Best places to stay in winter: 12 of the greatest cold weather hotels

STAY AT EXPLORA PATAGONIA, LAKE PEHOE, CHILE

It has arguably the best view of any lodge in Patagonia, looking out over Lake Pehoe and across to towering, ice-covered peaks soaring 2000 metres into the sky. That is not the only thing that makes Explora Patagonia an irresistible winter getaway. It is also the cosy rooms, the alfresco hot tubs with a view, the superb food and the exciting roster of daily activities – as well as the simple pleasure of being the first person to leave tracks in pristine snowdrifts. See explora.com

GET HIGH, DRY AND COSY AT SOUTHERN OCEAN LODGE, KANGAROO ISLAND, SOUTH AUSTRALIA

On a stormy day, the Great Southern Ocean is a fearsome sight – unless, of course, you are perched somewhere safe and dry. Southern Ocean Lodge may be one of Australia's best luxury retreats, offering gourmet meals and a set of one-of-a-kind activities, but its simplest pleasure is also its best. Grab a bottle of wine from the help-yourself bar, choose a comfortable seat and watch the white-crested waves pounding the shore. More addictive than Netflix. See southernoceanlodge.com.au

SNUGGLE UP INSIDE AT THE TREEHOUSE HOSTEL IN GRUENAU, AUSTRIA

Tucked away in the lesser known alpine village of Gruenau im Almtal (roughly three hours east of Salzburg by train) the Treehouse Hostel is the ultimate home away from home. Surrounded by chocolate box-like countryside, glacial lakes and mountains, it's also just metres from the Kasberg, one of Austria's least expensive ski areas with more than 40 kilometres of runs. Home-cooked meals and free-flowing beer make this a very sociable, inexpensive base. See treehousehostel.net

ADMIT YOURSELF TO AN ASYLUM IN BEECHWORTH, VICTORIA

… Or at least the nurses' quarters, now a hotel. The boutique art deco Linaker is set on beautiful grounds but why not pop next door for a ghost tour at the former asylum. Here you can learn the brutal history behind Beechworth's notorious asylum, where women could once be committed for such things as reading novels. Historic Beechworth is one of the best cold-weather destinations in the country with excellent restaurants and museums. See thegeorgekerferd.com.au

SLEEP IN AN IGLOO AT THE TOP OF THE SWISS ALPS

Catch a cable car to the top of central Switzerland and spend a night inside an igloo. You'll climb to 1800 metres at the top of the Englelberg ski area. After mulled wine and dinner, take a snowshoe hike out under the stars. Before bed warm up in your own whirlpool bath, then get inside sleeping bags and down doonas in a private room. Wake to a lonely sunrise over the Central Swiss Alps. See iglu-dorf.com/en/

COSY UP AT THE MITTA MITTA PUB, VICTORIA

The click of a pool table, the crackle of a fire, the flick of that page-turner: there is no better place to be on a cold night than curled up on a lounge at the Mitta Mitta pub (formerly the Laurel Hotel) in the Mitta Valley, North-East Victoria. The historic pub, with the gurgling Snowy Creek directly behind it, is a drawcard for trout fishing enthusiasts, campers, families and those who just love a classic. The food is good, the wine list long, and the rooms are serviceable and clean with a shared bathroom and breakfast nook. See mittapub.com

STARGAZE IN A HOT TUB, QUEENSTOWN, NEW ZEALAND

You can view the night sky through a telescope at an observatory – or you can check out the dazzling night sky in New Zealand's South Island from a hot tub in a winter garden with a glass of pinot. No contest. The Hotel St Moritz in Queenstown's hot tub garden is free to guests, or, if you want to ramp it up a bit, book the penthouse with private outdoor spa. See reservations@stmoritzmg.co.nz

SLEEP ON TOP OF A MOUNTAIN, CANADA

Stay in Canada's highest suite at the top of your own ski resort. Take the gondola up Kicking Horse Mountain Resort to the country's highest restaurant, Eagle's Eye Restaurant. When the diners go home, you'll have the mountain all to yourself (and your butler). Watch snow groomers prepare the slopes under starry skies, and ready yourself for the first tracks of the day after a breakfast prepared by a private chef. See kickinghorseresort.com

CHECK INTO YOUR OWN PRIVATE DIGS IN THE DANDENONGS, VICTORIA

The Dandenong Ranges, often dismissed as a mere day-trip destination from Melbourne, is in fact a perfect, and perfectly convenient, getaway option for night or two or more, especially in winter. Valley Ranges Getaways manages a collection of luxurious homes in stunning bushland settings for local owners throughout the ranges as well as providing a few hotel-style touches like bathrobes and slippers. See valleyrangesgetaways.com.au

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INDULGE IN A ROMANTIC STAY AT CRADLE MOUNTAIN LODGE, TASMANIA

The sumptuous King Billy suites at Peppers Cradle Mountain Lodge are the stuff romantic winter fantasies are made of. Cosy up in-room by the double-sided wood fireplace, stargaze from your private balcony hot tub, or head out for bracing bushwalks amongst the wombats and wallabies in World Heritage-listed Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair national park. Sumptuous meals await in the Highland restaurant, as do pampering sessions at the spa. See cradlemountainlodge.com.au

GET A FRONT ROW SEAT FOR THE PACIFIC'S BIGGEST STORMS

Book a room at the Wickaninnish Inn at Tofino on Vancouver Island's wild west coast and watch the biggest storms the Pacific can produce roll in through winter. There are 15 storms on average every month and 12 major systems each winter. You'll see it all from your room built right on the beach. If you're game, join surfers who gather to ride Canada's biggest waves in December and January. See wickinn.com

STAY IN A REMOTE LAKESIDE CABIN IN NEW ZEALAND

Opened in 2017 at the northern tip of Lake Wakatipu, these two stylish and remote cabins are just an hour's drive from the skiing scrum at Queenstown, and yet so very far away. Wall-length windows stare over the lake to the snow-smothered Richardson Mountains, and when all that powder becomes too much to look at, you can use the electronic blinds as a cinema screen to watch Netflix projected from bed. See ecoscapes.nz

CONTRIBUTORS

Andrew Bain, Elspeth Callender, Jim Darby, Anthony Dennis, Ben Groundwater, Brian Johnston, Ute Junker, Nina Karnikowski, Steve McKenna, Jane Reddy, Jane Richards, Craig Tansley and Guy Wilkinson

See also: The best countries and cities to visit in June

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