If you have decided to book a lovely, luxurious ski chalet for your next Alpine Holiday, you may be wondering the best way to go about packing for your trip. After all, you need to consider bringing or renting your gear, just how formal or casual your accommodation, and what you intend to do during time off the slopes. While many après ski spots are the utmost in casual, many of the world’s Michelin recognized and starred restaurants are also in locations like Courchevel, Val d’Isere and Meribel. Naturally, a great sweater and comfortable slacks may not work in a five-star restaurant.

So, what sort of tips can you use when packing for your Alpine holiday in the winter months? We have several very useful ideas to put to work:

Invest in Excellent Layers

Whether you are going to hit the slopes all day or you are one of the party uninterested in skiing but eager to explore the surrounding villages, towns and many premium amenities, you will save space and headaches by investing in good layers. High end base layers, also often described as long johns or long underwear cannot be beat in terms of moisture wicking, warmth and performance. Rather than purchasing bulkier or specialized tops and bottom, look to the best materials, such as silks or silk blends, and go with simple crew collars or even turtlenecks to get the most use out of a single layer of clothing.

Don’t forget to pack plenty of good socks and underwear too as most Alpine holidays involve getting active, overheated and showering once or twice daily. This can make for a laundry situation if you do not bring a good assortment of warm socks and comfortable underwear.

Remember the Sun Block

So many travelers end up with sunburns, deeply chapped lips and all kinds of skin irritation simply because they did not recall that an Alpine ski holiday is outdoors and in the brightest conditions. The wind and cold temperatures will also tax the skin, so pack a very good lip balm, sun screen and moisturize the skin daily.

Wear Your Ski Jacket

A major mistake so many skiers make when packing for an Alpine holiday is to keep their ski clothing separate from their other gear. You can spare yourself a headache or two by planning on wearing your ski jacket during your journey to the Alps, and by investing in lightweight ski gear designed with premium materials. You can also wear any hiking or walking boots you might think of packing for travel too, as this saves a tremendous amount of room and gives you a much firmer step as you arrive at your destination and walk from the vehicle to the chalet or accommodation. Don’t forget to think of your ski helmet as a vessel for holding gear and toss items like gloves, goggles and other items into it when packing.

Reconsider Normal Clothes

What sort of everyday gear are you thinking of bringing? If you are hitting the slopes each day, don’t pack a lot of street clothing as you are unlikely to wear more than one or two outfits. Additionally, if you are going to stay in a private chalet, you can be as comfortable and casual as you’d like throughout the après ski hours. Yoga pants, sports clothing, even pajamas and slippers may be adequate for the vast majority of time spent off the slopes and in the private lodge. Do bring one or two outfits if you are going out a few evenings or sampling the gourmet eateries, but skip the heels, the jewelry and the accessories.

Unusual Items for Alpine Holiday

Of course, if you are booking a chalet or a luxury accommodation, you will want to save room for your swimsuit, flip flops and cover. Don’t forget you also want a more stylish beanie or hat for the times you are off the slopes. Many people forget the non-skiing hat!

With these simple tips, you can easily pack only the things you need and will use. You will also avoid forgetting some gear that many wish that they had, but left at home.

Are you planning a luxurious retreat to fabulous Antigua? If so, you are like many of the world’s most well-heeled and wealthy. A top destination for both the rich and famous, it also rates highly with many other types of travelers. This is because of the island’s fantastically diverse and vibrant culture and history, its unforgettable music and atmosphere, its fantastic beaches (there are 365 of them), and its delicious foods. It is a truly scenic island with authentic rainforest, naturally formed sea arches, and ideal water sports conditions.

Those are all great reasons to pay a visit, but we have five further reasons why you definitely want to book your next visit to Antigua in the spring season. While you may hear suggestions that it is only in May through November that the very best conditions are found, we have a list of valid reasons to consider booking your holiday from late February and into April.

The Events

In March of each year, the island plays host to the impressive Antigua Tinman Rohr Triathlon. This involves incredibly well-trained athletes participating in the ultimate competition. They do a 1.9 km swim in the ocean, a 90 km cycle race in the hills and along the coast, and finish it up with a 21 km run. They do a later Run in Paradise marathon in May, but it is the Triathlon that is so impressive to watch and fun to participate in while it happens.

Of course, April is a huge month for Antigua because of the prestigious Classic Yacht Regatta. This brings some of the most beautiful sailing vessels into Falmouth Harbour for four days of racing and lots of fun nights of formal and casual events. Sailing Week also takes place in April, and it is five days of world-class racing and lots of upscale evening events.

The Absence of Spring Breakers

For unknown reasons, Antigua is often overlooked by the enormous spring break crowds that flood other appealing spots. If you wish to enjoy a family holiday or a getaway that is without the noise and crowds so common to the spring break period, this is a great reason to choose Antigua.

The Snorkeling

Here’s another lesser known reason to visit Antigua during your spring vacation – it has an astonishing amount of snorkeling. With 365 beaches, it is likely that most have impressive water sports, but Antigua might easily be described as a snorkeler’s paradise, and you can enjoy relatively empty waters if you visit ahead of the regular seasonal crowds. This is particularly the case for those who want to experience the beauty of Cades Reef. It also means that activities often associated with snorkeling, such as charter sailing adventures are less crowded, making a sunset sail out of Falmouth Harbour far more pleasant.

The Saturday Market in St. John’s

Though a lot of travelers head to St. John’s for its amazingly upscale shopping in addition to its full-sized duty-free malls, those “in the know” head to the Saturday Morning Market in St. John’s. At the best of times it is quite busy, and during peak seasons in early summer it can be uncomfortably crowded. However, spring visitors that head to this Market Street destination often find it far more relaxed and much less crowded. The same vendors and food stalls appear, but you are not dealing with the usual throngs, especially if you arrive in the morning and depart around midday.

The Peaceful Hikes

Did you know Antigua has formal hiking groups? The 5AM Hikers and the Antigua Hash House Harriers are both groups that welcome visitors to join in, and it is during the spring season that the conditions are ideal for some of their most challenging hikes, offering astonishing views.

Though Antigua is wonderful at all times, in the spring season and ahead of the crowds it offers perfect weather, more peaceful experiences and many fun events.

A year ago, on the morning of September 6th of 2018, last minute preparations were taking place to prepare for the unimaginable. A menacing and historic storm that grew stronger by the minute and was taking a more direct and worrisome path that only optimized it’s destructive nature and impact.  The worst possible scenario was being eclipsed every few minutes by a scarier and more foreboding forecast. A storm that was previously expected to deliver winds of 140 to 150 miles per hour was now forecasting 185 mph sustained winds and guests of over 220 mph.   To put that in perspective, an EF-5 Tornado (the highest scale possible) has winds over 200 mph and be known to wipe out towns in a few minutes.  Hurricane Irma became a sustained tornado that would last for hours ripping roofs, uprooting trees and turning debris into missiles capable of embedding into concrete.

The next few hours were solely focused on immediate survival. The afternoon, as the winds subsided, would be focused on survival for the next few months and the very first steps in rebuilding what was destroyed.  Decades of progress became mere memories within a few intolerable hours.

In the year since Irma, encouraging green shoots of recovery are appearing as the devastated Caribbean islands are rebounding and welcoming guests. The following is a quick synopsis of each island’s condition and what to expect for the upcoming 2018/2019 winter travel season.

St Martin

The island of St Martin took the hardest hit from Hurricane Irma. The absolute center of the eye passed through Simpson lagoon and Cupecoy.  While the culinary town of Grand Case on the northern half of the island never experienced the desired reprieve of the storms eye, but rather being subjected to hours of the continuous and incessant battering of Irma’s the strongest winds in the eye wall.  Even though the island handles Category 1 and Category 2 hurricanes with relative ease, this epic storm was supernatural and devastating.  Countless lives were changed forever.

On the one year anniversary of the storm, St Martin is in the midst of a renaissance.  The island is open for business since May of 2018 and welcoming guests. The beaches are beautiful. The turquoise blues of the Caribbean still tantalize and restaurants still mesmerize with their unique French Caribbean flair.

What to expect?

St Martin’s full recovery will take a few years but the island is certainly a good destination for 2018/2019 winter travel.  The essence of what our guests enjoy, the luxury standard of their own villa, restaurants, beaches and rental cars are returning with many more options relaunching each month.  St Martin’s villas are historically quite reasonable when compared to other Caribbean destinations. They have always delivered a superior experience at a fraction of the cost of other islands. This year, the expected promotions will be quite alluring.  Guest will be able to enjoy a luxurious vacation at their own private luxury villa that rivals the costs of cruises or 4 star hotels.

Please note that villas will not relaunch unless the villa is of equal or superior standard to it’s condition prior to the hurricane.  Many new villas are launching and many are returning fully renovated and upgraded.

Beach Conditions

The beaches on the Caribbean side are in very good shape and have more sand then in previous years.   Mullet Bay, Baie Rouge, Baie Longue, Plum Bay beach are in great shape.  Orient beach is rebounding.  The Sargussum seaweed issue that is affecting the Atlantic side of most Caribbean islands is expected to subside in the winter months with the cooler water temperatures.  We expect that Orient Beach will be a good option starting in November once the beachside restaurants return


Grocery stores are full. The infrastructure (water and electricity) are reliable and WIFI is returning to the previous standard.  Rental cars are available. The island is safe.


A good selection of restaurants have been opened and many more are scheduled to return.  Simpson Bay has fully returned back to normal. Porto Cupecoy handled the storm quite well and Mario’s Bistro is open and welcoming diners.  Grand Case restaurants have re-opened such as Spiga, L’Auberge Gourmand, Rainbow, La Villa and Bistrot Caraibes with others expected to re-open soon.  Bikini restaurant on Orient Beach has re-opened with Kontiki and Kakao expected to re-open in late November.

Overall Recommendation

St Martin is a good choice for winter travel as long as guests understand that the island is still rebounding and that sights of devastation will be readily apparent. But the destination has several key advantages. The island offers direct flights from major eastern US seaboard cities.  St Martin is well rounded and not a sleep destination. There is always something to do and nearby islands to visit.   The value of a St Martin vacation is uncomparable to other destinations.  And lastly, and most importantly, you will be contributing to the renaissance of the island.

St Barts

The island of St Barts had the most remarkable comeback imaginable. Within a month or so, the roads were cleared and the island was in remarkable shape.  The beachfront hotels did sustain major damage due to storm surges. They are expected to be back in operation late 2018 with some hotels (ex. hotel Guanahani), scheduled to relaunch in late 2019.

Nevertheless, Winter 2018/2019 is shaping up to be a very busy season with many of the restaurants and shops relaunched and villas in fabulous shape.  The primary issue affecting the island is the lack of flights into nearby St Martin that we expect to dramatically improve starting in November 2018 with expanded flight schedules by most US airlines.

Overall Recommendation

The destination is highly recommended for travelers.  The recovery of St Barts is well ahead of expectations and guests should enjoy the relatively same standard of vacation as in previous years with just a few exceptions.


The picturesque island was devastated during hurricane Irma however, the villas on the island held up remarkably well. The villas rebounded within a few months and have been welcoming guests.  Many of the villas are self-sustained with generators and cisterns so their reliance on the island’s infrastructure is limited.

Overall Recommendation

If you want to relax and decompress on some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, then Anguilla is an ideal choice. The villas are in great shape and access to the island is normalizing once flights to St Martin resume their previous timetable.  Seabourne airlines offers direct air service from San Juan, Puerto Rico.

The interior of the island has not seen much progress over decades so it’s current condition is not of significance to visitors.


The rebound of the BVIs has been complicated by the lack of government help and organization. While St Martin and St Barts have been greatly assisted by the French and Dutch governments, the BVIs have not received the same assistance.

The re-emergence of the BVIs will take more time than other destinations.

Overall Recommendation

We are advising guests to defer vacationing in the BVIs until a stronger recovery takes hold. At this point in time, there is limited information and assurances for guests to properly plan and enjoy a vacation for the winter 2018/2019 season.