Music pulses and cocktails flow at the bottom of a recently diverted ski run that ends at Off Piste, the outdoor après-ski bar at the new W Verbier, the Swiss ski town’s only ski-in/ski-out hotel and the hotel brand’s first ski retreat. With 130 rooms, suites, and residences, the W complex of chalet-style buildings is ideally located across the street from the main Medran station, where you board gondolas that whisk you up to Verbier’s sunny Alpine slopes, famous for their expanse and challenging off-piste (off-trail) terrain.
With a reputation for hardcore skiing and lively nightlife, Verbier -- located in Switzerland's southwestern canon of Valais -- has long attracted royals, tycoons, and celebrities, including Prince Harry, Richard Branson, and James Blunt, who recently partnered with Lawrence Dallaglio, Carl Fogarty, and chef Heston Blumenthal to launch La Vache, an affordable high-altitude restaurant.
Since opening last December, W Verbier has welcomed Grammy-Award winning rapper-songwriter Eve and actor Gary Dourdan, best known for portraying Warrick Brown on CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. In keeping with W style, the property’s design concept is bold, evoking the natural surroundings with sweeping alpine vistas and an abundance of wood, stone and fireplaces. The modern Swiss design is infused with edgy attitude channeled from the streets of Manhattan with contemporary art and modern furnishings and fixtures. The two-level E-Wow suite (about $11,200 per night) is W Verbier’s answer to a Presidential Suite with a 360-degree rotating bed, private sauna, and a loft with a bar.
For all its emphasis on style, W Verbier (rooms from around $852 through March; around $539 from April 1 to 17) doesn’t lose sight of why its guests come to Verbier in the first place. The hotel even offers its own ski passes, so you can skip the lines, grab your gear in the ski center and simply walk across the street for a ride straight to the peak.