Upmarket chalet operator goes bust

28th August 2009, by Chris Gill

Luxury ski chalet operator, Descent International has taken voluntary liquidation, following debts of almost a million pounds and failed attempts to refinance.

Descent has operated some of the ski world’s finest chalet accommodation since 1997, building a reputation for exceptional service and comfort. Most of those properties were in the top French and Swiss Alps, such as St Moritz, Courchevel, Zermatt, Verbier and Klosters - and came at a high price tag for five-star exclusivity.

If you splashed the cash then staying in their chalets was the ultimate in holiday pampering: no expense spared. You could expect be waited upon by top class chefs and chalet hosts. Guests have included a long list of famous faces paying over £50,000 a week for the privilege, including members of the Royal family.

Ironically, bookings for the forthcoming season had been going well; reports suggest that most peak season weeks were already sold. Unfortunately Descent’s clients generally book accommodation only, so won’t have been covered by ATOL’s financial protection (applying to full packages with flights). This is likely to mean the loss of their very hefty deposits. On a positive note though, luxury chalet operator Scott Dunn has stepped in to help find Descent guests other suitable accommodation.

The top end of the ski market business has been hit hard by the recession, rising costs and taxes; even strong early bookings in this case could not prevent Descent’s slump.

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