While most people have barely packed away the flip-flops and swimwear of summer, winter is fast approaching, and with it the last remaining reservations for prime winter ski weekends. This year, a new crop of destination hotels are arriving in some familiar locations like Gstaad and Chamonix, as well as a full revamp of New Mexico's Taos Mountain Resort and all-new The Blake that may have some rethinking another year in Park City or Vail. In Aspen, it seems like Residences at The Little Nell just debuted in 2009 but it's already getting a glam refresher by interior designer Barbara Mullen, of Aspen's Caroline-Edwards, set to debut for its first winter season.
In the French Alps, Courchevel has benefited from a decade of growth and regular star sightings, from the King of Morocco to Kate Moss. This year, the former-Byblos will become known as Hotel Barriére Les Neiges - a spin-off of the iconic Cannes property. The 42-room, ski-in/ski-out resort near the Bellecôte piste will be decked out in posh Ember woods with après-ski lounge and Patagonian-inspired restaurant by Argentine chef Mauro Colagreco. Not the only hotel in 1850 getting a redo, Hotel Kilimanjaro becomes Le K2 Altitude while Aman's Le Mélézin - the brand's only ski resort, will also show-off an all new look for its December reopening.
Outside of Courchevel, many ski resorts are opting for more playful brands in lieu of uber-luxury hotels. In Gstaad, coziness is paramount at new Huus Hotel (pictured) that feels more like a collegiate clubhouse with its woolen plaids, farm-to-table eatery and dark wood paneled windows facing the Bernese Alps. In Chamonix, RockyPop is a new hotel/hostel with rooms that can sleep up to 12-revelers amid a commune of pop-art décor, movie theater, barbershop and ski shop that's like a little Ace Hotel in the Alps. Now it's time to get booking, and fast, as many of the world's top ski hotels are already fully-booked for prime New Year's and long holiday weekends through late-March.