Exclusivity in the Alps has been taken to dizzying new heights with the exceptional accommodation and services offered by Chalet N Oberlech, as discovered Andrew Forbes.
Available for exclusive rental, the fabulously glamorous Chalet N promises superior service aligned to the exacting standards of elite guests. The property’s beautiful timber alpine architecture (reflecting the classic Austrian ‘voralberger’ lodge style), discretely envelopes a world of ultra-luxury. It’s said this is the most expensive chalet in the world.
Tailored, bespoke experience
A dedicated, attentive team take care of every detail; guests have private butlers; there are ski instructors and guides are on hand throughout the day; a personal trainer is available in the private gym; whilst wellness therapists await guests in the spa.
Thoughtfully decorated living spaces; dining rooms; wine cellar with tasting area; fondue room; private cinema, mountain view terraces and balconies; and a hotel-quality spa and gym are all part of the Chalet’s design.
Of course, expect magical Alpine guest accommodation including a spectacular owner’s suite.
There are 5 further individually furnished guest suites,a further 3 double bedrooms; as well as a children’s suite with beds for 4 youngsters and a room for a nanny.
A dedicated, attentive team take care of every detail
The feeling of being in a James Bond movie goes beyond just the style and glamour of Chalet N Oberlech; it extends to the high-tech security too. Personal safety is ensured thanks to a combination of technology, trained personnel and smart design features – guests can bring their own security detail or the Chalet can provide specialists. Discreet security cameras, communications and even bullet proof windows will allow even the most high-profile guests and their family to enjoy a relaxing winter holiday with peace of mind.
The scenery changed as we gained altitude; the green of the valley had been replaced with the brightness of fresh snow. We had made swift progress as the car navigated the hairpin bends and mountain tunnels of the final few kilometres before arriving in Oberlech, in the Austrian Alps. Earlier I had arrived at Zurich airport, and the elegant uniformed driver from Chalet N had been waiting for me, ready to whisk me the few hours’ drive to the beauty and tranquillity of the mountains and the seclusion of Chalet N.
Guests are provided private airport transfers in the Chalet’s Range Rover, (or a limousine) from Munich, Innsbruck or Zürich airports. Private jets can also fly into Altenrhein and sometimes Friedrichshafen in Germany from where guests can take a helicopter to the nearby helipad at Zürs, just 10 minutes’ drive from Chalet N Oberlech.
Lech in the Austrian Alps has long been a winter sports destination for discerning travellers seeking exceptional ski conditions, world-class infrastructure, and yet also an understated elegance – without the brashness of some of Europe’s busier ski resorts. Little wonder it’s consistently a favourite with A-listers, royalty, and those that prefer a winter holiday in a stunning location, yet also one where security, discretion and privacy are assured.
That’s most definitely the case at Chalet N – this mountain refuge is available for private rental throughout the winter season. Standing on the expansive terrace sipping a welcome glass of vintage champagne, feeling the fresh, dry mountain air, I became mesmerized by the privileged views out across the piste to the mountains beyond. The terrace was warmly furnished with elegant sofas and chairs covered with thick furs and soft throws.
In the near distance I heard the skiers descending and the gentle bubbling of the outside spa jacuzzi on the terrace below.
The village of Lech is few kilometres drive or hike from the chalet which is found in Oberlech, an exclusive mountain hamlet that’s home to some of the finest chalets and lodges in the area – yet few if any compare to Chalet N.
This extraordinary mountain retreat captures the charm and magic of a classic Alpine chalet; and although the property extends over a generous 3800 m², (together with a further 1000 m² of spa and wellness area), it feels cosy, warm and welcoming, thanks to stunning interiors by landau + kindelbacher.
natural textures; the sparkle of crystal; the allure of silk & velvet
Reclaimed wood and pine is found throughout, together with natural stone including Pietra Piasentina, creating a warm and comforting aesthetic, that harmonises perfectly with the bespoke interiors. A palette of soft greys, crisp whites and earthy tones convey style and tranquillity; whilst the exceptional quality of finishes and the designer detailing reminds one that this is a very special home. The combination of natural materials and textures with the sparkle of crystal, and the allure of silk and velvet creates a captivating ambiance of luxury.
The attentive team is of course uniformed, wearing tailored garments with Austrian cultural references.
Each guest suite promises exceptional levels of comfort, where design and aesthetic harmonise to create a space where every conceivable detail has been considered.
My name is written beside my suite door. With a swipe of the digital card the richly textured pine door swings open. An entrance vestibule leads to a spacious living room with gas flame fireplace, deep sofa and stylish leather chairs. Floor to ceiling terrace windows open onto a large balcony terrace overlooking the slopes and mountains.
My luggage was of course already waiting for me in my room; the lamps lit, adding an early evening warmth. The suite was spacious yet through thoughtful designed interiors, felt cosy and welcoming.
Fresh flowers, a carefully prepared fruit bowl, and a wooden box of handmade chocolate truffles were placed on the table. Sitting on the mirror glass console in the entrance vestibule was a vintage style hot water urn, beside which was a tea tray and a box of gourmet teas.
Don’t expect a mini-bar; here each room has a ‘maxi-bar’ – a fully stocked bar with full-size bottles, including French Champagne, local and international wines, as well as sprits and Fiji water.
The timeless elegance of the interior design continued in the bedroom with the luxurious bed dressed in fine linens. At each side stood stylish contemporary Venetian style mirrored nightstands.
Guests’ initials are embroidered on the pillow cases before arrival, capturing the level of personalisation at this very special chalet. In fact, the level of personalisation is set by the guests. Some prefer family photos set up in the rooms, and their own grooming products and cosmetics put out in the bathroom. In short, for your week or two rentals, Chalet N Oberlech is your home-from-home.
The wardrobes are furnished with all the details one might expect from an exclusive hotel, from clothes and shoe brushes to a spa bag, slippers and robes – all bespoke with the elegant Chalet N Oberlech crest.
A designer egg bath tub is found in the corner; and a double vanity covers one other all – amenities are by Bulgari and include everything from gels to lip balms and cleansers.
The separate W.C. is a Japanese style bidet toilet; adjacent to the large walk-in shower.
There was an abundance of thick towels, each embroidered with the Chalet N Oberlech crest.
Afternoon tea is always prepared for guests, including home cooked treats, as well sandwiches, cheeses, and cold cuts. Perfect with a warming cup of hot chocolate after a rewarding day in the mountains.
The evening began with cocktails at the bar – the mixologist creating whatever guests desired.
Then we took our seats for dinner – a gourmet evening in the chalet’s elegant dining room. The table, set with polished silverware and sparkling glassware, was decorated with antlers.
a showcase of the head chef’s talent
With a fully-staffed kitchen, guests at Chalet N Oberlech can expect a gastronomic experience. My stay commenced with a gala dinner; a showcase of the talent of the head chef and the polished service levels of the team (plates were brought to the table by waiters wearing pristine white gloves).
A beautifully presented smoked egg with black garlic began the meal that continued with tortelli stuffed with veal; halibut with lime mint cream; and exceptional wagyu beef with spinach leaves.
Wines were chosen by the sommelier from the chalet’s impressive cellar. In addition, tasting can be offered in the wine cellar, as well as intimately private dining.
Every evening felt like an occasion. Post dinner can mean digestives at the bar, or dancing on the terrace; or a movie in the private cinema.
Breakfast was presented with equal flair as dinner the night before. Attention to detail, style and quality were first class – from the beautifully prepared plates of fruit, cheese and cold cuts to the freshly made eggs benedict.
The kitchen is on hand to prepare whatever you want; readying you for a day on the slopes.
Lunch is also available – or alternatively the kitchen can prepare a gourmet packed lunch.
Guests enjoy the privileges of an Arlberg ski pass (as well as ski equipment if necessary prepared and stored in the heated ski-room). The surrounding ski area encompasses Lech Zürs and Warth-Schröckenhere – offering some of the finest intermediate skiing in the world. What’s more the recent new lifts connecting to St Anton have opened an additional 160km of slopes.
Chalet N Oberlech works with High Zürs, who offer professional and experienced guides and tutors such as Hannes and Marika who are very familiar with the chalet and the discretion demanded by guests.
In addition to all the winter sports activities on offer in the Arlberg mountain region, guests can also indulge in the spa.
The Spa & Gym
I spent an afternoon in the spa – it’s exceptional. On a scale of a hotel wellness area, Chalet N’s spa is a gem. Dark stone walls, honey-coloured pine ceilings, cream linen seating with abundant cushions create a relaxing area to chill out.
At its centre is the emerald green pool. Lying face up, floating in the water I studied the spectacular light installation hanging from the ceiling above. Like crystal stalactites, the illuminated tubes conveyed a unique ambiance – each detail is bespoke. The treatment rooms, include a lavish twin treatment room for couple’s massages.
Enjoy the ice cave, salt-cave or steam bath; or take a Finnish sauna – and afterwards take a rinse in the designer shower, surrounded by Swarovski crystals.
On the terrace outside is a large whirlpool, with uninterrupted views of the slopes. It’s an unforgettable experience to be almost submerged in the hot, bubbling water, the steam rising around you, as skiers whizz by below.
If taking to the slopes isn’t enough, well there is also a gym, equipped with machines and weights as well as an innovative electrical muscular stimulation suit – yes of course, I tried it! The tight-fitting garments are hooked up to a device that can stimulate and contract muscles over 35,000 times, making a 10-minute workout the equivalent to a full gym session!
After all, at Chalet N Oberlech nothing is too much to ask
My short stay at Chalet N was one I will not forget. This refined world of ultra-luxury is a snapshot of a billionaire’s lifestyle, where privacy, discretion and security are matched by totally personalised service.
Chalet N Oberlech is the private ski lodge of billionaire René Benko, founder of the SIGNA property and retail conglomerate, said to be the largest privately real estate business in Austria. The property is thought to have be named after his wife Nathalie, and is built with the needs of the elite in mind, so expect to pay between 210,000 and 490,000 euro a week for exclusive use of the property during the winter ski season. But that does include gourmet meals, prepared by the chef to your exacting standards, a selection of champagnes, fine wines and spirits, selected spa treatments, ski passes, airport transfers and the wonderful staff.
Chalet N Oberlech
A-6764 Lech, Austria
Tel: +43 (0) 5583 37 9 00 or +43 (0) 664 881 388 39