‘Keeping up with the Rothschilds’ in Megeve at the Chalet du Mont d’Arbois
Situated just one hour from Geneva airport, Megeve offers the perfect ski resort for those seeking a long weekend in the mountains without the 4-hour transfer that the larger resorts demand. As you wind through the deep tree lined valleys of the Alps, the captivating landscape of sugar coated conifers is a breath-taking sight. Emerging from the trees, it is almost impossible not to feel a moment of awe as the white pyramid shaped peak of Mont Blanc comes into view, casting its shadow over the expansive white of the surrounding resorts.
Megeve has managed to avoid the architectural tragedies that have befallen so many French resorts. Instead, the picture-postcard village has maintained all of its original charm and character, with cobbled streets, tree-lined gardens, and quaint wooden chalets. At the heart of Megeve lies an impressive church which stands at the centre of a cobbled square that’s filled with the daily carryings on of village life, complete with horse and sleigh rides for tourists wanting to see a little more of the town. Don’t be fooled by the colloquial charm; gazing around you are sure to feel somewhat out of place without a mink coat, Hermes scarf or Bogner jacket. After all, Megeve is where the Rothschild’s came, fell in love and decided to create their own ski area, the Mont d’Arbois.
Nestled into the side of the mountain and offering spectacular views across Megeve, Chalet Du Mont d’Arbois was once the private chalet of the Rothschild family. Today it’s an impressive five star hotel which showcases the best in French hospitality, food and facilities.
The wooden exterior of the Chalet du Mont d’Arbois is decorated with an assortment of antlers, giving the property a sense of eccentric charm that one comes to expect from one of the world’s most renowned families. Once inside, any thoughts about the pretentiousness of the Rothschild’s melts away as you step into the welcoming warmth of the hotel. The lounge is brimming with the Rothschild’s own art collection, antiques and a table filled with smoking memorabilia. Sitting in one of the armchairs overlooking the hotel’s outdoor terrace it’s easy to imagine yourself as a member of the family or at least a guest by personal invitation. During the winter months, a fire roars in the stone hearth emitting enough heat to entice anyone to ignore the call of the mountains and instead curl up with a good book.
The hotel rooms are beautifully decorated with wood clad walls, balconies with deck chairs for relaxing in the sunshine, and luxurious bathrooms. The Prestige Suite is a must for anyone wanting to keep up with the Rothschild’s. Accessed by its own staircase, the suite features a dining area, study and a lounge for cosying up after a day on the slopes. Spectacular mountain views can be surveyed from the expansive balcony, and because this is a Rothschild hotel, the suite has not one but two bathrooms.
The hotel’s outside pool is best experienced at night. Slipping into the warm water you find yourself immersed in a world of steam that appears to dance on the surface of the water. One of the great things about Megeve is that it’s small and therefore the wonders of the night sky are at their best. The canopy of lights suspended overhead as you swim are sure to mesmerise any guest who takes a moment to enjoy the tranquillity of a night swim breathing in the cool mountain air. For those with aching ski legs, the sauna, steam room and hot tub provide the perfect way to ease sore muscles.
It wouldn’t be a Rothschild property without a Michelin star restaurant, and the hotel’s restaurant 1920 boasts two. Led by Chef Julien Gatillon, 1920 champions French cuisine in its finest form, offering dishes that include succulent langoustines with watercress foam. As one would expect of a Rothschild property situated in the Alps, there is a rather impressive cheese selection and anyone with a penchant for fromage will be grinning like a Cheshire cat when the lid of a large black box is opened to reveal a selection of cheeses that would make any fromager proud.
Although the hotel isn’t ski in-ski out, the hotel’s shuttles make the trip to the slopes effortless and removes some of the excruciating yet almost addictive pain of ski boots. Chalet du Mont d’Arbois is ideally positioned just a few minutes shuttle from the centre of Megeve, but far enough removed that you truly feel you are living like a Rothschild in your own chalet overlooking the rooftops of an idyllic mountain village.
Number of Rooms: 41
Prices start from 207 euros per night, room only
Address: 447 Chemin de la Rocaille, 74120 Megève, France
Phone: +33 4 50 21 25 03