An imposing fortress-inspired bolthole framed by snow-dusted pines and ragged mountain peaks, boutique hotel Aman Le Mélézin puts a contemporary spin on the classic ski lodge. A pared-down palette of blonde wood and creamy textiles keeps things warm and cosy in the Alpine rooms: retreat to piste-view balconies, private hot tubs or fireplace-boasting suites after a long day on the slopes. You’ll find much to tempt you away from fresh powder snow, thanks to an inviting cocktail bar, fine Japanese dining and a pampering muscle-soothing spa.
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A world away from Aman’s trademark sun-kissed suites, the rooms here take inspiration from the Alpine setting with oak panelling, French furniture and floor-to-ceiling views of the snow-dusted larch trees (mélèzes) that give the hotel its name. Kitted out with a king-size bed and a private hot tub, Chambre Ski Piste rooms are our top pick. Smaller and less bright, Chambre Junior rooms are best for little kids. Sprawling suite La Vanoise has a cosy fireplace and spectacular views of the slopes from its south-facing balcony.
Framed by Capri-stone-clad walls and seductively lit columns, the hotel’s heated indoor pool is sleek and serene. It’s flanked on either side by an inviting Jacuzzi – just the thing for a post-ski soak. Aman’s promise (it means ‘peace’ in Sanskrit) is honoured in the hotel’s restorative spa, a holistic hideaway kitted out with a sauna, hammam, plunge pool and therapeutic showers. Much of the focus is on post-ski recovery; try the Thai massage to stretch and soothe tired muscles after a long day on the slopes. The hotel also runs wellness workshops throughout the season; book ahead for nutritional advice and personal-training sessions.
A stay here is all about fresh air, sun-bathed mountains and fresh powder snow. Start your day with a gentle yoga warm-up, get yourself kitted out in Aman Le Mélézin’s ski room, and glide over to the Bellecôte ski slope just outside the hotel. Repeat as necessary, perhaps with the judicious application of soreness-soothing massages at the Aman Spa or an hour or two curled up in the library in front of the fire, a rum-laced hot chocolate in hand. If you’re more in the market for pulse-racing thrills, there’s plenty in the Alps to keep you busy: trade your skis in for a snowmobile or a 470-horsepower snow plough at Courchevel Aventure, soar in a paraglider over the snow-shrouded valleys (try a tandem flight with Team FBI Parapente), or practice your triple axels and camel spins at the Patinoire du Forum ice rink.
Food and Drinks
Nama’s intimate dining room evokes a manor-house setting with its oak columns, bronze statues and tasteful paintings. Chef Keiji Matoba specialises in washoku, a traditional form of Japanese cuisine concerned with harmony: expect exquisite flavours and impeccable presentation. Inspired by the aesthetic of a gentleman’s club, Mélézin Bar has enticing views of the slopes and village. Order the signature Mélézin cocktail, a violet-scented concoction made with local blueberries and a generous dose of champagne, or sample the bar’s inspired selection of Japanese whisky and sake. Pour yourself a tipple from the cigar lounge’s whisky and rum carafes; in fine weather, commandeer a deck chair on the bar’s outdoor terrace for bubbly afternoon tea.
Things I loved about Aman Le Mélézin
- Light packers, rejoice: the hotel has travel essentials such as plug adaptors and hair straighteners for impeccable après-ski dos, as well as a ski room from which guests can hire everything they’ll need to hit the slopes.
- Smokers needn’t brave the elements thanks to the hotel’s cigar lounge. Two Chambre Junior have been adapted for disabled guests, who also have access to all public areas.
- Limber up with a free pre-ski yoga session at 9am every day; private tuition can also be arranged for a fee.
- Soothe post-ski munchies with French comfort food and a selection of Japanese morsels from Nama’s menu, which can be brought to your room around the clock.
- Set right on the Bellecôte piste, Aman Le Mélézin is in the pine-framed village of Courchevel 1850 at the heart of Les Trois Vallées, Europe’s highest-altitude resort.
Things you need to know
- An extra bed (€225 a night for over-11s, €185 a night for children aged 5-11, free for under-5s) or baby cot (free) can be added to all rooms (except the Chambre Junior). A free kids club welcomes 3–12 year-olds from 9am to 10pm. The hotel is well equipped for family stays: leave changing mats, bottle sterilisers, potties and highchairs at home.
- Book a Family Apartment if you’re travelling with the brood: the hotel will connect a Chambre Mélézin (king-size bed, slope-view balcony and large ensuite bathroom) with a Chambre Junior kitted out with twin beds, a dressing area and its own bathroom.
- Gentle Bellecôte slope is ideal for hesitant first-time skiers. Nearby ESF 1850 is an international ski school offering individual and group lessons for over-4s in Alpine ski and snowboarding. Toddlers aren’t left out of fun in the snow: their children’s village has supervised play for tots as young as 18 months.
- The hotel is closed from mid April to mid December.
- Rates include an à la carte breakfast of hot drinks, fresh juices, yoghurt, fruit, pastries and cooked-to-order dishes, dinner or lunch at selected local restaurants, and a daily 1.4 per cent booking fee
Final Thoughts about AMAN LE MÉLÉZIN
Fresh from a head-to-toe refurbishment, hotel Aman Le Mélézin is a far cry from the tropical out-of-this-world retreats that have made the resort group’s name. Inspired by the imposing architecture of a French fortress, this Courchevel 1850 stay cuts an eye-catching figure on the slopes. Overlooking snow-capped peaks, photogenic pine forests and the gentle Bellecôte piste, its aesthetic is very much in keeping with its Alpine surroundings. Toffee and cream-hued rooms are pared-down and cosy, dressed with bold oak panelling in contemporary patterns; many have balconies overlooking the valley and some are decked out with private terraces and pine-view hot tubs. In the kitchen, chef Keiji Matoba rustles up Japanese washoku fare – a tantalising departure from the region’s cheese-and-charcuterie staples. A serene spa, fireplace-toting library and piste-facing bar complete the hotel’s cosseting arsenal – an indulgent recipe, in short, for effortless skiing breaks with all the trimmings.
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