It should come as no surprise that if you want to get high -- in elevation, of course -- you’ll need to head to the mountains. There are many popular destinations around the world that sit more than a mile above sea level, from historic archeological sites like Machu Picchu to ski destinations like Aspen, Colorado. Here, we name six hotels that are perched more than 5,280 feet above sea level.
The hike to Machu Picchu is well known as an arduous trek, but you can rest easy in the town of Aguas Calientes at the SUMAQ Machu Picchu. It’s just about 1,100 feet lower than the iconic site, so if you plan on hiking, it’ll still be a bit of an uphill journey, but it’s better than starting at sea level! Plus, there’s a shuttle bus that can bring you pretty close to the ruins, if you’d prefer to take a leisurely approach. For those who do spend the day hiking, a lovely soak in one of SUMAQ’s tubs will ease your sore legs.
If you head to the town of Telluride, you’ll already be at 8,750 feet, but if you stay at the Peaks Resort and Spa, in neighboring town Mountain Village, you’ll be even higher up. (In fact, a gondola is the main form of transportation between the towns.) The ski-in/ski-out property is one of the largest in the region, boasting a huge list of amenities, ranging from a 42,000-square-foot spa to an indoor/outdoor pool with a waterslide to a golf course.
Switzerland has 451 mountains considered “major summits” -- meaning they’re above 300 meters (just shy of 3,000 feet) -- which means there are plenty of high-altitude stays to be found. If you want to be a little closer to sea level, opt for the Hotel Eiger, just is just over a mile high. The hotel sits in the shadow of Schilthorn, a 9,744-foot-peak whose summit is reachable by cable car.
Back in Colorado, the St. Regis Aspen offers guests luxury accommodations at 8,000 feet. The slopes of Aspen Mountain end right at the hotel’s courtyard, making the lodging a great choice for avid skiers. But if you’re more into the après-ski scene, the town of Aspen is within a 15-minute walk.
For a ski retreat in France, head to Tignes, which has 74 trails to choose from in the winter and offers summer skiing on the Grande Motte glacier. The Hotel le Refuge, which sits around 6,900 feet, has a fascinating history. The original hotel was built in 1924, but it was flooded in 1952 after the creation of a dam. The current hotel was built in 1956 at a higher elevation.
Though the big draw to Livigno is the ski slopes, in the summer months, visitors can hike more than 370 miles of trails through the Italian Alps. We recommend the Intermonti Hotel, located just about 300 feet from the Teola-Pianoni Bassi ski lift. The hotel also offers a free shuttle service to other lifts, the town, and the cross-country skiing trails.