Ideally located in the Swiss Alps, the village of Verbier, Switzerland, is an acclaimed ski destination that has long been known as one of the most famous off-piste (or back-country) ski areas in the world, as well as a hot spot for Europe’s rich and famous, attracting both topnotch skiers and celebrity globetrotters. Further putting this slopeside village on the map was the December 2013 debut of the 123-room W Verbier, the brand’s first-ever Alpine ski resort, which stands out among the others in the area for its urban approach to high-altitude style. It offers “an indelible, distinct New York City glamour to a ski resort in the Swiss Alps,” says Jennifer Bordeau, spa manager of the onsite Away Spa.
According to Bordeau, the resort’s design, complete with smooth lines that carve through the spaces, is a reflection of the movement of the tracks left by the activities in the mountains for which the region is so well known, including skiing in the winter and mountain biking in the summer. “The famous Verbier mountains have been brought into the hotel by reinterpreting local elements in a contemporary way and creating a juxtaposition to reflect the simplicity, beauty, and energy of Verbier and the contemporary cool of New York City by using contrasting materials,” she says.
Also adding to the resort’s cool quotient is Away Spa, an 8,611-square-foot retreat for wellness aficionados that is the largest spa in Verbier. The spa was created to provide après-ski relaxation and pre-party pampering. Along with nine treatment rooms, it features a sauna, a hammam, a Jacuzzi, and the indoor-outdoor Wet pool deck with impressive views and its own buzzing bar area. The spa design features a gradual journey from light to dark. “Guests enter the spa via the light, cubist welcome area decorated with white natural stone,” says Bordeau. “Those who go deeper into the spa are guided via the changing rooms to the more public amenities, including the hammam, the whirlpool, the sauna, the steam bath, and the footbaths, all of which appear to be carved into the natural stone of the mountain.” According to Bordeau, the more secluded the spa area, the more organic the forms get and the darker the stone becomes, ending in the oval-shaped treatment rooms featuring shades of black and soft gold. “From there, guests slowly start the journey back from dark to light, from round shapes to the straight lines of the welcome area.” Post-treatment, guests can take a late-night dip in the heated swimming pool on the Wet deck, which stretches from inside to outside, allowing guests to swim under the stars surrounded by an incomparable mountain backdrop.
Due to the active nature of the clientele, massage is the top choice for most spa-goers, with the signature Away Massage ($179, 60 minutes; $270, 90 minutes) that incorporates customized essential oils and the Sports Massage ($92, 30 minutes for back; $179, 60 minutes for back and legs; $270, 90 minutes for full body) being the most popular. Other rubdown options include the Skiers Stretch Massage ($92, 30 minutes; $179, 60 minutes); and the Mogul Leg Pump ($92, 30 minutes; $179, 60 minutes), a post-ski treatment specifically designed to help rid the body of lactic acid using deep-tissue and cupping techniques.
Also important to spa guests is natural healing and living a healthy lifestyle. Treatments are performed using the Swiss brand Phyto5, a plant-based line, and Gemology, which features products infused with the benefits of precious stones. The spa also adopts a green philosophy in its operations, including a pool cover that reduces power consumption; automatic shutoffs for the Jacuzzi, sauna, and steam room; low-flow showers; dual flush toilets; LED lighting; motion detection for lighting; and more.
Further promoting a wellness focus, health-minded spa-goers can also nosh on fresh fruits and salads. Still, lovers of decadent dining are accommodated with a spa cuisine menu that features caviar, as well. It is this enticing blend of healing and glamour that makes Away Spa an ideal complement to the luxe W lifestyle, where guests are promised exciting slopes, electrifying vistas, and lavish living upon their arrival. Talk about a chic retreat!
Owner: Les Trois Rocs
Opened: December 2013
Spa Director: José Esteban
Spa Manager: Jennifer Bordeau
MOST REPRESENTED COUNTRIES
8,611 square feet; 9 treatment rooms
6630 Male, Gemology, OPI, Phyto5
Book 4 Time, Garnier-Thiebaut, Gharieni, Intros (Pays-Bas), Technogym
ARCHITECT & INTERIOR DESIGNER
Concrete Architectural Associates (Amsterdam)