White Gold: The Les Trois Our Chalet in Meribel
The exclusive mountain resort of Meribel is a perennial royal ski favourite, with Princes Charles and William both claiming it to be their winter sports destination of choice. As part of our ongoing series of spotlights on the world’s most desirable travel stays, luxury travel writer Mark Southern discovered one of the finest chalets in the Three Valleys, Les Trois Ours, and found it to be fit for a King.
Ever since Henry VIII successfully launched a religion like Paris Hilton launches fragrance lines, it’s been a long held truism that royalty sells.
Whether it’s commemorative coronation plates or skydiving Olympic monarchs, the glimmer of association from crown and sceptre renders audiences dumbstruck, and the big bucks usually follow.
From culture to politics, and business to pleasure, a touch of regal glamour creates headlines and riches. And the travel industry is no different, with the world’s most famous palaces frequently in the top five most visited attractions across the globe, and over half of London tourists stating that a brush with British royalty is their primary reason for travelling into the UK. A knowing nod from a crowned head really has become the ultimate status symbol.
So, when a travel destination receives a royal stamp of approval, it’s a pretty big deal indeed. When that money-spinning endorsement becomes an annual thing, it becomes a tourism kingmaker. Arise, Sir License to Print Money.
The French ski resort of Meribel is one of a small number of global destinations that have this royal bloodline running through its DNA, allowing it to place a princely price on its snowy wares. Charles, William and Kate have all claimed it to be their most favoured ski spot, and are frequently spotted on its slopes, whilst Diana once called it her “special place”.
You simply cannot buy that kind of kingly kudos, and its effect has led to a concentration of ultra-high net worth wealth converging on the resort every season, making it some of the most expensive snow on the planet.
And, of course, at that level, second best will not do, resulting in the creation of some of the world’s most opulent accommodations. However, there can be only one absolute ruler, and reigning over them all is Les Trois Ours; the chalet equivalent of the Palace of Versailles ballroom, compared to the rest’s Royle family living room.
Situated on the exclusive Route des Chalets, the chalet possesses perhaps the best location in the resort, offering true ski-in ski-out access onto the Doron piste. The five en-suite bedroom chalet is split across multiple levels, with stunning views across the Alps from every corner, and boasts a private gym, cavernous cinema, and outside jacuzzi.
After a hard day’s skiing the chalet also has its own health and beauty spa, complete with luxurious steam room and treatment rooms, with a private masseuse on hand to help work out any bumps and strains; the perfect preparation to be at your best the following day.
However, as with all the best chalets, it’s in the open-plan living area that you’ll be spending the majority of your après ski time, and it is where Les Trois Ours really comes into its own. Occupying the entire level of one floor, the living space is plush and spacious, whilst never losing its homely feeling. The stone fireplace and warm wood feel contrasts smartly with the sharp contemporary lines of its modern accessories, and the relaxing sofa area and impressive dining area creates a wonderful home-from-home ambience, albeit it a sumptuous-home-from-sumptuous-home.
To many, the most important feature of any ski experience is the dining, and the chalet has one of the region’s finest chefs privately on-hand at all times to create some of the most exquisite culinary delights in the Three Valleys.
Expect deliciously eclectic and energy-full breakfasts to get you ready for a day on the slopes and delectably light afternoon teas for a sweet pick-me-up, but it’s in the evening where the chef and his team really excel. Every night champagne and canapés are served in front of the roaring fire, before a formal four course dinner, with matched wines, made bespoke for every guest’s own wishes. The attention to detail on the food is unmatched, and sipping post-dinner cocktails on the balcony, overlooking the glimmering midnight snow is a sensational way to end any day.
Service quality is outstanding, as you would expect, and the dedicated onsite service team delivers a wonderfully high-end and friendly hospitality. A chalet host is on-hand at all times to arrange everything form ski passes, tuition, childcare and ski guides, and even ensures that the magazines you’ll find scattered in front of the fireplace and treats in the fridges are bespoke to the guests’ own personal tastes. Staff are mountain-knowledgeable to give the latest snow advice, and are committed to ensuring that your time is as pleasurable as possible.
Meribel may be the royal go-to destination, but for us there’s only one place in town we’d recommend in our own New Year’s Honours. A truly majestic experience from start to finish.
Les Trois Ours is owned and operated by Avery Crest Chalets. For information and reservations visit www.averycrestchalets.com