In the shadow of Mont Blanc in the French Alps is the chic resort town of Chamonix, world famous for its skiing, mountaineering, spas and designer shopping. Locals don’t shy away from extreme adventures here, but for an easier feat, take the cable car up l’Aiguille du Midi for unobstructed views of the Alps. Down on the valley floor, homely hotels and guesthouses are ready to welcome you – and you can book your Chamonix hotel with Culture Trip.
A former farm, this alpine chalet-hotel is run by a husband and wife team, Frédéric and Muriel. The relaxed, warm vibe at this hotel in Chamonix feels somewhat similar to staying with friends. Rooms are decorated in light wood panelling and are surprisingly spacious for Chamonix, especially once you move up from the Standard room. Some of the Superior rooms have balconies, which offer vistas of the valley.
Les Balcons du Savoy is a casual Chamonix accommodation option split into rooms of various sizes, from studios to three-bedroom apartments. Notably, every room includes a sizeable private balcony (hence the name). The apartments are simply and cleanly decorated and feature individual kitchens. With the spa, steam room and indoor pool, there are plenty of amenities to contrast the simplicity of the rooms.
In the centre of the town, and a few minutes’ walk from the ski lifts, you’ll find this elegant, upscale Chamonix hotel. Over a century old, it combines traditional Alpine style with modern touches. Dive into the outdoor pool year-round, or book a treatment at the on-site Clarins spa. Le Matafan restaurant is a white tablecloth affair, serving dishes such as octopus risotto and slow-cooked lamb shoulder. Enjoy an aperitif with friends in the bar to finish the night.
This hotel has been a Chamonix fixture since 1840, and it’s no wonder that it’s lasted so long. The 30 rooms have been recently renovated and are tastefully decorated with individual style. Riverside rooms provide expansive views and are a good choice for romantic breaks, while the wellness centre is the perfect way to relax your muscles after a hard day’s skiing or hiking.
Planted at the foot of l’Aiguille du Midi, Hôtel L’Oustalet is a pleasant, family-run Savoyard hotel. With only 15 rooms and suites, it’s a small hotel, but this also means guests gain individual attention. Rooms are simple and homely, and some of the family rooms have bunk-beds that kids are sure to enjoy. Don’t miss pastries in the garden tea room mid-afternoon.
Set in its own landscaped garden, Hôtel Hermitage Paccard really feels like a hermitage, tucked away in a quiet area. However, while the ambience can be quiet, it doesn’t have to be. A few steps from the town centre, it’s well located for shopping and dining. As an addendum to the skiing and hiking, the Chamonix sports centre is just opposite the hotel, so there are a host of additional activities on offer.
Sadly, and a little ironically, this hotel in Chamonix is not green in colour. Instead, it is in fact a small sports hotel offering boutique accommodation for sports enthusiasts. The bar and restaurant are a great place to meet like-minded extreme sports fans. Rooms are reasonably spacious, but the active clientele at this hotel are unlikely to be spending much time there. Free buses to the ski areas run from outside the hotel, and skiing, snowboarding and even paragliding can be organised for the guests.
Within easy reach of the pistes of Argentière, this mountainside Chamonix hotel is away from the buzz of downtown Chamonix, but it faces Mont Blanc, so choose one of the aptly named Mont Blanc suites (with an in-room whirlpool) for a romantic stay. Rooms are warm and rustic, and the lounge also reflects this aesthetic, with a fireplace and pool table, giving it a homely feel.
Hôtel Le Refuge des Aiglons describes itself as a real-life social network. Renovated in 2017, Aiglons is a trendy (verging on hipster) lodge in the middle of Chamonix, always bubbling with conversation. The terrace faces Mont Blanc, and you can grab a drink in an old cable car, which turns into a DJ booth on certain nights. Rooms are simple but use wood to stylish effect, and the cuisine is hearty – try the beef tartare, knife cut with French fries.
The not-so-little house of La Prairie dates back to around 1905. It was originally owned by mountain guide Henri Claret-Tournier, a man with 99 summits of Mont Blanc to his name (in an era when it took one full week to climb the mountain). Henri would lead guests up the mountain, while Aline, his wife, would prepare food for the guests. Now run by Henri’s great granddaughter Geneviève, the hotel has maintained that family feel and focus on the personal, alpine hospitality.
A five-star retreat in Chamonix, the Hameau Albert 1er offers ultimate tranquillity in the heart of the town. No matter how gnarly your day up the mountain, the Carrier family and their prestigious spa are waiting to pamper you upon return. There’s an indoor and outdoor pool, a spa facing Mont-Blanc, and a Michelin-starred restaurant. They make their own black pudding, and the pike dumplings with crayfish are particularly flavourful.
A modern, trendy chalet at the base of l’Aiguille du Midi, this hotel prides itself on its Nuxe spa, which is unsurprising given its quality. Picture a glittering array of steam rooms, ice caves, jacuzzis and an illuminated indoor lap pool. Rooms offer large beds in a modern, grey-and-white colour scheme. Some only have bathtubs, so make sure you specify if you want a shower.
This riverside hotel in Chamonix’s town centre has a pretty unique theme – it’s a converted mill from the 18th century. The attached pub offers lovely views of the river, a breakfast buffet and occasional live music. The mill has managed to keep a lot of its antique charm, while the interior is modern and comfortable. This hotel is one of the most famous buildings in Chamonix, and you’ll almost certainly recognise it from the tourist guides.
Stuart Kenny contributed additional reporting to this article.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.