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Chalets with cachet

Savvy investors looking for prime Alpine chalets are finding tremendous value in the Swiss village of Grimentz through developer Mark Warner Property, with properties up to 50 per cent cheaper than in the surrounding areas

A man's accomplishments in life are the cumulative effect of his attention to detail.

For the super-rich, it might be a yacht or a villa in Barbados. And, naturally, a chalet in Verbier or Aspen, Colorado. But now, thanks to a new development by Mark Warner Property, that dream is coming within the reach of a far wider range of people, making the dream a reality. What’s that, you say? Mark Warner? I thought they were tour operators, not developers…

Well, yes. The firm was started in 1974 by Mark Chitty and Andrew Searle, specialising initially in offering bespoke skiing holidays for singles and couples, initially in just one chalet in Switzerland. Over the years, the London-based holiday specialists have expanded the portfolio to include family holidays and beach and resort all-inclusive packages, carrying more than 50,000 holidaymakers per year.

Its summer portfolio features resolutely upmarket, aspirational beach holidays in Sardinia, Corsica, Greece and Turkey, but the winter programme of skiing holidays predominantly in the Swiss and French Alps, Austria and Italy.

Its undoubted pre-eminence in this market is seen in the fact that for the past two years running, it has been voted Best Ski Operator in the UK’s prestigious Telegraph Travel Awards.

Now, however, the company is leveraging those synergies with a property portfolio. To that end, they hired Giles Gale four years ago, poaching him from international upmarket property services firm Savills. At Savills, Gale built an enviable reputation as director specialising in high-profile resort development, including some new-build developments in the Bahamas, the Caribbean, France, Austria and Switzerland. As managing director of Mark Warner Properties, he is spearheading the company’s exciting new venture into new-build skiing developments in the Valais region of Switzerland, specifically Grimentz.

It’s a smart move. The Swiss Alps have done well with GCC holidaymakers, both as a summer getaway to escape the relentless heat of the Gulf States in a mountainous region that offers a temperate climate, lush landscapes and vistas and relatively affordable prices. Combining this allure with the potential for a summer home that doubles as a ski chalet in season makes this a very attractive proposition to this market. Most of the Middle Eastern airlines offer direct flights to Geneva as a major international financial centre, bringing the new development within an hour’s drive or so.

Historically, property in the Swiss Alps has performed well in the medium to long term, with steady capital appreciation and strong rental returns spread over two seasons per year.  At a time of economic uncertainty elsewhere in Europe, one area currently attracting high levels of interest from GCC investors is the Val D’Anniviers, believed to be the sunniest area in Switzerland and the perfect alpine retreat from the heat of the Middle Eastern summer. The winter season has recently been enhanced with the opening of long-awaited Grimentz-Zinal cable car, creating one of Switzerland’s most desirable, high-altitude, ski areas.

Mark Warner Property offers a range of luxury residential properties upwards from CHF 587,000 (Dhs2.25 million) in Grimentz. A highlight is the Chalets D’Adelaide development, comprising a mixture of large detached chalets and apartments, serviced by a new boutique hotel. With ski-in, ski-out facilities, concierge and extensive spa and wellness facilities, the properties are representative of the level of quality demanded by the discerning Middle Eastern purchaser. The premier chalets offer expansive balconies with sweeping views of the Val D’Anniviers.  Outfitted with locally sourced wood and stone, the chalets boast cosy interiors with sleek and modern finishings to the highest standards.  For optimum personalization, owners have the opportunity to design the internal layout according to their own preferences.

The lodgings can also be fully managed for rental purposes, with expected yields of up to three per cent, which are likely to be further enhanced as the resort develops, with plans for a thermal baths and a new deluxe hotel.

In all, a compelling proposition for those looking for both a summertime retreat and superb skiing facilities in the season. The dream has never been closer…

A man's accomplishments in life are the cumulative effect of his attention to detail.

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