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What makes a great European ski hotel? It tends to be family-owned—and to have been so for decades, if not a century or more. The staff has been trained in hotel school, not rounded up the week before your arrival. The buildingitself is usually historic, with no two bedrooms alike and furnishings that are bona fide antiques. Warmth, luxury and creature comforts add up to an experience that few American ski hotels can hope to emulate. (When was the last time a stateside hotel waxed your skis, served you hot chocolate or shined your shoes, gratis?) The food is typically exemplary, and breakfast and a four-course dinner are usually included in the room rate. And while the five hotels we’ve singled out aren’t inexpensive, they offer great value. Factor in the meals, and their rates are perhaps 30 or 40 percent less than the best hotels in the Rockies. If you want the classic European ski experience, these hotels offer surprising bang—and uncommon comfort—for your buck.

Click below for our favorite European gems.