Head to Courchevel – arguably France’s most luxurious resort – as the Alpine ski season gets underway this year.
Renowned for drawing rock royalty, oligarchs and the Parisian social elite, France’s Courchevel’s collection of resorts offers the chance to make a ski trip your own with Courchevel 1850, 1650, 1550 and 1300 reflecting their respective elevations and getting more expensive and exclusive as the numbers go up.
Even though each has its own name most still call them by their numbers, and as part of Les Trois Vallées, along with Meribel and Val Thorens, they form the largest collective ski resort in the world. Courchevel also has France’s highest density of luxury hotel accommodation outside of Paris and there are certainly many rooms and suites to help the weary skier relax after a day out in the cold. The very best rooms can remain elusive of course – unless you book ahead or have some good connections.
After a full renovation last season Hotel Barrière Les Neiges re-emerged in 2016 with some flair. This year again visitors will be able to enjoy the pale wood, open fires and subtle accents of marble and silks that come together to create a truly sumptuous and stylish mountain retreat, with modern twists and contemporary furniture bringing things up to date. As well as direct access to the slopes there is a spa, pool and private cinema room to help you unwind. For dining stop by Fouquet’s, the Parisian brasserie first opened on the Avenue des Champs-Élysées in 1899 that now has another home at Les Neiges. Sample its classic dishes and re-imagined standards as you bask in the warmth of the open fire – an excellent addition for a Courchevel cousin of the Parisian original.
If, however, only a chalet to yourself will do, for larger groups or just for more privacy there are plenty of options that will suit even the most demanding guests. If space is called for a lavish and sprawling option is Chalet Edelweiss. Spanning 3,000 square metres over 7 floors, Edelweiss is the largest on offer, and has also certainly claimed the title of Courchevel’s most decadent, with 8 bedroom suites (including 2 master suites), indoor pool, steam room with hammam, library and even a private night club. Perfectly positioned in the exclusive Bellecote Hamlet, it sits right on the Bellecote piste and is minutes’ walk from the centre of Courchevel 1850.
As ever there are new developments to look out for this season if you are returning. Highlights include the new spa at Hotel Le Melezin (a huge architectural feat that saw a whole new floor dug over the summer), the new Ariondaz gondola at Moriond which aims to double capacity and cut 3 minutes from the time it takes to reach the top, and the new 3 Valleys 4 hour lift pass, which can be started any time of the day rather than be limited to morning or afternoon, to provide some real flexibility.
This winter head to the diamond in the French Alps that is Courchevel. If it’s a first visit go see what all the fuss is about, and if you’re returning be sure to check out some of the excellent new additions that this season will bring. You can fly into Courchevel itself in small aircraft and Chambery, Grenoble, Lyon and Geneva are also nearby, you can also transfer by helicopter from Aosta Airport. Be sure to book early to get your preferred slots!
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