Le Chabichou, France
Le Chabichou is perched up high in the village of Courchevel, France, and is a beacon for all who love the snow, tradition, friendly service and style – all with a touch of the eccentric.
In 1963, a young couple by the name of Michel and Maryse Rochedy took out a loan to buy a nine-bedroom chalet in the midst of Courchevel, a high end ski resort in the Savoyard region of France. Michel did the cooking and Maryse ran the hotel. By 1979 it had 41 rooms and suites and in a significant achievement, was given a Michelin star – the first ever given in Courchevel. The second star followed in 1984 and the enormously popular spa, in 2011.
Rooms and interiors:
Le Chabichou is not a multi-storey concrete tower, it is basically a cottage that has been expanded, and expanded and expanded, yet still manages to retain a homely ambience that is truly hard to beat. There are 41 rooms and suites made of eight categories, ranging from lavish suites to spacious family rooms. We stay in a Large Comfort Room – a two-story loft style room with a large bedroom and sitting area upstairs, and a daybed, desk and bathroom downstairs. We can look out the windows – and even open them – to views that take in some snow covered chalets and a battery of Olympus-like peaks. If you were to stay in the Alps Suite you could admire the door made from wood from a century-old barn and look out over the ski runs. The hotel became a Relais & Chateaux property in 2012, 50 years after it first opened.
Le Chabichou is home to the Michelin-star restaurant of the same name, and the Bistro Chabotte, both under the magic touch of chef Michel Rochedy – a legend in France. You can even bring some of his skills home with you as there are cooking classes in English once a week.
There really is nothing better than walking out the door of your hotel, stepping into your skis or snowboard which have been placed on the snow for you, and skiing down a run. In this case it is the ‘Le boulevard du Chabichou’, an easy name to remember if you heading back to the hotel or just visiting for lunch. The other bonus of staying here is the massive 1,100-m² spa, with hot pools, cold pools, salt pools, steam rooms and many other delights as well as massage treatments and facials. Expect to see a lot of people wearing robes down the hallways. Don’t miss having a drink in the bar after you limp in from the slopes, the feeling of bonhomie is hard to beat.
What I loved
A Relais & Chateaux property, Le Chabichou welcomes guests with its white exterior, standing out from the crowd in more ways than one. Inside it is a treasure trove of spaces in which to sit, eat, drink, sleep and be pampered, all while feeling a sense of visiting a family friend. Nothing is too much trouble for the staff – the helpful guys in the ski shop even take your boots off for you at the end of the day, which is so welcome after a long day sweeping down the incredible terrain in this magnificent place.