Courchevel 1850. These magic words and numbers immediately conjure up superb skiing, an abundance of snow, heavenly food and lots of fun, writes Wendy Coumantaros
Courchevel sits at the heart of Les Trois Vallees in France (the largest ski area in the world – Aspen eat your heart out!). A winding road took us up above Courchevel 1300, Courchevel 1550 and Courchevel 1650 – the numbers indicating their altitude in metres – to Courchevel 1850, home to the Six Senses Residences.
The 53 exclusive penthouses and apartments of the Six Senses Courchevel are available for sale freehold and vary in price from €1.5 million to €8.8 million. These residences can then be made available for holiday stays when the homeowners are away from the mountains, giving the owners a source of revenue and the visitors the opportunity to stay in a stylish and highly desirable home. The blending of timber, exposed beams and stone and carefully chosen artwork in all the apartments is elegant and modern, but still evokes the warmth and cosiness of a traditional mountain chalet. The units vary from two bedroom apartments to duplex penthouses with five bedrooms, which offer working fireplaces, a wine cellar and terraces with panoramic mountain views.
A significant part of the appeal of the freehold apartments is the balance of an independent residence with hotel and concierge services. Everyone loves being pampered on holiday, and Six Senses Courchevel has developed this to an art form. There are complementary shuttles to shops and restaurants, a ski shop on the premises, and, best of all, a ski concierge. No skier could fail to fall in love with a service which transports your gear from the in-house ski shop to the slopes – who wants to lug their skis around when there is the opportunity for a ski valet to do it for you!
We ate breakfast in the comfort and warmth of the Club Lounge, where a delectable selection of local yoghurts and cheeses from a nearby farm were offered alongside muesli and fresh pastries. The wide selection also included gluten- and dairy-free options, while I opted for the ‘piece de resistance’ of smashed avocado and perfectly poached eggs and found it the ideal way to set up a day’s skiing. The Club Lounge also offers snacks and drinks throughout the day as well as afternoon tea.
A further highlight is the Six Senses Courchevel Spa, embracing the ultimate in relaxation for mind, body and spirit. Nothing is more appealing after a vigorous day on the slopes than a welcoming spa, and we made straight for the airy indoor pool with its Jacuzzi and the steam and sauna rooms. The spa is tastefully decorated in neutral colours and pale wood and offers a wide range of wellness facilities. These include the newest technology, such as compression boots used by top athletes, and extra touches such as a juice bar providing healthy drinks. It further benefits from calming music and highly skilled and experienced treatment staff whose massages, therapies, facials and body treatments are of the highest grade. I enjoyed a sports massage which was both luxurious and invigorating, perfect for soothing the aches and pains from an enthusiastic day of skiing.
No long day of hard skiing is complete without an evening of quality dining and Courchevel certainly does not disappoint. Courchevel provides a wealth of both boutique and fine dining, with the latter including seven Michelin starred restaurants. We particularly relished a meal at Le Chalet de Pierres, a restaurant with the exuberance of an all-day discotheque and staffed by waiters charmingly dressed in red and black berets. The food more than equals the atmosphere, and the French onion soup, always a bistrôt benchmark, was the best I have ever tasted.
Courchevel is also home to many of the world’s most famous luxury brands, and when we could tear ourselves away from the slopes we spent a peaceful hour exploring the wide variety of world class boutiques (Chanel, Dior, Elie Saab) dotted about the streets of this magical ski village.
Six Senses Courchevel offers visitors beautifully appointed apartments, a delightful village, Michelin starred dining and – of course – terrific skiing. We found it a superb choice for sophisticated fun: the perfect long weekend in the snow.
Wendy Coumantaros is a writer for Spear’s