Christmas and New Year celebrations will be different this year, but whether a trip to the mountains during the festive season is or isn’t the norm for you, it can still happen! So why not embrace the extraordinary times with a festive luxury ski holiday to Switzerland at Christmas and/or New Year? Yes the Swiss […]
The Ultima Crans Chalets are a talking point within the ski resort Crans Montana. The exceptional 4,500sqm dual chalet property is set in enchanting private grounds and offers a luxury winter retreat like no other. Ultima Crans opens it doors to 28 – 38 guests, and welcomes guests into a luxurious haven complete with a 1,000sqm spa and clinic, cinema rooms, games rooms, private bars and office spaces (if you have to!).
It’s not just the long list of facilities that gives this Crans Montana chalet the wow factor, the service is a true asset to the offering. We caught up with Ernest, who has spent his first season as a butler at Ultima Crans Chalets. After graduating from the Institut Paul Bocuse in 2021, Ernest arrived at the chalets with a wealth of international hospitality expertise which he has put into practice at Ultima Crans Montana. So, for an insight into what it’s really like to experience a luxury ski holiday to Crans Montana and stay at this world-class chalet complex, it’s over to Ernest…
In your opinion, what are the top reasons to consider a ski holiday in Crans Montana? What makes it so special?
In my opinion there are several reasons to choose a Crans-Montana ski holiday. The first one would be the size and variety of the ski area (140 km). The second reason would be the great sunshine, matched with the diverse beauty of the landscape. And finally, the peace and quiet in the resort, whilst there is still plenty going on.
What top restaurants would you recommend for lunch and why?
1) Parrilla Argentina Chez Chico to get to know Argentinean cuisine and taste high quality meat in a warm environment.
2) Le Continental for refined cuisine that evolves with the seasons, highlighting local producers and short circuits.
3) Le Mayen for a typical and rustic atmosphere to enjoy traditional dishes including fondue, raclette, pierrade.
4) Restaurant Lemontblanc in order to discover a gastronomic cuisine (1 Michelin star), exceptional food and wine pairings, all in an exceptional setting.
Where are the best places for après ski in Crans Montana?
Whether you want to party on into the night, or enjoy a few chilled ones after a day on the slopes, there are plenty of options for après ski in Crans Montana. I have picked out my favourite two:
1) Cry d’Er for its breathtaking view of the mountains and live DJ.
2) Zerodix is the place to be for avid skiers and burger and cocktail lovers.
What non-ski activities are there in Crans Montana? Is there plenty for families?
There are a lot of non-ski activities in Crans Montana. Whether you have non-ski members of the party or you fancy breaking up a full week of skiing, you can enjoy activities including a trip to the cinema, bowling, paragliding, ice-skating at Centre Ycoor, a morning at Alaia Chalet (an indoor trampoline and skate park), a family-friendly escape room, and dog sledding. Indeed families love coming to Crans-Montana for the variety of activities it offers other than skiing.
Of course if your Crans Montana chalet has features and facilities like those at Ultima Crans Montana, you will be spoilt for off-slope activities.
What do you get up to in your spare time?
In my free time in Crans-Montana, I like to explore the ski touring routes. Alone or accompanied, I wander out in the mountains and my senses gradually awaken. The field of birds, the transparency of the snow on fir tree branches and the perfect calm ambiance soothes me deeply. When out in the winter wonderland, I am at one with the elements of nature, particularly as I approach the summit with confidence. At times, I take short breaks to regain my strength, looking ahead to the horizon and the mountains that hug the blue sky. The landscapes are sublime and the diversity of the routes give something for everyone. From 300m to 1000m vertical drops and with a range of blue slopes, through to red and black, there is no need to be born on skis to enjoy ski touring in Crans Montana. Once I reach the top, the joy of accomplishment is in my heart and I take a moment to recover my energy by breathing the fresh and pure mountain air. When it’s time to make my way, I take the skins off gently and ski away from the beaten track, looking for the best snow, for the most beautiful sensations.
Tell us about your role as a Butler at Ultima Crans Montana. How does it enhance the guest experience?
As a Butler, my eyes are everywhere. My tasks are very varied, and working hand in hand with the chef, I am the main point of reference from breakfast to dinner. Concierge work is another aspect of the job, I may be asked to organise a special trip to the mountains for clients or book a table in a famous restaurant. Versatility is the key word in my role. I have to be flexible and available as much as possible and understand client needs and expectations. I love trying to surprise guests in subtle ways, which adds to the magic of the service at Ultima Crans Montana.
Tell us about the catered service at Ultima Crans Montana.
The essential component to our service at Ultima Crans Montana is the freedom of choice for our guests to eat what they want, when they want.
Some people prefer gourmet food every day. In this case, the chef prepares a special menu for each occasion (amuse bouche, 2 starters, 2 main courses, 1 dessert), using seasonal products. The art of detail is expressed on the plate. The service of the dishes will therefore be more refined and subtle.
On the other hand, there are guests who want a simpler, more traditional cuisine. The service will therefore be more dynamic. We also get requests for buffet style dining for groups who enjoy the family spirit of sharing.
How best can guests enjoy time off the slopes at the chalet?
The moments at the chalet are a mixture of relaxation, sharing and celebration…In general, when guests return from skiing they like to enjoy the spa (sauna, Hammam, heated pool, massages). Guests also enjoy warming up by our magnificent fireplace in the lounge with their drink of choice.
After dinner, if guests are not too tired, often they like to party and enjoy cocktails in one of the bar areas. Alternatively, for a more relaxed evening, guests will retire to their rooms to read or watch a film. These moments at the chalet are times where we work to ensure all guests feel at home, away from home.
What is it about the location of the chalet that makes it an excellent base for a luxury ski holiday in Crans Montana?
The chalet is located in Plan-Mayens, in the heights of Crans-Montana, and at the foot of the ski slopes. The view from the chalet is exceptional and the village centre is only 5 minutes away via the private chauffeur service.
What makes Ultima Crans stand out from other luxury chalets in Crans Montana?
The main difference is in the quality of the service in this private Crans Montana chalet. The team is always available and unlike in a hotel, the client does not need to go down to the reception. Then there is the luxury of feeling at home when on holiday at Ultima Crans-Montana. Finally, of course, there are the facilities, the location, and the size that will make us stand out.
What do you love most about your job?
What I love most is the feeling of exceeding the expectations of a high-end clientele, and sometimes creating strong bonds with them.
Thank you Ernest for taking the time to provide us with an excellent insight into a luxury ski holiday in Crans Montana. It is evident from everything Ernest has said that the standard of both the service and chalet at Ultima Crans Montana is pretty special. So why not try it out for yourself? Get in touch with our specialist team to discuss the details by calling +44 (0)1202 203653 or sending an email.