It is hard not to feel like a character in a film when you’re in the Alps, swimming in an underground pool lit by crystal chandeliers. Or lounging in outdoor Jacuzzis and under fur rugs on an enormous Alpine terrace, with immaculate staff on the sidelines waiting to pour you a glass of Champagne the moment you look even remotely thirsty.
And really, we wouldn’t expect anything less from the world’s most expensive chalet. Set on the slopes of Oberlech in Austria, Chalet N is a private house with all the amenities of a six-star hotel but with none of the other annoying guests. It aims to provide its clients with every luxury imaginable, the downside of which is that it is rather difficult to make yourself leave this cocoon of pleasure and do any actual skiing.
Each of the 11 suites comes with its own fireplace, dozens of candles, thick rugs, a terrace and the most comfortable beds you’ve ever slept in. There are three televisions in every suite (including one at the end of your bath) but the views across the slopes from your bed are far more appealing.
Once you’ve forced yourself out of bed and downstairs in the morning, you’ll find a breakfast spread of homemade smoothies, charcuterie, cheese and every type of egg — oh, and a man clutching a giant white truffle, ready to add shavings of it to any unattended plate of food.
After breakfast, it is one floor down to the boot room, complete with underfloor heating and velvet cushions, and — for those of you getting pangs about leaving all this luxury for the great outdoors — a lift that whips you from the changing room straight onto the slopes.
And, of course, the skiing is also VIP. The resort limits day passes, so you rarely have to queue or ski around hundreds of fellow snow bunnies. And your pass gives you access to the whole of the Arlberg, all the way to St Anton and St Christoph, which are connected via a series of ski lifts.
It is back to the Bond lair for lunch on the extraordinary terrace with its 180-degree views of the mountains and the village of Lech below. And while staying here undoubtedly feels like being thrust onto a film set with an unusually high budget, the Austrian charm of a traditional chalet is also alive and well. Guests are encouraged to discuss individual meal plans with the talented chefs in advance, but we would recommend having at least one typically Austrian meal, complete with good local wine.
After lunch, groups tend to divide — most afternoons in the Alps are spent skiing, but when you are staying in the most expensive chalet in the world, you have to weigh up the choice between going back on the slopes and the absurd levels of luxury you’ll experience if you don’t. Because the snow will be there next year but Chalet N may not, people tend to swap their ski boots for a towelling robe and a trip to the spa.
From vast pools and vibrating water beds to Swarovski-encrusted showers and a traditional sauna and steam room, it is easy to lose many an hour in this grown-up’s playground. This is helped by the fact there are therapists on hand to ply you with massages, facials, manicures and pedicures. Outside there are two Jacuzzis that must vie for the most romantic spot on earth, each facing the Arlberg mountain range and surrounded by candles from sunset.
Drinks are in the mirrored 1920s bar followed by dinner in either the dining room or the astonishingly well-stocked wine cellar. And after a four-course meal worthy of any high-end city restaurant, you can choose between a screening at the downstairs cinema, a night of drinking and dancing, or simply to get back into one of those wonderful beds.
Which means that Chalet N would actually be a terrible place for a Bond villain. All that luxury leads to such intense relaxation, you can barely decide whether to drink your Champagne in front of an open fire or on the terrace under millions of stars, let alone whether to destroy the world or not.
Chalet N is available from 21 November to 24 April and prices range from €150,000 to €490,000 a week. This includes all meals, selected spirits, Champagnes and fine wines, ski passes, airport transfers and certain spa treatments.