Forget summer — the ultrawealthy are already dropping up to $800,000 to spend their entire winters in the Alps with their bodyguards and 'inner circles'

Scott Barbour/Getty ImagesIt’s not yet summer, and the wealthy are ready for winter.

Forget partying away in Saint-Tropez or sailing to Ibiza. The ultrawealthy are skipping summer and heading straight to the Alps for the winter instead.

Several European ski and chalet operators in the area told The Telegraph’s Francesca Syz that they have seen an uptick in inquiries for stays spanning the entire upcoming ski season, which can run as long as mid-December to May.

The fresh mountain air, access to nature, and privacy of the Alps are an attractive draw to the affluent hoping to escape a potential second wave of the coronavirus pandemic. It also helps that they can get there safely, Syz wrote: The region is within driving distance of many European cities and has smaller airports for private jet arrivals.

“What I’m seeing is people saying ‘It will just be us – me, my wife, and our bodyguards – and then as the season goes on we might invite a few select people we trust to join us,'” Ceri Tinley, managing director of Consensio Chalets, told Syz. “They see a season holed up in a European chalet as their own personal ‘bubble’ into which only their inner circle can come.”

The elite will pay a premium for a luxury quarantine

The wealthy are sparing no expense for a winter quarantine retreat in the Alps. One of the most expensive properties said to have sparked interest, Chalet Montana in France’s Val d’Isère, costs €750,000 ($US831,000), Syz wrote, and bookings come with “COVID clauses” that allow for pandemic-related refunds or cancellations.

This wouldn’t be the first time the ultra-rich have paid a premium for a plush quarantine. Many wealthy urbanites have fled their big city dwellings to ride out the pandemic in their vacation homes. Those that don’t have a second home have splurged on rental homes. Consider the New York City residents who have headed upstate to the mountains and out to the Hamptons, where the rental market has soared.

And out west, the wealthy are sheltering at ski resorts, from Idaho to Wyoming. Some are even buying multimillion-dollar ranches so they can can have all the rural access they need.

They’re also helicoptering in quarantine supplies, paying limo drivers hundreds to shuttle their mail from Manhattan to the Hamptons, and buying out entire hotels to self-isolate in. That’s not to mention offering household staff up to 30% more to quarantine with them, or promising plastic surgeons four times their fee in an attempt to get work done while sheltering in place.

Whether it’s a winter season in the Alps or a private chef quarantined on their estate, the ultrawealthy are pulling out all the stops – and their wallets – for a more luxurious pandemic experience.

Read the full story at The Telegraph »

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