|What inspired you get into the luxury travel industry?
As a Chichester [England] local, Scott Dunn was one of the big luxury travel names I grew up seeing and hearing about, and I always aspired to work for them in some way or another. In 2004 I headed to Val d’Isere with Scott Dunn as a chalet girl and that is where my passion for luxury travel and hospitality really started. At the time they were industry leaders and had cornered the top-end of the luxury chalet market, so we were trained to an extremely high standard.
Their ‘nothing is too much trouble’ ethos was apparent in everything they did, and this faultless attention to detail honed my love of luxury ski chalets and gave me a true insight into what makes a luxury holiday unique from a client’s perspective.
Following this, I spent more than 15 years immersed in the world of high-end ski chalet and luxury villa holidays, working for Powder Byrne, Firefly Collection and Villa Collective to name a few. So I really felt it was time to transfer my knowledge and enthusiasm for luxury travel to clients in a more meaningful unique, memorable and personalised way.
What is the single best/defining thing about The Chalet Edit and The Villa Edit? What are you most proud of?
It has to be our personal touch, it is in absolutely everything we do. From our bespoke, tailor-made quotes to our complimentary pre-arrival concierge service. It’s about truly understanding our client’s needs, getting to know them and ultimately becoming that one contact in their list they can’t live without.
Every client received a personalised itinerary before they travel, hand-crafted by our team to include childcare, ski school, transfers, a private jet you name it, we can do it. What makes it truly unique is try to get our clients to step outside of the norm and add on an experience like husky sledding, wine tasting, hot air ballooning, a private chef for the week, those little touches that really make a holiday memorable.
One of our biggest achievements last year was winning the London Prestige awards ‘Luxury Travel Agency of the year 2021/2022’ – which awarded us for excellent in attention to detail in service and product.
We were also a nominee in the British Travel Awards for both websites. I couldn’t’ have been prouder of the team, they worked so hard to get here and it was so lovely to get the recognition I felt the team deserved.
| 'We say it time and time again, but it is all in the ‘attention to detail’. We want to see that the owner or operator has really thought about those little things that really make a luxury Chalet or Villa so special'|
What’s next for The Chalet Edit and The Villa Edit in 2023/2024?
The Chalet Edit and The Villa Edit has weathered a turbulent time and this year has been a big year for us with travel borders open and clients feeling happy to travel more freely to get away from it all.
We are in talks about growing and developing the brand globally rather than just focusing in Europe, to offer our clients villas and chalets further afield.
More immediately client will see our portfolios grow in Courchevel, Val d’Isere and Meribel as well as branching out into new resorts like Megeve, Gstaad and Madonna di Campiglio in Italy. Alongside a whole mass of gorgeous new luxury villas in St Tropez and the Cote d’Azur, as well as properties in Portugal, Corfu and Ibiza.
Eventually, we’d love to have live availability on our sites, so that clients can get everything they need in a few clicks and book online.
Why is a holiday with The Chalet Edit/The Villa Edit is such a unique experience?
When I launched in 2018 I really felt the industry was outdated and that clients were looking for something more unique, modern and personalised. I aimed to create a site that championed my favourite owners, many of whom I had worked with for over 20 years now and trust implicitly, they look after my clients as if they are friends.
But for me, what truly sets us apart is our pre-arrival concierge. Each client is hand-held from the moment they book to the moment they return home, with each group receiving a bespoke itinerary prior to departure. Essential in this hectic and time-poor modern-day life I feel.
What does a Luxury Villa need for it to stand out from the crowd?
When it comes to Luxury Villas clients are really looking for one of two things, something that is completely private to get away from everything, so they can really escape the world or a property right in the thick of the action by the town and nightlife. Style wise it’s all about an incredible finish, sleek and modern with a calming aura. Something that makes them instantly switch off and relax. Service is less standardized in a villa setting so we tailor-make clients stays; adding on a private chef, housekeeping or a local cook to prepare home-cooked cuisine.
Bella Coola, Verbier, Switzerland - The Chalet Edit
What does a Luxury Ski Chalet need for it to stand out from the crowd?
An impressive array of facilities is always high on the list, something that make a chalet truly WOW the crowd, such as a glass fronted palm atrium, a private spa, state of the art cinema room, helipad, dance floor with DJ booth, wine cellar, games rooms, grand pianos and more. Client are always looking for something out of the ordinary that they wouldn’t see in their own home.
But what really sets it apart for us is the finer details involved in the food and service, from an in-house concierge team to book on-piste restaurants, a private butler and in-chalet ski guide, to an on-call driver and a Michelin-trained chef.
What is your own personal litmus test for whether a Chalet/Villa is worthy of the 'luxury' tag? What makes it ideal?
It’s a combination of factors that add to the overall aura of the product. Location, resort, draw-dropping interiors, vast mast bedroom suites, outstanding facilities and Michelin star cuisine. We say it time and time again, but it is all in the ‘attention to detail’.
We want to see that the owner or operator has really thought about those little things that really make a luxury Chalet or Villa so special. Like bottled water by the bed, little treats and tissues in the boot room, delicious locally sourced produce and wine, sumptuous bed linen, something special on the pillow when you arrive to make you feel welcome and instantly at home. Clients want to feel pampered and that they never want to leave.
Chalet V, La Tzoumaz, Verbier, Switzerland -The Chalet Edit
What is your favourite skiing location and why?
It has to be Val d’Isere. I’m biased because it is where I did my ski season but I don’t think you can beat it for variety of après ski, ease of access to the slopes, incredible on-mountain dining and a whole host of fantastic in-resort dining like the uber cool new Poya restaurant that has opened up. The chalets there are also beautiful, super traditional in feel and not over the top. It tends to appeal to the more understated luxury client, seeking something beautiful but not ostentatious compared to some of our chalets in Courchevel 1850 or vast Verbier estates we offer.
What do you love most about the luxury Ski travel industry?
The people! I’ve made so many incredible friends and you can always count on the support of your suppliers when you need them. Oh, and obviously the possibility to travel too, that goes without saying. I love going to check out the latest new chalet or hotel opening and continually broadening my knowledge of what’s new is super important.
How do you think the luxury ski travel industry has changed since Covid-19? Have guests’ demands/needs changed?
It’s no secret that prices have increased and with that naturally client expectations have also risen. Clients are keen to really make the most out of their stay and maximise every element of the trip. Organisation and pre-holiday details have become more important than ever to ensure everything runs as smoothly as possible to make for the ultimate experience.
Larger group travel is also back with a bang for next year, we had thought we’d see this trend post Covid but it has taken a year for larger groups to come together again and book en-mass for 2023/2024.
Villa Sefia, Zakynthos - The Villa Edit
What is at the top of your 'where to next' wish list?
Megeve is a ski resort I’ve not managed to visit yet and it’s top of my hit list for next year, along with Gstaad. More personally I’d like to travel to Sri Lanka, it looks magical and still relatively untouched by the mass travel bug.
What is the one travel experience you will never forget?
Chalet N, Lech is a jaw-dropping chalet of incredible luxury proportions. I was lucky enough to stay here for 3 nights and get a true taste of what ultra-luxury living is all about. It is staffed by a chalet manager, 6 Michelin trained chefs, a night manager, 5 hosts, 3 drivers, a mixologist, 2 full time in-house spa technicians and a hair stylist. It is an old boutique hotel that has now been turned into a 10 bedrooms uber luxury chalet and it is truly is out of this world.
Think ski to door access, a vast private spa with pool and gym, indoor wine cellar like something out of a James Bond movie, a private fondue stube, and vast suites bigger than an apartment, with their own fireplace and grand piano. Truly everything you could possibly wish for is on offer here and the service is sublime. On returning home I even received a personalised bottle of champagne and two swarovski crystal champagne coups as a thank you for staying. This kind of detail is breath-taking.
What three things do you never travel without?
Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream Protectant Lipstick Balm SPF 15 (this is incredible on the slopes or in the sunshine), a portable phone charger & Apple Airpods.
Who would you most like to sit next to on a long-haul flight? Why?
Richard Branson, that is an easy one! I think we would get along really well. Richard’s book ‘Screw it Let’s Do It’ was one of the first books on starting your own business I ever read. He’s super inspiring and knows how to have with it!
What is the most important thing (travel-wise) that money CAN buy?
Service, in chalet Service, food concierge, cleaning, little details and extra, high touch point personal service.
What is the most important thing it can't?Luxury Links: www.thechaletedit.com , www.thevillaedit.com
Time – no matter how hard you try, you’ll never be able to buy more time and that’s why using a company like ours is so special and necessary. Ultimately we are a concierge company like Quintessentially or Knightsbridge Circle, but without the hefty price tag. We don’t charge extra to book all of those tricky little extras that take forever to organise and make a holiday seamless.