"I’ve christened the chalet Chalet Carlsberg, because it’s probably the best chalet in the world."
Stunning ski chalet in charming Espace Killy backdoor resort
Low season: from £10,600 whole chalet; Mid: from £15,000; Peak: £32,000
Tignes Les Brévières, Espace Killy
Forget pricy, cliched Val d’Isère and uncharming Tignes; Tignes les Brévières is a cute, authentic little hamlet on the edge that is fully linked in to the vast Espace Killy ski domain – and Chalet de la Cloche is a gorgeous, boutique ski chalet just five minutes from the lift up.
The chalet has been done out especially beautifully, with lots of jewel bright designer fabrics in lime green and plum and is a stunning modern property, built sympathetically out of a traditional old building. It comes with everything, from a fantastic spa area to outdoor hot tub.
Chalet de la Cloche is lavishly interior designed throughout, with modern twists to the usual chalet décor. There are gorgeously upholstered sofas and chairs in bright colours, chunky candle sticks, stylish chocolate standard lamps and a ruby red side-board. The dining area in this luxury ski chalet is located in the corner of the main living space, with fabulous views up the slopes and down into the village, while there is also a quirky bar equipped with every imaginable spirit — perfect for perching at with a pre-dinner g&t.
Among the best rooms I have stayed in. They are all huge, often with double aspect windows, and most have balconies with lovely views of the home run and the nearby clock tower. All combine different, gorgeously jewel-bright curtains and rich soft furnishings with neutral basics. I spoke to Lynne, the owner, about her beds, and soon discovered why it is I slept so well here. She has forensically researched them. The threadcount of the linen is the highest I’ve known, at 1000, while the beds have combination mattresses that include memory foam top layers. Seriously, seriously comfy. And the toiletries are Hermès, no less.
The food at Chalet de la Cloche is fabulous. The canapés kicked off the evenings when I stayed gloriously: think lobster cappuccino, roasted apple stuffed with local foie gras and mini avocado risottos. Nothing is too much trouble either, at this fully catered chalet. There was an awkward toddler staying when I was there, and all his foodie demands were totally off-piste. The chef rose to the challenge so patiently and so well that the adults soon had severe meal envy, with several insisting on piles of pancakes for breakfast too.
The chalet has lavish spa facilities. There is a really good-sized indoor spa pool, a steam room and an outdoor hot tub. There is no treatment room for visiting therapists, however – they simply set up shop in your own room.
The chalet caters for everything child-related, from children’s menu options (children can eat before the adults if desired) to organising ski school. It uses two local babysitting agencies that are very reliable and usually supply English-speaking sitters. The chalet managers will also organise the entire day for the children, including ski hire, booking ski school or ski lessons for more advanced children, while lunch can be taken care of too. The children can also be looked after in the chalet during après ski time, with a variety of games and DVDs to keep them occupied. Family trips can also be arranged, including husky rides, quad biking and skidooing. There is no minimum age but usually with very small children (0-2yrs) the chalet advises that parents bring a nanny.
The rooms. Giant, and gorgeously lavish, plus the local, hamlet-ty vibe.
You cannot access the boot room from inside the chalet, so have to tread gingerly down the front path to get to it.
The chalet is located in the tiny hamlet of Tignes les Brévières, a real locals’ destination that feels authentically French, refreshingly Brit-free, and yet with linked-in access to the vast Espace Killy Tignes-Val d’Isère ski area.
Fly to either Lyon or Geneva, both of which are around 2hrs 30mins away. The nearest train station is Bourg St Maurice, about 30km away, and the chalet will pick up from there at no extra cost. Transfers from the airports can be arranged but are not included in the price.