Why should I go now?
The snow in the French alps this season is sensational; the skiing is velvet-powder perfect and Courchevel 1850 is a white-dusted fairy-tale.
It’s one of the prettiest and most exclusive resorts in the heart of the world’s biggest ski area, Les Trois Vallées. Courchevel somehow manages to balance quaint with outrageous; wooden shutters, horse and carts and traditional French boulangeries sit alongside designer boutiques, Michelin-starred restaurants and luxury hotels, of which ski-in ski-out hotel Aman Le Mélézin is one of the most sophisticated.
Follow LUX on Instagram: the.official.lux.magazine
What’s the lowdown?
The Aman is an elegant, grey chateau-style hotel right on edge of the Bellecôte piste, an easy green run down to the main ski lift station and the central village. Everything from the warm wooden panels, stone flooring and soft grey armchairs to the bonsais, artwork and Japanese sake cups has been carefully selected to create an atmosphere of calm, seamless luxury. It feels effortless and homely. Many of the doors melt into the wooden panelled walls so it takes time to find the hidden areas. Guests are invited to roam at leisure without the constant presence of staff breathing down their necks and with only 31-rooms it never feels busy. One afternoon, we had the spa entirely to ourselves and spent a few blissful hours drifting between the pool, hot tubs, hammam, sauna and rainforest shower, which pours to the accompaniment of tropical birdsong.
Meals are all served at Nama, the hotel’s restaurant which serves a limited but delicious French-style breakfast, and at night, becomes Japanese fine-dining. The kitchen is headed by chef Keiji Matoba, who creates innovative, authentic Asian dishes such as platters of melt-in-the-mouth fresh sashimi served on a bowl of ice, grilled black cod marinated in sweet miso and mochi sakura ice cream. The sake list is extensive with the option of a bottle or carafe, which comes in a hand-made Japanese ceramic jug.
Downstairs is the new, spacious piste-side ski room where knowledgable staff literally put your feet into your boots and more or less onto your skis. If you’re feeling energetic, you can take the lift straight up and ski down into Méribel and over to Val Thorens all in time for lunch, or else enjoy the staggering views and mountain air with a vin chaud on the terrace of a restaurant whilst private planes fly overhead to land on the high-altitude altiport.
Our room was high-up on a corner of the building with two balconies providing views over the piste and village. The space was light and relaxing, minimally furnished in creams and light wood with white orchids. There was a horizontal window at the end of the bathtub, from which we could watch skiers gliding past.
The hotel is a little bit behind the times when it comes to tech, which may frustrate guests used to contemporary conveniences (there are no bedside iPads or digital concierges), but when you’re in the quiet of the mountains, perhaps it’s no bad thing to be dragged away from hyper-efficiency.
Rates: From €1, 100 (approx. £950 /$1,250) per night, half board
To book your stay visit: aman.com/resorts/aman-le-melezin