In the heart of the Austrian Alps, Chalet 1551 defines “quiet luxury” with its inviting log fire, exclusive spa, gourmet dining and unrivalled skiing experiences
Deep in the Austrian Alps is Chalet 1551, an ultra-luxury boutique ski chalet that prides itself on making guests feel welcome. “Our guests always feel very comfortable here and immediately say they feel at home,” says Nina Gigele, Chalet 1551’s PR and Marketing Manager.
Every care has been taken to create bespoke experiences for guests. The chalet, which can host up to 14 people and has 900 square metres of living space, comes with a chef who has worked at Michelin-starred restaurants and has its own spa. It is set in an enviable location with views over the town of Lech, in Arlberg, Austria’s biggest ski resort, and is easily reached from Zurich and Innsbruck airports, or the private airport at St Gallen-Altenrhein.
Lech is chocolate-box pretty, peppered with the quaint wooden homes typical of alpine architecture, while offering a choice of smart restaurants and boutiques. “It is a really typical Austrian place that still has a traditional heart,” says Nina. “Anyone who spends time here will feel a sense of pure tranquillity.”
There are 305 kilometres of groomed slopes to explore from Chalet 1551, meaning skiers never need to take the same route twice. Guests can enjoy a sense of privacy as their home-from-home is only accessible by a Polaris snowmobile in the winter. At other times, a chauffeur is on hand to transport guests to their destination in a luxury SUV, and a heliport is available for those who want to explore further afield.
“If you don’t ski, you have no reason to leave the chalet as everything you need is right here”
“We are situated directly next to a piste, so it is ski-in, ski-out,” says Nina. “One thing that is unique about our location is that it is inaccessible by car. It is only a five-minute walk to the town, but you have the sense of being on top of the mountain where nobody can bother you. You are hidden away, and yet so close to Lech.”
There are five luxurious guest rooms, each with en-suite bathrooms, consisting of two deluxe bedrooms, one twin and one master suite, and a guest room with two bunk beds that can host four. There is also extra space if guests are travelling with their own staff. The spa, meanwhile, has mesmerising views of the mountains, and features a ten-metre lap pool, a Jacuzzi, Finnish sauna, steam room and a hyberbaric oxygen chamber, which provides 100 per cent oxygen treatments that not only help muscle recovery after skiing, but are also great for the skin. A spa therapist, who uses high-performance skincare free of synthetic chemicals, is available to provide massages, facials, pedicures and manicures, which are the perfect way to unwind. “If you don’t ski, you have no reason to leave the chalet as everything you need is right here,” says Nina.
After building up an appetite on the slopes, guests can choose from various curated menus, while the chalet’s expert chefs are always happy to accommodate personal requests. “We are passionate about cooking with local and international seasonal ingredients,” says Nina. “It is all about the freshness and quality of the produce.”
The team lives up to the mantra that everything is possible. This includes helping guests take advantage of the breathtaking mountain panorama by enjoying food and drinks on the balcony. Outdoor heating, warm blankets and a Big Green Egg barbecue enable guests to dine al fresco even on the snowiest of days. The balcony also serves as the ideal spot for an après-ski beverage.
In the evenings, guests can watch sport or films on a huge screen in the dedicated movie room. In the upstairs living area, an extensive wine cellar houses bottles from all over the world, with an emphasis on specialist wines from France, Italy and Spain, alongside some rare and vintage bottles. The hotel’s service staff ensure that all guest requirements are fulfilled to exceptional standards.
The interiors of Chalet 1551 feature antique wood, for a traditional cosy feeling. The decor is the creation of Wim van de Oudeweetering, from the highly regarded Dutch interior-design firm Casus Casa, and has the highest-quality finishes with great attention to detail. Hand-selected pieces of artwork, sculpture and books by Assouline adorn the walls, and a fire crackles in the fireplace of the central living area. “The whole chalet has been created to provide a feast for the eyes and to make it homely, with personal touches and beautiful fabrics,” says Nina. “Everywhere you look, there is something to admire. No two rooms are the same.”
Chalet 1551 has won its fair share of awards. They include Best Luxury Ski Chalet in Austria, in the World Luxury Hotel Awards 2022 and Best Luxury Ski Chalet in Europe. Such success has enabled the chalet to expand its services, adding a professional kitchen and a fitness centre complete with the latest Technogym equipment. The entertainment offer for children has also grown. “We do a lot of molecular gastronomy shows with the guests – making ice cream out of nitrogen, for example – and kids love to get involved with that,” says Nina.
The chalet is available in the winter and summer months. Winter offers ski access direct from Chalet 1551, and summer provides hiking and biking trails into the wild direct from the door, while golf enthusiasts can challenge themselves on the Chalet 1551’s unique alpine course. Nevertheless, says Nina, there is something special about the location during the winter season. “The way the light falls on the snow is not matched in any other ski resort in the world,” she says. “The terrain is so soft it creates a magical feeling, as if you are in a kind of bubble.”
It is an elevated experience “Chalet 1551 is your home away from home,” says Nina, “and our reward is witnessing our guests’ joy and contentment. It inspires us to reach new heights in delivering unparalleled moments every day.”