Every year, ski buffs look forward to the new winter season of El Lodge Ski & Spa, located within the Sierra Nevada National Park at 2,300 metres above sea level.

Belonging to the MC Hotel Group, El Lodge is a luxurious yet cosy hideaway with the only ski-in, ski-out facilities and heated outdoor pool in the Sierra Nevada. This year, it promises a host of new experiences which have been carefully curated to bring its guests closer to the natural beauty and rich culture of this diverse Spanish region.

This year, it promises a host of new experiences which have been carefully curated to bring its guests closer to the natural beauty and rich culture of this diverse Spanish region.

The interiors of El Lodge have been thoughtfully designed by Martin Waller, founder of revered London-based design house, Andrew Martin. The design team brings an elegantly informal approach to traditional alpine style with cowhide rugs, bright Moroccan textiles and bespoke Chesterfield armchairs adding colour and texture to the Finnish timber-clad bedrooms, while playful touches such as vintage posters and antler chandeliers adorn the walls. Each of the hotel’s nine rooms and 12 suites boast private terraces and sweeping picture windows that frame exquisite views of the snow-capped mountains beyond, and let in the ever-changing sunlight that is so prominent in Europe’s most southerly ski resort.

Guests at El Lodge can indulge in three dining options. The Sun Deck – the only ski-in/ski-out restaurant in the Sierra Nevada – offers traditional tapas, light lunches, warming hot chocolates and panoramic views on an outdoor terrace. The Grill serves up hearty fondue, raclette, grilled meats, fresh fish and locally sourced Riofrio Caviar – the first organically certified caviar in the world. The Lounge is the spot for bar snacks and a hot toddy by the fire while enjoying a game of pool, backgammon or vintage arcade machines. The Bar, with its eclectic style and whimsical vintage ski décor, offers a snug refuge to hole up in for cocktails on cold, snowy evenings. El Lodge also offers its guests an extensive spa featuring indoor and outdoor pools, sauna, two treatment rooms, a gym, Turkish bath and Jacuzzi, while younger visitors aged 0-14 years can keep themselves busy in a dedicated playroom brimming with toys, games, and films.

Winter Wellness in the Sierra – New for the 2018/19 Season

This three-night holistic mountain programme aims to enhance overall wellbeing combining an enriching outdoor activity each morning with afternoons on the slopes. Lodgers will check into their suite with private hot tub and spend their first morning partaking in a dynamic mountain-top yoga class followed by a personalised aqua-fit session in El Lodge’s outdoor heated pool to prepare the body for the days of skiing ahead. Guests will also explore the Sierra Nevada National Park by horseback in the snow and go hiking in Los Cahorros – a pristine network of gorges, rock pools, waterfalls and historic waterways knitted together via hanging bridges and winding trails, particularly beautiful on a blue but wintry day. Afternoons are spent skiing, while each evening guests end their day with a unique experience: an unforgettable stargazing excursion led by trained astrologers, private access to El Lodge’s spa for a sleep-inducing spa ritual and a Snowcat ride to watch the sun set over the mountains.

Ski & Culture in the Sierra – New for the 2018/19 Season

This three-night experience will give guests the chance to combine time on the slopes with the rich culture that is so prevalent throughout the Granada province. Embark on a tour of the Alhambra and the Nasrid Palaces with local expert, Luisa Corral, who will bring to life the history of Spain’s Moorish jewel in the crown. The day will end with a hot air balloon ride, providing privileged aerial views of the Alhambra, before returning for dinner at The Grill. The next day will be spent on the slopes with an alfresco lunch on The Sun Deck, before being whisked off to a real Sierra Nevada institution – Ruta del Veleta – to sample its tasting menu, a gastronomic journey through the most traditional and innovative tastes of Andalucía.

The final day will be spent exploring the picturesque white villages of the Alpujarra, seldom visited in the low season but even more magical during the winter. These tiny mountainside enclaves offer charm aplenty, while the surrounding farmland remains emerald green year-round thanks to the melting snow that trickles down from the mountains. A beautiful spot to delve into the Moorish history of the region and contemplate the magnificence of the majestic peaks that tower above.

A less obvious choice for a ski break, the Sierra Nevada offers one of Europe’s longest seasons with operations running until late April, making it likely to accommodate 2019’s unusually late Easter holidays. Guests at El Lodge can hit the resort’s 45 pistes and six off-piste routes in style with clothing from Bogner and equipment from Stöckli, taking advantage of the hotel’s boot warming and slipper service in between runs.

For further information or bookings, www.ellodge.com