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St Moritz
There comes a time for any keen skier when they want the real deal; a definitive Alpine location where celebrities rub shoulders with minor royalty and a winter sports provenance that few can match.

Switzerland has a clutch of such resorts and St Moritz is arguably the best of them all, so much so that it stages the Alpine World Ski Championships for the fifth time in February (6th - 19th) and is one of the few resorts to have hosted the winter Olympics twice. St Moritz, whose thermal springs have attracted tourists for hundreds of years, is too big to fit into the quaint chocolate box category, but its grandeur, glitz and history make it all the more appealing.  

It's not all about skiing here, so if you fancy watching horse racing or polo on a frozen lake and like the idea of dressing for dinner or just whiling away an afternoon people-watching in the town's streets that overlook the lake then this is the place for you.

Don't be fooled into thinking that St Moritz is just the place to preen and pose on or off the slopes however, because the resort's altitude means some serious skiing can be had down from 3,000-metre glacier peaks. With 350km (218 miles) of pistes in three separate areas, there is something for all abilities, particularly those who like well groomed and flattering cruising runs.

Something that is definitely not for the faint-hearted is the Cresta Run, the world-famous toboggan slide, which amounts to a chute of ice three quarters of a mile long with a drop of 157 metres (514 feet). Hurtling down it on a skeleton is open to anyone; although your beginners' package of five rides will set you back more than £450. More likely, however, you will just come to whizz down the mountains and take a passing interest in the cross-country skiing (there are 125 miles of marked tracks), ice skating, kite skiing, snowshoeing and even cricket matches that take place on the ice here.

When it comes to choosing where to stay, several hotels in St.Moritz qualify for grand dame status, among them The Kulm, which was the town's first when it opened in 1856. Celebrated British architect Lord Foster is currently renovating its ice pavilion for use as the World Ski Championships medal ceremony venue but once again, if skiing doesn't thrill you, the hotel offers other options, including a nine-hole golf course, curling field and a natural ice rink.

Half-board packages - including use of the spa - go a long way to alleviate what it undeniably not a cheap resort and at least The Kulm gives a sense of occasion each evening at dinner - you might step wearily into the hotel in your ski boots, but eating in the Grand Restaurant requires a jacket and tie, although The Kulm's other restaurants are less formal.

Some of The Kulm's well-heeled guests may have arrived at St Moritz in their private jet. The town has its own airport for such things, but you do not need to compete. After a budget flight to Zurich only an escalator comes between you and a spectacular train ride to St Moritz. It ends with a switch to glass - roofed carriages as you snake your way up to the station that sits in the heart of the resort. Transfers as great as this mean that sometimes, it's okay to leave the private jet in the hanger.