No quotes yet because the lodge is new.
Dazzling designer ski lodge in the Italian Milky Way
Low & mid season: €9,800 whole chalet self-catered/€16,600 catered; Peak: €19,500 s/c and €26,400 catered
Pragelato, nr Sestriere, Italy
Sleeps: 12 + 6
Chalets in Italy are like fairy dust, and Baita 1697 stands alone as an exquisitely designed luxury ski chalet in Italy’s Piedmontese Alps. It also comes with unbeatable celebrity credentials. Jamie Oliver has stayed and said it was his best chalet experience ever, and a certain top model has also enjoyed its deep comfort and stylish surrounds.
This luxury Italian ski chalet combines serious style with rustic chic. It is owned and designed by an internationally acclaimed interior designer and has been featured in Architectural Digest, no less. The lodge has a stunning open plan living and dining area under cosy exposed 17th century stone vaults, divided by a glass staircase with a giant waterfall of lights descending from the second floor.
Everywhere there is deep style — sheepskin-adorned Perspex chairs sit around a handmade fold-out wooden table in the dining area, while the kitchen table is a huge root from the local national park with a glass sheet on top. This sits under a 400-year-old wooden and stone ceiling, and there is a super-modern high gloss, white lacquer cabinet and rough plastered walls, typically mixing the old with new and traditional with modern.
There are six beautifully styled double bedroom suites in this Italian ski chalet, all with unique art and carpentry sourced locally as well as from China, Burma, Bhutan and Mongolia. Bathrooms are all lavish and spacious, with one room having its own giant copper stand-alone bath.
The children’s dorm has six roll-out mattresses, each with their own coloured bedside light.
There is a full set of full-size Ortigia bathroom products in each of the bathrooms, and robes and slippers are supplied in each room.
Baita 1697 is a fully catered ski chalet. Bianca and Pietro are a delightful local couple who look after the house between them, and Bianca is the cook — and wow, how she cooks. Forget fiddly, Michelin-style dishes: she does utterly delicious, honest Italian food. When I stayed, on the first night I dined on a meltingly good venison stew with polenta followed by a huge tray of possibly the best tiramisu I have ever tasted.
The following night began with fantastic little pizza bites beside the fire, washed down by cocktails specially prepared by Pietro, then we moved to the table and on to burrata with sweet tomatoes and fresh basil, then a vast cauldron of home-made minestrone followed by a pile of nutty ragu on a mound of fresh pasta, culminating in a slow-cooked leg of beef which just fell away from the bone, served with roasted pumpkin. An enormous cheeseboard was then brought out, and the evening was completed beside the fire again with chocolate truffles and ginger bread biscuits. All just divine.
Pietro and Bianca are also complete wine lovers and are educated to sommelier standard, so there is an extensive wine list including excellent house wines and anything can be arranged in advance.
There is an outdoor wooden hot tub on the roof terrace that seats eight people and has a stunning view over Monte Banchetta. This luxury chalet also has trained osteopaths, massage therapists and physiotherapists on hand.
There is a dorm-style room which is perfect for children to share, and one of the double bedrooms is often used as a kids’ room too. There is a large wall-to-wall desk and bookcase in this room, as well as an open fire and a dvd/bluray player. The chalet also has an abundance of toys and board games, mostly for younger children.
The divine interiors of this luxury, designer ski chalet — oh, and the fact that it is in Italy!
The lighting in the bedrooms is rather sophisticated and a little dim so make sure you have it explained by Bianca or Pietro, otherwise you will be stumbling around in the dark! You just have to hold the switches down to make them brighter.
This luxury ski chalet is walkable to the main cable car which connects the hamlet of Pragelato to the Milky Way ski area at Sestriere. There are also excellent off-piste slopes in the hamlet and the Olympic cross-country piste. Baita 1697 is at the foot of the main mountain of the Milky Way and has a breath-taking view from the rooftop and various other viewpoints of the mountain. The hamlet can be reached by car, then there is a 20 metre walk down a path to get to the lodge.
Transfers can be arranged at an extra cost by the lodge. The nearest airport is Turin or Cuneo. Milan is the next closest.