2017 Advice and tips
The French chalet holiday is a firm favourite for Brits with a third of British skiers coming to France choosing to stay in a chalet. For winter 2017 they will have some splendid new chalets to choose from.
- In Tignes, former freeride world champion and rally driver Guerlain Chicherit continues his radical luxury chalet revolution of the hamlet of Les Brevières, with 4 spectacular new chalets unlike anything else in the Alps opening in December 2017, each with its own unmistakeable signature. Chalet Banksy showcases the work of the British street artist and includes 3 original pieces. Chalet Ubud takes its inspiration from the Balinese art mecca of Ubud, Chalet Babylon is stacked with cutting-edge design and technology and an indoor pool and Chalet Raven takes its styling cues from the 1930s. Also in the pipeline and perhaps the most ambitious of all is Chalet Phoenix (opening date TBC), which features as its centrepiece a decommissioned Noratlas 2501 military plane with a 54m wingspan. In a chalet!!
- Chalet des Cascades in Les Arcs is an elegant ski-in-ski-out 400sqm chalet overlooking Arc 2000 featuring a reading room accessible by a glass walkway above the cathedral sitting room, swimming pool and sauna.
- In Morzine The Boutique Chalet Company’s Chalet Joux Plane is the ultimate escape for those seeking peace and quiet. Accessible only on skis in winter it features an indoor-outdoor pool, cinema and gym
- In Arêches Beaufort Le Coeur d'Arêches is a building dating from 1820 has been repurposed as a gorgeous chalet marrying contemporary iron and glass with the original timber beams and joists.
- In Val Cenis, The Moulin de Marie is an old 3-star hotel has been completely rebuilt as an individual chalet sleeping 20. In keeping with the Nordic heritage of the Haute Maurienne, the chalet includes a nordic bath, spa and sauna.
7 new flagship hotel openings for winter 2017-2018, with options to suit every taste and budget.
Without doubt the single biggest new hotel opening in the French Alps, the 423-room 4-trident Club Med Grand Massif Samoëns Morillon underlines the brand’s status as market leader in the upmarket all-inclusive space. In a region renowned for its picturesque hamlets, the Club Med's contemporary Resort, with its fabulous panoramic view of the mountains, has been designed to blend in harmoniously with nature. In addition to an art studio and a vast range of activities for all the family, the resort features two swimming pools and a spa by Carita (Paris).
The 69-bedroom Hyatt Centric La Rosière is the brand’s first foray into alpine hotel territory, providing a cosmopolitan vibe for millennial-minded travellers who want to be in the heart of the resort. Guests will be able to head straight from the slopes to the hotel bar, H40 Bistro Bar, and the fashionable all day trattoria, La Tavola, providing a vibrant atmosphere for both guests and non-residents in the heart of La Rosière.
The Coeur des Neiges in Saint Gervais Mont Blanc puts the focus on deep relaxation and comfort with guests offered their choice of mattress and pillow, including bamboo, memory foam or even seed-based pillows. Continuing the wellness theme, the hotel serves delicious gluten-free pastries and a range of imaginative teas and restorative infusions.
The 24-bedroom K2 Djola in Courchevel is the Capezzone family’s latest property, a 4* boutique lodge-style hotel inspired by its bigger brothers the K2 Palace and the K2 Altitude.
Also new in Courchevel is the 4* Fahrenheit Seven Courchevel which, like its popular sister property in Val Thorens, will be synonymous with affordable, contemporary, design-led luxury.
Val d’Isère’s 60-year-old Hotel L’Avancher has been almost completely rebuilt during summer 2017 to create a comfortable 37-room 4*hotel. The gourmet restaurant features fresh local produce and there’s a wine bar and a cosy lounge with an open fireplace. The spa has two hot tubs, two saunas and a steam room. The hotel also has a games room and even a Tesla charger in the basement!
Following the roaring success of similar openings in Les Houches and Alpe d’Huez last winter, the HO36 Hostel in Les Menuires is the latest “budget-boutique” option sure to be a big hit with young and budget-friendly skiers. 40 quirkily-styled rooms sleeping 2 to 10 people start at €40/person/night.
Chalet JJ is a luxury five-bedroom new build chalet in Morzine. Comfortably sleeping up to 10 people, this catered chalet is a great choice for families and friends looking for an up-market retreat within walking distance of the village centre. Guests can enjoy stunning mountain views from the large terrace which features a BBQ and outdoor hot tub
Into the wild
Two new refuges are opening for those with a sense of adventure to explore beyond the boundaries of the resorts and the ski areas.
- The opening of the Refuge du Lac du Lou by the picturesque Lac du Lou (between Val Thorens and Les Menuires in the Belleville valley) is the culmination of a €1.2 million project. The 30-bed refuge is accessible on snow shoes from Chalet Pépé Nicolas or skiing off-piste from La Masse (Les Menuires) or Cime de Caron (Val Thorens).
- Refuge de Terre Rouge in the Neuvache valley near Valmeinier sits at the foot of the Pointe de Terre Rouge, one of the 5 access points to the Tour de Mont Thabor. 5 years in the making, the 40-bed refuge is a converted “chalet d’alpage” which blends innovative modern design and authentic mountain heritage.
In the pipeline for 2018 and beyond
- Le Coin de Val is a £170m redevelopment of the heart of Val d’Isère with work beginning this autumn, to be completed by 2022. Two new hotels (3* and 4*), two new apartment complexes, a new bus station, a new piste and underground travelator, a crèche and eco-friendly design and systems across the board make this the most ambitious resort redevelopment project in a generation.
- Also in Val d’Isère, the oldest cable car station in France at Tête de Solaise – it dates back to 1942 – is about to be transformed into a 40-bedroom hotel that will be the highest in France. Access in summer will be by road, while in winter the hotel can only be reached by the new Solaise gondola or by snowcat. Scheduled opening date is December, 2018.
- Les 2 Alpes is set to add 3500 new tourist beds by 2020.
- Alpe d’Huez will open its first 5* hotel in December 2018.