“In the depth of winter I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer.” – Albert Camus
They say that you’re either a summer or a winter person. For the longest time, I’ve been a summer person and spent years trying to chase summers all-year round.
But as I’d gotten older, I realised that winter isn’t so bad either. And while I still naturally veer towards summer, I find that having a balance and good mix of both seasons is what works for me.
Be it scuba diving in the Maldives or skiing in Niseko, both kinds of holidays serve its purpose: we are all familiar with that feeling of being rejuvenated and having that extra skip in our walk when we get back to our normal lives. The souvenir golden tan doesn’t hurt either.
So how does one go around chasing winters or summers? I have a personal theory which can be summed up using marine creatures. A random idea but trust me, it will make sense.
Starfish vs Salmon
The way I see it, there are two types of people when it comes to indulging one’s favourite seasons and summer / winter destinations:
You’re one of those who believe in just sitting back and allowing the seasons to come and go.
You relish the seasons as they are. When summer comes around, you take delight in the sunshine and head to the nearest beach. And when winter comes rolling in, you welcome the cold, don’t complain and just snuggle up in your warmest clothes. You take this chance to head up to a ski resort within the area and enjoy your yearly snowventure.
And the cycle repeats when spring and summer comes.
These kinds of people are happy where they are, knowing that the seasons will come and go to them even when they stay put.
Much like salmon swimming upstream, these kinds of people go against the current / seasons.
Perhaps its the novelty of being different, or maybe they just love certain seasons so much that they are more than happy to travel the world for it.
These people are ‘season hunters’ be it summer or winter. They love to escape seasons by going somewhere cold during the heat of summer, and heading to summer destinations in the cold of winter.
If you are a ‘salmon’, then you do not believe in simply waiting for the earth’s orbit around the sun. You believe in being the master of your own weather. If you feel like summer, you will escape winter and go to an island or resort destination. Come back home with a golden tan while the rest of your friends shake off their envy shivering in their parkas and coats.
The Two Kinds of Getaway
So now that we’ve established the two kinds of travellers by the season, let’s explore the two kinds of getaway you can take during winter or summer.
Whether you are escaping or relishing a season, these destinations are so dreamy and inviting, you will want to head there be it during summer or winter.
Ski / Winter Getaway in Avoriaz, France
To skiing aficionados, this is probably common knowledge but I just found out that between France and Switzerland lies Portes du Soleil. Comprising of 12 resorts and spanning 650 kilometres of ski area, it is one of the largest ski areas in the world.
A little bit of history: Skiing in France really took off during the first ever Winter Olympics in Chamonix in 1924. The olympics resulted in many Brits coming over to France for ski holidays. It was at this time that the ski villages of Chamonix and Val d’Isere began to really grow as holiday destinations.
Over the next decades, France became really more established as a skiing destination, and in the 1960’s many purpose-built resorts were constructed in the country.
Among these resorts, Avoriaz is deemed one of the best designed with an ideal location in the middle of Portes du Soleil.
Avoriaz is ideal for a family skiing destination as it offers varied terrain, from skiing down broad, open valleys to running through the trees on pistes.
Despite its high altitude location, the resort is generally sunny with the slopes offering shade. The location of Avoriaz being above 1,100 metres above sea level also guarantees that the area is covered in snow from December through April, with 8 metres of snow as average every winter.
Booking a Winter Getaway with the Help of Experts
Based on personal experience, booking a winter getaway is not exactly the most simple process. For a novice winter ‘holiday-er’ like me, there’s many things to consider – like ski wear / equipment hire, ski lift and passes, lessons, transportation , etc.
When I booked my first family ski / winter getaway (and this was just at Perisher Valley, NSW!) I spent many hours deliberating which ski passes to get and which ones offered the best value for money etc. Also, because we were comprised of 3 families (because winter is no fun when you’re not huddled together for warmth right??), it also took a while to figure out which type of accommodation was best for us.
While it was fun to look at the different options, it was a little intimidating when it came time to actually choose which passes and accommodation to book.
As the designated travel planner in the family (and I’m not exactly a complete beginner when it came to booking travel), I still remember wishing I had a team of experts to help me narrow down my choices.
The Oxford Ski Company is a specialist luxury travel agency founded by Rupert Longsdon in 1998. Along with their Director Mark Gibbins, and their specialist team, they have been providing tailor-made skiing holidays.
They are a close-knit team who live and breathe skiing. Their team members have personally visited and inspected each of their chalets, lodges and luxury hotels. This ensures that they offer you the best advice suited to your personal situation.
Whether it is a family or a group holiday, their goal is to remove the stress in booking holidays as they have done the hard work for you. It sounds cliche but all one needs to do is send them an email or a phone call detailing your personal needs / schedule. This will get your itinerary and holiday plans snowballing (pun intended).
Luxury Ski Chalets
I love that the Oxford Ski Company have personally selected their chalets and hotels. If you look at their accommodation selection, all the properties are carefully and tastefully curated. The dilemma lies in choosing which one to book as they all look stunning!
This is just one of the Chalets available to book with the Oxford Ski Company in Avoriaz. Chalet Kobuk which can house 8-10 guests across 4 bedrooms, over 4 floors, each with their own en suite.
What makes booking a ski holiday with Oxford Ski Company different from any other agency is the bespoke service they offer.
And when I say bespoke, I mean pampered. And by that, I mean seriously pampered: Every end of your ski day, afternoon tea is laid out for you, and your host (yes, personal chalet host), would have already prepared a three-course meal along with paired house wines.
Before you think that this kind of holiday is only for the likes of the crazy-rich (insert ethnicity), you’d be surprised to find that the prices of such packages are actually reasonable.
For instance, Winter Pricing for a holiday at Chalet Kobuk in Avoriaz (above) is priced at GBP 1,099.00 per person (departure 16 December 2018) and includes the following:
- flights to and from London
- group coach transfer
- dedicated concierge service
- seven nights’ luxury accommodation at the chalet
- exclusive use of the chalet and its facilities
- daily breakfast and afternoon tea
- children’s supper
- dinner on six nights
- daily housekeeping
- carefully selected house wines
- tea or coffee in bed each morning
- insurance premiums
- lift passes / ski rental
- childcare arrangements
I don’t know about you but for what you are getting for a week’s worth of luxury ski holiday, this is an absolute steal.
Luxury Summer Getaway with Oxford Private Travel
As Oxford Ski Company has established themselves as experts in booking luxury ski holidays, they have expanded into private luxury island destinations as well.
In 2011, based on increasing demands from extremely satisfied clients, Oxford Private Travel was launched, bringing the same approach and exceptional customer service and breathtaking luxury properties to the non-skiing market.
If Oxford Ski Company takes care of the dream winter getaway, Oxford Private Travel is capable of making your most far-fetched private island destination getaway true to life.
How far-fetched, you ask? Well, try Sir Richard Branson’s Necker Island in the British Virgin Islands.
This entire private island is owned by Sir Richard Branson, chairman of the Virgin Group ,and the island is part of the Virgin Limited Edition portfolio of luxury properties.
Sir Richard Branson fell in love with Necker Island when he first saw it from an aircraft when he was aged 26. At the age of 28, he purchased the island which he calls his “favourite hideaway” and it has been his home for the last 34 years.
Oxford Private Travel is one of the extremely few travel agents that have been invited to experience Necker Island personally, so the team really knows what its like to stay there.
And they are happy to dispel the misconception that Necker Island is playground exclusively to the rich and famous.
In fact, contrary to popular belief, Necker Island is exceptional value for money on a per capita basis.
Necker Island can be booked for a group of up to 30 people for USD 65,000 per night (or USD 2,167.00 per person per night)
This includes the following:
- Oxford Private Travel Concierge Service
- all meals and drinks including all alcoholic beverages
- luxury accommodation
- all party / theme nights, individually tailored to your requirements
- a team of approximately 100 staff
- sailing and speed boats and fishing equipment
- kayaks, water skiing, snorkelling equipment , paddelboards, etc
- watersports instructors
- Two tennis courts with tennis professionals
- laundry services
- two freshwater pools with a large jacuzzi on the beach
- return launch transfer from Virgin Gorda or Beef Island airports
- all linens and towels
What’s not included:
- airport transfers
If you have been to private islands or even just luxury resorts in the Maldives or Tahiti, you would know that USD 2,167.00 per person per night, with all its inclusions, is actually very sensible.
We spend most of our waking hours working hard to obtain the life we want. I have yet to meet someone who does not want to be rewarded for their hard work and effort. While we all reward ourselves differently, I think we can all agree that travel is an indulgence that is almost a need as it greatly enriches our experience and we come back to our real world with renewed vigour and mindset.
It is companies like Oxford Private Travel that help us achieve this amazing work-life balance by bringing our most ridiculously amazing travel dreams to reality.