by Felice Hardy at LondonEvening Standard
Nowhere is as romantic as a ski resort, and Prince William first declared his love for Kate Middleton to the world when he took her to Klosters in 2004. Skiing has played its part with the royals over the years, with brides-to-be taken on family ski trips. Here’s our guide to the royal resorts:
Traditional and luxurious, it leads the way as the royal hot spot, so much so that the Gotschna cable-car is also called the Prince Charles and one of the two red cabins bears his name. Prince William, Kate Middleton, Prince Harry and Chelsy Davy have all stayed in the resort together. Last year, for greater privacy, they shared a chalet with friends instead of staying in Prince Charles’s old haunt, the five-star Walserhof.
The skiing: Klosters shares the famous Parsenn ski area with its more bustling neighbour Davos.
Where to stay: Hotel Walserhof from £840 pp per week B&B with Ski Solutions (skisolutions.com). Chalets Bear, Maldeghem or Eugenia all through The Oxford Ski Company from £1,888 pp per week half board (oxfordski.com).
See and be seen: Tara Palmer-Tomkinson owns a chalet here; Lord Bamford, a princess of Thailand, Victoria Getty, and (snow) polo-playing Jack Kidd all ski here. Nick Clegg‘s family has a chalet in Davos.
video bonus : Davos Klosters – Village
The most romantic of all resorts, but also the place where William and Kate briefly separated in 2007. They spent a week in a chalet and were spotted dining in the Whymper-Stube.
The skiing: Zermatt’s skiing at the foot of the Matterhorn is scenically the most beautiful in the world.
Where to stay: The Loft is a real rock-star hideaway and Robbie Williams has been many times. It’s perched on a cliff top and reached by a lift built into the rock. From £1,900 pp per week half-board including an open bar. Sleeps six. Mountain Exposure (mountainexposure.com).
As patron of the British Ski and Snowboard Federation, Prince Edward visits Méribel for a week each March, together with Sophie, Countess of Wessex. Last year they handed out the prizes for the men’s giant slalom at The British Land Ski Championships.
The skiing: Méribel is the most convenient base from which to explore the 600km of piste that creates the Trois Vallées — the largest linked ski area in the world.
Where to stay: Rub shoulders with the Wessexes, who stay at Hotel Allodis, a Savoyard-style ski-in ski-out lodge. From £241 pp per night half board (hotelallodis.com).
See and be seen: An endless list including the Beckhams, Roman Abramovich, George Clooney and Prince Felipe of Spain. The Little World Festival in March features The Feeling, who formed as a band while doing a season in Méribel.
This was Princess Diana‘s favourite and is a place for complete comfort-seekers. The traditional village lies on the banks of a river, with a large collection of four and five-star hotels.
The skiing: Ideal for people who prefer a flattering piste to a tricky challenge. If you want something more testing, head to St Anton, which is on the same lift pass.
Where to stay: Princess Diana’s hotel of choice, Hotel Arlberg, for £2,075 pp per week half board with Ski Solutions (skisolutions.com).
William and Harry have skied here, but it is Sarah Ferguson whose name is so strongly linked with the resort. Before marrying Prince Andrew she lived here with Paddy McNally, her motor-racing millionaire lover, and she has been a regular visitor ever since.
She is even more heartily entwined with the notorious Farm Club, where a bottle of Moët will set you back £381. Princess Eugenie celebrated her 18th birthday in the resort, along with her mother and Princess Beatrice. William and Kate have been here together, and Peter Phillips has been known to grace the slopes.
The skiing: Verbier is part of the Four Valleys, with some of the most physically and mentally testing off-piste and nightlife in the Alps.
Where to stay: In true celebrity style at Sir Richard Branson‘s Lodge with its indoor swimming pool, dedicated party room and private ice rink. From £2,760 per room for a three-night stay in December including meals and drinks plus a team of 13 staff. (thelodge.virgin.com)
The above prices do not include travel, unless stated otherwise