Best Sporting Resorts – 2019 Platinum List Nominees

Vote for your favorites through June 30, 2019

March/April 2019
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A recreational retreat revives the mind while stimulating the body. Help us determine the best in luxury travel for the 2019 Celebrated Living Platinum List Awards. Your vote will help select the top properties. Voting ends June 30. Read about the winners in our Platinum List Awards issue, on planes September 1.

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Minaret Station

Minaret Bay, New Zealand

The first sign that Minaret Station Alpine Lodge offers a distinct experience appears not during the winding descent into the glacial valley where it sits, dwarfed by the surrounding mountains, but 20 minutes earlier in the lakeside town where a helicopter waits to fly you through the Southern Alps. There’s no road to this quiet sanctuary: The only way in is by air.

Guests will quickly adjust to the presence of aircraft. This is a Wallis family property, and in the Central Otago region, the Wallis name is synonymous with helicopters. Sir Tim Wallis began flying here in the early 1960s, and his sons inherited both his love of aviation and appreciation for the backcountry. 

“The predominance of our offerings involves a helicopter in one way or another,” says managing director Jonathan Wallis. “Our real signature products are off the beaten track.” Guests are invited to build their own itineraries, choosing from a selection of activities including skiing, hiking, mountain biking and fly-fishing. 

Undoubtedly, Minaret Station caters to the fit and adventurous. David Hiatt, a guide, mentions one couple who, during their honeymoon, ran almost a marathon distance over the course of two days, their guide in tow. But Ironman stamina is certainly not required. Guests can explore the sprawling alpine meadow at their leisure, traversing two miles of boardwalk running between waterfalls at either side of the property, or join off-site adventures more focused on scenery. The selection is limited to preserve quality, and includes only trips the staff personally enjoy. Still, Wallis singles out a visit to his childhood favorite, Fiordland, as a must-do. 

“That’s as far as you can get,” he says. “It’s the southwest corner of New Zealand; beyond it is Antarctica, essentially.” 

What does just this side of Antarctica look like? Towering waterfalls, sheer rock giving way to still, cerulean water, golden hills and white-capped mountains as far as the eye can see. 

While the focal point of the lodge lies beyond the property, each of the four two-person chalets is equally inviting. With such limited numbers, guests find themselves in a near-private resort. Each chalet features a brick fireplace, deck and spa tub, as well as a personal guide. 

“Minaret offers a contrast between the wilds of the outside and the warmth and comfort of the inside,” says Wallis. At the restaurant, Mountain Kitchen, guests enjoy a warm cooked breakfast, a selection of pastries, or muesli with homemade stone-fruit preserves. Lunch is most often served in the field as a picnic, and might include barbecued lamb or freshwater lobster caught on-site. Much of the protein served comes from the property itself, and what doesn’t is sourced locally. 

“We’re not about foam [or] test tubes,” says Hiatt. “It’s about presenting food in its truest form, with as little manipulation as possible by the chefs.” —Gwen McClure

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The Resort at Paws Up

Greenough, Montana, United States

A 37,000-acre working cattle ranch, the resort accommodates guests in luxurious tents (think air conditioning and fine linens) and rustic-chic cabins. Visitors enjoy fly-fishing, horseback riding, cattle drives, archery, rafting, rappelling and an interactive mustang-rescue program.  

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Les Airelles

Courchevel, France

Offering guests an unparalleled experience in the French Alps, Les Airelles features manicured ski runs outside the resort's doors, the two-Michelin-starred Pierre Gagnaire pour Les Airelles restaurant and a setting evoking a 19th-century storybook, 

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Caldera House

Teton Village, Wyoming, United States

Caldera House offers the perfect base for exploring the jutting peaks of the Teton mountains. With interiors designed by award-winning studios Commune Design and Carney Logan Burke, each of the eight sprawling suites offers multiple bedrooms, a chef’s kitchen, and mountain views.

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Casa de Campo Resort & Villas

La Romana, Dominican Republic

This 7,000-acre luxury golf resort is the epitome of a luxury experience. Casa de Campo boasts seven restaurants, three pristine white-sand beaches, and three championship golf courses, including the Pete Dye-designed Teeth of the Dog.

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Experimental Chalet

Verbier, Switzerland

Hit the slopes in style while staying in one of the 39 rooms at the retro-cool Experimental Chalet in the Swiss Alps. Home to the Farm Club nightclub, the chalet also includes a restaurant from Parisian celebrity chef Greg Marchand and interiors by Italian designer Fabrizio Casiraghi.

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Explora Patagonia Hotel Salto Chico

Torres del Paine, Chile

Anchored at the heart of Patagonia’s Torres del Paine National Park, Explora was designed with adventurers in mind. The resort offers stunning views and more than 40 recreational options—from hiking to horseback riding—curated by Explora’s outdoors team.

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Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise

Lake Louise, Canada

Nestled in Banff National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, this iconic resort sits amid soaring mountain peaks, ancient glaciers and the emerald-green waters of Lake Louise. Constructed over a century ago as a summer escape for the elite, Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise has since become a resort for outdoor enthusiasts throughout the year.

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Montage Los Cabos

Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

Situated on balmy Santa Maria Bay, the Montage offers activities including swimming with dolphins, whale-watching and sailing. 

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Sea Island

St. Simons Island, Georgia, United States

Designed as a sporting club on the southeastern coast of Georgia, Sea Island has been welcoming guests since the 1920s. Five miles of private beach offer access to the Atlantic. Activities include golfing, boating, fishing and falconry.

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