On my first date with Mr S, nearly eight years ago, he told me that skiing was his favourite holiday and that he liked to go several times a year. It’ll never work out I thought, I’d never been skiing before and I had no interest in going. My fear of heights, moving quickly with no control and a dislike of very cold weather combined to make me think skiing was the last thing I’d want to do. But despite our differing opinions it did work out and as we all know, reader I married him.
When we were first together Mr S missed out on his regular ski trips but for the last few years he’s been going several times over the winter months, sometimes with family sometimes with friends. For years he and some of my ski-loving friends have been trying to persuade me – ‘Angie, you’ll love everything about skiing…except maybe the actual skiing part… ‘ So I finally agreed…on one condition and that was that we stayed in a really lovely hotel. I mean just in case I didn’t like skiing and then I could hang out there. Enter Aman Le Mélézin in Courchevel 1850.
The first European hotel for the prestigious Aman group (though they’ve since opened more) Aman Le Mélézin is located right on the Bellecôte piste so that you can watch the skiers race by and the snowboarders glide across the slopes as you enjoy your breakfast in the morning or cocktail by the fire in the evening.
We’d flown into Geneva airport where we were seamlessly met by a driver from Aman Le Mélézin who conveyed us the approximately two and half hours to the hotel in Courchevel 1850 at the heart of Les Trois Vallées. Greeted personally on arrival by the head concierge and the general manager, we were led up to our room swiftly…’We have a bit of an upgrade for you…’ having booked the Chambre Junior, the entry-level category room, I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw our home for the next few days.
We had been upgraded to their best room, Suite Le Mélézin. This rarely happens to me but when I saw our suite, tears filled my eyes because it was so utterly sensational. Despite it’s 90 square metre size and grandeur, it still had that cosy chalet feel that you want from an Alpine hotel. The ceilings and walls are cedar panelled so that I felt like we were in an elegant version of a log cabin and the private living area had desk space, a dining area and a gorgeous day bed plumped up with cushions. It’s recently been refurbished so everything is fresh and new!
We were welcomed with clementines and cake which were replenished everyday and could be enjoyed in front of our own fireplace. The mini-bar was a little sparse but no request here is too difficult and it can be filled with anything that you need. Want you favourite wine? Of course that’s no problem at all.
The balcony from our living area over looked Courchevel village and in the morning we could tear open the curtains and watch the skiers fly down the slopes and the gondolas glide down the mountains. As you can see it was an easy ten minute walk from the hotel to the village but if your legs are tired from a day of skiing, the Aman car is readily available.
I loved the wooden clad bedroom, especially the headboard, and floor to ceiling windows let in the view from every angle. No expense is spared with the softest of sheets, the fluffiest of pillow and blinds that go up and down automatically.
Every detail is thought about such as gifts with the turn down (Aman perfume and postcards), Evian by your bed and anything that you need to know for the next day.
There’s a second South-facing balcony from the bedroom, from which we could watch the sun glimmer in the morning from the top of the four storey hotel.
We could also see down to the terrace and the three rooms with full size hot tubs!
The first bathroom (yes, first bathroom!) is beautifully designed and encompasses a twin vanity unit, deep soaking bath and a separate shower. The robes are as soft and cosy as can be, the slippers like pillows and the products are the Aman’s own brand.
A second guest bathroom proved very useful as with early mornings we were able to shower at the same time. A modern Japanese loo with a warming seat added to the mod cons and it even had another floor to ceiling window with a view out to the slopes. A loo with a view.
With only 31 rooms, Aman Le Mélézin is incredibly intimate and feels more like a private home or ski chalet. The Salon and Library area is more like a homely living room with books about the area in both English and French.
I’ve said it before but true luxury isn’t about somewhere super fancy where you feel out-of-place, it’s about feeling welcomed and right at home. Just looking at this photo wants be to draw up a chair and have drinks by the fire as we did in the evening.
The bar area is beautiful and throughout the hotel there is classical parquet flooring, centuries-old beams, engravings, frescoes and dark-wood panelling. As I mentioned like a log cabin but with added elegance. The Fumoir is the last of the indoor lounge areas, it’s a smoking room (if that’s your thing) and the hotel provides hand-rolled Aman cigars from the Dominican Republic.
My favourite area was the outdoor terrace leading out from the bar. It’s right on the slopes, and honestly such a surreal experience for me to enjoy a drink surrounded by snow. We we were really lucky with the weather and by day we could enjoy the Alpine sun and in the evening we could keep our feet toasty by the wood burning fire, snuggled up under blankets enjoying glasses of rosé and gorgeous canapés made by the hotel.
The concierge service at the Aman group is known to be exceptional, and I must take a moment to mention Henri and Olivier who expertly organised our restaurant reservations (and changed them several times) securing us fantastic tables, plus getting me a hairdresser for a blow dry at the last-minute. As well as skiing they can help with all other activities such as snowshoeing, snowmobiling and even heli-skiing.
Le Nama is the hotel’s restaurant and by day light floods in and you can enjoy a delicious breakfast with a view of the slopes. Each table is laid with a gorgeous bakery basket and you are provided with a different breakfast starter every day such as fresh fruit, yogurt and brioche. You are then invited to choose an item from the à la carte menu such as cold cuts, omelettes, smoked salmon and porridge, fuel to get you started for the day ahead!
Aman Le Mélézin actually operates on a half-board basis so breakfast is included in the room rate and you can choose lunch or dinner either back at Le Nama or at one of their chosen partners including Le Chalet de Pierres, Le Festin at Les Airelles, La Folie Douce, La Table du Jardin Alpin, Piero TT and Le Coin Savoyard at the Hotel Les Airelles.
By night Nama is a hotspot in Courchevel, transforming into a glamorous Japanese restaurant available to guests and non-guests. Master chef Keiji Matoba is at the helm, using only the finest ingredients and local ones where possible. I mean a Japanese restaurant in our hotel? Could it get any more perfect for me?
Sashimi, sushi and grilled Wagyu beef are the specialities here using the tradition of washoku, a style of cuisine that elevates cooking to an art form.
The Aman group are also known for their superior spa and wellness facilities and here Aman Spa at Aman Le Mélézin opened in 2017. There are five brand new treatment rooms spread over two floors of the hotel as well as a sauna, steam room, plunge pool, full size pool, yoga and fitness facilities.
As you might expect, the treatments are designed especially to restore after a day on the slopes with treatments such as The Mélézin Signature Spa Journey, which is a combination of dry brushing, massage and facial and has been designed to combat the Alpine elements
My fifty minute massage was tailored to my specific areas of tension and the therapist used the Aman’s new line of natural products which have been made with nature in mind using rare and precious ingredients.
And finally what about the actual skiing…
Mr S said his one requirement was a hotel that was ski in / ski out. Aman Le Mélézin goes the extra mile. Well several extra miles. The hotel’s ski room allows you to get your gear on and head straight on to the slopes. Not only that they have the finest equipment for hire and for sale including boots, helmets, skis and snowboards. Dedicated ski butlers will get you suited and booted and lay out all your equipment for you – they even organise the important stuff like making sure I had white skis and a white helmet to match my outfit – while the concierge will book the instructor, sort out ski passes and make sure you have the perfect lunch booking on the slopes.
And how did I do with the actual skiing? Well that’s another story altogether…
I seriously couldn’t recommend Aman Le Mélézin enough and I’ve honestly never felt more welcomed or looked after in a hotel. Despite my apprehensions about skiing, this hotel will go down as one of my all time favourites.
PIN FOR LATER:
Aman Le Mélézin
310 Rue de Bellecôte
Tel: +33 4 7908 0133
Fax: +33 4 7908 0896