A Local's Take: Verbier

Liz Berman, who owns several of Verbier's chicest chalets, shares her insider’s picks on the resort town.Best Restaurants on the Mountain

Top table with a view has to be the terrace at Chez Dany. It’s a little off the beaten track, in the charming hamlet of Clambin. The rustic menu and short ski back home make this the perfect place for long, late lunches. Catch the snow bus up for dinner and the sledge back down to the village.

It’s simple fare and self-service, but the spectacular location of Cabane de Montfort (Tortin) makes it one of my favorite stops on the mountain. It is also a refuge with two-, four- and six-bedrooms that you can book so you can spend the night on the mountain—a good way to beat the crowds onto the slopes in the morning.

If you prefer walking to skiing, catch the bus up the hill to Sonalon and make the tranquil twenty-minute walk to the charmingly renovated restaurant La Marlenaz (Route de la Marlène). Marvelous traditional fare and fantastic views make it worth the trek. Advanced skiers can go off-piste there.

Best Restaurants off the Mountain Just next to Place Centrale, Ecurie (Place Centrale 18) is my top pick for Swiss fare; it has a cozy atmosphere and delicious schnitzel, risotto and gratin. If you want a change from cheese, visit Le Rouge, which offers everything from Asian to Mediterranean cuisine in elegant surroundings.

Best Bars Just a short distance from the main lift station are the Fer à Cheval (Rue de Médran 18) and the Pub Mont Fort (Chemin de la Tinte 10). The latter is young and noisy but has great service and is famed for its wild fancy-dress parties and good bar food. I usually end up in the T-bar on Place Centrale. It’s one of the few places that stay open most of the year and is therefore a haunt of locals and saisonnaires alike, offering live music several nights a week.

Best Nightlife Verbier is known for its vibrant nightlife. To make sure you get in to Farm Club (Route de Verbier Station 55), book a table and arrive early. If you aren’t ready for bed but are tired of dancing, head for late-night cocktail bar Coup d’Etat (Rue de la Poste 20), just across the street.

What to See & Do In addition to piste skiing, Verbier is well known for its itinerary runs and for its fantastic off-piste skiing, which is easily accessible from the lift system. To get the most out of your skiing, do book a guide or instructor.

For the best massage, call Verbier Touch (41 78 723 96 74). Its qualified physiotherapists will come to your chalet or hotel with portable massage tables. And to stretch ski-tired muscles and improve your core strength for skiing, take a Pilates class with Chilali (Chemin des Vernes 5) at the studio or in private classes in your chalet.

Best Shops Badly fitting ski boots can be a torment and don’t help your skiing. If you can, invest in a great custom fitted boot at Surefoot (Le Parador Rue de Madrin). The most delicious chocolate almonds come in an orange box from Vignabagnes (Rue de Médran 11), which is located along the Route de Savoleyres. They are expensive but worth every euro!

Published onMarch 24, 2008

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