so inclined. Never one to miss time in the pool, Ed and I hit the spa pre-ski and post-ski every day of our trip! It’s the most luxurious way to soothe those weary thighs!
Thinking about future trips already, I would definitely love to come back here, not least because the hotel was perfect but the resort was too. La Thuile is great for intermediate to advanced skiers – plenty of long, sometimes challenging blues, great reds, and pretty hairy backs runs too! Loved being able to ski over the border into France – very awesome.
We flew to Zurich from Gatwick with Swiss International Air Lines, who were brilliant — a world away from the budget carriers, though still with admirably low prices. Even flying short-haul, we got complimentary wine and a sandwich, and I loved the little touch of a ‘welcome’ Swiss chocolate bar when we boarded.