Tired of freezing cold temperatures and ready to complain about a few more months of scarves and gloves?
Instead of fighting the brutal winter weather, embrace all the snow and ice with the cozy buffer of a luxurious resort. There's lots of winter fun to be had, whether it's skiing, snowboarding, skating, snowball fights or enjoying a hot tub or book by the fireplace while your loved ones frolic in the snow.
Here are some spots that are steaming hot during the cool winter weather.
Stein Eriksen Lodge, Park City, Utah
Park City knows how to make the most of winter, whether it's skating lessons at Utah Olympic Park or great movies during the Sundance Film Festival. Why not experience it all like a celebrity by staying at a five-star resort with ski-in/ski-out access to Deer Valley Resort? Stein Eriksen Lodge also offers spa services that can soothe the aches from a day of skiing. Packages may include lift tickets at Deer Valley or a "kids stay/ski free" promotion.
L'Apogee Courchevel, France
Park City's sister city in France, Courchevel, has just celebrated the opening of the newest five-star addition to the area. L'Apogee Courchevel opened its doors on December 11 in the post-World War II town, which is part of the Les Trois Vallées. The Three Valleys region, one of the largest ski areas in the world, is known for its excellent ski-lift system. The hotel offers ski-in, ski-out access from its location at the foot of the slopes, and there's a spa and kids club for the family.
Daily room rates start at $1,198 US for a double room. It includes breakfast and either lunch or dinner, Courchevel airport pickup, WiFi and in-room bar soft drinks.
The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe, California
Combine elegance with the convenience of ski-in/ski-out access to the slopes at the Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe. The resort's staff will help you with your boots and set up your skis and poles on the slopes. And when you've had enough skiing, take the intermountain gondola down to the village of Northstar, where the family can glide across the 9,000-square foot ice skating rink. Back at the hotel, sample treatments at the 17,000-square-foot spa or venture out to the outdoor fire pit to meet the hotel's "marshmologist" and create your own marshmallow masterpiece.
Winter room rates start at $399 per night, double occupancy.
Little Nell, Aspen, Colorado
Little Nell doesn't just offer ski-in/ski-out access to Aspen Mountain, heli-skiing, dog sledding and snowmobile trips. It also has a ski concierge on the slopes for its guests, and offerings include boot warming service and sun and lip protection. There's a spa for the humans and amenities for the pets, including dog beds and dog walking and sitting upon request. And fine dining at the hotel restaurant draws visitors from around the country.
The Alpina Gstaad, Switzerland
Hate to get lost in the shuffle at the larger luxury resorts? That won't happen at the Alpina Gstaad, which has only 56 rooms, each with its own private balcony or terrace. Opened in December 2012, the Alpina is an elegant boutique hotel in a town known for its elegance. For a departure from rich Swiss cuisine, have dinner at MEGU, the hotel's Japanese restaurant. The hotel also offers treatments at its Six Senses spa and a Cuban cigar room.
Daily weekend room rates start at 1,350 Swiss Francs (about US $1,480). That includes breakfast, a 100 Swiss Francs credit per person for food and beverage, parking, service charges, taxes and VAT.
The Vale Niseko, Japan
After the long flight to Tokyo, a short domestic flight and a two- to three-hour drive from New Chitose Airport outside Sapporo, why not rest in very high style in the penthouse at this exclusive Japanese ski resort? The resort is literally on the slopes, and the penthouse offers the most spectacular views of hundreds of acres of powder and its own private onsens (Japanese hot springs).
Bighorn at Revelstoke, British Columbia, Canada
For a true fantasy escape, rent your own private chalet at the base of Revelstoke Mountain Resort in the heart of Canada's heli-skiing territory, where you'll have your own heli-pad for the week. You and up to 15 of your favorite people can spend seven nights in this eight-suite chalet, which also includes a ski room to suit up, spa, outdoor hot tub, movie room and dedicated chef.
Chalet rates start at $50,000 Canadian (about $46,000 US) per week with most meals and selected drinks (wines, beer, spirits and soft drinks) included. Private heli-skiing must be booked at an additional cost of at least $1,600 (Canadian) per person per day.