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Sleeping at the bottom of the slopes is good, but staying at the top is even better. From converted refuges to observatories,  here are five of the highest hotels in Europe.

Photo: Kulmhotel

Photo: Pic du Midi CREDIT Luc Perrot

Pic du Midi Observatory Hotel - La Mongie, France

From £350 per night

The Pyrenees are often overlooked by British skiers, but if you want a stunning, high altitude stay, they don’t get much better than the Pic du Midi Observatory Hotel. To get here, you need to climb the Col de Tourmalet (a name that will be instantly familiar to cycling fans, as it regularly features on the Tour de France) and ride a two-stage cable car up. At the top, you’ll find a magical place to stay, with comfy rooms, multiple telescopes and a brand new planetarium. On the way down, you can ski the pistes, but you also have the option of one of the best backcountry descents in France. Catch this on a powder day and it beats almost anything in the Alps.

Photo: Cabane Mont Fort

Cabane Mont Fort - Verbier, Switzerland

From £70 per night

Undergoing a major refurbishment in summer 2023, the venerable Cabane Mont Fort will start this winter with a new lease of life and two new guardiens: Audrey Galas & Fabien Navilloux. Built in 1925, in what was then a remote spot 2,457m above sea level, the Cabane now has a major piste running past its front door, but it’s lost none of its traditional charm. In the daytime, the sun terrace is full of passing skiers enjoying the excellent food and unrivalled view over the Dents du Midi. But it’s the sunsets—when the pistes empty out, and overnight guests have the place to themselves—that make this place truly special. 

Photo: Refuge de Solaise

Refuge de Solaise - Val d’Isère, France

From £300 per night

Perched 2,551m up at the top of the Solaise gondola, in the middle of the luxury resort of Val d’Isère, lies the highest hotel in France. Formerly a cable car station, the building was extensively refurbished and re-opened as the Refuge de Solaise in 2019. The views are spectacular, and the interiors are gorgeous, with exposed wooden beams, stone walls, and tartan carpets. As you’d expect from what is effectively now a five-star hotel, the facilities are second to none, with a fully-equipped spa, and a 25m swimming pool. Not bad, given you’re at the top of the piste, with some of the world’s best skiing on your doorstep. 

Photo: Kulmhotel

Kulmhotel Gornergrat - Zermatt, Switzerland

From £510 per night

Built on a steep-sided ridge with a breathtaking view of the Matterhorn, the Gornergrat Observatory has been welcoming visiting astronomers for more than 100 years. At 3,100m above sea level, it’s also home to the highest hotel in Switzerland. By day, the mountainscapes are stunning, but it’s when the stars come out at night that the Gornergrat Hotel really comes into its own. Guests are welcome to join in the astronomical observations, with regular star-gazing sessions laid on. Whether you want to stare out at distant galaxies, or you’re attracted by the unparalleled access to the slopes of the Zermatt-Cervinia ski area, you won’t forget a stay at the Gornergrat in a hurry.

Photo: Glacier Hotel Granwand

Glacier Hotel Grawand - Val Senales, Italy

From £100 per night

This is Europe’s highest hotel, at 3,212m above sea level. Tucked in just beneath the eponymous peak, the Grawand offers spectacular views over the upper reaches of the Senales valley (aka Schnalstal) in Süd-Tirol, the German-speaking part of Italy. If you’re a keen skier, you’ll appreciate the instant access to a large network of snow-sure pistes and a huge amount of backcountry terrain, including some of Italy’s best glacier descents. But you don’t need to be an expert to stay here: the hotel is easily reached by the glacier cable car, which is undergoing a full refurbishment in summer 2023.

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