The Six Senses group might be best known for tropical dreamboat properties, but Six Senses Crans-Montana – their first Swiss property amid the Alpine glory of the Valais region – opening later this year, shows they’re just as hot when you turn the temperature down. It’ll be ski-in/ski-out for superior slope action, have views stretching from Mont Blanc to the Matterhorn and will be equally alluring in summer for equine and wine pursuits. And here the après ski won’t just involve a restorative cocktail session (although everything from fragrant sake mixers to Valais wines await) – a mammoth spa with a thermal circuit, chocolate wraps and all the saunas, plus a lounge filled with biohacking tech, sort out any post-action aches. Adrenaline-pumping and soothing as a mug of cocoa – with some family value – this promises to be peak piste.
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Get this when you book through us:
Either a 30-minute foot massage or body scrub for two
79, including 14 suites and one residence. Please note, some rooms will be opening at a later date.
12 noon, but, subject to availability, you can stay till 6pm for 50 per cent of the room rate. Earliest check-in, 3pm.
Double rooms from £609.98 (CHF680), including tax at 3.7 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional local city tax of CHF3.00 per person per night on check-out.
Rates include an organic buffet breakfast that’ll keep you going on the slopes.
Two of the hotel’s rooms are wheelchair accessible and have special facilities for those with hearing and vision impairments.
The hotel's kids' club will be opening in 2023.
At the hotel
Spa, yoga studio, beauty salon, 24-hour fitness centre, open-air cinema, alchemy bar, Earth lab, boutiques, indoor and outdoor lounges, Alpine garden, ski concierge, library, packing and unpacking luggage service, laundry service, free WiFi. In rooms: TV, Bluetooth speaker, yoga mat, minibar and gourmet snack counter, coffee- and tea-making kit, bottled water, pillow menu, sustainable bath products and free WiFi.
Our favourite rooms
All rooms have a terrace, surely the most important of assets when you’ve got Mont Blanc and the Matterhorn in your eyeline and the glittering wintry white or bombastic summery green of the Valais Alps to admire from it. And there’s much of the outside indoors too: quartzite stone, larch and oak wood, slate and marble – all worked at by master craftsmen to make into unique furnishings, rounded bath tubs, live-edge benches and more – make rooms feel naturally beautiful, and local artworks hang on the walls. The biggest difference is the size, with the family- and group-fitting Three-Bedroom Terrace Suite at the top end.
The most eye-catching of the hotel's two swimming spaces are the spa’s indoor-outdoor pool, which spills out into a birch forest with frost-tipped trunks, and has a ceiling hung with hundreds of timber pieces to bring the outdoors in. And, on the rooftop, at the edge of a large terrace and with views over pine-clad slopes, is a steamy pool and hot tub.
The 2,000-square-metre spa (open 9am to 9pm) will leave anyone feeling as finely tuned as a Rolex. Treatments stem from ancient Alpine healing methods or zoom forward, bringing in the best biohacking tech. In nine pampering suites you could be swathed in Swiss chocolate (no, don’t lick it), have ski-worn legs manoeuvred back to life with massage, or have your biomarkers screened to make a bespoke wellness programme. There are flotation pods, stretch experts, and a thermodynamic circuit with a steam room, ice fountain, cool plunge pool and no less than three saunas (Finnish, rock and bio-salt) – well, you are in Switzerland. And, if you’ve been tossing and turning, a sleep expert will get you to dreamland, providing sleep tracking, specialty bedding and relaxing lotions and potions. And, in the ‘biohack recovery lounge’ enter the wellness world of tomorrow, with Juvent vibrating platforms, red-light therapy masks, pulsed-electromagnetic-field-therapy mats, Ballancer Pro lymphatic-drainage systems, Normatec recovery compression boots, Hyperice X hot and cold compresses, Hypervolt portable massagers, So Sound musical-massage loungers, LED face masks, VR headsets and NuCalm relaxation kits. The gym too has an impressive range of machines (plus personal trainers as needed), and there’s a yoga studio and hair and beauty salon.
Seasonal sports gear is kind of a no-brainer (although you can hire onsite). Bring variable layers to cope with sun and snow, the cosiest of pyjamas and anything that might keep you occupied while you’re curled up by a fire (books, tablets…).
The Luggage Free service lets you send your bags and gear to the hotel ahead of time (it’s advised to book a delivery date of one or two days before arrival).
Very welcome and sure to love the Grow With Six Senses kids’ club (when it opens in 2023) and snowy playground all around – come summer even more possibilities for adventure open up.
Can they stand on a pair of skis? Hop on a horse? Balance a kayak? They’re probably ready then.
In all room types, one child under 11 can stay on the sofa in the living area (free of charge), and most can fit a baby cot too. But if you have several little snow bunnies in tow, book the Three-Bedroom Terrace Suite.
The Grow with Six Senses club (opening in December 2023) takes a holistic approach to entertaining little ones – encouraging them to get out into nature, acquaint themselves with local culture, embrace wellness practices and get schooled on sustainability. And, kids have a spa all of their own, set aside from the main one, where they can enjoy gentle treatments. Ski lessons can be booked for little ones too.
There’s a shallower (25cm deep) space where kids can splash about.
There will be a special menu for kids.
The hotel can help to arrange nannies and babysitters on request.
The Six Senses group have long been advocates for cleaner, greener hospitality, and Six Senses Crans-Montana carries the torch (probably even offsetting its carbon). The building operates at 30 per cent reduced energy compared to the ASHRAE (American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers) standard, and energy’s further conserved by waste heat from the kitchens, cooling systems and pools being filtered and re-used. All rooms are cooled using VOC (volatile organic compounds) air circulation, the pools use UV filters to reduce the need for chemical treatment by 50 per cent, and all the hotel’s temperature control is run using a carbon-neutral, sustainably sourced and chemical-free wood-pellet system. And, natural materials from the local environs were used in construction. You can learn more about the hotel’s efforts – as well as picking up DIY tips and seeds to take home – at the Earth Lab onsite. Plus, 0.5 per cent of all revenue goes into a sustainability fund to benefit community projects.
Grab a table on the top-of-the-world (almost) roof terrace or Wild Cabin’s dining deck.
Shimmy out of your salopettes and into something slinkier/sharper for the après piste. Wild Cabin doesn’t care if you’re swathed in ski wear.
If you happen to get so leaden with melted cheese you’re sinking into the snow, you’ll be glad to hear that the hotel plans to shake things up a bit. At silk-panelled Byakko – named for a mythical white tiger who lives in the highest mountains of the Japanese Alps – takes inspiration from the east, drawing diners together over steaming hot-pots, whole fish cooked on warm stones, smoky-sweet hoba miso (broth over a smoked magnolia leaf) and grilled marinated meats. Wild Cabin is a touch more rusticated with a terrace amid pine, fir and downy oak trees overlooking the Valais Valley. Offerings come from the wood oven, giving food a forest-y flavour to embellish the setting. And there are some classic Swiss dishes for those not yet done with dairy.
The hotel will have various spaces for socialising over cocktails or a glass of Valais wine. In the lobby there’s a lounge which offers a vantage point for watching the piste goings-on above. By the pool and open-air cinema is a terrace with shaded tables where you can take smoothies and cocktails with a maximised mountain-range view. Each of the eateries will have a bar too: Byakko has exotically flavoured and sake-laced cocktails and on-theme music; and come dusk, tunes wheedle out from the Wild Cabin too, calling those with achy legs to rest them as they knock back a few colourful, floral concoctions or local wines.
In Wild Cabin, breakfast is from 7am to 11am, lunch 12 noon to 3pm, and dinner 6pm to 10.30pm. Byakko is open Tuesday to Sunday for dinner, from 6pm to 10pm.
Get intimately acquainted with those Alpine views by dining on your terrace – food and drink can be ordered 24 hours a day and the concierge can arrange grocery deliveries too.
The Cry d’Er gondola in Crans (right next to Montana), is the lift to the best skiing in the area, and Six Senses Crans-Montana is just above it. French Switzerland’s Valais Alps (from Mont Blanc to the Matterhorn) give peak views all around.
Sion Airport is the closest, just a 30-minute drive away from the resort, but it’s a little limited in routes, with arrivals from just Palma (seasonally), St-Tropez, Rome Fiumicino, Calvi and Figari. Otherwise fly into Geneva Airport (around a two-hour drive away); transfers are CHF600 each way and will take you round the rim of picturesque Lake Geneva. Milan Malpensa and Zurich airports are both around a three-hour drive away too.
Handily, there’s a direct train from Geneva Airport to Sierre station, from which you can ride the funicular to the resort. The journey takes around two hours, but it’ll fly by as you sit agog at the lacustrine and Alpine views. Or ask the hotel to pick you up (CHF150 one-way).
This is one of a few ski resorts where you don’t need a car to get around, so swap your wheels for skis, snowboots and gondolas. But, there is a car park onsite and valet parking for those driving in.
Worth getting out of bed for
Crans and Montana are two skis-in-a-pod resorts sitting side by side 1,500 metres above the Rhône Valley. The hotel itself is on the Crans side, just above the Cry d’Er gondola giving you ski-in, ski-out access to some of Switzerland’s most popular ‘champagne skiing’ trails. To take full advantage, visit the dedicated ski concierge, who can arrange lessons, lift passes, gear storage and even help you wax out any dinks or dry wet clothes post-piste. Between the two resorts, there are 140 kilometres of slopes for skiing and snowboarding at all levels, plus cross-country skiing across the mighty Plaine Morte glacier plateau. The Snowpark is an icy playground with an Olympic-sized half-pipe (plus some less-gnarly things to ride and glide over); groups can mush a pack of huskies on a dog-sled ride from the Crans-Montana station through Narnia-esque scenery; and the bold can try climbing up sheer frosted rock faces. And Snow Island is ideal for families, with snow-tubing, electric snowmobiles and a giant airbag to bash into. However, the region isn’t always this frosty (in fact it gets 300 days of sunshine a year), and when white melts into green there’s still many many things to see and do. Hike up the – sometimes vertiginous and rickety – pathways winding around the Grand bisse du Lens, then steady your nerves tasting the excellent wines (perhaps a fruity Chasselas, silky Cornalin or citrussy Petite Arvine), which have made Valais world-renowned. Horse riding is taken as seriously here in summer as skiing is in winter – as is golf – there are ranches where lessons and tours can be organised for the former, and three championship mountainous courses (Severiano Ballesteros, Jack Nicklaus and Crans-sur-Sierre) for the latter. There’s more mountaineering and paragliding for those with a head for heights – if not, take to the water, pedalo-ing, wake-boarding or waterskiing across Lake Grenon. Back at the hotel, spend some time getting back to sorts in the spa and biohack recovery lounge after an all-action hero day; make your own all-natural lotions, potions, shampoos, scrubs and more at the Alchemy Bar; get some environmentally friendly tips at the Earth Lab; and cosy up under a blanket on a bean-bag to watch a film alfresco on the roof terrace.
Alpine cuisine isn’t just the potatoes, mountain cheeses and bacon that keeps skiers and climbers rosy-cheeked – although there’s nothing more comforting to tuck into after a day on the slopes. Upscale – often vertiginously so – eateries, many Michelin-starred, put the abundance of summer-gleaned farm produce to use and lean heavily on Gallic decadence (foie gras, buttery steaks, escargots…). Fellow Smithster Hotel Chetzeron, a former gondola station, sits more than 2,000 metres up and makes the most of this position with huge window walls. Sit on the terrace and fill up on goat’s cheese tartelettes, beef in a raspberry balsamic and lemon sables. Restaurant Le Mont Blanc also offers the head-in-the-clouds experience and has very descriptive dish names: ‘fond memories of a family dinner’ (lamb, bottarga, curry herbs); ‘topless at the beach’ (veal breast, sage, courgette, pepper and black garlic); the ‘mouth full of chocolate’ (rich Bolivian chocolate with bourbon pepper). La Rôtisserie is more traditional, with foie gras and apricot chutney, sole Meunière, veal and beef in various sauces; and if you’re craving something from the Italian side of the Alps, head to Viva Voce for lemon-ricotta- and courgette-stuffed ravioli and truffle-y mafaldine, fresh fish dishes and singing-with-spirit rum babas. And, at some point you need to dip something in melted cheese – being the Swiss Alps, there are many iterations of their beloved signature dish to be found, but why not enjoy it while ascending over the peaks. Fondue in the Sky whisks you 2,000 metres up in the Roc d'Orsay-Villars gondola for a feast of Vaudois charcuterie, bread, wine and the dippy delight itself.
Le Constellation has a DJ, a 2am finish and shots, but also a fine selection of wines from Valais and Corsica and a sociable terrace; and Monki’s parties a touch harder with rainbow neons and dancing till late.
Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this contemporary chalet in the Crans-Montana ski resorts and unpacked their cashmere jumpers and crampons, a full account of their powdering up break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Six Senses Crans-Montana in Switzerland…
We’re patiently holding our breath for the arrival of Six Senses Crans-Montana later this year – the group’s first Swiss property, settled in the alternately snowy and lushly green Valais region in the French Alps. But, it’s ok, because there’ll be some of the purest mountain air to breathe when we inhale again and plenty more to gasp over. Surrounded by pine forest, yet close to high-end boutiques and acclaimed restaurants of the popular Crans resort, this ski-in/ski-out stay has a backdrop and foreground of glittering stony behemoths stretching from the Mont Blanc massif to the Matterhorn, access to some of the country’s most vaunted skiing for all abilities (just check in with the ski concierge), and a studded cloaking of stars across the Nendaz, winking over from the Four Vallées range across the Rhône. And there’ll be high life to be had within too, with a Japanese-inspired restaurant, where the cocktails are sake spiked and often surprising, an alfresco rooftop cinema, the Swiss’s cheesiest dishes, and an Alchemy Bar where you can mix up all-natural lotions and potions. But – as large as the mountains are tall – is the 2,000 square-metre spa: a cure-all with hot-and-cold circuits, flotation pods, a trio of saunas and much more in the name of traditional Alpine-style healing. While the ‘biohack recovery lounge’ uses compression boots, electromagnetic field therapy, light masks and VR tech to slalom any soreness away. An irresistible match of Six Senses hospitality; a lively pre-, during- and après-piste; and the Alps’ natural splendour: this one will be breathtaking.