Review: Les Airelles Hotel Courchevel, France (WOW!)

Review: Les Airelles Hotel Courchevel, France (WOW!)

NAME: Hotel Les Airelles Courchevel
LOCATION: Courchevel, France
DATE: April 2022
REVIEW RATING:
BEN SAYS: Les Airelles Courchevel is an unbelievable hotel, with a great sense of place, impeccable service, and over-the-top luxury, from the Rolls Royce house cars to the amazing half board.
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EXTRA PERKS AVAILABLE Enjoy breakfast, upgrades, & more

Want to take advantage of Virtuoso benefits at no extra cost, including a room upgrade, free breakfast, a hotel credit, and more? Contact Ford ([email protected]) for more details. He doesn’t charge booking fees, and may even be able to help if you already have a stay booked.

We recently spent five nights at the 48-room Les Airelles Courchevel. You’ve probably never heard of this hotel, but it’s easily the most over-the-top and indulgent hotel I’ve ever stayed at, and it ranks in my top five favorite hotel stays ever.

There’s so much that makes this hotel special, from the fleet of Rolls Royce Cullinans that drive you around town, to the most generous half board I’ve ever seen (sure, I’ll have lobster and black truffle, and how about one of those tableside tiramisus too?), to the maître chasseurs (“master hunters”) who tend to your every need, while wearing the most distinctive hotel uniforms I’ve ever seen, to the most imaginative cocktails I’ve ever drank. While Courchevel is quite the scene, this hotel has substance as well, and delivers on service.

I truly felt like I was on a different planet for the five nights I spent in Courchevel, so hopefully I can transport y’all there with me in this review. Even if you’re not a skier or would never stay at this property, think of it as hotel porn, because this place really is on a different level.

What makes Courchevel special

For those not familiar with Courchevel, it’s located in the French Alps, and is part of the largest ski area in the world. That’s because Les 3 Vallées (which Courchevel is part of) has around 600 kilometers of slopes, which doesn’t exist in any other ski resort area in the world. While I’ll save the details for the next installment, I (sort of) learned to ski on this trip, and it was quite something…

Courchevel has world class skiing

Even beyond the genuinely great skiing conditions, Courchevel is a luxury hotel powerhouse. Courchevel 1850 (with the “1850” referring to the altitude of the town in meters) has an unbelievable selection of luxury hotels:

  • There’s Les Airelles Courchevel, which belongs to the French Airelles hotel group
  • There’s Cheval Blanc Courchevel, which is a hotel group owned by LVMH
  • There’s Aman Le Melezin Courchevel, which belongs to the famous Aman hotel group
  • There’s L’Apogee Courchevel, which belongs to the Oetker Collection
  • There’s Hotel Le K2 Palace Courchevel, which is (I believe) independent

Why did we decide on Les Airelles, given all of these excellent options? Well, it’s regarded by many to be the best hotel there, the design looked kind of awesome, and it was actually the most reasonably priced of those options for our dates.

Les Airelles Courchevel exterior

Speaking of Airelles, the brand has some other well regarded hotels in France, including in Gordes, Saint-Tropez, Val-d’Isère, and Versailles.

Booking Les Airelles Courchevel

Courchevel’s top resorts are only open seasonally, generally from December through early April. They also often have a minimum stay requirement, which in this case was five nights.

We ended up staying for five nights in early April, and this ended up being perfect:

  • Rates are lower at the end of the season
  • Courchevel ended up being relatively quiet without feeling deserted, which was awesome
  • We lucked out so much with weather, and we were told that we had the best snow conditions they had had in several weeks; it snowed nonstop for our first three days, and there were perfect blue skies for our last two days

We ended up paying the going rate for an entry level classic room, which is 1,200 Euro per night. Ford booked us through Virtuoso, which came with additional perks, including an upgrade subject to availability, a $100 property credit, and more.

It’s worth mentioning that the entry level rooms at Les Airelles are tiny, at 18 square meters (~194 square feet). Fortunately since Ford booked us through Virtuoso, we received a space available room upgrade to the next category, which was a deluxe room. At 32 square meters (~345 square feet), this was a much more comfortable size. And this also shows the value of booking through Virtuoso, since the deluxe room would have cost 1,000 Euro more per night if paying cash.

All rates at Les Airelles Courchevel include the following (and I’m copying and pasting here):

  • Gourmet buffet breakfast
  • Lunches or dinners in-house or in the slopes
  • Custom-made gifts in the room
  • Sweet and savoury minibar
  • Laundry service
  • Access to La Mer Spa
  • Relaxation lounge and detox juices
  • Fleet of Rolls Royce with chauffeur in Courchevel 1850
  • Bernard Orcel ski butlers
  • Private parking on reservation

Obviously this hotel is pricey, but when you think of the current state of luxury travel, the pricing wasn’t that wild, and this hotel offers quite a bit of value in terms of inclusions. For example, earlier this year I redeemed points at the St. Regis Aspen, where a paid rate for a standard room would have been $2,000+ per night. The service and inclusions at Les Airelles are simply in a different league than at virtually any hotel in the United States.

Lastly, not that it should matter, but I think every couple has some sort of an arrangement with picking travel destinations. In this case this was somewhere Ford really wanted to go, and he fully paid for it — I just tagged along.

If you’d like any help with a Virtuoso booking here, you can reach out to Ford at [email protected]

Les Airelles Courchevel service

Usually I write about service at the end of my reviews, but in this case I can’t help but start with it. Service at Les Airelles Courchevel is simply unreal, even before you arrive. Where do we even begin?

  • Ford was in touch with the concierge team before arrival several times for reservations, etc., and they couldn’t have been more responsive; even months in advance they consistently got back to him within an hour
  • The hotel has what they refer to as “maître chasseurs” (“master hunters” — yes, this is absurd, I know), and they wear the most distinctive white uniforms with chef-style hats; they help you with just about everything, from driving you around town, to opening doors, to so much more
  • The attention to detail among these guys was remarkable — they remembered guests’ names, they’d literally stand in the hallways waiting for someone to come down so they could open the door, when you called to be picked up at a restaurant they’d stand along the wall at the door to the restaurant (as if they were the Secret Service) and wait until you were ready, if you were being picked up in ski boots, they’d take your boots off for you as soon as you arrived in the lobby and put slippers on your feet for you (like Garuda Indonesia first class!), etc.
  • The staff at all the restaurants and bar were exceptionally good; they knew exactly who everyone was, and were charming, attentive, and proactive, and they also just knew which room to bill (so we typically didn’t even have to sign); for that matter, there weren’t even opportunities to tip on bills
  • The guys in the ski room literally put your shoes on and take them off for you, they proactively polish your goggles, and for that matter the ski room has all kinds of delicious (complimentary) food; this was my first time skiing, but Ford tells me this isn’t normal, and I shouldn’t get used to it 😉
  • What I appreciated most was that even though this hotel is very well regarded and has “Palace” status, the staff weren’t at all arrogant or pretentious
  • While I wouldn’t call this service, the attention to detail with design was amazing — for example “airelles” means lingonberry in French, and just about everything is branded with that logo, ranging from the seats of the Rolls Royce, to the Ladurée chocolate box that they give you at check-out

I’ve been incredibly lucky to stay at lots of amazing hotels over the years, but this definitely ranks in the top five ever in terms of service.

Rolls Royce car service, courtesy of the maître chasseur
Les Airelles Courchevel departure gift

Les Airelles Courchevel location

Les Airelles is located on Rue du Jardin Alpin in Courchevel 1850, so it’s at an altitude of over 6,000 feet. Courchevel 1850 is quite small, so there’s not much differentiation between location, especially since all the good hotels are directly on the slopes, and also offer unlimited complimentary transfers within town.

How pretty is this, especially for early April?!

Road leading to Les Airelles Courchevel
Road leading to Les Airelles Courchevel

In terms of getting to Courchevel, the closest major airport to the area is Geneva (GVA), which is a roughly two hour drive away. If you’re taking a train, your best bet is to go to Chambery, which is a roughly 90 minute drive away. In our case we took the train from Milan to Chambery on arrival, and then we flew from Geneva to Frankfurt on departure.

Les Airelles Courchevel check-in & lobby

Les Airelles has an incredible sense of place — the hotel feels classic while also being perfectly maintained. There’s barely a scratch or chip anywhere. The ground floor of the lobby has all the restaurants and bars, plus reception. I’ll talk more about the restaurants and bars later, but the reception is a pretty intimate area that just has a couple of couches.

Les Airelles Courchevel lobby
Les Airelles Courchevel lobby

We arrived at the hotel in the early afternoon, but our room wasn’t quite ready, so we just had a seat in the lobby lounge. Within about 30 minutes our room was ready, and we were escorted there.

Les Airelles Courchevel lobby lounge

Les Airelles Courchevel deluxe room

Les Airelles’ elevators are located next to reception, though there are also stairs. Since our room was located on the first floor, we typically took the stairs up.

Les Airelles Courchevel elevators

Again, you’ve gotta love the attention to detail in the design here, whether we’re talking about the elevators or the hallways.

Les Airelles Courchevel elevators
Les Airelles Courchevel hallway
Les Airelles Courchevel hallway

We were assigned room 106, located near the elevators and staircase.

Les Airelles Courchevel hallway

The rooms at Les Airelles are nice, but they’re probably not going to blow you away (rather everything else will). The room had a king size bed, a sitting area with two chairs, and then a TV (which doubled as a mirror) and lots of closet space along the other side of the room.

Les Airelles Courchevel deluxe room
Les Airelles Courchevel deluxe room
Les Airelles Courchevel deluxe room bed
Les Airelles Courchevel deluxe room sitting area
Les Airelles Courchevel deluxe room
Les Airelles Courchevel deluxe room

Back near the entrance was the minibar, all of which was complimentary, and replenished daily. This included a Nespresso machine, a kettle, bottled water, all kinds of juices and sodas, and a snack tray that rivals what you’d find in domestic first class on a US airline.

Les Airelles Courchevel deluxe room minibar
Les Airelles Courchevel deluxe room minibar
Les Airelles Courchevel deluxe room minibar
Les Airelles Courchevel deluxe room minibar

The bathroom was compact but well appointed, and had double sinks, a bathtub, a walk-in shower which was also a hammam (you just had to turn the feature on 15 minutes in advance), and a toilet and bidet.

Les Airelles Courchevel deluxe room bathroom
Les Airelles Courchevel deluxe room bathtub
Les Airelles Courchevel deluxe room shower
Les Airelles Courchevel deluxe room hammam
Les Airelles Courchevel deluxe room toilet & bidet

Toiletries were in hotel branded bottles, and were high quality. I was also impressed by the number of amenities in the room, ranging from dental kits to hair brushes.

Les Airelles Courchevel deluxe room toiletries

Our room had a beautiful balcony with a daybed and two chairs. What a view!

Les Airelles Courchevel deluxe room balcony view

For what it’s worth, that yellow building in the below picture is Cheval Blanc, which is right next door.

Les Airelles Courchevel deluxe room balcony view
Les Airelles Courchevel deluxe room balcony view

There was also a lovely welcome amenity waiting in the room, including a bottle of Veuve Clicquot Rose, a delicious cake, and two Les Airelles jackets that we could both use during our stay and take home with us.

Les Airelles Courchevel welcome gift
Les Airelles Courchevel welcome gift

There was also a different gift at turndown every night, ranging from a coffee mug, to a search & rescue device, to ski socks.

Les Airelles Courchevel turndown gifts

There was daily housekeeping and turndown service, and I maintain that this hotel has the world’s most comfortable slippers, which were placed next to the bed each evening at turndown. They were so comfortable that I took several pairs home.

Les Airelles Courchevel turndown service

Wi-Fi in the room (and throughout the hotel) was fast and free.

Les Airelles Courchevel ski room & valet

Les Airelles Courchevel offers ski-in/ski-out. The hotel has a ski room on level minus two. Like I said above, I’m new to skiing, but I have been in some ski rooms (to say bye to Ford and beg him not to break any bones). Typically ski rooms feel like they’re somewhere between a Best Western lobby and a locker room, even at a luxury hotel.

So I present to you the ski room at Les Airelles Courchevel…

Les Airelles Courchevel ski room
Les Airelles Courchevel ski room

The ski valets do virtually everything for you, from putting on your skies to taking them off (and then placing slippers on your feet), to carrying your equipment out for you, to meeting you when you return and carrying your stuff back inside. Never mind the fact that the ski room has a rather tempting buffet, with everything from coffee and hot chocolate, to freshly baked cakes and tarts.

Les Airelles Courchevel ski room food & drinks
Les Airelles Courchevel ski room food & drinks
Les Airelles Courchevel ski room food & drinks
Skiing from Les Airelles Courchevel

Les Airelles Courchevel spa & pool

Also on level minus two is Les Airelles’ spa and pool area.

Les Airelles Courchevel stairs to pool, spa, and ski room

Les Airelles has a La Mer Spa, and you can find the treatment menu here. We didn’t get any treatments, so I can’t speak to the quality (though since everything else at this hotel is out-of-this-world, I assume the spa services are as well).

We did use the pool area multiple times, which was lovely. The pool was kept at 30 Celsius (~86 Fahrenheit), and the pool even got nearly nine feet deep, which you wouldn’t expect.

Les Airelles Courchevel pool
Les Airelles Courchevel pool
Les Airelles Courchevel pool

There was a bar with complimentary coffee, tea, water, detox juices, etc.

Les Airelles Courchevel pool bar
Les Airelles Courchevel pool seating
Les Airelles Courchevel pool seating

There was also an indoor whirlpool, which was kept at 40 Celsius (~104 Fahrenheit).

Les Airelles Courchevel hot tub

Then there were two saunas, a steam room, and a snow cave.

Les Airelles Courchevel steam room & sauna

Yes, this hotel has a… snow cave. Why? I’m not sure. But it does, and it’s kind of awesome.

Les Airelles Courchevel snow cave

Lastly, there was an outdoor hot tub, which was where we spent the most time.

Les Airelles Courchevel hot tub
Les Airelles Courchevel hot tub

Les Airelles Courchevel gym

Les Airelles Courchevel has a small gym with good equipment. There were a few cardio machines, plus some weight machines. The gym also had granola bars, plenty of bottled water, and even perfume.

Les Airelles Courchevel gym
Les Airelles Courchevel gym
Les Airelles Courchevel gym
Les Airelles Courchevel gym

Les Airelles Courchevel game room & cinema

Les Airelles is a funny hotel. From the outside it looks so small, yet somehow I only discovered what level minus one had to offer on our last evening here.

Les Airelles Courchevel hallway

Whether you’re a kid (or kid at heart), Les Airelles has a surprisingly huge game and arcade room.

Les Airelles Courchevel game room
Les Airelles Courchevel game room

There’s even a cinema where you can watch a movie.

Les Airelles Courchevel cinema

Les Airelles Courchevel Rolls Royce car service

Virtually all luxury hotels in Courchevel offer free rides around town. What differs between hotels is the car that you get. Les Airelles has a fleet of Rolls Royce Cullinans, which will make you want to leave the hotel as much as you can, just so you can get a ride in one of these.

Les Airelles Courchevel Rolls Royces
Les Airelles Courchevel Rolls Royces

Again, the attention to detail and branding is amazing — rather than having the Rolls Royce logo on the headrests, they instead have the hotel’s logo.

Les Airelles Courchevel Rolls Royces
Les Airelles Courchevel Rolls Royces

Now, there is some bad news — the Rolls Royces are only used when it’s not snowing, or when it hasn’t recently snowed. So for the first three days of our stay, there were no Rolls Royces in service. Rather they used (still very comfortable) VW bans for transporting people around town, since they’re better in the snow.

Les Airelles Courchevel car transfer
Les Airelles Courchevel car transfer

I think that probably qualifies as a “first world problem,” but I do think it’s worth mentioning since a ski destination does tend to get snow.

More than the cars as such, what impressed me was the speed of service. It didn’t matter what time of day or night it was, a car always showed up wherever we were within minutes. And while I know this hotel is pricey, I do think it’s worth putting some real value into getting unlimited free (private) transfers.

In many other places you’d pay an arm and a leg for this. And even places that offer complimentary transport often don’t have nearly enough cars, so you end up waiting for long periods of time. That wasn’t an issue here. Not once did we have to wait.

Dining at Les Airelles Courchevel

All rates at Les Airelles include half board:

  • You get breakfast at the hotel each morning
  • Then you can enjoy either lunch or dinner
  • You’re not just limited to eating at the hotel, but there are several restaurants in town (including at other hotels) that you can dine at as part of the package
  • The lunch or dinner that’s included with half board includes all food but no drinks; you’re not limited to some small set menu, but rather you can order whatever you want, and everything is taken off
  • You’ll be happy that half board is included when you see how much meals in Courchevel can cost otherwise 😉

I had some of the best meals of my life on this trip, so let me share a small sampling of what was offered.

Les Airelles Courchevel La Table des Airelles (breakfast)

Breakfast was served each morning at La Table des Airelles, which is located next to the lobby. This is a such a cozy dining room.

Les Airelles Courchevel La Table des Airelles
Les Airelles Courchevel La Table des Airelles
Les Airelles Courchevel La Table des Airelles

Breakfast consisted of a huge buffet, plus a variety of custom made items you could order. The buffet had a section with endless bread, pastries, croissants, etc., all of which were homemade.

Les Airelles Courchevel breakfast buffet
Les Airelles Courchevel breakfast buffet
Les Airelles Courchevel breakfast buffet
Les Airelles Courchevel breakfast buffet
Les Airelles Courchevel breakfast buffet

Down the hall was the main part of the buffet, which had all kinds of fresh fruit, yogurt, cold cuts, etc.

Les Airelles Courchevel breakfast buffet
Les Airelles Courchevel breakfast buffet
Les Airelles Courchevel breakfast buffet
Les Airelles Courchevel breakfast buffet

Then there was the cooking station, where you could order omelets, waffles, crepes, pancakes, etc. There were also some scrambled eggs, hash browns, sausage, and bacon.

Les Airelles Courchevel breakfast buffet
Les Airelles Courchevel breakfast buffet

Service at breakfast was attentive, and coffee drinks of choice, plus fresh juices, were served by the staff.

Les Airelles Courchevel breakfast drinks
Les Airelles Courchevel breakfast drinks

I particularly enjoyed the omelet and waffles.

Les Airelles Courchevel breakfast omelet
Les Airelles Courchevel breakfast waffles

Les Airelles Courchevel La Table des Airelles (lunch)

Les Airelles has a lunch buffet at La Table des Airelles, the same restaurant that serves breakfast. Weather permitting you can sit outside, and much of the buffet is also outside. This buffet was remarkably good, with such a nice selection of light, healthy dishes (along with all kinds of heavier options).

Les Airelles Courchevel lunch buffet
Les Airelles Courchevel lunch buffet

The outdoor portion of the buffet had veggies, cheese, cold cuts, crudo, lobster, sushi, bread, etc.

Les Airelles Courchevel lunch buffet
Les Airelles Courchevel lunch buffet
Les Airelles Courchevel lunch buffet
Les Airelles Courchevel lunch buffet
Les Airelles Courchevel lunch buffet
Les Airelles Courchevel lunch buffet
Les Airelles Courchevel lunch buffet
Les Airelles Courchevel lunch buffet
Les Airelles Courchevel lunch buffet

There was even a station where you could have cooked-to-order protein of choice.

Les Airelles Courchevel lunch buffet

The rest of the buffet was indoors, and had everything from pizza, to all kinds of meat, to soup, to pasta.

Les Airelles Courchevel lunch buffet
Les Airelles Courchevel lunch buffet
Les Airelles Courchevel lunch buffet
Les Airelles Courchevel lunch buffet

To top it all off, there was an over-the-top dessert selection as well.

Les Airelles Courchevel lunch buffet
Les Airelles Courchevel lunch buffet
Les Airelles Courchevel lunch buffet
Les Airelles Courchevel lunch buffet
Les Airelles Courchevel lunch buffet

For what it’s worth, if paying cash this buffet would have cost 195 Euro per person, but it can be included as part of the half board. Prices in Courchevel really are on a different level, so that’s why the half board sure comes in handy.

Les Airelles Courchevel Piero (dinner)

Piero is Les Airelles’ signature restaurants, and it’s open for dinner. It’s also located on the lobby level, just behind La Table des Airelles. The restaurant’s chef is Marco Garfagnini, who has run restaurants at quite a few prestigious addresses. You can find the menu for the restaurant here.

Les Airelles Courchevel Piero
Les Airelles Courchevel Piero
Les Airelles Courchevel Piero

Shortly after sitting down we were offered a pizza with shiitake mushrooms and stracciatella — that’s my kind of amuse bouche. 😉

Les Airelles Courchevel Piero dinner

To start, we shared the king crab salad, plus the albacore tuna with truffle and sesame sauce.

Les Airelles Courchevel Piero dinner
Les Airelles Courchevel Piero dinner

For our main courses we had the sea bass and the fillet of sole with a side of tomato salad and artichokes.

Les Airelles Courchevel Piero dinner
Les Airelles Courchevel Piero dinner
Les Airelles Courchevel Piero dinner

For dessert we shared a tiramisu prepared tableside. Not only was it delicious, but watching it being made in front of our eyes was a treat.

Les Airelles Courchevel Piero dinner

I simply can’t say enough good things about this meal, from the quality of the food, to the service, to the ambiance. And best of all, the food was included as part of the half board (and we could have even ordered more, but we have our limits).

Les Airelles Courchevel Le Coin Savoyard (dinner)

Le Coin Savoyard is one of Les Airelles’ other restaurants, and it’s open for dinner. It’s located on the lobby level, down the hall from Piero. This is a fondue and raclette restaurant, serving regional cuisine. You can find the menu for the restaurant here.

Les Airelles Courchevel Le Coin Savoyard
Les Airelles Courchevel Le Coin Savoyard

At the start of the meal we were brought some veggies, along with bread, lamb dip, and a tzatziki dip.

Les Airelles Courchevel Le Coin Savoyard dinner

We split the black truffle fondue, which was served with some salted meat, bread, french fries, and salad.

Les Airelles Courchevel Le Coin Savoyard dinner
Les Airelles Courchevel Le Coin Savoyard dinner

Of course fondue is ridiculously delicious, though it’s also borderline sickening. We could barely finish half of the fondue, so we passed on dessert. Nonetheless they brought us some treats.

Les Airelles Courchevel Le Coin Savoyard dinner

Les Airelles Courchevel Le Bar (drinks)

Le Bar is the most happening part of Les Airelles. It’s open throughout the day, and serves everything from drinks to snacks. Each evening there’s also live music, either in the form of a DJ or a singer. The entire bar area is just so cozy, with a fireplace and dim lighting. You can find the menu for the bar here.

Les Airelles Courchevel Le Bar
Les Airelles Courchevel Le Bar
Les Airelles Courchevel Le Bar
Les Airelles Courchevel Le Bar
Les Airelles Courchevel Le Bar
Les Airelles Courchevel Le Bar

Drinks here are expensive, as you’d expect — most cocktails are roughly 35 Euro. At least the experience is incredible. First of all, whenever you order a drink, they bring you out a huge tray of nuts, plus a pizza. And if you finish a pizza, they’ll bring you another one. It’s kind of a problem, because by the time you have a drink here, you might have spoiled your appetite for dinner.

Les Airelles Courchevel Le Bar snacks

Beyond that, though, Les Airelles not only has excellent cocktails, but they’re served in the most imaginative way I’ve seen anywhere.

For example, if you order a negroni, a glass will be brought out with an ice cube in it, and then the server also walks over with a book. The glass is placed down, then the book is opened, then a flask comes out of the book, and then the drink is poured from the flask.

Les Airelles Courchevel Le Bar drinks

Then there are a variety of hot cocktails, which are basically made in front of your eyes. You’re brought the below contraption, and initially there’s just clear alcohol at the bottom. The flame then causes it to flow up to the top container, and then it flows back down, but it’s a completely different color.

Les Airelles Courchevel Le Bar drinks
Les Airelles Courchevel Le Bar drinks

Other drinks are served with the below setup.

Les Airelles Courchevel Le Bar drinks

Then you have what might just be the most creative cocktail glass I’ve ever seen.

Les Airelles Courchevel Le Bar drinks

Other cocktails came with smoke…

Les Airelles Courchevel Le Bar drinks

I don’t make this statement lightly, but these are the best cocktails I’ve had anywhere in terms of taste and presentation.

Les Airelles Courchevel The Smokehouse (drinks)

The Smokehouse isn’t a barbecue place (as you might assume based on the name), but rather is the hotel’s smoking lounge. It’s also located on the lobby level. You can sit here and have a cigar or cigarette, or you can just come in here if you want a quieter space and want to play a board game. I’m not a smoker, but enjoyed sitting in here and working sometimes, as it didn’t even smell like smoke.

Les Airelles Courchevel The Smokehouse
Les Airelles Courchevel The Smokehouse
Les Airelles Courchevel The Smokehouse
Les Airelles Courchevel The Smokehouse

Dining around town in Courchevel

The half board package at Les Airelles also lets you dine at many restaurants in town, and it works the same as at the hotel — you just have the concierge make your reservation (which also helps with getting great tables), and then you won’t be charged for any food that you order.

For example, we had lunch at Le Chalet de Pierres, located on the slopes.

Le Chalet de Pierres

The Black truffle pizza, hummus, tuna steak with gnocchi, and truffle burger were all excellent.

Le Chalet de Pierres lunch
Le Chalet de Pierres lunch
Le Chalet de Pierres lunch

Then on top of that there’s a dessert buffet, which is exactly what you need after a truffle pizza and truffle burger, right? 😉

Le Chalet de Pierres lunch
Le Chalet de Pierres lunch

One evening we also had dinner at Nama, which is the Japanese restaurant at the Aman. I thought the restaurant was good, but this was probably the least exciting of the meals we had.

Aman Courchevel Nama
Aman Courchevel Nama dinner
Aman Courchevel Nama dinner
Aman Courchevel Nama dinner

Bottom line

Les Airelles Courchevel is one of the most memorable hotels I’ve ever stayed at. Courchevel has some of the best skiing in the world, and Les Airelles is considered by many to be the best hotel there (though there’s a lot of competition). The hotel has gorgeous design, flawless service, and some of the best food & drinks I’ve had anywhere. The Rolls-Royce house cars that whisk you around town don’t hurt either.

Obviously this stay wasn’t cheap, though I have to say that I thought the value was great compared to what you’d get for this price in the United States. In the United States, there are 300+ room resorts in ski destinations and in Hawaii that are retailing for $2,000+ per night for a base room. By comparison Les Airelles offers value, with half board, transportation around town, outrageously attentive service, and so much more.

I’m happy we visited at the end of the season, as Courchevel was definitely quieter, and it also meant the rate was a bit lower, we got an upgrade, etc. We also lucked out with the weather, as it couldn’t have been better.

If you’re a skier (or apres-skier) and love a great boutique hotel with unbelievably good service (and don’t mind the price), visiting Les Airelles is a must.

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  1. Lila Stompan Guest

    wonder if you compared the Airelles to Aman Le Melezin, which would you choose/

  2. David Guest

    Great review as ever, Ben, and I can see how this would be a wonderful place to stay, but this is just obscene. There are so many things that made my jaw drop, but...€20 for a bowl of French fries surely tells you all you need to know? Oh, and the SUVs at a ski hotel that they don't use in the snow!

    If you ever wanted a visual representation of what happens when the...

    Great review as ever, Ben, and I can see how this would be a wonderful place to stay, but this is just obscene. There are so many things that made my jaw drop, but...€20 for a bowl of French fries surely tells you all you need to know? Oh, and the SUVs at a ski hotel that they don't use in the snow!

    If you ever wanted a visual representation of what happens when the Russians sweep in and take over a town, this is it. A wonderful ski resort that has been destroyed by gaudy bling...

    1. Mallthus Guest

      I'd counter that Courchevel has ALWAYS been about the bling. There's nothing here that's off-brand for the resort over the entirety of its history, which well predates the establishment of the Russian oligarchy (1946).

      One of the coolest things about Les Trois Vallées...that it's a collection of interconnected ski areas that caters to a variety of income and spending levels, with Courchevel at the pinnacle, Meribel (1939) in the middle, and Val Thorens (1972)...

      I'd counter that Courchevel has ALWAYS been about the bling. There's nothing here that's off-brand for the resort over the entirety of its history, which well predates the establishment of the Russian oligarchy (1946).

      One of the coolest things about Les Trois Vallées...that it's a collection of interconnected ski areas that caters to a variety of income and spending levels, with Courchevel at the pinnacle, Meribel (1939) in the middle, and Val Thorens (1972) with more budget offerings (and the other, mostly newer, villages in between).

      The North American ski region most similar to Courchevel is, I think, Aspen. Prices for top tier properties in Aspen though are as high or higher. The Little Nell, for instance, has base rooms for $1900+/night the last scheduled week of the 2022-23 ski season and that rate only includes breakfast and in-town transfers. A simple burger and fries in the bar there is $40 with tax and tip. Plus the various ski areas (Ajax, Buttermillk, Snowmass) aren't interconnected, most of the lodging isn't ski-in/ski-out, and lift tickets are $204 (versus €66 at Les 3 Vallees).

      The truth is, this is a luxury ski experience and priced accordingly, but I'd say that based on Ben's experience, it's a much, much better value than the most comparable luxury ski experience in the USA.

  3. hotintx Guest

    Hey Lucky, great review and this place does seem over the top great. Wondered if ski rentals and lift tickets were included? I assume so, but that is also a large expense to take into account that you would normally have to pay (assuming you don't have a pass).

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ hotintx -- Thanks! Nope, the ski rentals and lift tickets are extra, as I think is the case in most places? However, Ford mentioned that the pricing for the tickets and rentals was lower than in the US.

    2. Mallthus Gold

      This is correct. The most expensive walk-up lift ticket at Les 3 Vallees is €66 (and there are multi-day and multi-person options that are cheaper). The cheapest walk-up lift ticket at Aspen is $204 and at Vail it's $239 (although you can save a bit with multi-day advance purchase tickets and quite a lot with season pass products purchased the preceding year).

      Lessons are much more difficult to compare because in France, multiple schools...

      This is correct. The most expensive walk-up lift ticket at Les 3 Vallees is €66 (and there are multi-day and multi-person options that are cheaper). The cheapest walk-up lift ticket at Aspen is $204 and at Vail it's $239 (although you can save a bit with multi-day advance purchase tickets and quite a lot with season pass products purchased the preceding year).

      Lessons are much more difficult to compare because in France, multiple schools offer lessons whereas in the US, the resort operator has a monopoly on lessons, with a much simpler menu of offerings.

  4. Laura Burke Guest

    Hi Lucky! My daughter and I were so impressed by your review of Les Airelles that a stay there is now definitely on our bucket lists. We do have a question. We are not skiers, but it does seem advisable to at least try when consuming as many calories as we would likely consume in a 5 day stay Your ski instructor seemed so kind and patient. Can you tell us how you found him?...

    Hi Lucky! My daughter and I were so impressed by your review of Les Airelles that a stay there is now definitely on our bucket lists. We do have a question. We are not skiers, but it does seem advisable to at least try when consuming as many calories as we would likely consume in a 5 day stay Your ski instructor seemed so kind and patient. Can you tell us how you found him? Are instructors available through the hotel who are used to coaching beginners? Thanks for the review- it was wonderful!

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Laura Burke -- I'm sure the hotel can also arrange a guide, but we found him separately. Happy to pass on his contact information. When you're ready to plan, just drop me a note.

  5. Greg Guest

    There's a point where the 'calorie' budget intersects with the dollar budget and that factors into the value offered!

  6. AzraaiAzuha Guest

    Okay Lucky, now all the readers urge you to publish your Top 10 hotel/resort list!
    The same way with your First/Business/lounge list, please.

  7. Jaan New Member

    This must be the most amazing place I have ever seen. Something I will never personally experience, but it was sure fun to gape at all the pictures!

  8. Schar Gold

    Absolutely loved this review Ben. Love Courchevel, just scared if I stayed here they'd have to helicopter me out of there from all the food id eat !!

  9. Liz Guest

    If you like those cocktails, you should visit The Aviary in Chicago. I recognize a couple of those serving pieces from visits there years ago.

    1. JetSetGo Guest

      Love the food spread and high level of service. Another place with that high level of service is Kwitonda Singita. After each gorilla trek, staff takes off your very muddy shoes in shoe room and bring them back to you spotless hours later. I mean your tennis shoes look like it is brand new! Never seen anything like it at any hotel/ resort. Food is also quite good too. They grow a lot of their...

      Love the food spread and high level of service. Another place with that high level of service is Kwitonda Singita. After each gorilla trek, staff takes off your very muddy shoes in shoe room and bring them back to you spotless hours later. I mean your tennis shoes look like it is brand new! Never seen anything like it at any hotel/ resort. Food is also quite good too. They grow a lot of their veggies in their garden. View looking out to misty Volcano national park from individual villa is sublime as well.

  10. Andy Diamond

    Thanks for this nice review. Like others, I'm not in the position to pay 1200 EUR per night on a regular basis. But this hotel really provides a lot of excellent service for that price. The dinner option of the half board easily has a value of EUR 150-200 per person (without drinks), plus the EUR 100 virtuoso credit, plus the transfers, brings it down to a more reasonable level.

    But @Ben, I have a...

    Thanks for this nice review. Like others, I'm not in the position to pay 1200 EUR per night on a regular basis. But this hotel really provides a lot of excellent service for that price. The dinner option of the half board easily has a value of EUR 150-200 per person (without drinks), plus the EUR 100 virtuoso credit, plus the transfers, brings it down to a more reasonable level.

    But @Ben, I have a totally different question: Courchevel has an amazing airport (CVF). I know, it's not served by scheduled service, but only by taxi flights. The 18% gradient of the runway always fascinated me. Did you see the airport (apparently, it is next to the slopes)? Was there any air traffic?

  11. Dian Winston Guest

    Wow! So fun to see how the other half (the other .001%) live! Thanks!!

  12. David Guest

    ".because this plane really is on a different level..."
    Possibly this sentence in paragraph 3 was intended to read "place".
    Either way, the establishment sounds wonderful.
    Sure makes me reconsider what we accept as luxury at most properties.

    1. relidtm Member

      yes, I saw the place and van typo'd also.

  13. Mike Guest

    Great review.
    I agree with the other comments that the either the interior of the place looks very daggy or that the camera you have used (iPhone?) didn’t do it justice. Probably a bit of both.

  14. Sven Guest

    Great review. Small point: Airelles means lingonberry, not cranberry.

  15. DTS Guest

    Incredible. Quite entertaining. While I like to believe that I am financially well off, this is way out of reach. But still fun to look at the pictures, kind of like window shopping in the Bahnhofstrasse or Burlington Arcades.

  16. Josh G. Guest

    Europe on $2,000 a day.

    Out of reach for many.

    1. Jim Guest

      Right - no one is reading travel blogs for a review of the Holiday Inn Berlin, much like no one is reading for a review of DCA-BGR on AA economy.

      The point is wild, aspirational trips.

  17. Morgan Diamond

    Fantastic review!!!

  18. R B Guest

    So jealous! It looks like an amazing place, glad Ford & you had the best time.
    PS: please refrain from using "a sense of place" at the beginning of each and every hotel review TYIA.

  19. Endre Guest

    Wow! I gained two lbs by just looking at the food options.

  20. cls Guest

    Surely those are not canned peaches and pears that I see on the breakfast buffet? Canned? No, can't be.

  21. Alan Guest

    Amazing review, Ben - looks fantastic. I was there a month ago and stayed at the Mercure Courchevel two doors up. Not exactly the same standard, although the whole holiday cost less than one night at your hotel I guess

  22. GringoLoco Gold

    No sightings of the ghost of Robin Leach?? ;-)

    Not my cuppa tea but a whole 'nuther level from all your other hotel stays on this trip!

  23. Omar Guest

    Nice review, but the décor looks awful.

  24. Jimmy’s Travel Report Gold

    Ok Lucky, honestly how much weight did you pick up after this stay!?

  25. HC Guest

    I stayed at their property in Gordes last fall and was very impressed as well.

  26. Tom Guest

    I think the slippers are the same which Lufthansa serves in First Class. IMHO also the most comfortable ones on this planet.

  27. TM Gold

    Controversial Opinion: The idea of a ski valet is ridiculous. When I worked as a ski instructor, I always stressed with my younger kids how important it was to be self sufficient. Getting boots on and off by yourself, carrying your own skis, zipping up your own coat, etc... So for a fully functional adult to have someone do this for them, it just seems kind of sad (No offense to Ben and Ford if...

    Controversial Opinion: The idea of a ski valet is ridiculous. When I worked as a ski instructor, I always stressed with my younger kids how important it was to be self sufficient. Getting boots on and off by yourself, carrying your own skis, zipping up your own coat, etc... So for a fully functional adult to have someone do this for them, it just seems kind of sad (No offense to Ben and Ford if you used this service).

    Other than that, it really seems like the food is what puts this place over the top. After airfare and lodging, the constant dining out is often the most expensive part of the trip, especially in places like Courchevel, though I'm still not sure it's worth 1200 Euro a night. When I'm on a ski trip I basically don't plan on being at the hotel at all during the day, and when I get back in the evening, I'm tired and I got to bed early so it doesn't really leave much time to enjoy the property. For mixed skiing and non skiing families/couples though I guess it's a different equation.

    1. SamB Gold

      Counterpoint: a lot of adults are tired and just want to relax and have someone do that for them, lol

  28. S Member

    Expensive as heck but I can see your point about comparing this to a hotel in Hawaii going for almost double. Some of this stuff would be a little uncomfortable though (like taking off my skis and putting slippers on my feet for me), lol.

  29. Alvin Guest

    "Even if you’re not a skier or would never stay at this property, think of it as hotel porn, because this plane really is on a different level."

    Wait, this hotel flies? Sign me up!

    1. AA70 Gold

      It better with how expensive it is!

  30. Clem Diamond

    To clarify, and sorry if I missed it in the review, but do you need to elect either lunch or dinner for the duration of your stay for your half board? Or can you pick something different every day?

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Clem -- Sorry for not clarifying. You can choose something different each day. You can do lunch one day, dinner the next, etc.

  31. chasgoose Guest

    What are rates like in high season? Also are they only open during ski season or are they open in summer as well?

    To be honest, given the prices you see even at relatively basic hotels here (I looked at going to the Kimpton in Grand Cayman in late April and the prices were almost identical to what you paid here, without half board, for a KIMPTON), this seems like a pretty good deal. I...

    What are rates like in high season? Also are they only open during ski season or are they open in summer as well?

    To be honest, given the prices you see even at relatively basic hotels here (I looked at going to the Kimpton in Grand Cayman in late April and the prices were almost identical to what you paid here, without half board, for a KIMPTON), this seems like a pretty good deal. I took a peek at the menus you linked to, knowing it would be expensive, but could see how I could easily rack up $100-200 pp (lunch/dinner prices seem to be the same) just on food alone, and not just by getting the most expensive things on the menu. For 2 people that gets the prices down to relatively reasonable price for a hotel of that caliber, regardless of Courcheval or post-pandemic prices.

    1. Jason Guest

      Even though expensive, I totally see that it represents good value, if you are able to pay prices like these. I'd love to stay here.

    2. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ chasgoose -- The hotel is only open in winter, from December through early April. I actually can't say with certainty what high season rates are like, because the hotel isn't yet accepting reservations for next season (which seems to be the case at all luxury hotels in Courchevel).

      I wouldn't be surprised if peak season rates are maybe 30% more, give or take. The major catch is that we booked a (tiny) classic room,...

      @ chasgoose -- The hotel is only open in winter, from December through early April. I actually can't say with certainty what high season rates are like, because the hotel isn't yet accepting reservations for next season (which seems to be the case at all luxury hotels in Courchevel).

      I wouldn't be surprised if peak season rates are maybe 30% more, give or take. The major catch is that we booked a (tiny) classic room, and the next biggest room is well over 50% more expensive. Because we came late in the season we got an upgrade through Virtuoso, while I'd expect upgrades are much harder to come by in peak season. Getting that upgrade definitely added a lot of value for our stay.

  32. Rico Gold

    That place is ridiculous! Lucky for you, you got to stay there.

  33. Khatl Diamond

    Sounds wonderful... and while expensive, not so much once half-board factored in, plus the upgrade, resort credit etc.

    For cocktails, you should try barmini in DC. Fantastic experience. Basically a flight of 6-8 cocktails (with options for snacks) as if it was a 6-8 course dinner.

  34. Dan Guest

    A few things.

    1) @Lucky: did you look at Hotel Le Strato in 1850? It's SLH and redeemable with Hyatt points. We stayed there just before the world shut down, and it was likewise over the top (no Rolls transfers, sadly).

    2) Skiing in Courchevel...kind of sucks. Many of the resorts in the Alps have gotten less and less snow over the years. Though it is fun to ski right past the airfield from Goldeneye.

    ...

    A few things.

    1) @Lucky: did you look at Hotel Le Strato in 1850? It's SLH and redeemable with Hyatt points. We stayed there just before the world shut down, and it was likewise over the top (no Rolls transfers, sadly).

    2) Skiing in Courchevel...kind of sucks. Many of the resorts in the Alps have gotten less and less snow over the years. Though it is fun to ski right past the airfield from Goldeneye.

    3) There's a restaurant on the Courchevel mountain, La Soucoupe, that made us forget alllllll about the terrible skiing.

    4) The party at La Folie Douce makes Cloud Nine in Aspen look like child's play.

    1. beerandcheese Guest

      I think it's time for a guest column from Ford on the ski experience!

    2. UGC Guest

      Skiing in Courchevel sucks? That’s interesting, considering it’s one of the best places in Europe…
      I guess you’ve been pretty unlucky when you were there. Of course during the season there are better and worse days, and each season is different, but on average it’s a very safe place to go

    3. Dan Guest

      Skiing in the Alps sucks. The snow is hit-or-miss (for the reasons I mentioned), and when it does snow it's not generally the light fluffy powder one finds in, say, Park City or Steamboat or Vail. I said nothing about safety.

    4. NFSF Gold

      He’s saying “safe” like “safe bet”, not safe like not getting mugged.

    5. Schar Gold

      you had me until "skiing in Courchevel sucks" LOL

      It is considered one of the best, most consistent, and longest season ski resorts in the world. maybe you went in early December and stayed at the base of Courchevel where there's less snow than 1850.

    6. Tomtom23 Guest

      "Skiing in Courchevel...kind of sucks."
      Ha, what utter drivel! Its one of the best resorts on the continent and easily matches US resorts for the many reasons mentioned in this review. Less snow...what like the ton of snow Ben got here in April. Get a grip.

  35. Francisco C Guest

    Looks phenomenal. This review was a joy to read. I can’t wait to hear, perhaps from Ford, about the quality of the skiing. Is it comparable to the Rockies?

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Francisco C -- Thanks! :-) Ford says Courchevel has the best skiing conditions he has experienced anywhere, much better than the Rockies.

    2. Jason Guest

      I've skied in Europe, and find it a little terrifying - it's all above the tree line so unless it's a blue blue sky day it gets hard to see. That said, I'd be interested in checking this out.

    3. Dan Guest

      Ford is mistaken. Snow in the Rockies is MUCH better than the Alps. Now, Vail Resorts buying up all the good skiing is another issue entirely.

    4. Jason Guest

      Agree Dan. I stay away from Vail Resorts properties. It seems like they got very lucky with the snow they had, but many friends of mine have reported going to these places in Europe and not getting much snow at all. Recommend Telluride/ Aspen (as mentioned below) to get away from the general Vail Resorts hubbub.

    5. Stuart Guest

      I agree, Ford is judging this on a lucky week. And I'm assuming he is a groomed trail kind of guy which Europe is famous for. It's why most serious European skiers always wonder why we would ever come to Europe to ski. Nothing beats the huge open spaces of the mountains in North America and the off piste options with the best powder anywhere. Anyone who actually skis knows this. But, no doubt, I would love to see this hotel in Whistler!

    6. Schar Gold

      Ford isnt mistaken, he just has a different experience than you. To him, Courchevel has the best skiing in the world. Obviously you think differently. Every season is different, every week is different, every resort is different. Stop trying to aggressively dismiss someone else's experience and opinion just because it differs from yours.

    7. skimegheath Gold

      I'm Australian and in general prefer Europe to the US (which I love too). I would much rather ski the US than Les 3 Vallées. Love Telluride!

  36. SamB Gold

    The service and location look incredible. It's a shame the decor looks so chintzy. There's a lot of patterns and it's kind of ugly. I'm sure it's all impeccable French antiques though. Just not my style. Cheval Blanc and the other properties look much more chic.

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ SamB -- I hear you, and for what it's worth, that's generally not my preferred style either. I usually prefer more modern properties. I will say that I think pictures don't quite do justice to the place, and it's less chintzy looking in person.

    2. SamB Gold

      Good to know, thanks Ben. I imagine too, in the setting, there might be a fairytale-esque quality to it that would work.

  37. KR Guest

    "In this case this was somewhere Ford really wanted to go, and he fully paid for it — I just tagged along." Great review, Ben, and it looks like a fantastic place. It's great you and Ford both enjoy travel and can enjoy traveling to each other's favorite places. Serious question - aren't you and Ford married? If so, I'm pretty sure you paid for it too :) (if you don't think you did, just...

    "In this case this was somewhere Ford really wanted to go, and he fully paid for it — I just tagged along." Great review, Ben, and it looks like a fantastic place. It's great you and Ford both enjoy travel and can enjoy traveling to each other's favorite places. Serious question - aren't you and Ford married? If so, I'm pretty sure you paid for it too :) (if you don't think you did, just try getting divorced and playing the "this money is mine, that money is yours" game :) ).

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ KR -- Hah, we are indeed married, and that's a totally fair point. In order to ensure marital bliss I encourage Ford to keep some of the money he makes in a separate bank account so that I don't even have to see what kind of shopping he does. ;) And in this case the hotel stay came out of that fund, which is why I viewed it as him paying, rather than me.

    2. KR Guest

      Thanks for the response and that makes sense. The spouse and I share all accounts but each have an individual credit card so we don't see exactly where every dollar and cent goes for each of us. To each their own - again, it's wonderful that you share hobbies like travel and can support each other in those hobbies you don't share (skiing).

  38. Stanley C Gold

    So, your stay included half board that offered breakfast and lunch or dinner for two. I am curious. Since, it only offered lunch or dinner, if you and Ford had lunch, then did you two skip dinner or paid for it or just was so full from lunch, there was never any need to have dinner?

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Stanley C -- The half board was more than enough food for us, especially if you have a drink, given all the snacks that comes with. That being said, some days we did have three meals, mainly for the ambiance. We just didn't eat all that much with those meals, because we way over indulged.

  39. KBF Guest

    This is amazing!
    I skied for the first time in Europe this year (Zermatt points stay SLH and Cortina points stay at Cristallo) and I realized North American ski resorts are seriously disappointing, overrated, and expensive compared to Europe. Europe resorts are less crowded, the on mountain food is GOOD (like there's only so much chili and hot dogs I can do), the businesses on and off mountain are independently owned from the operating...

    This is amazing!
    I skied for the first time in Europe this year (Zermatt points stay SLH and Cortina points stay at Cristallo) and I realized North American ski resorts are seriously disappointing, overrated, and expensive compared to Europe. Europe resorts are less crowded, the on mountain food is GOOD (like there's only so much chili and hot dogs I can do), the businesses on and off mountain are independently owned from the operating "resort", amazing scenery, just so much more sophisticated and special. Plus, not too difficult to get to with the excellent transportation system.
    Let's be honest, Vail/ Ikon pass resorts buying out everything takes away from the charm. We live in Miami too and would gladly fly an extra "few" hours to do nice ski trip in Europe instead. It sounds like the value you got is unbeatable. For sure adding Courcheval to the list. Thank you so much for this review. Just confirmed how much I love international skiing.

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Jason -- Aspen is as good as it gets in the US in terms of charm, restaurants, etc. However, in my opinion the overall experience still pales in comparison to what you find in a place like Courchevel.

    2. Jason Guest

      Try Telluride. I like it more than Aspen, and find the atmosphere better. It's more of a Nantucket vibe, though in the middle of the mountains and with snow.
      I don't tend to like the skiing in Europe as much. It's above the tree line in most cases, and when you're skiing there is a difference, in my opinion. Courchevel and some other European resorts have the "old world" ambience that nothing in the...

      Try Telluride. I like it more than Aspen, and find the atmosphere better. It's more of a Nantucket vibe, though in the middle of the mountains and with snow.
      I don't tend to like the skiing in Europe as much. It's above the tree line in most cases, and when you're skiing there is a difference, in my opinion. Courchevel and some other European resorts have the "old world" ambience that nothing in the US could ever hope to recreate, of course, but I still find Telluride to be the best followed by Aspen. Depends on what one is looking for, I will admit. I always meet Europeans on the slopes in the various Western resorts here who tell me they refuse to ski in Europe/ that it pales in comparison to what they find in the U.S. Different strokes for different folks, I guess.

    3. Stuart Guest

      Depends on the type of skier you are. If you love groomed trails and sticking to them than Europe is your place. If you want to ride in trees and off piste, North American ski resorts are the best in the world. Just talk to serious skiers in Europe and and they will even admit it, when they want to actually ski in wide open terrain and open bowls they come to the U.S or...

      Depends on the type of skier you are. If you love groomed trails and sticking to them than Europe is your place. If you want to ride in trees and off piste, North American ski resorts are the best in the world. Just talk to serious skiers in Europe and and they will even admit it, when they want to actually ski in wide open terrain and open bowls they come to the U.S or Canada. Nothing beats it. But, yes, no doubt, Europe is better for food and presentation at the resorts.

      If you really want to see the difference spend some time at Whistler. It's the most vast and amazing open space for skiing that you can ever imagine. Sure, not going to get this kind of hotel, but there is a Four Seasons and it's perfectly nice in exchange for an incredible open span of acres you will able to explore.

    4. TM Gold

      It really depends on how the snow is that year. When the snow is good in Europe, the lift-accessed off-piste terrain is unrivaled. Most places in the Alps get very little off-piste traffic so you can easily ski powder days if not weeks after a storm. The same can't be said for really anywhere in North America.

    5. BDT Guest

      @KBF…. I would agree with you in terms of Apres ski, Europe is the place to be. Although if you’re talking about skiing; the terrain, snow conditions, quality of mountains, and infrastructure North America is on a different level vs Europe. IMO Japan, is #2 (after NA) in terms of ski destinations, if you haven’t been I’d highly recommend, no surprise the luxury hotel market is flooding Nesko…

    6. TM Gold

      @BDT, you must be skiing the wrong places in Europe if you think NA resorts have better infrastructure. They take their uphill capacity seriously and the quality of the lifts at most places is beyond just about anywhere in NA, and they charge half as much for a lift ticket. Plus, trains and busses will get you just about anywhere you want to ski in Europe, while at most NA resorts a car rental is mandatory.

  40. Marco Guest

    Why a standard Volkswagen Van would be better for driving in the snow than a 4x4 Rolls Royce Cullinan?
    And why a VW van and not a Mercedes one? If they can spend 400k€ on the most expensive SUV why are they economizing on the vans? Strange choices. Maybe a fleet of Audi or Mercedes SUVs would have been better if they are too scared to damage their RRs in the snow

    1. Super Gold

      Because then you can advertise your fleet of Rolls Royces without actually having to depreciate them constantly and put them at risk. And then when it comes to vans, you're probably with a large group and then who cares if it's a Mercedes or VW.

  41. BKAloha Guest

    Sheesh, when I compare this place to my recent FS Napa stay where rooms were $1800/night, this is a yoooge steal. Interested in knowing your other Top 5 stays! Maybe reading this blog is dangerous to my credit card.

  42. Anthony Diamond

    I’m not familiar with half board - did your rate include half board for two individuals? If so, it is worth at least a couple hundred euro a night. €1,200 a night almost seems like a bargain here.

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Anthony -- Yep, half board was included for two people, so that is quite a bit of value.

    2. Ian Guest

      You now often get much better snow at Easter than Christmas and get much better deals too.
      One reason Courchevel was quiet may due to the fact it’s usually the reset of choice for the Russian elite.

  43. mdande7 Diamond

    The lesson here is enjoy your breakfast and lunch half board. Pizza and cocktail for 35 euros for dinner works for me :)

    1. Marcus Guest

      Thought something similar but I'd go for breakfast and dinner and gorge on the cake selection in the ski room in between :)

      The truffle fondue looked amazing!

  44. Nick Guest

    Lucky- can we get a list of your top 5 all time properties?

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Nick -- Hah, that's a fun topic! Let me put some thought into it, and I'll try to make a post about that in the near future.

    2. Jason Guest

      I'd love to see this list too

    3. Vancouver - Char Gold

      Would the Fogo Island hotel make the list? Maybe you could have 'urban hotels' and 'resort hotels' ?

  45. GroeneMichel Member

    Wow, as someonse who goes skiing annually at Les Trois Vallées, I've never known these kind of hotels existed. Truly amazing and indeed the half-board and all the amenities and service kind of compensate for the price. I would much rather pay this price than 2000 USD for a suite in Hawaii with terrible service.

  46. Ian Guest

    Great review. Lucky have you been to the Aviary in Chicago? The cocktails at this resort look right out of that mold

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Ian -- Can't say I have, I'll have to pay it a visit the next time I'm in Chicago.

    2. Jason Guest

      Book in advance. Aviary is great, but it books up way out. I thought the same thing when I saw those drinks - very Aviary.

    3. Gerard Guest

      Yeah, some of the cocktail presentations are near-identical to the Aviary (easy to Google pictures of them if you haven't been) - makes me wonder who developed those presentations first and if there's any relationship between the two!

    4. beerandcheese Guest

      Ian - I was thinking the exact same thing looking at the cocktail photos. They do some amazing things at the Aviary!

    5. mario Guest

      Also very similar to canon in Seattle! Give them a shot next time you are around, incredible cocktails, presentation, and space too.

  47. Cb Guest

    Dope. I know it doesn’t really follow the “point” but I love reviews like this

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Cb -- Happy you enjoyed it, thanks for the kind feedback! I'm doing what I can to mix points hotel reviews (like the hotels in Venice) with some of these, since I find these kinds of properties to be so interesting.

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Ben Schlappig OMAAT

@ Clem -- Sorry for not clarifying. You can choose something different each day. You can do lunch one day, dinner the next, etc.

7
Nick Guest

Lucky- can we get a list of your top 5 all time properties?

7
SamB Gold

Counterpoint: a lot of adults are tired and just want to relax and have someone do that for them, lol

5
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