"Thank you for a wonderful break from the rat race."
Stylish, ultra-contemporary ski chalet in unspoilt backdoor Swiss resort
Low season: from £6,900 whole chalet (12 people); Mid: from £11,900; Peak: from £14,500
La Tzoumaz, 4 Valleys
Sleeps: 8 + 4
Chalet Auriane is another of my genuine favourites. It is located in the little-known resort of La Tzoumaz (I love resorts that are not the usual ‘Mayfair’ destinations), which is in the next valley to and is fully linked in to Verbier – so you get all the fabulous skiing and facilities of Verbier without paying Verbier prices. The chalet would literally be twice the price if it were over the ridge.
It is also ski in/ski out via its own private lift (and where in Verbier do you get a ski in/ski out chalet?), plus it is a fabulous, ultra contemporary chalet with lots of lovely touches such as lime green chairs and bean bags and chrome moose heads on the walls. It has every mod con too, from iPod docking stations to Apple TV, throughout and a stunning spa area with river shower plus the non-negotiable hot tub.
Very much modern contemporary. There are lime green rugs and dining chairs, stone walls, designer slate surrounds to the two-way fireplace, and charcoal grey sink-into Italian sofas. The lighting, too, is all Italian and decidedly groovy in this luxury ski chalet, with faux fur cushions and throws everywhere plus gorgeous cream leather chairs and footstools. There is also a funky big silver cuckoo clock, sourced from The Conran Shop. Luxurious wallpapers have been used, as well as beautiful chenille throws and rugs all in plum tones. There are also one or two unique chalet features, such as quirky moose heads wearing ski goggles in the kitchen and a life size papier mâché tiger, bought years ago by the owner from an Oxford Street shop window display and transplanted from his UK home to the Alps.
The master suite has the most extraordinary wow-factor bed: it’s made out of various local pine tree trunks nailed together to create a sort of cartoon bed effect – like something a fairytale princess might sleep in. The other rooms are all good sized, all with baths in the bathrooms and modern splashes of colour on the cushions. There is also a cute four-bunk kids room, with pillar-box red walls and giant bean bag. All have TVs complete with Apple TV systems and gorgeous ESPA bath products.
The food offering at this fully catered ski chalet is totally flexible — menus are not imposed on guests at all and timings are moveable. Breakfast, for instance, can be at 7am if you have a guide booked, or 10am if you have a hangover. In general the chalet does excellent mountain food with a modern twist, using lots of local produce, as well as French-based cuisine. They do tartiflettes and tarte tatins, plus home-made soups and can also stage themed foodie nights such as Mexican or Savoyard. The house wines include local whites and decent reds from further afield, while the champagne is Perrier-Jouet or Mumm Cordon-Rouge. An upgrade to finer wines is possible. These include St Emilion as well as some top Burgundies and Premier Crus.
This luxury ski chalet has a groovy spa area with fabulous dual aspect windows, a relaxation area with Philippe Starck chairs and access out onto a balcony where the outdoor hot tub is located. It has a sauna which can also become a steam room, and a gorgeous river shower.
The chalet is probably not ideal for infants or toddlers. There is an open staircase and too many sharp edges. It also doesn’t provide any baby sitting, although this can be arranged. Cots and high chairs are, nevertheless, all available, and separate kids’ meals can be organised if desired. No fizzy drinks are available, however, and all sweets/chocolate are hidden away (the owners are health-conscious doctors!).
The groovy contemporary interiors, the ski in/ski outness, and the location, just over the ridge from Verbier — as well as having its own quiet, snow-sure slopes nearby.
La Tzoumaz is north-facing so doesn’t get much sunshine, although this does mean that the slopes hold their snow well.
La Tzoumaz is just over into the next valley from Verbier, on the other side of Savoleyres. This makes it quieter, less expensive, less crowded and more friendly than Verbier, but with ready access to all the great skiing and facilities that are on offer there. It is also a ski-in/ski-out chalet, just a few steps down off the home run into La Tzoumaz.
Geneva is around 90 minutes away from this luxury ski chalet, Sion around half an hour. Transfers from Sion are included, but from Geneva are extra. Martigny is the nearest train station, approx 30km away or 30 minutes by car.