Skiing holidays appeal to different people for many different reasons. For some, the big draw is the aprés-ski scene and its hedonistic weissbier-drenched nightlife.
For others, it’s the chance to cosy up in a classy, secluded hideaway, far removed from the revelry, surrounded by pristine white slopes and soaring mountains.
By offering both, Courchevel 1850’s oldest hotel - the Hôtel des 3 Vallées - has managed to carve out a niche as one of the world-famous resort’s most desirable destinations.
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Originally constructed in 1947 as a mountain refuge for workers building the resort, Hôtel des 3 Vallées has an enviable location perched at the northernmost reaches of the town and set back from the main road on a festively lit cul-de-sac, a three-minute walk from the bars and restaurants of La Croisette.
The hotel is a mere 100 metres or so upslope of all of Courchevel’s three major cable cars, complete with ski-in/ski-out access.
The interior of Hôtel des 3 Vallées is an impressive modernist spectacle, following a 2013 refurbishment by Les Hôtels d'En Haut, who acquired the site in 2011. Reflecting the visions of expert French designers including Charlotte Perriand, Jean Prouvé and Pierre Paulin, the lobby, restaurant and bar areas are awash with 1950s-style flair, with features including sweetly-scented oak wall panelling, and original Pierre Guariche chairs.
This mid-century chic extends to the hotel’s 30 rooms and one suite, with faux-fur trimmings lending an almost 007-esque feel. The rooms overlook the French Alps north toward Annecy, and feature modern appliances including LCD TVs with international channels, and Bluetooth speakers.
The equally stylish restaurant offers an ever-changing menu of local Savoyard delicacies and other French classics, and is curated by Michelin-starred chef Antony Tempesta.
The entrecôte is a particular success, the delicious cut of beef served with nothing but local butter to emphasise its delicate flavours, while the cheeseboard - complete with a spectacular reblochon - rounds off the dessert menu in style.
Guests can also take home a selection of local delicacies from the lobby grocery store, where the goodies include regional beers, jams, biscuits and jars of Savoyard’s famed honey.
After a long day out in the fresh, powdery snow, guests can head down to sample the site’s ample - and spotless - spa facilities, which include a sauna, steam room and enormous Jacuzzi, and which offers massages, body treatments, and facials.
Once refreshed, retiring to the hotel’s spacious yet intimate lounge for a coffee topped up with génépi, a local herbal liqueur, is an excellent way to end the day. Perched beside the open fireplace, you can trace out the next day’s routes on the oversized canvas piste map that dominates the room.
With razor-sharp French design nous that complements rather than obscures its roots as a rustic worker’s living quarters, Hôtel des 3 Vallées is an unconventional jewel in the Courchevel crown.
Double rooms at Hôtel des 3 Vallées start at €350 (£308) per night, including breakfast.
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