"It is difficult to put into words what an extraordinarily wonderful week that was – a huge thanks. It was truly ‘formidable’, as the locals say!”
Vast, stunningly stylish modern ski chalet in hidden-gem resort
Low season: from £14,600 whole chalet/£20,000 inc Ranch; Mid: £25,600/£30,000; Peak:
Sleeps: 12+/16+ inc Ranch
Yellowstone is one of my favourite ski chalets. It is big and stunningly beautiful, a genuine wow-factor chalet just yards from the home run in the charming resort of Ste Foy in the Tarentaise.
It’s got gorgeous designer interiors with lots of lime green and contemporary furniture, plus everything else you would expect of a proper luxury ski chalet, from fine food and wine to five star service and proper spa. Seriously well priced too.
There is a real sense of space and freedom in this chalet. It is clean, sharp and chic, with unfussy, modern touches that ooze good taste and style. Lime green is the theme in the main living space (there is a fabulous lime green giant winged armchair beside the fire and lime green leather bench seats around the dining table), while there are charcoal grey wool curtains, huge table lamps and Andrew Martin sofas. But it is not remotely austere or showroomy – there is not a chair you feel you can’t collapse in or a table you can’t put a mug down on.
All the rooms are spacious– some of the biggest I have stayed in, in fact. Each is quite different too, with safari-themed pictures (drawing on the idea of ski safaris which Ste Foy is perfect for) that cleverly double up as speakers for the iPod docking stations. The bathrooms feature Abhana toiletries, which are a gorgeous English brand and are all organic, made from very pure natural oils. There are some thoughtful touches too, such as an English plug socket in each room.
There are six double rooms, two of which have a bunk room or dressing room attached that can accommodate children — so 12 adults and four children in the main lodge, plus there is a separate self-catered apartment on the ground floor called The Ranch which can accommodate four adults and four children in two double rooms (1 with a mezzanine, 1 with an alcove behind a partition to accommodate the children).
This luxury ski chalet is sold with the main lodge and The Ranch combined in peak weeks but they can be separated for off-peak weeks.
Yellowstone is a fantastic party-style fully catered ski chalet, and when it is booked exclusively by one group the food is laid out in a refreshingly relaxed and social way – great mounds of delicious, hearty fare are put in big bowls in the centre of the table for people to help themselves to. The idea is you can just pile in. When it is booked by the room, however, meals are plated up in the traditional way, individually, so you are not fighting over helpings with relative strangers. The standard is absolutely restaurant-level. Sample dishes include steamy bowls of leak and potato soup, followed by fish pie or a fun cheese fondue, then some thoroughly naughty chocolate brownies or ginger sponge and custard as puds. Pol Roger is the complimentary house champagne, and there is an excellent selection of house wines including good quality clarets and the owners’ own pub wine, Roger’s & Rufus’ Rose.
Yellowstone has an outdoor Jacuzzi with totally uninterrupted views up the valley towards Val, plus a sauna and a lovely gym with views too. Daily massages are available but are not included.
All the bedrooms are big enough to take a cot, and baby sitting can be arranged, while there are very good ski school facilities at Ste Foy for children. The chalet is perhaps set up more for skiing children than for nannies and babies, however.
The lime green chair, and the uninterrupted views across to Mont Pourri.
Um. Perhaps the fact that this luxury ski chalet, despite being genuinely luxurious, is not in one of the ‘Mayfair’ resorts, but then if it was it would be twice the price.
This Sainte Foy ski chalet is located just off the home run of the pretty Tarentaise resort which is really a collection of several hamlets that combine to make up a village. As such the resort has immense charm, it feels properly local and French, and it is small enough to make you feel at home and thoroughly welcome, however short your stay.
The chalet is also fantastically located for skiing not just in Ste Foy itself but also in the major resorts of Val d’Isère, Tignes, Les Arcs and La Rosière and La Thuile over in Italy – all of which are between a 10- and 20-minute drive away. There is transportation laid on from 8am to 6pm, and after 6pm by arrangement – although you are likely to be charged for a pick-up after feverish late-night clubbing in Val d’Isère.
The nearest train station is Bourg St Maurice which is just 20 minutes away. Otherwise fly into Grenoble, Chambéry, Geneva or Lyon (all roughly the same at 2hr 30mins away). The chalet doesn’t do transfers, apart from to and from the train station. There is a helipad just below this luxury ski chalet, however, and you can catch a flight from Geneva. The pad is also where the drops over into Italy go from.