Hotel Review: Hôtel Barrière Les Neiges, Courchevel in France
Travel writer Codelia Mantsebo checks in to Courchevel’s newest luxury hotel.
Now in its third season, the newly-opened Barrière Les Neiges is the latest luxury addition that Courchevel never knew it needed. The new hotel exceeds expectations, and positions itself as a luxurious, cosy cocoon in France’s most upscale ski resort.
With more five-star hotels and Michelin-starred restaurants than any ski resort in the world, the slopes of Courchevel are clustered with an impressive collection of luxury accomodation. And when it comes to terrific skiing and world-class service, the magic words, ‘Courchevel 1850’ immediately conjure up enchanting ski slopes, sensational service and luxury indulgence.
Yet, among the 16 or so ultra-luxury hotels in the resort, Groupe Barrière’s first mountainside hotel stands out in this corner of paradise. Open for only 120 days a year, the hotel is fully booked from the very beginning of the season, and it’s easy to see why.
At the height of luxury, and standing at 1,850 metres in altitude, Les Neiges doesn’t chase the race to become Courchevel’s ‘most luxurious’ — it sets its own standards. Taking inspiration from chalet interiors and filmic themes, the hotel perpetuates the warm authenticity of a cosy mountain chalet with elegant contemporary furniture.
The theatrically lit ski-in, ski-out hotel is equipped with the largest spa in the resort, a state-of-the-art Bernard Orcel ski room stocked with Fendi and Toni Sailer, a private cinema, two gourmet restaurants, and a kids club where children are given free reign on their filmic creativity and play a role in this all new Barrière film.
Referencing to Barrière’s focus on the French art of living, the attention to detail throughout Les Neiges is second to none; from the carefully designed lighting in your room right down to the staff who warm your ski boots before hitting the slopes.
Entering the doors of Les Neiges, I was greeted with a warm festive cocktail while I checked in. The welcoming atmosphere gave this hotel a true sense of place, a home-like ambiance. The reception area was dressed in warm tones of gold, grey and amber, while oak, pine and larch wood infused the area. I heard the fire crackling from the fireplace behind me, and to my right, was the view of the snow-capped mountains in all their finery — this wasn’t just a touch of chalet chic, it was alpine immersion.
The hotel’s modern take on the traditional chalet is evident in its 42 rooms, suites and penthouse; with cashmere, velvet and fur, combined with larch clad walls and ceilings.
Every detail throughout, even in the corridor, is created to transport you to the slopes, with fabrics and materials resembling ski tracks through fresh powder snow, sunny ski runs, fir bark and light-filled ice crystals.
But you need not travel far to see or experience this. With the hotel sitting right on the slope of Bellecôte, you can literally walk outside from the ski room and ski down to the lifts within seconds. And Barrière Les Neiges eliminates all possible hassle on the way, helping you with your boots and skis as you just sit back on the chocolate leather seats. Your boots, warmed the night before, and your skis laid out on the slopes ready for you.
And just like that, I was all set to ski in the winter playground synonymous with championship racers and oligarchs. Blindly following my ski-instructor for the day, Jean-Yves Pachod from ESF school, I gulped as I realised we were already on the piste. I hadn’t skied for two years, and it felt like I was starting again. But Jean-Yves was polite, patient and an excellent instructor.
We had skipped the magic carpet and within hours, I was gliding down different sites. Offering private lessons for as long as needed, Jean-Yves is a fantastic ski instructor with fascinating knowledge of all that is Courchevel. I could sense his passion for his work as he proudly smiled at me confidently traversing to the hotel doorstep.
You don’t need to be an expert to ski here – Courchevel is beginner friendly. However, if you’re more about the après than the skiing, the services of the hotel are there for you. The concierge can organise an experience to fulfil your every wish, whether it’s having a go at heli-skiing, dog sledding through the forest or taking a hot air balloon ride above the resort.
If you simply wish to chill, nothing is more appealing after a hard day on the slopes than a welcoming spa. Head to Les Neiges’ 1000 m2 Diane Barrière spa, to its 20 metre long lap pool or the delightfully snug outdoor jacuzzi nestled in the snow. Wind down in the sauna or steam room, or enjoy Biologique Recherche facials and St Barth body treatments in the booths.
I enjoyed a luxurious body massage which soothed the aches and pains from a day in the snow — and it was quite possibly the best massage I’ve ever received. This impressive spa seriously tempted me to spend all my time indoors.
After the indulgence, taste the kitchen of Mauro Colagreco at the Bfire restaurant. Overseen by the chef who runs Le Mirazur, 2018’s third best restaurant in the world — Bfire reflects Colagreco’s Argentinian background with dishes cooked over a wood fire.There are plenty of delicious vegetables, meat and fish dishes cooked on the embers, but the succulent rib of beef to share is not be overlooked. For a taste of traditional Parisian cuisine, enjoy French culinary classics with local flavours in Le Fouquet’s, or taste savoyard specialities in the small and intimate atmosphere of Chalet Fouquet’s.
Les Neiges offers a luxurious and unique mountain stay in a cosy and welcoming atmosphere. The excellence of the Barrière service add to what gives this hotel a true sense of place. Even when fully booked, you’ll feel the intimacy of a private chalet. The Barrière Group has once again reinvented itself to capture the desires of its clientele — and its well deserving of its place in France’s most upscale resort.
Address: 422 Rue de Bellecôte Saint-Bon-Tarentaise, 73120 Courchevel, France
Phone: +33 4 57 55 22 00