When it comes to winter vacations, North America is still top of the game for glamorous and snow-packed destinations. Picture the scene; fur coats, roaring log fires and crystal glasses of brandy to keep out the cold. Here’s the low down on the best luxury hotels for ski fanatics – and for those who prefer to watch from the safety of the sauna and the bar of course, too…

1. The Fairmont Chateau, Whistler, Canada

One of most iconic resorts in North America, Whistler has it all for snow bunnies; top-notch slopes, family-friendly facilities and bags of atmosphere to cap it all off. Situated at the base of the infamous Blackcomb Mountains, the Fairmont Chateau is the premier resort for visitors and has every conceivable amenity on site. Traditional but luxurious, highlights here include the award-winning golf course, an outdoor pool with underwater music and excellent afternoon teas. During the peak winter season, the Chalet Restaurant is also open for a three course fondue. All in all, it’s perfect for the whole family.

2. Equinox Resort and Spa, Vermont, USA

Another picture-postcard skiing destination, Vermont in the USA has long been popular with visitors for its elegant après ski scene as much as it’s world-class slopes. The huge, historic Colonial style Equinox Resort and Spa Hotel was awarded ‘Best Ski Resort’ in the 2005 World Travel Awards. The vast array of outdoors activities would make any family blink twice in delighted surprise; hiking, biking, cross-country skiing, off-road driving and falconry lessons are just some of the challenges on offer. The real star, however, is still the enormous luxury spa and its collection of nature-inspired treatments.

3. Austria Haus Hotel, Vail, USA

Colorado undoubtedly has some of the best snow and mountains in the whole of North America – and the boutique shops and quaint villages aren’t too shabby, either. The luxury Austria Haus Hotel in Vail has a decidedly European-luxe atmosphere and is a shining symbol of winter high society. Nestled on the banks of the Gore Creek, it has spectacular views and a convenient location for both the shops and the slopes. Decorated in a traditional Austrian mountain lodge style, all the rooms have marble bathrooms with heated floors, plus gas-log fires and French balconies available on request. For a romantic cure for those aching muscles, head to the bar for cocktails and canapés, and then enjoy a soak in the steamy outdoor Jacuzzi.