Ten years in the making and decked out with enough high-spec gadgetry to impress James Bond, the new 13-bedroom Etoile du Nord from Alpine chalet specialist Haute Montagne set a new precedent when it was unveiled in Val d’Isère ahead of the 2023/2024 ski season.
Located a 10-minute walk, or a two-minute drive, from the slopes Etoile du Nord (‘star of the north’) is divided into an East and West Wing, which can be hired as two self-contained properties, or used as one sprawling mountain retreat. The majesty of the architecture is best viewed from the external staircase between the two wings, which reveals the striking blend of Lucerne rock topped with vast windows framed by Douglas fir timber.
The view from Etoile du Nord
This view was inspired by Val d’Isère’s Vallee Perdue, a heart-thundering off-piste run of tall evergreens and crevasses. It’s a favourite run of Manuel Nogueira, founding director of London-based AndArchitects, who spearheaded the Etoile du Nord project alongside interior designer Nicky Dobree.
‘I used to ski there with my children,’ says Nogueira, who boasts a wide-ranging portfolio of architectural highlights including Vivienne Westwood Studios and the Portuguese Embassy in London. ‘You’re literally going through these crevasses and all these trees are above you. Going through that staircase is just like going through that valley. You look up, and you see these lines of trees; what that does is blend the chalet subtly into the mountain. The others [chalets in Val d’Isère] are all busy, whereas this verticality creates a rhythm.’
Inside the chalet
The rhythm continues inside with cosy but crisply modern interiors. This project marks Nicky Dobree Interior Design’s 50th chalet project. Dressed in natural shades of green in the East Wing, and blue in the West Wing, the chalet is filled with light, thanks to seven-metre-tall north-facing windows (some of the largest in the Alps), which dominate the double-height living rooms of each wing.
While both the East and West Wing has a spa, it is the East Wing where guests can enjoy the high-tech, six-metre swimming pool with an adjustable floor (allowing the depth of the pool to be changed) and a retractable glass wall that allows swimmers to connect fully with the great outdoors. Sustainably heated by power sourced from a 25m borehole to the underground Isère River, the pool also boasts a partial glass side that looks out onto the subterranean cinema room.
With this high style and high tech, it’s no wonder Etoile du Nord’s East Wing took home the title of World’s Best New Ski Chalet at the World Ski Awards in November 2023.
Rates start from £97,575 per week on a fully serviced basis, including of private concierge, private chef, and in-chalet ski and boot delivery.