As the alarm sounded at 4am I did question my two-day skiing trip to Courchevel in the French Alps but landing in Geneva mid morning and arriving at the resort in time for lunch was amazing. The road transfer was a slick two-hour drive with the last half an hour climbing through amazing snow covered scenery.
My stay was at the newly opened L’Apogee Courchevel 1850 in Les Jardins Alpins area (the most exclusive and highest part of the resort). My first impression as I entered into the lobby was wow. There was an immediate friendly atmosphere and a feeling of cosiness with the big fire and the beautifully tailored furniture. We were taken to the bar for our arrival glass of champagne. Lunch consisted of a sandwich but not any sandwich – the choices varied from wagu beef to lobster! I think I could get used to this!
After lunch we were taken to our rooms where the wow factor continued. My room, which was actually a suite with a walk in closet the size of most bedrooms, was spectacular. The soft furnishings followed through to the bedrooms to create a cosy feeling with an air of understated luxury. No room in the hotel is the same with each having their own unique features but with the same luxurious furnishings throughout. My oversized marble bathroom even had its own steam shower, a fantastic addition to be used after a hard days skiing. The products were all organic. However the most impressive feature of the suite was the large wrap around balcony with superb views over the slopes of Courchevel. I just couldn’t wait to be skiing on those slopes the following day!
The ski room on the ground floor of the hotel was superbly organised. Never has ski fitting been so slick. Within minutes my boots had been fitted and my skis were being waxed.
Also on the ground floor is the kids club, which consists of two different rooms, one for younger children aged 4-10 and another for older children aged 11-15. These rooms with funky décor, computer station (for the older kids) and even a dance floor were very inviting and a great place to leave the kids knowing they would be well entertained while Mum and Dad relax in the spa opposite!
The spa was equally impressive with numerous treatment rooms, steam rooms and two different types of sauna, one a salt sauna and another a traditional sauna. All ideal options after a hard day on the slopes. The swimming pool with adjacent hot tub is a real haven. I was fortunate enough to experience the spa first hand with a wonderful hour-long massage, just what was needed after such an early start.
Dinner that evening in the restaurant was superb consisting of 3 delicious courses and wine to complement each course. We even had the in-house sommelier visit us to discuss the choices of wine, something that is done with each guest. Guests staying at the hotel have a choice of an a la carte menu, which changes daily (half board is included as part of your stay at L’Apogee).
The following morning we awoke to the sun shining without a cloud in the sky, ideal conditions for skiing. After an impressive breakfast back in the restaurant we were whisked downstairs and shown to our skis which were all neatly lined up outside with our room number beside each set, which just shows the attention to detail and level of service.
Donning our skis and putting on our helmets we set off, skiing straight out of the hotel directly onto the slopes and to our first cable car to take us further up the mountain. Courchevel and the surrounding 3 valleys is regarded as one of the best and largest skiing regions in the world and it was easy to see why with over 600km of interconnected slopes and 180 ski lifts, catering for all levels of ability. You could ski for years without skiing the same area twice!
We were fortunate enough to be given Stefan, a private ski guide for the day, a local from the area who knew the slopes like the back of his hand. The skiing was amazing, on vast open slopes with the sun shining down on us. It was definitely some of the best skiing I have experienced and I’ve been to quite a few places!
Our lunch stop was at a newly opened Les Cave des Creux restaurant offering picturesque views of the Alps. In true French style wine, bread and cheese were brought to the table followed by an impressive charcuterie with smoked lamb. You could almost forget you were half way up a mountain had it not been for the stunning views!
After lunch we were taken off for more skiing before returning to the hotel later in the afternoon, skiing directly in via a ‘magic carpet’ to take us up the small slope to the back of the hotel. No trudging up hills for this hotel’s guests.
Dinner that evening was another culinary feast with turbot and caviar on the menu. We then decided to head into Courcheval to experience the nightlife in the town. As this is one of the most exclusive resorts in the French Alps it goes to say that the nightlife is also exclusive.
The following morning we were up early, this time not to ski but to toboggan on numerous different pieces of equipment, which resulted in hurtling down on plastic scooters and massive air cushions, all in the name of research! This was then followed by driving our own snowmobiles around a course and ending with an obligatory cup of vin chaud!
Sadly the time came to leave and as I waved goodbye to our amazing hosts and the beautiful hotel, I knew that one day I would return to this amazing place.
Written and experienced by – Ajanta South