First impressions: With its prime location in the exclusive Jardin Alpin area of Courchevel 1850, and typically alpine look, it’s hard to believe that this gorgeous chalet surrounded by firs is brand new. And while it might not be the cosy, retro, wood-panelled chalet of your ski holiday fantasies, this no holds-barred development more than makes up for it with added extras you’d never even think of. It’s ski-in, ski-out, of course, but as we ski down a lovely tree-lined run we are still expecting the general faffing that comes with taking your skis off. Not here though – there’s a magic carpet to transport you straight to the door (no trudging around with skis, hurrah!) and we’re met by a suited and booted gentleman who removes our skis for us and stores them away. The A-list treatment continues inside the poshest boot room I’ve ever set eyes on. As I sit down and begin the rigmarole or removing my boots, I find another member of staff has magically appeared to do the hard work for me, before presenting me with some super cosy slippers, and storing my boots at the optimum temperature for when I next need them. I can see why this resort is already such a hit with Russian oligarchs – and I’m more than happy to play Tsarina for the day if this is what it entails.
Room for romance
Unlike most hotels in Les Trois Vallées, the 55 super chic suites at L’Apogée are large and spacious and actually have room for you to remove puffy ski jackets and salopettes without taking out your h2b. And forget feeling like you’re sleeping in a sauna – as well as the requisite wood, designers India Mahdavi and Joseph Dirand have branched out with miles of marble and plenty of fur. The bathrooms are fit for a king too – or those Russian oligarch – with glorious gold fittings and spa products galore. Every room has a mountain view and I have to suppress a giggle as I look out to see a Chanel cable car flash by; if it wasn’t for the perfectly manicured slopes twinkling at me, I’d happily spend my days in this winter palace.
The spa With the outside temperate hovering between -1 and -10°c, the sumptuous Sisley spa feels like a warming hug after a day in the snow. With a lengthy treatment menu, supersize pool and sauna, it’s the perfect place to ease the aches and pains from falling off chair lifts and tumbling down black runs, although if a massage isn’t your thing there is the option of being beaten by birch twigs – apparently it boosts the circulation!
Wine and dine After a morning out on the slopes and a much-recommended stop at La Folie Douce, Meribel for some midi-ski (apres-ski starts early here) we’ve worked up an appetite and a half so head straight to the hotel’s restaurant Le Comptoir de L’Apogee still in our salopettes. Despite its smart appearance – huge chandeliers, five-star bar and whiter-than-snow table linens – the restaurant staff are laid-back about guests lunching in their ski gear. Service is seamless and before long we’re munching on fresh french baguette with melt-in-the-mouth alpine butter and sipping champagne. The menu is a maze of tempting options but luckily our waiter is on hand to advise – scallops to start and white truffle pasta for main. A quick nod from our waiter to our sommelier and the meal is perfectly paired with wine from the extensive cellar. An hour later we’re giddy from such tasty treats and too many bubbles, but back out to the slopes we head, sensibly sticking to the resort’s gentle greens and blues!
We love… the little touches that make skiing a breeze. As we make our way to the boot room, our boots are ready with a member of staff waiting to slide them on for us, and our skis and poles have been placed in position just outside the door. Forget ski-in, ski-out this place is step in, ski off!
We don’t love… having to make the choice between spending the day in the super spa or out on the slopes. This hotel is so hard to leave you’ll get a case of I-should-be-skiing guilt as you quaff bubbles in the champagne bar.