The W arrives in Verbier
by Fraser Wilkin, 18th December 2013
First impressions... Ambitious as it may have seemed, the W Verbier has proved that it is possible to successfully integrate a world-famous urban brand into a traditional Alpine resort.
No overtly showy exterior here, just an understated chalet-style building blending seamlessly into its mountain environment. Only once inside do you really get a proper feel for the W label and the unbridled luxuries it has to offer.
Some modern luxury hotel rooms can end up feeling cold by attempting to be too minimalist. The W Verbier, however, has the balance between cutting edge and cosy just right. Bright and spacious (even the entry level rooms are 36m²), the décor is quirky but tasteful, with all mod-cons (including a state of the art home entertainment system) but just enough traditional touches to remind you that you are still in the Alps.
While undeniably sumptuous, the spa at the brand new W Verbier is less elaborate than some of its competitors, but all the more classy as a result. Its fabulous indoor-outdoor pool is the main focus, but you will also find a large jacuzzi, a range of saunas and steam rooms and, of course, every conceivable massage and treatment.
The dining experience at the W Verbier could not be more different to that of a traditional 5 star Swiss hotel. The atmosphere is buzzy and informal, but in no way belies the quality of the food -inspired by 2 star Michelin chef Sergi Arolla whose “Pica Pica” restaurant can be best described as an upmarket tapas bar with an Alpine twist. The dishes on offer are outstandingly creative and make a refreshing contrast to the usual (heavier) half board hotel set up.
Of all its positive attributes, it’s the staff in the W Verbier that impressed me most. In many 5 star hotels the approach is too formal, and the end result overbearing. Here they’ve got the balance just right – professional but relaxed, eager but never intrusive. This is a place where the personnel will genuinely engage with you - not something you can say about many luxury hotels.
The first W hotel to hit the Alps is a resounding success and will surely only go from strength to strength.
It works because it is in the right environment. The W is an A-list brand and Verbier is an A-list resort, with a well-heeled, relatively young clientele. Given its size and profile, Verbier has always been short on high end luxury hotels and the W fills an obvious gap. With its prime location at the base of the Medran lift (they even had a piste redirected so that you can ski to the door) the W Verbier will also become the natural focus of the resort.
It seems they have got everything just right.
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