Enchanted snow laden forests, white covered mountains and freezing landscapes, is the dreamlikescenery that flashes past us as we head towards the exclusive Les Rives d’Argentiere, a 5 star hamlet of just four luxury chalets nestled at the foot of Mont Blanc in Chamonix, and our home for the next couple of nights.
On arrival, it is like stepping into a scene from a Swiss chocolate box, with the chalets hidden under a pristine white blanket of snow, in front of a backdrop of towering mountains.
There are four luxe chalets in the hamlet, all similar in layout, and able to accommodate a minimum of 10 people each, with private outdoor hot tubs,heated outdoor pool, gym, sauna, hamman and massage room. There’s a private cinema room that can also be converted into a disco area, as well as a well-stocked library and a wine cellar any connoisseur would be proud of.
All slightly different in design and décor, but all just as luxurious and comfortable as each other. Chalet Granit was to be ours, five bedrooms all ensuite, with a large open plan living spaceincorporating a kitchen, dining area and lounge withcomfy sofas arranged in harmonyaround a roaring open fire. A great place to curl up with a hot chocolate or glass of wine and enjoy the panoramic views of even more spectacular scenery, and scenery was certainly in abundance when we took the Montenvers Railway to Mer de Glace.
This famous little red train, runs on tracks that climb the mountainside, passing through powder white forests, tunnels cut through rocks, and over viaducts, passing very close to the edge (don’t look down!), but oh so worth it as the formidable sight of a landscape that looks like it’s covered in cotton wool is simply breathtaking – there are only so many WOWS that can come out of your mouth aren’t there? No,just as you think this legendary journey can’t get any better you reach your destination, at the foot of the Mer de Glace glacier, it is truly breathtaking, made all the more special by our host Martin (General Manager of Les Rives d’Argentiere)who had brought champagne for us to share as we stood in the snow staring in awe at the glacier below.
Once back at Les Rives d’Argentierethe champagne theme continued, accompanied with freshly prepared canapés as we waited to enjoy an evening of delicious food, freshly prepared by the Les Rives d’Argentiere team –Which is exactly what you’ll get if you hire the chalets on a luxury catered package – Your own private chef, who will prepare daily breakfasts (cooked and continental), afternoon tea and four-course fine dining evening meals. And if that wasn’t enough the fully catered package comes with unlimited wine, beer and spirits – all served exactly as you like them, you’ll be well and truly spoilt.
Whether you’re a skier or not, it doesn’t matter there is something for everyone here. Whilst the skiers head off to the slopes (the chalets each have their own dedicated ski room with heated boot warmers)you can take a trip into Chamonix,explore the cobbled streets, sip a hot chocolate on the balcony of one of the many bars or cafes, indulge in a little après ski (you don’t have to ski to do this) and just while away the time doing as much or as little as you like.
If you decide to not move from the chalet, there’s always the option of relaxing in the hot tub, whilst sipping a glass of wine, surrounded by piles of pristine white snow, a truly magical experience that of course we tried on more than one occasion.
There are lots of activities that can be arranged for you during your stay, such as a restaurant reservation, ski lessons, ski hire, ski passes, husky sledge riding, a helicopter tour, golf bookings, yoga, massage, your wish is literally the concierge teams command, nothing is too much trouble.
Our last night saw us indulge in an 8 course tasting menu and wine tasting that included such delights as crunchy apple and cucumber wrapped in smoked salmon, tender beef in red wine jus, panna cotta with a fruit coulis, all cooked by our own dedicated chef along with a representative from Le Verre Gourmand to talk us through the wines, the most perfect end to an exceptional stay.
If the snow and the cold aren’t your thing that’s fine Les Rives d’Argentière isn’t just a winter destination, in the spring and summer the region is just as popular with mountaineers, hikers, and runners, the outdoor heated pool is open and the views of the mountain ranges surrounding you are just as spectacular – it really is an all year round haven, where guests are well and truly spoilt.
Prices start from approximately £6,000 per week, per chalet fully catered off peak and up to £13,500 per week, per chalet, fully catered peak season.
Fully catered private hire of the whole hamlet starts from £10,000 off peak and up to £52,000 peak season.
Massage and wellbeing services provided by www.equilibrium.fitness
To find out more or to book, visit www.lesrivesdargentiere.com