Lionel Messi’s ski resort will have you dreaming of a snowy Spanish getaway
The idea of a Spanish holiday is likely to conjure images of the pristine beaches, landmark Gaudi buildings and dining tables covered in tasty tapas. Ski fields are perhaps less likely to spring to mind. With Barcelona Football Club superstar and entrepreneur Lionel Messi set to open a high-end ski resort later this year, it might just put the Spanish Alps on your post pandemic travel bucket list.
Set in the exclusive Spanish town of Bacqueria Beret in the north of Spain, the resort, formally known as the Himalaia Hotel, is the newest of four establishments owned by the Messi and Majestic (MIM) hotel chain. The high-earning soccer star has run the venture with his brother, Rodrigo Messi, since 2017. When he is not dominating the soccer pitch, Messi is an avid skier, making it no surprise that a snow resort was the next addition to the 33-year-old entrepreneur’s growing empire. It marks a change of scenery for the hotel group, which has establishments in the lavish beachside locations of Majorca, Ibiza and Sitges. The hotel has recently undergone renovations to prepare it for the upcoming ski season of 2021/22.
Located at the base of Pyrenees Alps in the picturesque Aran Valley, the 4-star resort is in close proximity to the gondola lift and boasts a swimming pool, outdoor jacuzzi, a fully equipped gym, snow gear rentals and storage, a kid’s club and mountain guide services. The contemporary rooms don’t scream of luxury but are instead cosy and oozing with warmth. Some rooms feature walls clad in classic timber panelling, while others boast balconies that allow guests to truly take in the snowy vistas. Step back inside and they will be greeted by natural slate heated floorboards. Guests that are less inclined to head back to their room after a long day on the slopes can instead unwind at the resort’s restaurants, offering everything from après ski to a la carte dining experiences. Alternatively, they can book a range of treatments, from massages to manicures, at the in-house spa.
Bacqueria Beret is frequented by Spain’s most affluent celebrities, who come wintertime, flock there from all over the nation. Tourists might even spot a Spanish royal tearing down the mountain. With a slew of slopes covering around 167km in total, the idyllic spot has ski runs varying in difficulty to cater for everyone, from the most advanced to the most novice of skiers. Visitors can take part in a variety of other snow sports including hiking and mountain biking, or canyoning and white water rafting for the adrenaline junkie. The popular seaside cultural hubs of Barcelona and San Sebastian are also only a few hours’ drive away.
After many of us were forced to scrap our travel plans in the past year, you can’t help but wonder when the prospect of crossing an international border, beyond our new transpacific bubble, won’t seem like a far-fetched fantasy. Until then, it seems we will have to dream up plans for the endless overseas locations and experiences that await us. With sporting stars including Juvetus’ Christiano Ronaldo and Gary Nevill and Ryan Giggs of Manchester United each owning and expanding their own hotel empires, a stay in a soccer player’s resort may likely be one of those experiences.
With the town of Bacqueria Beret having committed to implementing various precautions that will ensure its visitors have a COVID safe experience, travel hopefuls will be able to book a stay in the ritzy MIM hotel from the 4th of December 2021. A booking will set you back anywhere from around $220 for the basic Design Room, to $550 per night for the exclusive Loft Suite.