Val Thorens' newest property, Hotel Altapura, is not only the resort's first five star hotel, but it is also the sister hotel to one of the most sought after properties in the Alps — Les Fermes de Marie in Megeve.
Les Fermes de Marie is the premier hotel in the exclusive resort of Megeve, and finding a room here can often be near on impossible. To put this into context, it's easier to find a hotel that will take a booking in Lech over Christmas, then Les Fermes des Marie for the whole season — and you pretty much only get a room in Lech over Christmas if your family have been staying there for 20 years, or if you own a Formula 1 team!
Though Val Thorens may lack the exclusivity of Megeve, it does boast the world's largest ski area and one of, if not the, best ski areas around. Generally a luxury trip to the Three Valleys would mean a trip to Courchevel 1850, and with the hotel chain cutting their mustard in Megeve and St. Tropez, that's where you would have expected them to go. So, why Val Thorens?
Val Thorens may not be the prettiest or most exclusive resort in Europe, but it is the highest and offers door step skiing. Also being the five star hotel in resort gives added exclusivity. There is also another unspoken advantage of Val Thorens, it lacks the recent Russian influx of Courchevel and the Surrey-on-Ski feel of Meribel — which can't be a bad a thing!
So, back to the hotel. Hotel Altapura will be a five star property from this coming winter, described as "the highest Skipalace" by the hoteliers themselves. The Nordic-influenced property may lack the picturesque, Alpine charm of Les Fermes des Marie, but the '50s Scandinavian-influenced building is more fitting with the stark, rocky backdrop that is Val Thorens.
The five star hotel boasts the renowned Les Enfants Terrible restaurant — which features in Megeve as well as a stand alone restaurant in Paris — and a 10,000 ft spa, to ensure every need of the luxury-seeking guests will be pampered for. The hotel's interior is filled with a wonderful combination of wood, stone and marble throughout, with the sun terrace enjoying wonderful views of the Caron peak. The hotel is based at the bottom of the resort opposite the Plain Sud chairlift in a ski in/out location, with the main village a short walk away — not that anyone staying on the Altapura will take any notice of the rest of the resort.
The Altapura boasts a great choice of dining options, with the hotel's half-board option including a sumptuous six course evening meal. The aforementioned Les Enfants Terrible is a highlight of Les Fermes des Marie. In the hotel's glamorous restaurant you expect cuisine of the highest order, with six a la carte courses as standard, and signature dishes the from Megeve and Paris venues on the menu. If that doesn't take your fancy Le 2.Mille.3 offers a traditional menu, with stunning views of the Caron from the terrace during lunch, or La Laiterie offers fine wine and cheese, and of course, a choice of raclette and fondues.
Val Thorens has slowly been dipping its toes into the VIP market over the past few years. The lifts are being upgraded left, right and centre, the family-run four star hotels are impossible to book in peak season, and the arrival of the of Val d'Isere's most renowned après ski bar, the Folie Douce — with its champagne flowing VIP section — have all been welcome additions.
Les Fermes des Marie may be the epitome of luxury and exclusivity, and hopefully the Altapura can offer the impeccable standards, incredible cuisine, but in a more accessible hotel and, of course, in the world's number one ski area. In summary, it's hoorays all round for this stunning hotel.
Photos © www.altapura.fr