From ski chalets to hotels and self-catering apartments, here is our pick of places to stay in the French Alps
CHALET CANNELLE, Châtel
If you’re looking for ultimate comfort after a thrilling ski session or a summer hike in the mountains, Chalet Cannelle fits the bill. Located on the edge of Châtel in the Portes du Soleil ski destination of Haute-Savoie, this five-bedroom chalet can be hired fully catered or as a bed and breakfast (dinner available if booked in advance). All the food is freshly prepared, with an emphasis on local products. Set in a renovated 200-year-old farmhouse, the chalet is full of character that evokes its past, including animal names for the bedrooms. With comfy sofas, a well-stocked fireplace and huge windows offering breathtaking views of the Abondance Valley, Chalet Cannelle offers everything you need for a relaxing stay. Services include a chauffeured drive to and from the ski lifts, afternoon tea on your return, and early meals for children.
Winter catered stay from €950pp, per week, based on two sharing a room. B&B stays from June to September from €120pp per night.
ENTRE LAC ET MONTAGNE, Évian-les-Bains
This charming chambre d’hôte lies just three minutes from the centre of the spa resort of Évian-les-Bains on the shores of Lac Léman (Lake Geneva). The ski resorts of Thollon-les-Mémises and Bernex are less than 20 minutes away and the Portes du Soleil resort is also nearby. The accommodation comprises two light and comfortable en-suite double bedrooms, one of which has a view of the lake, while the other has its own terrace. Guests can use a private sitting/dining room and a breakfast kitchen where drinks are available. A well-stocked continental breakfast is included. If you would like to eat in, hosts Chris and Christine Burton can prepare a four-course meal if booked in advance. The heated swimming pool in the private garden is the perfect place to relax after an activity-filled day out.
Rooms €90 including breakfast
LA FERME DE MARGOT, Morzine
Set in a traditional Savoyard farmhouse built in 1838 and transformed into a boutique ski chalet, La Ferme de Margot is available to hire for weekly catered stays in this popular Haute-Savoie resort. Traditional crafted wood, slate and stone blend with the contemporary furnishings and decor to create a comfortable and stylish five-bedroom chalet that can sleep up to 12 in five en-suite bedrooms, including a family suite. British owners Jane and Steve live on site and provide a hearty breakfast to set you up for a winter ski or summer hike. In winter, you can also have afternoon tea and four-course dinners. Other features include an honesty bar, free Wi-Fi, parking and a boot room. The chalet is on the ski bus route and a short walk from the Super-Morzine ski lift. An outside terrace provides a great view of the Pléney ski station and the weekly torchlit descent and firework display.
Winter catered stay from £725pp per week, based on two people sharing a room. B&B stays from June to September from £360pp per week, evening catering on request, €40pp. Shorter stays also available.
CHALETS-HÔTEL DE LA CROIX-FRY, Manigod
This cosy chalet hotel in the Aravis Valley near Annecy was built in 1939 by the great-grandparents of the current owners, Isabelle Loubet-Guelpa and her brother Eric Guelpa, who take great pleasure in welcoming visitors to their home. In winter, you’ll be served an afternoon tea of homemade cakes, jams and pastries by a roaring fire; in summer, you can go out foraging mushrooms before returning for an iced tea on the terrace with its panoramic views. Alongside the nine rooms (including four suites), there is a heated outdoor swimming pool in summer, a sauna, whirlpool bath and massages on offer. Eric (who has two Gault-Millau stars) runs the restaurant – don’t miss out on his walnut tart, or the cheeseboard! A private bus takes guests to the slopes of La Clusaz, two kilometres away.
Rooms from €180 per night.
AU COEUR DU VILLAGE, La Clusaz
If you’re looking for quiet relaxation in luxurious surroundings after a hard day’s skiing, then we might just have found you the perfect spot. Picturesque La Clusaz in Haute-Savoie is easily reached, an hour from Geneva – but off the mass-crowd route. Combine that with a stay in this five-star Relais & Châteaux hotel, and you’ll have bagged yourself unspoilt authenticity and chic-style. There are 54 rooms and suites, and two restaurants – gastronomic or brasserie – featuring locally sourced produce, as well as a fabulous spa with indoor pool, steam room, sauna and treatments. Breakfast is from a buffet, which offers an English plateful of eggs and bacon, alongside a continental selection. And, if you’re feeling swanky, there is even an elegant smoking lounge with a collection of rare cigars. The slopes, lifts and ski-school meeting-point are just across the road. You’ll find sporting challenges for everyone, from the novice to the daredevil enthusiast.
Rooms from €290pp including one night’s half board and access to the spa.
CHALETS 1066, Les Gets
This family-run business covers the whole of Les Gets, a delightful area in Haute-Savoie offering family-friendly ambience, winning charm and superb skiing. Chalets 1066 (the apartment accommodation is all named on a Battle of Hastings theme) provides outstanding choice in terms of budget, group size and services. There’s everything from fully catered – with cooked breakfast, afternoon tea and three-course meals with wine – to self-catering with optional extras. If you would like fresh croissants delivered of a morning, a grocery service, or even a visiting chef, then all that is on hand, too. Whichever type you choose, there will be someone available, seven days a week, for help and advice, at no extra cost. There is a wealth of experience among staff, who use their extensive knowledge of the area to help guests. Ski passes will be waiting for guests when they arrive; and there’s also a bookable service for having skis or boots fitted at your accommodation.
Prices vary widely according to type; please check website.
REFUGE LA LAVEY, Écrins national park
The beauty of a mountain refuge isn’t the luxury facilities or period grandeur. It’s all about the setting, and the Refuge de la Lavey in the Écrins national park doesn’t disappoint. Set within the Vénéon Valley at 1,797 metres, it is surrounded by towering snow-capped peaks. The only sounds are the rushing waters of the river or the squeak of a marmot on the slopes above. When I stayed here in July, the days were warm but the nights cold, and frost greeted us in the mornings. Open year-round (sometimes only by prior arrangement, and not always manned), the refuge is equally popular with skiers in winter as it is with ramblers in summer. We had hiked via another refuge the previous evening, but La Lavey can be reached in a fairly easy two-hour walk following the river from the car park at Champhorent near Saint-Christophe-en-Oisans. The popularity of the setting is reflected in the size of the accommodation and dining rooms – unlike our previous night’s refuge, which had consisted of one room containing both eating and sleeping areas, La Lavey has separate dorms. Guardians Caroline and Xavier and their small team had 60+ to feed, which they did admirably, with some of the cooking taking place in the outside kitchen. As I relaxed with a beer (I was startled to see kegs outside, just imagine the logistics of deliveries), tantalising smells wafted over. Don’t expect any clichéd Alpine food though – that night we enjoyed dal bhat, a traditional dish from Nepal and India (washed down with French wine, of course). This was a relatively luxurious refuge, with two inside toilets and running water (but no plug sockets or phone signal). It’s not exactly the Ritz, but the views and experience were definitely five-star.
Beds €19.60, evening meal and breakfast €24.50, breakfast €7.
LE LODGE PARK, Megève
With its fur-clad sofas, vast antler chandeliers, hefty fireplaces and deep tartan walls, this glitzy hotel in the ski resort of Megève is the epitome of Alpine chic. Designer pieces cover the bedrooms, from classic Ralph Lauren homeware to sleek Philippe Starck lighting, and many enjoy their own lounge areas, wood fires and views on to the snow-covered slopes. In the restaurant, amid animal-print furnishings, feather-trimmed curtains and log-adorned ceilings, diners feast on delicious meat dishes in rich wine sauces. The spa will ease any tired muscles with Alpine-inspired massage or facial treatments using salts, scrubs and mountain plants that leave you feeling invigorated for another day on the slopes. The ski lifts are steps away – if you can drag yourself away from the fire-side throws.
Doubles from €153, breakfast €28.
LE FERME DU LAC VERT, Haute-Savoie
Set in the small village of Montriond close to the ski resort of Morzine, this beautiful former farmhouse was restored from a crumbling wreck in 2010. With bags of unique character, the chalet is a lovely bolthole for skiers and non-skiers alike. The cosy lounge area offers a roaring open fire, where the cocktail of the day is served, while the fabulous evening meals are served on a long refectory table to ensure a convivial atmosphere continues throughout the evening. There are 11 ensuite bedrooms and an apartment decorated with rugs, cowhides and furniture upholstered with Swiss Army blankets. See our full feature about staying here on www.completefrance.com
Stays cost from £895pp for a week and £580 for a short break, including breakfast, tea and dinner.
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