06 February 2016
Luxurious and discret mountain tips from Plume Voyage
While the February holidays are just beginning, here are the major « snowy » news of 2016.
An urban and design hotel in Flaine, a cozy cocoon in Haute-Maurienne, the most crazy after-skiing spot of the Alps in Courchevel, one unforgettable night atop the Pic du Midi and the exoticism of a hotel “à la Française” in Lapland. Enjoy the snow!
Flaine station is probably the most “archi» station of France! Many ignore it, but the rough concrete buildings that are erected around the Flaine Forum is the work of the star architect and designer, Marcel Breuer, who designed the Unesco building in Paris and the Whitney Museum in New York. This is also the creator of the famous Wassily chair that fans of design furniture are snapping … Bauhaus architect, he also designed the original buildings of the Flaine resort which came out of the ground in 1969. Concrete , square and straight lines that hug the mountain, the “diamond points” that animate the facades … His work is masterful in the eye of the ones who know how to recognize the work of a great architect. And the new Terminal Neige hotel that just opened is precisely nestled in one of the Breuer buildings. It complements the station in hosting offers that did not include any hotel but only tourist houses. And it is also a first one for the Sibuet group that is opening there an address with very different tones from its other residences, resolutely turned towards the high end, as with Les Fermes de Marie in Megève or the Domaine de la Baume in Tourtour . Terminal Neige – The Totem is the first of a series of affordable facilities (ranked 3 stars, rooms from 145 euros) that the family Sibuet intends to open in the French mountains (the next one in 2018 in Avoriaz will be the Terminal Neige – Station). All the talent of the Sibuet group was to respect the legacy of Marcel Breuer leaving the concrete the master material in these places. Including on caisson ceilings in the rooms. The “loft” is it a large suite with several bedrooms and a living room in the middle of which stands one of the last chimneys designed by Breuer. A single piece of art, suspended from the ceiling, in a concrete shell that has not changed over the years. Gorgeous ! We also like the Pure Altitude Spa and decoration of public spaces such as the bar and restaurant. The Sibuet have mottled 70s, pop and cool furniture . Old regressive video game terminals delight the”quadra” customer . The light is everywhere. Urban, sporty and vintage at the same time, the Totem Flaine brings new life to this little-known station where monumental sculptures are arranged by Dubuffet, Picasso and Vasarely. To urgently discover for not skiing ignorantly and enjoy the privilege of staying in a resort that was perhaps too ahead of its time and must be rediscovered with new eyes …
This is “the” mountain novelty this season. Courchevel has just opened a splendid, gigantic water park at the height of the excesses of the chic resort. We must admit that all the studies prove it: we no longer go to the mountains in winter “only” for skiing! Result, it must keep the whole family busy, on bad weather days, and offer wellness to parents in the evening in heated pools and spa breaks … The Aquamotion is therefore the most successful of water centers grown in the Alps these recent years. It has two distinct areas. The first is an ultra pampering and zen spa with indoor and outdoor heated pool. There is also a saltwater grotto for a relaxing swim. And well on, saunas and steam room. And a treatment area with 19 cabins for repairing massages after a day of skiing … The other area is more colorful and noisy as it is dedicated to the whole family. Swimming pools, again inside and outside, a “baby pool” with water games for children, a three-runs pentagliss and a wild canyon for whitewater thrills at full speed. Not to mention the centerpiece: a surfing pool simulation that replicates a huge wave! Unique in the mountains to go from snowboarding to aquatic board … And for animation, it is the ultra trendy chain Nikky Beach which is responsible for the restoration. The Cabana Grill for a little hunger (but with real meals, anyway!). And the Nikky Café for a night out and enjoy the atmosphere of Nikky Beach in Miami, St. Tropez or Ibiza. The group Nikky Beach thus implanted in Courchevel its second french address after St. Trop. And does not intend to stop there. It built, in fact, a hotel opposite the Aquamotion which is planned to be sensational. This will be the first of the chain in Europe. Meanwhile, the Aquamotion, the craziest after skiing spot in the Alps, will already mark the 2016 winter!
The Haute-Maurienne Vanoise is a paradise for hikers and skiers. The small village of Bonneval sur Arc, miraculously saved from destruction during World War II is a real gem. Old stone houses pressed against each other are fiercely charming. This is where many scenes from the film “Belle and Sebastian” were filmed. The Oul Auberge is a very famous address where you are served a very successful local cuisine (www.auberge-oul.com). Bessans, just below, is another charming town, the renowned Scandinavian field. A long tradition of woodcarving still lives there. The specialty is to carve a devil in the woodl! Fabrice Personnaz is one of the last “chapoteurs” selling his works in his small shop downtown (www.chapoteur.com). And then there is Val Cenis, the great family ski resort in the Haute Maurienne Vanoise, which has been including for a few weeks the first star hotel in the valley! A new perfect place for those seeking comfort and services for a few days in the mountains. The St. Charles, just out of land, offers rooms with modern very warm decor (from 99 euros per room). They are turned to the mountains and offer a panoramic view. In addition to the hotel reception quality, we like the beautiful spa open on the mountain. From the Japanese bath, can look watch the snow fall. Then we indulge in a Pure Altitude spa care before exploring the sauna … Ideal after a day of skiing since the St. Charles is on the slopes. Note that the resort offers an unusual night getaway. We climb at 5PM via the chairlift on the plateau of the Mont Cenis peak. The “polar base » of Husky Adventure (www.husky-adventure.net) awaits you with dog sleigh rides … and meals in a shelter before descending on skis, at night, with a headlamp, the 10 kilometers of the longest green slopes of France. An unforgettable experience…
A little closer to the stars, beyond civilization, on the roof of the Pyrenees … When addressing the Pic du Midi, atop the Col du Tourmalet, we undeniably get closer to the cosmos, infinity and its existential questions … For a long time, the astronomical observatory of the Pic du Midi has been reserved for a handful of scientists who came to probe the depths of the Universe. Since the early 2000s, the general public has access to this science fiction structure that aligns stargazing domes. With five kilometers of corridors and tunnels, its large panoramic terrace of 750 m2 at nearly 3000 meters (2877 precisely!) And the “Interdepartmental building”, confidential-classified and living in complete autarky in its large antenna of 101 meters high, the Pic du midi buildings allow free rein to all fantasies … In recent years, it is also possible to spend the night (package “Starry Night” from 399 euros for two)! We can benefit from a site that was the first in France in 2013 to be awarded the “International Dark Sky Reserve”! The Pic is accessible from the ski resort of La Mongie via a cable car. The ideal is to arrive in the afternoon to be on site at the time of sunset. See the solar star disappear behind the mountains is magical. On site, you stay in small but cozy and warm rooms once intended to house the scientists who now no longer move on the observatory, all the data being transmitted via internet to labs around the world .. . The room space is limited but from the bed, raised, you can observe a clear night sky. Top! The furniture is signed by Philippe Starck. But anyway, you spend little time in your room! After a guided tour of the small museum which traces the whole Pic du Midi conquest and explains the research on the space observation, you will spend a dinner with regional colors (expect foie gras and black pork from Bigorne!). Then, still in the company of a specialized guide in astronomy, it’s time for the evening stargazing on the spacious outdoor terrace. The night is magical from this unique observatory in France that allows you to plunge into a sky of rare clarity before falling into the arms of Morpheus at an unusual altitude. The next morning we end the stay with the visit of scientific equipment in service. The most athletic ones can descend, in the winter, by freeride skiing, and by mountain biking in the summer. But each of them is leaving with stars in their head …
Even the fondue evening took on the appearance of a « dinner buffet” between friends. What if we had finally found an alternative to the bombastic codes of the 5 stars? Changing the genre, in an intimate luxury holiday and feel-like-home mode? All of it, at the foot of the most beautiful ski area in the world.Last « out” of land authorized in Courchevel 1850 in the last two years, Le Hameau de la Voilère is the new gem by the confidential EVOK Hotels Collection group . Come on, one more? We can already see you smile … First (good) surprise: in the heart of Courchevel, the locality is nestled in a discreet perimeter, even peaceful, from the terraces, an unobstructed view of a beautiful part of the Alps. Where are the jackets sewn with gold thread?
The first impression is always the good one: We learned the lesson … and arriving in the main lodge, called Les Bastidons, all our little fears evaporate like snow. Ostentatious luxury, fancy table sets … that was before. The luxury here is something else. We just reached the front door, and that’s with big smiles that we are being proposed with a disarming ease slippers just like at home to quietly sit by the fireside. A glass of champagne wearing triple thick slipper, that’ the definition of palace.
Three exceptional chalets – Les Bastidons, Nanuq and Cryst’Aile – three sublime refuges of the genre, which communicate (or not) for organized gangs. Each spread over 5 floors and can accommodate 12 people, necessarily logistics and facilities are up to standard: true spa and pool for everyone (even with a kitchen space for impromptu nibbles for midnight swims ..), small cinema (the one that fantasy for years with friends, vautroirs sofa), ski room and new equipment (obviously!), jacuzzi on the terrace and … precisely terraces almost on every floor. Fossilized in my chair with my plaid cashmere and the sunset over the mountains, I am alone in the world. What do you mean I’m not really at home?
Classy: the incredible wine cave and the vintages bottles that we glaze at behind the windows of the Chalet Les Bastidons, with a selection at every price range for amateurs.
We do not forget … the massage, booked after a day of skiing and then, finally: the concept of personalized care. Therapists wisely left a little aside the “protocols” brands to work intuitively and focus on sensitivity. After the effort, comfort takes his whole dimension. And it is rare enough to put the stress on it.
We liked the large family chalet spirit and elegance with simplicity, clean lines and a few constants. The interior designer Christophe Tollemer has avoided clichés and has not transformed these chalets into Deco showroom annexes. Favoring wood, beautiful fabrics and a real sense of comfort and charm that are sufficient to characterize the “living home”, those who can be eventually forgotten over the stay.
Of course, as elsewhere, nothing is impossible – concierge, butler, private chef, personal trainer … – but first the concept of “luxury home” will be remembered. And the perspective to bring together 11 playmates to book the next winter.
The last winter tip is not located in the French mountains but in Lapland! And French tourists are the first concerned as it is Jet Tours who opened the first and only hotel club in Finland! Since last December, and until March 2016, Jet Tours offers full board weeks at the Yllas Saaga Hotel just 3 hours and 30 minutes flight from Paris. Everything is included, transportation and accommodation in this part of Finland covered with snow like nowhere else. This comfortable hotel has rooms but also small apartments for families. A spa and a pool area with pool and sauna / steam room, a buffet restaurant and a la carte restaurant, animation and a club for children, everything is designed to facilitate the families holidays. The big plus of this “all inclusive » offer is that it is also including: a snowmobile tour, a ride in a dog sled and reindeer sleigh ride. A snowshoe ballad and a trip to Lainio ice village which is entirely built in compacted snow … The Yllas Saaga is set at the foot of the ski slopes of the highest mountains of Finland: 718 m height and yet only sixty ski slopes covered with some of the best snow in the world! Here ski lifts are hardly saturated. And the tracks are lit all day, a necessary precaution in a country located so close to the Arctic Circle than the nights are very long in winter (allow a few hours of sun a day only …). Skiing in Lapland, very exotic!