Thomas James explores the winter holiday destinations of the jetset
The season is upon us and I like to think the thing that is most cherished of all this time of year is creating memories with those we love. Moreover, “my tastes are simple: I am easily satisfied with the best,” once stated Winston Churchill. Therefore, the culmination of these two elements will produce a magnificent holiday. Gstaad, St. Moritz, and St. Barths, and Aspen are à la mode destinations to spend with family and friends during the holiday season.
Gstaad is an idyllic retreat. It is the crème de la crème in a sense because most people here wish to remain discreet, which denotes simplistic elegance. There is a discerning culture of understatement in Gstaad. The village is enchanting and reminiscent of a setting found in a storybook. If that were the case, the Gstaad Palace would be the majestic castle towering over the small village. The Palace’s unrivalled reputation of refined hospitality makes one’s stay all the more sublime. However, within the hotel is Greengo Club, where one will find the youth of today partying to music played by DJ Jim Leblanc. For those who ski, Gstaad is known for skiing and is home to one of the largest ski areas in the Alps with around 136 miles of pistes.
St. Moritz is also a small village located in Switzerland where the sun shines about three hundred days annually. The energy of St. Moritz is geared more towards winter sporting events, having hosted the Winter Olympics twice. An annual event beginning in 1985 is the Cartier Polo World Cup on Snow tournament, which is a highlight for many. The White Turf is another annual winter event dating back to 1907 where people gather to watch horse racing on a frozen lake listening to music, viewing art, and indulging on food. St. Moritz is very much “le scene” and there is a bit of pretense in the air. Skiing is a popular pastime, as the slopes in St. Moritz remain unsurpassed.
St. Barths is a tiny island situated in the West Indies. During high season, especially on Christmas and New Year’s St. Barths is essentially one soiree after another. If St. Barth’s were a club then it would definitely be Studio 54. The place to be on New Years Eve is in Gustavia Harbour on a yacht watching the firework display. Overall, the ambiance of St. Barths is quite relaxed and carefree. Saline is left undeveloped making it one of the most pristine beaches in St. Barths. It is very “natural” alluding to the nudity permitted at Saline. Many people are attracted to St. Barths because of its beauty and tranquil atmosphere. The cuisine is superb, the service exquisite, and everyone on the island is friendly.
Aspen is a world-class destination for skiing with over 5,000 acres of terrain. Originally, Aspen was a mining town until the Paepcke family traveled to Aspen and fell in love with the natural surroundings Aspen offered. They knew Aspen was a gem and began transforming and cultivating the town into what it is today. The natural surroundings provide a relaxing retreat from everyday life. One may choose to ski on Aspen Mountain, Snowmass, Buttermilk or Aspen Highlands, depending upon one’s level of expertise. One can purchase lift tickets online at Aspen Snowmass, which makes all four mountains quite accessible. Aspen offers a variety of options for one’s après-ski experience, from dining at Matsuhisa to dancing at Escobar. Aspen is the unparalleled destination for winter and no matter what your needs may be, Aspen holds the solution.
Remember, this season is about creating memories. For having special memories to cherish is the ultimate luxury.
I agree with the choice of destination as far as a certain type of visitor goes. Not sure about the choice of the word ‘elite’. Wealthy, some conspicuously so, but elite. No.