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What makes a world-class ski resort? Is it the quality of the slopes, the stunning views or the array of dining options?

Sandy Ip, founder of Japan-based ski wear boutique ‘The Ski Project’, shares her top-pick ski resorts around the world with us, complete with recommendations on the most luxurious places to stay.

Niseko, Japan

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The fine, powdery snow brings people back year after year, making Niseko one of the top ski resorts in the Asia-Pacific region. The delicious Japanese cuisine will satisfy you off the slopes, while the short flight time makes it one of the most accessible ski resorts from Hong Kong.

Stay: AYA Niseko is the resort’s most recent addition, opening its doors in December 2016. The ski-in-ski-out condominium-hotel is home to 79 luxury serviced apartments. Architect Koichi Ishiguro used the AYA weaving technique to blend the hotel with its natural surroundings and maximise views of the stunning Mount Yotei from the floor-to-ceiling windows around the entire hotel.

Megeve, France

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Although the resort was built in the 1920s, the medieval town centre still remains with cobbled streets bursting with delicious local cuisine (it’s home to the only three-Michelin-starred chef in the Alps) and fine French boutiques, making you feel like you’ve stepped back in time.

Stay: Le Fermes de Marie channels the town’s old-world medieval charm in nine luxurious chalets. It’s everything you ever dreamt a ski lodge would be--exposed wooden beams, cosy fireplaces, fur-adorned four-poster beds and, of course, extensive spa facilities and outdoor jacuzzis for a steamy dip against the backdrop of Mont Blanc.

Courchevel, France

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Considered one of France’s best ski slopes, Courchevel is part of the Le Trois Vallees. It’s the largest linked ski area in the world, meaning you’ll never have to ski the same run twice. The luxury resort offers a great selection of exquisite fine-dining: make sure you check out Mykonos Nammos, which has recently opened a branch.

Stay: Owned by French snowsport entrepreneur Laurent Boix-Vives, Le Strato fuses modern art and design with the traditional ski chalet aesthetic, creating a stylish but comfortable retreat for you off the slopes. A mountain view spa and in-house Michelin-starred restaurant Baumanière 1850 will keep you from wanting to leave.

St. Moritz, Switzerland

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Having hosted the Winter Olympics twice, the small town of St. Moritz also has a well-reputed Apres-Ski scene for those who like to party hard off the slopes. The beautiful frozen lake is ideal for a variety of extra snow-sport events like polo, cricket and ice skating.

Stay: Survetta House is a fairytale castle nestled in the Swiss Alps, with one of the most impressive landscapes of any resort. In-person wake-up calls, 24-hour room service, shoe shine service and an on-site florist are just some of the extra touches this hotel provides in going the extra mile. Not content to just care for you in the hotel, they also have three off-site mountain lodges for you to eat and relax while you ski.

(Photos courtesy of AYA Niseko, Le Fermes de Marie, Le Strato and Survetta House)

Get in touch with nature at these 5 luxury wilderness resorts for a snowy winter escape.

Tags: Luxury Travel, Ski, Snow Sports, Leisure, Sandy Ip, Ski Resorts