By Harriet Stewart
Type of hotel: Luxury, Spa
Type of holiday: Skiing, Mountain walking
Hotel style: Luxury ski lodge with all the mod cons
The W Verbier should come with a disclaimer. A week in this most luxurious of mountain hotels and you'll never want to ski on a shoestring again.
Right in the centre of Verbier, 40 miles from Chamonix, this isn't the kind of luxury I've ever really associated with skiing.
Despite its expensive image, for me skiing has always been more about family-run chalets than 5-star hotels; cake and DVDs instead of an afternoon in the spa; home-cooked spag bol as opposed to sushi.
But I could get used to this.
Here, there is no painful walk in ski boots, as you juggle skis, poles and helmet up the hill to the bubble car in the morning. The bubble car is right there. Right. There.
If you think this is good at the beginning of the day, just wait until 4pm when you ski down off the mountain and directly into Carve, W's very own après ski bar at the front of the hotel.
It was our first stop every afternoon for a vin chaud by the roaring fire pit as we dissected the days skiing.
And when we were finished with après ski, the hotel bootroom was just a few strides away, where the in-house Mountain Concierge would greet us with a refreshing drink and our slippers, and put away our skis and boots for the night. A luxury worth its weight in gold.
Skiing aside, you could easily not leave the hotel. The Away spa downstairs (below), is the perfect hideaway in which to while away an afternoon – which we did on several occasions – flitting between the sauna, Jacuzzi, steam room and a bracing outdoor swim as the sun set and snow started to fall.
A massage was one of the best I've ever had and a game-changer for tired muscles. Like I said, future reality will be a shock.
After eating out in the town one night we found ourselves rushing back to the hotel to enjoy red wine on our balcony and movies in bed. A bed so big and so comfortable even a fresh dump of powder couldn't get me out of it until 10am some mornings.
Like all the W Hotels around the world, the W Verbier has been designed with its surroundings in mind, and therefore strikes the perfect balance between traditional ski chalet and luxury hotel.
Exposed beams, marshmallow-like pillows, an enormous, free-standing bath, faux-fur throws and a fire set within a glass fireplace gave the room buckets of ambience, while unlimited Bliss products and useful ski essentials (SPF lip balm, Velcro ski-straps and a goggle cleaning cloth that was also a handy map of Les 4 Vallées), were all clever, thoughtful touches.
When to go: The skiing season traditionally runs from late November to late April, but The W remains open all year round, with the summer becoming increasingly popular with anyone looking for something more active than your average beach holiday. Think mountain-top yoga, paragliding, mountain biking, horse riding and lake swimming.
Eating and drinking: There are three restaurants at the W; two Spanish and one Japanese. Restaurant Arola and Eat-Hola Tapas Bar Arola are both overseen by world-famous Spanish chef Sergi Arola and serve up original tapas such as kimchi chicken wings, grilled langoustines and panfried scallops with ricotta gnocchi and a saffron emulson – a far cry from your average patatas bravas.
The Carve Sushi bar takes center stage in the W's own night club, Carve, for anyone looking for anyone looking for an antidote to Switzerland's predominantly cheese-based diet.
Expect classic sushi dishes, including exceptional sashimi and hearty bowls of ramen topped with pork belly, pickled bamboo, spinach and egg.
Skiing straight from the slopes into the W's outdoor après-ski bar.
People-watching in the hotel lobby bar with a G&T. Being the best hotel in one of the most exclusive ski resorts in the world the W Verbier attracts a certain type of clientele...
Having the Mountain Concierge secure bookings at the best restaurants on the mountain for lunch – even when they are fully booked.
Swimming in the outdoor pool at dusk as the snow begins to fall.
Being able to walk two minutes to the main gondola in the morning.
The Hotel's resident 'fixer' Monica will organise anything a guest asks for. Her strangest ever request? A resident who demanded a room with a beach view – they had a huge canvas printed and strung up across the balcony of the room.
5* luxury doesn't come cheap.
Need to Know: W Hotel Verbier
Number of rooms: 130
Check-in/check-out times: check-in 3pm, check-out noon
Room service: Yes
Swimming pool: 1
Wi-Fi: Free throughout the hotel
Spa: The recharge Spa features an indoor pool that flows into an outdoor pool overlooking the Verbier valley, sauna, hammam Jacuzzi and a FIT Fitness centre and hairdressing salon. Treatments include pure collagen facials, Japanese bamboo body scrubs and stone massage.
Eating and drinking: The hotel's three restaurants are on the ground floor of the hotel, will fantastic views across the valley.
A morning buffet with every kind of breakfast food imaginable is served from 7am – 11am each morning, and is not to be missed.
Near to? Les 4 Vallées ski-pass will give you access to Verbier, Nandaz, Veysonnaz and Thyon et La Tzoumaz – with a good variety of skiing for everyone from beginners to the most experienced.
W Verbier, Rue de Médran 70, 1936 Verbier, Switzerland, +41 27 472 88 88. Doubles from £214, inc B&B & taxes
Getting there: The nearest airport is Geneva (about a two-hour drive away), with most major airlines flying in several chartered flights a day.
Zurich is three hours away by car, but also reachable by a train though the mountains. It takes a little longer but is well worth it for the scenery.
EasyJet has return flights from London Gatwick to Geneva from £213 and from London Gatwick to Zurich from around £92 return.