Snowy ski runs, gourmet French food and some of the Alps’ smartest hotels are all guaranteed at these hotels in Val Thorens, the highest ski resort in Europe.
Purpose-built Val Thorens may not win accolades for its looks, but lying in Les 3 Vallées, it certainly does for its skiing. At 2,300m (7,546ft), its height means snow is almost guaranteed from November to May. The range of terrain is unrivalled and its discerning visitors are seeing some of the swankiest hotels in the French Alps open up. Here are some of the best.
Brushed spruce and concrete, with vintage touches that nod to the hotel’s rich history, give the Val Thorens a cool, contemporary feel. Ski-in, ski-out, it has a fabulous location at the heart of the action, but it’s the zen-inspired spa that steals the show. With natural stone walls and a 15m (49ft) pool with panoramic mountain views, the spa offers tailor-made treatments, even matching the playlist to the therapy. Kids get a look in with gentle ‘snowman’ massages, mini manicure and first facials, using child-friendly Nougatine products.
Le Fitz Roy (sister hotel to Le Val Thorens) has long been a favourite of mountain buffs with a taste for opulence. Contemporary, slate-grey surroundings full of leather, polished wood and stone are punctuated with 21st century design classics to create a warm, luxe vibe. A Carita spa, gastro restaurant and subterranean pool carved out of the mountainside elevate this heritage hotel to five-star status.
Cosy chalet chic with the feel of a welcoming family home (albeit one with jaw-dropping mountain views), this medium-sized boutique hotel is a gem. Wood salvaged from vintage barns adorn the walls and colourful, contemporary furniture adds a modern twist. Excellent food and service leaves you feeling as if nothing is too much trouble.
Slide out of your skis and straight into this traditional alpine, family-run hotel. With log fires, sheepskin, wood and stone, Le Sherpa offers a cosy, rustic retreat after a hard day’s skiing. Interconnecting rooms and outstanding customer service make it family-friendly, while home-cooked regional cuisine keeps guests coming back for more (save room for the mouth-watering cheese trolley).
Get a blast of retro, Seventies ski style at this hip hotel in a prime position, next to the main ski gondola. Bedrooms echo the vintage vibe, decorated in mustard yellows, teal blues and charcoal greys with hexagonal mirrors and Marshall Bluetooth speakers. Even the ski locker is cool, with its own bar, table football and big screen. Boots off, you can chill with free snacks and herbal tea in the relaxation area overlooking the pistes, before deciding which of the restaurants to dine in.
This glass-fronted, five-star hotel perched on the edge of the slopes is a Scandi design dream. Designed by Jocelyne Sibuet (complete with signature spa), fabric and furs sit alongside laser-cut wood panels and sculpted dry stone. Apres-ski in the glamorous slope-side bar is legendary (drop the children off with the kids’ concierge). Foodies will be happy with three restaurants, including La Laiterie where fondue, raclette and all things cheese take centre stage.
Named after what was once the largest diamond in the world, five-star Koh-i-Nor sits at the top of the resort with panoramic views over Val Thorens. Leather egg chairs and pebble-shaped tables sit round an open circular central fireplace in the lounge. Bedrooms are spacious and flooded with light from the huge picture windows. There’s a spa, two swimming pools and a massive outdoor terrace where you can soak up the sun and the views (or make the most of a yoga instructor to ease your aching legs).
Fancy watching the snow fall or the stars twinkle as you drift off to sleep? Check into one of the ‘igloos’ on the roof of this luxury ski lodge hotel. Wood-burning stoves, ensuite bathrooms and a private outdoor hot tub make it a night to remember. Inside, pick from stylish suites with L’Occitane toiletries and pompom slippers, or self-catering apartments. Two restaurants (one Michelin-starred) serve up a sensational start to the day, with a huge hot-and-cold buffet alongside a healthy corner with spirulina, pollen and coconut sugar. Yogis will love the in-house yoga teacher.
Vibrant Kashmir colours and lush fabrics mix with Savoyard wood and stone in this four-star hotel at the foot of the slopes. Tumble out of your room or apartment (via the onsite rental shop) and ski out to the mid-station lifts. When you’re done, ski-in from the Plein Sud blue run. A pool with panoramic views and a spa treatment is the perfect way to end your day.