The 10-year old me took ‘the Alps’ as a specific mountain in France - reality told me otherwise when I realised the scale of 1,000km of mountains that stretched across eight Alpine countries.
Skiing, to some, is a challenge - though most return, year after year, to pluck up the courage to somehow turn it into a sport. Once the Alps was decided upon, I was spoilt for choice with over 1,000km of mountains to choose from. At first glance, all the ski resorts in Europe are somewhat similar, in contrast with those in Canada or Japan. The general idea is, as I understood from scouring through Google and friends, was Eastern Europe for the price, Switzerland for the over-the-top luxury and France for the general overall good. Food and clientele aside, choosing the appropriate holiday destination and accommodation is equally as important.
Val Thorens won both France’s Best Ski Resort and World’s Best Ski Resort over the past few years. The resort is part of the largest ski area in France, Les Trois Vallées, and you can ski to other world-famous resorts such as Courchevel and Orelle. Perched atop the Savoie region, the base of Val Thorens is at 2300m altitude. Altapura is located at the lower base of the resort, with easy access to the beginner carpets and the cable cars for the more advanced.
The scene at Val Thorens is unique - it began as a budget resort, yet its ranking and title as won its fame as a notable ski resort for its apres-ski scene and University crowds. In recent years, the resort has been rebranding itself and appealed to both French and International hotel companies to expand their businesses here. Altapura is part of ‘Les Maisons & Hotels Sibuet’ group with other resorts are situated in Megeve, Avoriaz, Flaine, Lyon, Ménerbes, St Tropez (and soon in St Barts!).
Altapura claims to be ‘the highest ski palace of the French alps’ and it satisfies so in many reasons. Cheese fondue after an intense day of skiing? Check. An outdoor jacuzzi with views over the mountains? They’ve got one of the largest I’ve ever seen. With a selection of three restaurants, guests are given the choice to indulge in cheese fondue at La Laiterie, a dinner buffet at 2mille3 or an even more formal option at Les Enfants Terribles. The 3,300 sqft ‘Pure Altitude’ spa, located at the same level as the restaurants, and has its own range of products that focuses on the edelweiss flower - the flower of the French Alps. Guests who are timid of the extreme sport can stay indoors, without fearing to deprive themselves of the experience since the spa is decorated with igloo-like walls. In the basement level, there are various sauna options and even an ‘igloo’ - a room with a floor covered with ice for guests to cool down after a treatment or sauna experience.
Setting itself apart from its neighbouring competitors, Altapura describes its decor as 'Nordic-chic' - complete with wood and stone, yet maintaining its high-tech ambience with Mac Mini, technology docks and even a touch-screen arcade board. When you're staying at a place like Altapura, there's really no need to even leave the establishment at night. The premium price tag comes with it an experience unparalleled to any other chalets. So many more potential problems could arise at a ski hotel when the climate is sub-zero and the area would, if not maintained, practically disappear under the snow; The great team at Altapura has been faultless, with their warm service and friendly smilies, and it's no wonder that their warm welcome has ranked them the top hotel in Val Thorens and a Certificate of Excellence by Tripadvisor. A definite 'return and recommend' from me.
Coat by Agi & Sam
To be continued... #tbc