Ski Season in the French Alps is upon us again, yet not a moment too soon. Freshly back from a trip to Méribel, my Moonboots still at the door and my Flight Deck still tucked in my Huff ‘n Puffa jacket, here’s a run-through of where to head this season in this enticing section of Les Trois Vallees.
Where to stay
Take an apartment at Antarès, a new opening for the area, celebrating its first season fully finished. High above Méribel village, enjoy the privacy of a chalet with tailored hotel-style service, a ski concierge and ski-in-out access to the slopes.
Each luxurious apartment melds a modern aesthetic with a classic alpine feel. Think sleek lines with warm wood, low lighting and rich furnishings, and floor-to-ceiling windows framing every vista. Open-plan living space designed for entertaining leads to a chic kitchen and a spacious dining table, inviting you to hear the tales of the day’s adventures as you and your friends cook together. Maybe you’ll take a private chef, to return from a post-ski sauna to the table set and your personalised menu waiting, champagne on ice and a roaring fire, as you make yourself at home in the cosy lounge.
With their on-site spa, you set your own pace for your stay. Recharge and refresh with on-site relaxation, wellness cures and medi-clinic. It’s a truly holistic, multi-faceted approach to wellness. Replenish with a combined infrared sauna, algae body wrap and LED Hydrafacial. Maybe take a longer-lasting treatment for your return home with Botox or Mesotherapy. The Antares approach believes beauty and wellness should co-exist, offering tailor-made packages of complementary treatments. Take this as your invitation for a long afternoon looking after self and soul, or a full retreat dedicated to encouraging an enduring lifestyle change.
For a stay tailored to even the littlest of prospective skiers, Hotel Le Kaila might be the perfect destination. A family-run hotel in the heart of Méribel centre, their adaptable yet sublimely luxurious suites are enveloping and subtly tailored to the family getaway. Homely spaces allow adults to relax and unwind, leading to king beds and en-suite jacuzzi baths. Dedicated children’s bedrooms will create magical memories of sleepovers, and peace-of-mind features such as built-in stair gates keep the tiny ones safe. A new partnership this season offers the Lego playroom, for children of any age, with lego sculptures around the hotel for photo opportunities.
Where to lunch
Of course, this depends on where you might be skiing that particular day. Early one afternoon you’ll want to make sure you navigate to Le Clos Bernard. A cosy alpine retreat with traditional Savoyard-style dining, expect a warm reception to the bustling lodge, an exceptional grill menu and eye-catching seafood platters. Accessible only by ski or foot, a trip by horse and sledge back to civilisation might be the answer for a more gentle journey after enjoying their knowledge of noteworthy wines, including some beautiful local gems like the Domaine des Ardoisières, Shiste.
For equally satisfying mid-day dining with a completely different vista, a visit to Maya Altitude is a must whilst in Méribel. Soak in 360-degree views of Les Allues at 2300m, with views beyond the Belleville Valley to Mont Blanc. It’s a modern take on the alpine style with panoramic glass to frame the ever-changing views, as you sample a brasserie-style menu that swings between traditional Savoyard and Tandoori, sipping delights from their on-site Cave De Maturation.
This season, Méribel welcomes the exciting new opening of Partajo, offering intimate concept dining alongside traditional raclette and fondue. Be sure to make the most of your server’s sommelier background, as the restaurant hides behind a vast selection of regional wines and spirits in their Côté Cave À Vin.
For dinner with a twist, just a short walk from Antarès finds you at Lilie. With a vast menu of fine dining, you could start with oysters, ceviche, or bone marrow gratin, share a black Angus bavette with tartiflette for your main, and finish with a selection of sweet treats from their pâtisserie. A little digestif from their cocktail menu, and you’re back on track for a lively evening to enjoy their in-house DJ and late-night dancing.
For the traditional and luxurious, Beefbar at Le Coucou is a must. Their vast menu offers the opportunity to taste the rarest meats, from Wagyu beef from Australia to Kobe beef from Japan. It’s a little break from Savoyard, but no less indulgent. Again, be sure to test the sommelier for their knowledge and you’ll be introduced to a beautiful bottle to accompany your visit.
On The Slopes
The opportunities to enjoy the snow are as vast as the slopes in Méribel. Take a slow morning enjoying the views by snowshoe, soaking in nature. Maybe try Skijoring, a discipline focused on skills as you are pulled on your planks from behind a horse. Ask Antarès to arrange an afternoon outdoors with breath workshops focussed on the Wim Hof technique or yoga. Your tracks might cross those of Ski Touring, Nordic Skiing, hiking or horse riding, or maybe even a first run from para-ski. It’s why we are here, and why we will always return: the lure of that fresh powder snowfall and our time spent revelling in it is enduringly tantalising.