A luxury travel guide to Val Thorens ski resort
When it comes to luxury ski resorts for your next winter getaway, it really doesn’t get much better than Val Thorens, in France. Perhaps somewhat less famed than the likes of Chamonix or Morzine, in many ways that is to its advantage, making Val Thorens an appealing place to rub shoulders with serious skiers without having to deal with the wealthy, partying student pack.
At 2,300m, purpose-built Val Thorens is the highest resort in the huge Trois Vallées ski area, which also includes Méribel, Courchevel and Les Menuires. Not only that, but it’s also the highest in Europe, and its guaranteed snow cover between the months of November and May make it a sought-after destination that sits head and shoulders above the rest,
A breath-taking resort that sits atop the spectacular Belleville Valley, Val Thorens is surrounded on both sides by a series of dramatic peaks – meaning many hotels in the area offer some incredible sweeping views that are just begging to be photographed.
You don’t have to be an expert to ski in this resort; the terrain caters to all levels, from beginner to advanced. It links to the immense network of trails stretching across the Courchevel and Méribel valleys, as well as into Maurienne, and with so many runs to choose from, you’re unlikely to tire of your time here, no matter how long you stay. As well as having an impressive 140km of its owm pistes, Val Thorens is a great base from which to explore the wider area – and with 600km of trails to get through, you’d have to come back for years in a row to ever see it all.
Where to stay
The great thing about Val Thorens accommodation is that there is plenty of choice – from luxury hotels to opulent, alpine inspired chalets and apartments, you can be sure to find a lavish hideaway to suit your own personal tastes. Our top pick is:
Hotel Koh-I Nor Val Thorens
Located on the Val Thorens ski slopes, Hotel Koh-I Nor offers ski-to-door access and breath-taking views over the surrounding valleys. Its spa, two indoor swimming pools, panoramic terrace and 3 restaurants all ensure a luxurious stay from start to finish, making it the perfect place from which to explore, and the ideal place to return to to relax and unwind after a long day on the slopes.
The spa, in particular, is something that must be experienced, boasting a hot tub and sauna, hammam, relaxation zone and a salt wall. En suite marble bathrooms are equipped with bathrobes and free toiletries, while free WiFi is provided throughout the hotel. The hotel also offers a brasserie and two restaurants serving international cuisine and local specialities, where you can enjoy your meal on a terrace with panoramic mountain views.
Where to eat
Overseen by Chef Josselin Jeanblanc in the five-star Hotel Pashmina, Les Explorateurs is a one-Michelin-starred restaurant which offers French fine dining with a twist. Try the signature dish of carpaccio de Saint-Jacques accompanied by vegetables with a calamondin vinaigrette and Petrossian caviar – it’s a taste sensation against the backdrop of a memorable dining experience that is guaranteed to leave you wanting more.
Le Chalet de la Marine
Adorned with beautiful, alpine-isnpired wooden details, Le Chalet de la Marine is a cosy fine dining restaurant that is centred around a crackling log fire – the perfect place to warm up after a chilly day on the slopes. Serving up mouth-watering local cuisine, it’s set 2,500m up on the Dalles slope. Dine on dishes including fresh fish and steak tartar, as well as an indulgent selection of desserts.
Things to do
If the adrenaline rush of the slopes isn’t quite enough for you, then there are plenty of other activities that will keep you well occupied. Here are just a few:
At an altitude of 3000m, at the foot of the Peclet glacier, get ready to hurtle down the Tete Ronde blue run experiencing a 700m height drop. We don’t mean on skis, either – this one is a two-wheeling experience.
You will learn how to control your bike, position yourself and how to master turning and braking techniques before you set off, during the 45 minute (6km) run at nightfall.
At the bottom of the run, you’ll have the chance to warm up with a well-deserved glass of mulled wine – the perfect way to round off an adventurous mountain biking session in style.
Tired of having your feet firmly on the ground? Val Thorens is the perfect place to try your hand at paragliding, giving you the chance to soar across the snow-capped mountains and the ski runs below and take in incredible views you’d never otherwise have the chance to see.
If you have ever thought about paragliding but never had the chance, now is the time – the views over the beautiful Vallée des Belleville are worth every penny, and all instructors are state-certified.