This dreary shoulder season is the perfect moment to start looking at what’s next: winter. If you’re an avid skier, you’re likely acquainted with the 3 Valleys, the world’s largest ski area; and if you appreciate luxury as much as I do, then Courchevel should be a familiar name. Located in the French Alps, Courchevel sits within helicopter reach of major international airports – unless of course, you land your jet directly in the resort. At 1850 meters high, it boasts the highest number of 5* properties than any other ski resort in the world, more than 600km of ski slopes, amazing restaurants, and the best shopping in the region. It is a paradise for skiers and even non-skiers who will enjoy countless recreational activities.
This winter, the village of Courchevel becomes even more prestigious with the mid-December opening of Hotel Les Neiges by famous hoteliers Barrière. One of the newest members of Leading Hotels of the World, Hotel Les Neiges is the luxury version of an authentic alpine chalet, ideally located in the center of the resort, yet ski-in-ski-out – don’t worry, it’s on an easy slope to get you ready for steeper challenges to come.
Inside the hotel, it’s all about alpine stones, warm furs, stylish leathers, and softwoods. Star architect Nathalie Ryan worked magic to make this place warm and intimate, drawing inspiration from the fir tree forest and surrounding chalets owned by Russian oligarchs or ultra-wealthy Arabs. The best view of the mountains is by far from one of the decks of the Penthouse, an impressive 310 sqm private chalet on top of the hotel with your own 24/7 butler. The hotel boasts 22 rooms starting at 35 sqm – a generous size for a European mountain hotel – and 20 suites that offer cozy interiors and the latest technologies. The LHW website shows a few availabilities for the last week of December with a starting price of around $1,300 for half board.
Indulge with fine food at the two main restaurants of the hotel: The first one is a spinoff of the uber-famous Champs-Elysées address: a legendary Parisian brasserie opened in 1988 and acclaimed ever since. Here, in Courchevel, Le Fouquet’s keeps the original red seats, the cinema photographs, and the glitzy décor but gives it a modern, mountain twist that makes the restaurant unique. The menu is not printed yet but we can only hope there will be our beloved Millefeuille. The second one is the Argentinian restaurant BFire and will be the latest opening by Mauro Colagreco (2 Michelin Stars) who we love for Unico in Shanghai or Mirazur on the French Riviera – regularly featured among the best restaurants in the world. Restaurants are easily accessible from the slopes by the main solarium so that you can stop for a much-needed lunch in the middle of your ski day. Just remember to ask the ski valet to place your boots in the heating machine.
Because a vacation without a spa is no vacation, Hotel Les Neiges has designed a full-service spa over 1,000 sqm – the biggest in Courchevel – that includes a 20-meter long indoor pool. The Spa Diane Barrière welcomes you to relax and re-energize after an intense day skiing…or shopping. The list of options and services is very comprehensive and includes treatments specifically created for high-altitude holidays, anti-aging cryotherapy, and LPG treatments. The facility comprises a body scrub room, ice pool, steam room, sauna, open-air Jacuzzi, and 7 treatment rooms to enjoy individually or as a couple. The bespoke beauty products used at the Spa bring additional charm to the experience and might give you exotic ideas for your next trip: they are from Ligne St. Barth – the best-kept secret among top models vacationing in the Caribbean. For your daily workout, head to the fitness center and ask advice from the resident coach.
After a healthy breakfast, head down to the Ski Room and receive experts’ advice on the latest ski gear available: Fendi, Bogner, and all the big names needed to ski in style and comfort. For added cachet, the hotel has teamed up with legendary brand Toni Sailer to design a custom line of winter gear that you can bring home and enjoy even after you’ve left Les Neiges – although you might never want to leave.
Founder of UNITIATE, Geoffrey is a Marketing Expert, Luxury Specialist and Hospitality Enthusiast. Wherever he goes, his early career and personal interests have always helped him nurture and cultivate a passion for the Travel and Leisure industries. French-born, Geoffrey has accumulated an extensive experience abroad, thanks to regular visits to foreign countries but also thanks to years of expatriation. Currently based in Chicago, Geoffrey has already lived and worked in New York, Shanghai, Singapore, and Monaco. You can meet Geoffrey on Twitter and Linkedin.