Picked up at the Gare Routiere by the hotel shuttle van, since that is the end point for the bus from Moutiers. That means other skiers need to call up their hotel/ski lodge to pick them up if they have a lot of luggage as the whole village is not really easily navigable with ski bags and luggage. On a side note, the hotel also has a Land Cruiser that picks and sends guests to the bus station.
Located right at the end of the village, this property was opened recently and has one of the highest elevation in the whole resort. That also meant it is definitely a ski-out property but only a partial ski-in one. I will explain on the last point later. This hotel is also part of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World, a collection of some nice properties that are really good. First impression of this hotel was great from the entrance as they do really have some neat details like a winter boot brush to clean the boot from snow by the entrance.
Getting a warm welcome by the shuttle driver and the receptionist by the front desk makes the long journey less tiring immediately. There is a small reception desk by the entrance where a front desk staff checked me in. She also provided me a trail map and a village map while indicating they are able to help in purchase of the ski pass.
Across from the reception desk, there is a nice lounge with a library of skiing and mountaineering books. While most of the reading materials are in French, this lounge is a nice space to hang out in. It had a wonderful ambience and is one of the best designed spaces. This design theme continues throughout the hotel.
Room No: 407 Category: Junior Suite
While the hotel is not exactly tall, there are 2 elevators at the end of the hall where I took to head to my room. Some of the rooms here requires a change of elevators at the 4th floor, so foot traffic on this floor might be busier. However with an outdoor deck and the fitness centre on this floor, it makes it convenient to access some of the views and facilities.
As I had booked a room for single occupancy I was expecting to be provided with their standard room. Thus I was surprised when I entered the room and saw a nicely furnished living room, indicating I had been upgraded to a junior suite. There is a plush sofa that can also function as a single bed, and a Nespresso machine on the table below the wall-mounted flatscreen TV.
Beside the living room, there is a small desk with a wooden chair. There are also 2 large closets at the entrance foyer to the room. One of the closet has a safety deposit box and the larger walk-in closet is large enough to place your luggage along with all the ski gear. The minibar is also hidden in the larger walk-in closet.
A toilet is also found in the small room by the foyer, separating it from the main bathroom.
Across from the living room lies the King size bed. There is no door between the living room and the bedroom but there are some open shelving and the layout of the room certainly made a clear separation between both rooms.
I certainly like the wood accents on the bedroom along with the decor that comprises of the ceiling mounted lamp and the vintage skis on the wall by the bathroom.
There is also a neat alcove desk with a reading lamp and a wall mounted moss garden. There is a small stool here and thus this suite has 2 desks for guests, and shows how the hotel really made full use of its layout.
The main bathroom itself has a translucent glass door and on entry there is one large stone countertop. This was a very nice countertop that provided space around it to place your toiletries.
On the right of the bathroom, there is a large bathtub along with a heated towel rack. The latter is a great amenity to have in the bathroom for ski resorts as it can be used to dry ski gloves after a day on the slopes!
But my favourite feature in the bathroom is the Alps decor on the shower cubicle. I think it just elevates the standard looking shower stall into something else.
And the fragrant part of the room actually comes from the wonderful scent of bath amenities the hotel provide. L’Occitane branding is all over the room with 2 sets of amenities, one by the shower stall and another by the bathtub. There is even a full size bath gel by the bathtub.
Plush slippers were also provided for occupants in the room with a male and female version. Very nice for the walk down to the spa!
The large junior suite also featured a balcony that can be accessed from the living space. There are 2 deck chairs and a table on the balcony and it does have a partial view of the slopes too so guests can see when the chairlift and gondola starts to operate.
For luxury hotels, turndown service is a must, and they did replace used towels and closed the curtains. They also left chocolate truffles or cookies. However I must say the turndown amenity was sporadic in that I did not receive it on one of the nights. And on some days, they replenished the bath amenities with smaller bottles rather than the one found in the suites. Not a major issue but something to take note in any case.
Since I did stay at this hotel for a total of 4 nights and had an half board package, I would write about the breakfast and dinner on another post along with my experience in using the spa. The next part of this post will cover the facilities in the hotel.
As I mentioned, the hotel has a fitness center located on the 4th floor and it is just around the corner of the hallway from my suite. As expected in many ski resorts, the fitness centre is pretty small but it is well equipped for a short workout. After all, most guests would be tired out by the skiing!
One of the highlights of why I chose to stay here was the fantastic spa. There is an indoor spa just one floor above the lobby. It is a very nice venue to soothe the muscles after a day of skiing with a Swedish sauna, a steam room, an indoor pool and a hot tub. There are even some comfortable lounge chairs to relax. The only drawback to the design is the open windows from the spa that allows guests in the elevators to look into this area.
And for those who can brave the cold, there is an outdoor hot tub that overlooks the slopes so it certainly has a great setting to view the sunset.
Separate changing rooms and lockers for male and female guests are where guests enter the spa from and there are even a nice shower area to cool you down after the hot tub or the sauna. With the beautifully designed space, I made sure to spend my afternoon after skiing in this space!
Aside from the spa area, the hotel has an outdoor deck on the 4th floor with deck chairs which would be very useful come spring time when the sun appears and the weather is warmer. This space also functions as a foyer to the unique Iglu room which the hotel sells for guests interested in experiencing a special night in the Alps.
Other facilities in the hotel are common to most ski resorts. There is a boutique on the lobby floor selling some crafts and gifts from this part of France.
Past the elevators there are ski lockers and guests use their hotel key cards to access their lockers which has the same numbers as the rooms. Beside the ski lockers lies the ski rental and shop where guests could get fitted for a day on the mountains.
The hotel has 2 dining venues which I would cover separately and a large lounge and bar area. What I particularly liked was how the hotel was designed. It felt modern and yet rustic at the same time with the use of wood panels and intricate design pieces.
There was also the nice lounge across from the reception desk which features an iMac for guests to log online if they did not bring their computer. As wifi was provided, I had no trouble accessing the internet from my room. The workstation area located in the nook also shows how the designer made full use of every inch of space in this hotel creating a very cohesive living and interacting space for guests.
The presence of a fireplace in the lounge across from the lobby also made it warm to hang out in during the winter. Since the area is usually quiet at night, it also made for a nice spot to read a book before turning in for the night.
If there was a drawback, it was the lack of ski-in to the hotel. It was possible to ski back to the hotel though it is only for intermediate skiers and riders. However the hotel is located beside a slalom course which means skiers needs to cut through this course to get ski back in. Thus when there are races going on in the morning, the ski-in access to the hotel is closed off.
Considering the whole package and the service in this property, I was very pleased with the stay even when it was still quite possibly the most expensive I ever spent in a hotel stay. As to how much it costs and whether it was worth it I would write about it in the next chapter. Meanwhile I do have to mention this is a fantastic property for any skier that wants to stay in Val Thorens.