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27 February 2024

Chalet luxury on your doorstep

By Aimee Greaves


One of the joys of skiing is the thought that after a long day on the slopes, you can curl up in front of the fire with a steaming mug of hot chocolate.

The warm, cosy atmosphere of your chalet is the perfect antidote to the cold air outside, a place to wind down and hope you won’t wake up the next day full of aches, pains and bruises from hours of twists, turns and falling over.

But you don’t have to make the trip to Chamonix or Val d’Isere in the French Alps to experience the joys of a ski chalet because they can be found here in Dubai. Thanks to Ski Dubai and the popularity of winter ski breaks around the world, the Kempinski Hotel, Mall of the Emirates, has been inspired to create its own off-piste luxury.

The hotel has 15 chalets ranging from one- to three-bedrooms, with the Grand Ski Chalet set over three floors with views of the ski slope on one side and the swimming pool on the other. The Kempinski’s chalets cost from Dh3,200 to Dh39,000 per night.

Although Dubai is better known for its sun, sand and sea, skiing has really taken off in the emirate and enthusiasts can be seen on the slopes all day and night perfecting their skills. The Kempinski is cashing in on this trend. Whichever chalet you chose to stay in will come with all the comforts of one in the Alps, including a kitchen and separate living room and fire. For a truly stylish stay though, the Grand Ski Chalet is the only one any self-respecting ski fan should choose.

As you walk in, the low wooden beams provide an intimate setting before you settle on the L-shaped sofa in front of the fire for that much-needed hot chocolate after your session on the slopes next door. You can even relax in the bathtub as you look out over the snow.

Hotel manager Michael Henssler says the chalet set Kempinski apart from anything else in the region. “They are not just hotel rooms; they are an outstanding attraction unparalleled anywhere else in the Middle East,” he says.

Even if there is a group of you it is no problem, because with room to sleep six people in three bedrooms – all with en suite bathrooms – you don’t have to leave the chalet to meet up for a drink. A dinner party is included in the Grand Chalet package, which allows guests to choose their own menu for that added personal touch.

The main difference between these chalets and some on the slopes in Europe is the Kempinski’s chalets have all the modern conveniences you expect from a hotel, including a television and laundry service, to help you make the most of the skiing rather than making the bed every morning.

“The Ski Chalets are a wonderful contrast between snow and sand and a destination experience in their own right. Imagine enjoying a day of skiing, shopping, sun-bathing and spa treatments, then returning to the comfort and luxury of your Ski Chalet to find a sumptuous dinner party awaiting you,” Henssler said.

The chalets have proved popular, especially with families from the GCC, since they opened in the last quarter of 2007. Last week all the chalets were fully booked proving that a ski resort in the desert is not such a crazy idea after all.