LECH SKI CHALET – THE nth DEGREE OF LUXURY

LECH SKI CHALET – THE Nth DEGREE OF LUXURY
LECH’s CHALET N, THE WORLD’S MOST EXCLUSIVE CHALET FOR HIRE
By LESLIE WOIT

No house exemplifies Lech’s discretion and sex appeal like Chalet N, whose bullet-proof windows and Swarovksi carpeting offer welcome respite from the demands of aprés-ski celebrations and cashmere-swaddled shopping opps.

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Piste-side in outrageously lovely, ober-the-top Oberlech

Nth Tipped as the world’s most expensive chalet for hire—a few shekels short of $400k for the week—this 10-suite über-chalet was built by a ski-loving, 30-something Austrian named René Benko, head of Signa Holding. Pristinely private and reassuringly expen sive, Benko’s piste-side palace en bois is perched just above town in the exclusive Austrian enclave of Oberlech. Repeat guests include Tina Turner, a myriad of Moscovites, and a posse of Formula 1ers–all attracted by N’s brand of oligarch chic.

LIVING ROOM, LIVING LARGE
Step from piste or heated driveway past an exterior of handsomely weathered reclaimed barn wood into an interior world of tasteful muted tones and pine floors. Deep enveloping sofas form no less than four distinct conversation zones in the living-bar alone; a huge crackling fireplace sends heat high. Zebra-print stools are the perch of choice for festive vintage cork popping and drink theatre (the Smoking Cohiba is a must). Upstairs, a signature Swarovski carpet sparkles like hoar frost in sunlight and the emerald baize of the pool table sets off a panorama of Alpine peaks.

SWEET SUITES There is room to sleep up to 22, and sleep is sound when every waking desire is poised for satisfaction at the hands of three butlers, two chefs, and a mountain division of white-gloved waiters (those circulating amid the five floors and 10 expansive suites with Teutonic efficiency, serving tea from a silver samovar beside the fire, topping your bottomless flute of Laurent Perrier in the bath). Each suite features a large living area with fireplace, French-window balcony overlooking the peaks, and fluffy eiderdowns with personally monogrammed linens. Lose yourself in a deep, freestanding tub full of Hermès bubbles (Kelly Caleche for ladies, Terre d’Hermès for gents). If the space age, heated-seat bidet loos that sense your presence (they open, close, and even flush with no effort from its user) don’t impress, the Bose sound system will.

CHILL OUT
The soft tinkle of a Swarovski crystal shower curtain, the soothing whir of tiny bubbles in two outdoor whirlpools—you know a place is concerned for your wellbeing when its spa occupies the entire length of the building. N’s large indoor pool, with sexy, colored pin lighting, is flanked with decadent white chill-out beds overlooking the piste. One particularly golden-fingered masseuse is part of a phalanx of charming staff manning treatment rooms aplenty, a hair salon, and modern fitness room. Luxuriate in the hay and Finnish saunas and a salt-cave steam bath. Cap off, or begin, with a snooze in the magic rocking bed.

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Owner René Benko.

EAT, DRINK, BE VERY MERRY
Crisp white linens, polished Riedel crystal, titanium flatware: the stuff of banquets galore. Menus are custom designed by a team of chefs in advance, or at your whim. Settle in for a cozy evening in the Walser Stüberl, the pine-lined Stube complete with typical Kacheloffen. Butler service ensures that you enjoy exactly what you fancy when you fancy it. Air-dried beef and foie gras with wine tasting in the stylish cellar? Tagliatelle and Champagne on the sun-drenched balcony after a morning’s ski? A half dozen gastronomic courses in the elegant dining room at 8? As you wish. Curate a wine list or enjoy the all-inclusive vintages up to the 100 Euro mark.

René Benko
René Benko, 37, owner of Chalet N, is the head of Signa Holding with real estate assets of 6 billion euros, including German retail giant Karstadt and its Berlin flagship, KaDaWe, the Continent’s largest department store. In 2012, more than 60 workers toiled seven days a week for eight months to build Benko’s dream chalet, hacking 10 months off the usual 18 that constitutes “normal” construction periods in this high‑efficiency part of the world. On Christmas Eve 2012, the magical jewel box that is Chalet N was revealed. The ‘N’ is in dedication to Benko’s wife, Nathalie.

WORK, PLAY, SKI
Head upstairs for a game of pool and a single malt. Keep in touch with the outside world in a private office. Have the chauffeur run you down to the village for a fur promenade while the children watch the big screen in the  high-tech home cinema. There is parking for 12 cars underground, perfect for windy days and discreet arrivals. Security patrols the perimeter of the chalet by night. If 10 suites are too few for you or your staff, neighboring Hotel Mohnenfluh welcomes the overspill. And of course, whenever you manage to tear yourself away from N’s cocoon of magic, there’s always the skiing. Step into the James Bond-worthy elevator in the ski room and emerge directly on the slope; your personal instructor will lead you into the white wonderland of the Arlberg, Austria’s most desirable ski region. Did we mention exclusive? Sale of Lech’s day passes is capped at 14,000 skiers per day—a modern arrangement uniting great snow with the good life.
us$387,000 per week

www.cHAlet-n.com