Chalet Chineur

It is amazing how our demands change as life becomes more equitable and comfortable. If you do nothing else this week (apart, of course, from booking a week at Ski Verbier’s decorative, sumptuous Chalet Chineur, but we’ll get to that in a minute) take a look at Maslow’s hierarchy of needs on Wikipedia, which remains as relevant now to life as it was when first posited in 1943. Abraham Maslow viewed humans as impossible to satisfy: our needs rise in line with the means to achieve, to consume, or to be cosseted.

Everyone has expectations when they arrive at their point of destination. Maybe you’re 19 years old, staying one-star, eating banana pancakes on a beach in Bali. But as you get older, the meaning of the little luxuries, and their relevance to your travel experience, get included into your own personal hierarchy of needs – you want them, look forward to them, need them, expect them. And when you don’t get them, resentment can creep in. It’s virtually impossible to cater to everyone’s tastes – this writer always dreams of little and very cold bottles Perrier waiting in hotel minibars at the end of long flights, but how would anyone know that? – but you can only do the best you can.

Now, lets transfer this tale and loop it back to the alpine, winter life, and to Chalet Chineur. For if it’s hard to cater to hotel dwellers, it’s doubly difficult to meet the expectations of those who have spent – lets face it – a not inconsiderable chunk of change to secure an entire slab of mountain for a week.

There’s no doubt that chalets are the way forward, whether you’re skiing for a week in winter, hiking or cycling for a week in summer, or just planning on living it up surrounded by some of the grandest views planet Earth has to offer. They just do it for you. Once you stay there, particularly if you’re in situ for a few days, you never want to go back to a solitary, stuffy minibar-d room.

Chalet Chineur is a great example of how to get a chalet right – and how to meet Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, and raise it. The little things help: you’re met off the cable car by a driver, who chugs you up the steep hills in Verbier to your home-from-home. Ski Verbier’s drivers are always around, 24/7, whether you need a lift to the cable cars in the morning, or to be conveyed back from the kebab shop at 3am.

Now lets check out our own hierarchy. First, sleep. Chalet Chineur is spread over three floors, sleeping eight guests in four bedrooms, each of which is exquisitely and individually decorated. The owner, an English antiques dealer, keeps many of his most compelling – and mysterious and exotic – items here, collared from all over the world. Thus, when you’re of a mind of stopping to watch the woods around you fill up with snow, you can inure yourself in the warmth of the 18th Century granite fireplace in the main sitting room, adorned with Post-impressionist paintings.

Nor is Chalet Chineur merely a retreat for those who love their luxury packaged in the past. There is an old-style edge to the furniture and the ambience, to be sure, but this isn’t just a place for men who like a nice cardigan and ladies who smother in fur. It’s also, in its own way, pretty funky – on bright, sunny days, and goodness knows there are enough of those here in the southern Swiss Alps, guests can enjoy a glass of champagne on the spacious terrace or soak aching muscles in the outdoor hot tub and take in the unbelievable views.

Second: food. All of Ski Verbier’s chalets are catered, so you always have a full and hearty meal waiting for you and your loved ones when you come in, aching, at the end of a long day on the slopes or hills. A professional chef and Chalet Chineur’s dedicated staff ensure you don’t have to lift a finger. The Savoleyre lift station is just a two-minute chauffeured drive away, with Medran and the new high speed chair at Carrefour five minutes down the road.
The final hierarchy level is communication. Even when we’re away from home, we want to be back there. Thus, Chalet Chineur comes equipped with high-speed wifi, flat-screen TV’s in every room, a Nintendo Wii with a chunky assembly of games, and an iPad. There’s also a parking space in the underground garage for your personal use that offers direct access to the chalet.

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Elliot Wilson is a freelance business and finance writer specialising in markets including China, India, Russia, and Africa. He has worked as a journalist in Beijing, Mumbai, London and Hong Kong. He also contributes to Stylebible and Skibible offering luxury travel reviews.

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