"This truly is a top luxury chalet comparable to staying in a chalet in Meribel or Courchevel, but with half the price tag."
Super-stylish, Alpine-chic mountain home
Low season: £6,270 (6 guests); Mid: £8,790 (6 guests); Peak: £21,995 (9 guests)
St Martin de Belleville, Trois Vallées
Sleeps: 6 + 3
Chamois Lodge is a truly class act — a supremely stylish, privately-owned, boutique ski chalet tucked away on the edge of the hidden gem resort of St Martin de Belleville, fully linked in to the mighty Trois Vallées ski area.
It is located in Villarabout, a tiny hamlet where locals still smoke hams and make their own cheese, so you get the best of both worlds – a genuine sense of Savoyard mountain charm, while also having world-class skiing right on your door.
Chamois is beautifully appointed too – mountain chic modern accessories, with big, luxurious bedrooms and bathrooms, and totally top-notch food.
Mountain chic boutique. The open plan living room in this luxury ski chalet is double height, drenched in light and beautifully airy, with two balconies to give spectacular views of either the mountains and the Vallées des Encombres or the lovely village of Villarabout. The exposed roof timbers and walls of old wood make it supremely cosy, and there is a stylish blend of old and new, with hand-picked antique furniture such as a beautiful oak dining table, two wooden carver chairs and a long French sideboard as well as giant, comfy sofas, a Wenge square coffee table and small drinks cupboard by French design house La Fibule. Furry wolf and fox cushions, throws, cow skin rugs and sheepskins abound.
There are three king/twin bedrooms and a triple bunkroom. Each has large double sliding windows and two have a balcony or terrace so you can make the most of the fabulous views. All rooms offer the same levels of comfort and style, including luxury Hypnos pocket-sprung beds, crunchy Egyptian cotton bed linen and gorgeously thick throws and cushions. The attention to detail is impressive: there are UK plug sockets, long wardrobe mirrors, individually controlled underfloor heating and lots of other sockets for charging phones and iPads. The bathrooms are all roomy too, with lotions and potions by Molton Brown. Beautiful individual pieces have been sourced for each room, such as a stunning Moroccan mirror in Bedroom 1, and cow hide chairs in Bedrooms 1 & 2.
This fully catered ski chalet prides itself on its food and rightly so. Everything is genuinely top-notch restaurant standard and quite delicious, from the hearty breakfasts including daily specials to the scrumptious, freshly baked cakes in the afternoon and the six-course indulgent fine dining evening suppers. These are served with six pairs of carefully selected wines to complement the food.
Chamois Lodge has its own ‘sun dance’ indulgent outdoor hot tub with fabulous mountain views. Judiciously positioned designer logs provide screening. Guests in Bedroom 3 simply have to open their terrace door and jump in. In addition to this, guests can also use the excellent facilities of the nearby La Bouitte mountain spa. Try the hay bath, it’s an extraordinary experience – melts away aches and pains, if you can bear the itchiness.
Children are generally very welcome at this ski chalet. The staff can take them to the slopes in the morning, serve them separate tea in the evening, and arrange English nannies, ski lessons and babysitters. For children aged 2½-6 years, the Club des Piou Piou in St Martin also offers a range of full and half day courses introducing toddlers to skiing.
The chalet also has a separate TV snug/children’s play room with DVD player, satellite freeview UK channels and fun wallpaper that looks like a vast pile of logs.
The spectacular panoramic snowy mountain views from the roof-top living room. You just cannot tire of them. And the adjustable woodburner that can be turned around. Oh, and the food too — seriously excellent.
If you want rocking night-life, this isn’t the chalet for you. Some might prefer ski in/ski out too – but the highly efficient in-resort transport and super-helpful staff who grab your skis and poles off you at the end of the home run stop this being an issue.
This St Martin de Belleville chalet is located in a tranquil setting just one minute from sister chalet Abode in the delightfully sleepy Savoyard hamlet of Villarabout. It is just four minutes’ chauffeured drive from the centre of St Martin de Belleville and the main lift hub. There is a taste of real France here, not the could-be-anywhere sense that pervades the more usual purpose-built French resorts. Villagers still smoke hams in the smoke house, collect water from the village pump and keep chickens and goats.
St Martin de Belleville is at the beginning of the Val Thorens/Les Menuires valley in the Trois Vallées. Best to catch a flight to Chambéry if possible, or else Geneva, from where it is a two hour drive. Chamois Lodge doesn’t offer transfers but uses Trois Vallées specialist, Mountain Express, for all airport and train station transfers straight to the chalet. They will organise this on booking – cost is extra. The nearest train station is Moutiers, and pick-ups can be arranged from there too.