1 — The Chedi, Andermatt, Switzerland
“The highest sublimation of all you can imagine in the way of Swiss scenery,” wrote Charles Dickens when he visited Andermatt in 1845. “Oh God! What a beautiful country it is!” Nevertheless, if you had visited a decade ago, the idea that Andermatt would top a list of luxury destinations would have been laughable. The thriving Victorian tourist trade had dried up after two world wars, and the town revolved instead around its large army garrison, sited here to guard the strategic crossroads of three key Alpine passes, the Furka, the Gotthard and the Oberalp. But in the new millennium the army pulled out, leaving the town at risk of depopulation and economic collapse.
Step forward Samih Sawiris, a multimillionaire Egyptian property developer, who bought the disused barracks and developed a grand plan to turn it into a year-round luxury resort — a mix of hotels and apartments, with skiing in winter, golf in summer. The Chedi, which opened in 2013, is the project’s pièce de résistance — a lavish, 123-room, five-star hotel, moments from the celebrated north-facing ski slopes of the Gemsstock.
Many scoffed when the ambitious plans were first mooted but now the hotel is by far the most rated by our panel. “I’ll stick my neck out and say the Chedi Andermatt is the best luxury ski hotel in the world,” says Michael Bennett of Ski Independence. “Breathtaking public spaces, incredible rooms and an exceptional spa, plus world-class dining, ski butlers and a cheese sommelier to guide you through their 5m-high cheese cellar.” CHF500 (£388); thechediandermatt.com
2 — Deplar Farm, near Siglufjördur, Iceland
Near the tip of the Troll peninsula, in Iceland’s far north, Siglufjördur is a sleepy fishing town where snow-covered trawlers rust on the dockside and the main attraction is the herring museum. And yet nestling among the mountains to the south of town is a former sheep farm that recently…