1. Gstaad Palace, Gstaad
Gstaad, with its safe ski slopes, learning parks and free cable cars for under sixes, is spot-on for children. The Palace takes it one step further. Hosting the great and the good since 1913, this grande dame sings of Alpine glamour with 90 suitably grand rooms. Its green credentials are also first class, including eco-friendly heating, powered by wood chips. The kids programme is packed full of treats while grown-ups can soothe post-piste aches in the spectacular spa. Tuck the munchkins up in bed (the Palace can magic up a babysitter) then head to one of the four sublime restaurants – the truffle fondue at La Fromagerie is exquisite. palace.ch
2. Hotel Le Grand Chalet, Leysin
Set in a quiet forest in the hills of Leysin, this family-run hotel is a hop, skip and a jump from the slopes. The family suites are super cosy with spectacular views. Staff are naturals with kids. After a day cruising the runs, leave your brood in the playroom as you wind down in the hot tub overlooking the mountains. Or book an Ayurvedic massage in the serene spa (there are kids treatments, too). The restaurant dishes up regional specialities. Stop by the Karibou bar beforehand – there’s a special area for little ones while grown-ups can kick back beside the fire. grand-chalet.ch
3. Hotel Nendaz 4 Vallées & Spa, Nendaz
One of Valais’ eight family destination resorts, Nendaz is just the ticket for sorting out the energy levels of children. Couple that with the region’s massive bonuses of fun-filled snow playgrounds and a weekly activity programme for children. Chic 62-room Hotel Nendaz 4 Vallées & Spa, dead centre of the resort, slips right in. Mezzanine suites are available for families – and there’s a fantastic spa (complete with child pool) where kids are welcome. The relaxed Carnotzet l’Aigle is ideal for a family dinner (order the Raclette du Valais AOP). hotelnendaz4vallees.ch
4. Valbella Resort, Valbella
Sitting on the peaceful slopes of the Lenzerheide valley surrounded by lush mountain meadows, the Valbella Resort is perfectly placed for exploring the local area. But the highlight for children is sure to be the KidsInn: two indoor play areas created by the LEGO Group. Elsewhere, there are two restaurants, a cosy bar and a spa, meaning there’s something for all tastes and ages. Due to its natural surroundings, sustainability is a core focus too – thinking green at the Valbella Resort means using local products in the kitchen, avoiding disposable materials and using environmentally-friendly energy sources. valbellaresort.ch
5. Boutique Hotel Glacier, Grindelwald
With mesmerising views of the Bernese Alps, the setting of this design-led hotel will stop even the youngest of your troops in their tracks. Then there’s the massive outdoor playground which is always a big hit, too. Inside, young owners Justine and Jan have done an excellent job. The colourful interiors have been cleverly designed alongside fun touches such as lights akin to icicles. The suites are big enough to house a family – and complimentary cots are available. The couple also take their social responsibility seriously right down to the beds which are made exclusively of natural fibres. A blissful spa and excellent seasonal-led restaurant tops it all off. hotel-glacier.ch
6. Hotel Eiger, Mürren
Overlooking the famous mountain Eiger, this charming boutique hotel ticks all the boxes. Run by the Stähli family since opening in 1892, it’s a stone’s throw from the nearest lift so brilliant for little ones too wiped out to walk. Bedrooms are colourfully decorated in a modern Alpine style including two recently renovated family suites. Unwind in the huge spa while the children are kept busy in the fun-filled playroom. A delicious array of pasta, fondues and hearty meat dishes in the restaurant tops off the day. hoteleiger.com
7. Hotel Slalom, Aletsch Arena
The car-free village of Bettmeralp, only accessible by cable car, is a child’s dream with an excellent ski school plus several kid-friendly smaller lifts and a children’s entertainment programme runs every weekday (Monday-Friday) throughout the winter season. Hotel Slalom completes the picture. For starters, it’s ski-in/ski-out which makes things super simple and the owner also happens to be the ski school director (in fact, classes take place two minutes away from the hotel in the Snowgarden, which is also great for sledging). There are 14 bedrooms – families should book the Weisshorn Panorama Suite which has two bedrooms (cots are available) plus magnificent views of Valais’ majestic four-thousand metre peaks. slalom.ch
8. Hotel du Lac, Bretaye
Bang in the middle of the Bretaye slopes with phenomenal views, family-run Hotel Du Lac’s dreamy setting will captivate any age – as will the cog train from Villars to Bretaye. But it doesn’t stop there. Built in 1870s, there are 12 bedrooms including three fantastic family rooms – choose between a super-king bed and bunkbeds or two connecting Double Rooms. In the evening, tuck into a sumptuous three-course dinner (available for the whole family) complete with – for grown-ups – an extensive wine list. bretaye.ch
9. The Hey Hotel, Interlaken
Laidback, friendly and welcoming, The Hey Hotel is in the centre of Interlaken and offers modern, yet super cosy rooms (including family rooms for up to five people). With an excellent restaurant (the cocktails are fab), which specialises in delicious sharing plates (though you can of course order you own), there’s something to keep every member of the family satisfied. You’re also perfectly located to explore the region and seek out adventure everywhere from a paragliding flight high over Interlaken (thrilling!) to boat rides on Lake Thun. theheyhotel.ch
10. The Chedi Andermatt, Andermatt
It’s all about the Chedi Bear Club here with its cookie-baking, treasure hunts and jewellery-making classes. The location is a hit, too, – slap bang in the heart of the resort. The hotel was designed by Jean-Michel Gathy, who worked with Aman, One&Only and Cheval Blanc. This means it’s got the looks (Alpine meets Asian), a whopping amount of space and a tremendous spa. The 105 rooms are gigantic and an easy-fit for families plus teens will love all the tech. The food hits all the right notes, including a kid’s menu – but perhaps the best thing is the Ski Butler which means you really don’t have to lift a finger to get slope-ready. thechediandermatt.com
For the best Ski-in Ski-Out hotels, click here.
1. Snowshoeing in the woods with Raclette in Nendaz
Enjoy the pure beauty of nature en famille when you head into the woods on snowshoes. Gone are any crowds on the slopes, the silence is thrilling and just as darkness falls, magically you’re sitting by a fire eating bread and warm cheese. Unforgettable. Bookable at Nendaz Tourisme. Dates for this winter are not defined yet but the activity can also be made on demand.
Gstaad is mesmerising enough with its fairytale wooden chalets, twinkling lights and trees glistening with icicles. But take things one magical step further by hopping aboard a horse-drawn carriage – big enough for the whole family and thrilling for every age, not to mention a great way of seeing Gstaad at Christmas.
3. Discover Saaniland
Whether indoors or outdoors – Saani, the little white goat, shows its guests around in its home region. For example, to ‘Saani’s Winter Wonderland’, which combines fun and action in the snow and introduces youngsters to skiing in a playful manner. The kids can play around on half-pipe slides, snow skates and airbags and discover the fun of being in the snow in this way. The snow park is open daily, entry is free. After a day in the snow, the STATION is a world for discovery, working and trying things out. Here you will find an exciting engine room with a fascinating mix of ropes, gears, cranks and marble runs. At the different workstations, kids can let their fantasies run wild while working and making handicrafts.
If the children are tired of being on their feet all the time, why not give them a rush with snowtubing instead. The run is 200m and will mean hours of fun – especially for smaller kids. And it’s also free of charge!
Previously an ordinary ski field, this magical spot is now the place to be for backcountry skiing or snowshoeing – and it’s a great way to introduce the sports to your family with a huge range of trails to suit all abilities. After you’ve reached the summit, stop for a drink or bite to eat at The Monts-Chevreuils hut with its stunning view of the Pays-d’Enhaut valley.
Set at the start of the snowshoe trail, the Jardin-d’Oex Neiges – all 10,000sq/m of it – is ideal for fledgling skiers thanks to its excellent ski learning park. There’s an indoor and outdoor Games Park, too – which includes a dry-slope, big air bag (ski jump, snowboard or buoy on a giant air cushion) and bouncy castle plus much more.
The Les Mosses – La Lécherette ski area is a family paradise. Les Mosses Parc, at the foot of the slopes, tops it off – a huge snow park, where little ones can learn to ski with its travelator, ski tow and small gentle runs. There’s also Tom’s Chalet, a crèche for children from the age of two, which hosts a whole load of brilliant activities.
Crans-Montana has been awarded the ‘Families Welcome’ seal of quality. And for good reason with this winter wonderland home to two children’s snow playgrounds – one at the Cry d’Er middle station and one on the golf course. From the snow kindergarten to Snow Island, there is an abundance of winter activities to enjoy – think snow tubing, carpet lift for ski bunnies and sledders, snow carousel and the super popular Bibi Fun Park with its fantastic entertainment programme.
Stefano Bertalli, Head Concierge at Gstaad Palace
1. Horse-drawn sleigh ride to Lake Lauenen
2. STATION in Saanen
5. Eggli Run
Alessandro Boyens, Guest Relations Manager at Walliserhof Grand-Hotel & Spa, Saas Fee/ Saastal
Concierge Team, The Chedi Andermatt, Andermatt
1. Go snowshoeing from Göscheneralp through the forest
3. Enjoy a fondue under the stars
5. Challenge each other to races at the SkiArena Andermatt-Sedrun-Disentis
SWISS, the ‘Skiers Airline’, offers weekly flights from the UK and Ireland to Zurich and Geneva. Your ski, snowboard equipment and boots are transported free of charge in addition to your standard baggage allowance. They will also transport your baggage directly to the railway station. +44 345 601 09 56; swiss.com