As one of the most upmarket ski destinations in the French Alps, Val D’Isère is far from short of five-star hotels and excellent restaurants, but when Airelles Val D’Isère opened in December 2021 , this really upped the ante.
The sixth and newest addition to the Airelles luxury hotel chain (which also has properties in Courchevel, Méribel, St Tropez and Versailles), the large, super-central property is a brilliant addition to the resort’s dining options and scene elegant social.
Val d’Isere might be a very English resort (in high season you struggle to hear French), but this hotel exudes the Parisian Polish of its parent company, which was founded by media mogul Stéphane Courbit , the 114th richest. man in France.
Where is he?
The vast wooden chalet-style hotel has an A1 pitch at the Front de Neiges (main square of the resort), where all the slopes converge at the foot of the Solaise and Olympique gondolas. This last lift takes you to neighboring Tignes, the other (more low-key) half of the “Espace Killy” ski area which has 300km of combined pistes, extensive off-piste and ski areas up to 3,000m above sea level. altitude. The runs are suitable for experts and beginners alike, with as many challenging runs as wide, gentle blue runs. Warning: try the famous black run The face after a few mulled wines at La Folie Douce at your own risk.
The hotel is the only 5* ski-in ski-out hotel in the resort and its sunny, south-facing restaurant terrace overlooks the nursery slopes and the children’s ski area. It’s a popular place where people meet up with a drink at the end of the day; a place to be seen and to watch other skiers finish their last run home. The hotel’s main entrance is located on the other side of the building in the middle of the village, a short (largely flat) walk to restaurants, shops and bars, and the pretty church.
Originally built in the 19th century, the interiors of the sprawling wooden chalet were designed by architect Christophe Tollemer and cleverly balance rustic alpine charm with ultra-modern comfort. Plush red velvet sofas, large crackling fires, exposed beams and traditional mahogany furniture sit alongside high-tech lighting and underfloor heating. A collection of rare objects curated by art historian Emmanuelle Vidal-Delagneau also dots the space.
There are 41 rooms, including nine suites and five sublime private top-floor penthouses, each with its own dedicated butler. Prices for the four-bedroom apartment, which has a renaissance-style drawing room and private chef, start at £10,000 a night.
The rooms and suites overlooking the slopes are magical. Being able to stand on your balcony and watch the early-rising skiers while you drink your morning coffee is worth the extra expense — some even have hot tubs on the balcony.
All rooms have hardwood doors and floors, limestone walls and mahogany furniture. There is plenty of closet space, quality linens and complimentary tea, coffee and homemade biscuits in the bedroom. The bathrooms are all equipped with his and hers sinks, Guerlain products and a ski kit containing mini sunscreen and lip balm; suites have hammam-style steam showers and freestanding tubs.
This year, the hotel opened Loulou Val D’Isère, the first alpine outpost of the Parisian institution… And it’s as brilliant and gourmet as its Parisian and Saint-Tropez counterparts.
Interiors are cozy and indulgent, with red velvet armchairs, white tablecloths and candles, Ralph Lauren plaid upholstery, and woodsy foliage covering the ceiling — an Instagrammer’s paradise in short. Outside, the sprawling 800m2 terrace is the perfect spot for a sunny lunch, with live DJs pumping out music and staff serving up plenty of magnums of rose at tables of glamorous Bruno Cucinelli-swathed guests. and Moncler (both of which have a boutique inside the hotel). There are also rows of recliners facing the track (and the evening sun), the perfect place for a hot chocolate or a spritz at the end of a day on the slopes.
The Italian menu features excellent salads, pastas and carpaccios alongside the signature black truffle pizza and a lovely starter of burrata tomatoes and datterini. It’s not cheap though – the pizza and burrata starter are 50 euros each. The dessert buffet is ridiculous in its abundance and quite overwhelming.
The same table that’s piled high with every pudding imaginable at night is loaded, come breakfast time, with every cheese, pastry, muesli and fruit platter you can imagine, with perfect eggs and the like available at the map.
Anyone looking for traditional Savoyard fare should walk to nearby restaurant La Grande Ourse, founded in 1936 and now owned by the hotel, which specializes in Alpine classics like raclette, fondue, charcuterie and tartiflette – all executed to the absolute. perfection. The sunny outdoor terrace has large round tables ideal for group lunches in the middle of the ski, while the traditional interior, entirely made up of wooden panels and vintage photographs, is ideal for a cozy evening by candlelight.
The underground, Roman-themed Guerlain spa is the largest in the resort, with a 20-meter indoor pool with plenty of comfy loungers, a super-sleek steam room, sauna, and jacuzzi. Kids go crazy for the (smartly remote) children’s grotto pool, while those looking to pass the hours between skiing and dinner are well catered for with the poolside juice bar, which offers complimentary teas, newspapers and healthy snacks.
Guerlain treatments are of a high standard. The deep tissue massage was the perfect way to relieve muscle tension after a hard day on the slopes. For those who really need post-ski realignment, the hotel has its own osteopath Tom Pichaud, who specializes in personalized osteopathic podiatry treatments as well as headaches, pregnancy, and women’s health issues. The hotel also has a luxury hair salon on the ground floor.
There’s also a gym with all the latest TechnoGym cardio and strength-training equipment, including rowing machines, cross-trainers, and treadmills.
Each stay includes an alpine experience, which can be an on- or off-piste skiing lesson, ice climbing, snowshoeing, dog sledding and snowmobiling. For those looking to hit the slopes, the hotel has world-class ski storage equipped with all the latest equipment for loan or purchase. The staff are super knowledgeable and nothing is too much trouble. The ski room even offers an all-day buffet room with homemade cakes, snacks and hot drinks.
Children are incredibly well catered for with an extensive children’s play area adjacent to the ski room, which even comes with its own private cinema which can be booked for parties or family gatherings.
An extensive program of supervised activities for children includes baking, arts and crafts, face painting, sledding and snowman building for the youngest, as well as more adrenaline-pumping activities like Moon Biking (a new alpine craze) and high ropes courses for teenagers. Additional activities are offered during school holidays, including visiting magicians, riding on snowmobiles, ice skating, ice hockey, and husky dog sledding.
How to get there
The station is 2h45 drive from Geneva airport, similar from Lyon airport and 2h20 from Annecy. The hotel can arrange Tesla airport transfers with private driver and helicopter or private plane transfers to the resort heliport.
The hotel is open from December 9, 2022 to April 10, 2023
Rooms start at £1,200 for a Premier room including Bed & Breakfast and a unique Alpine experience. Visit airelles.com for more.