Offering the best of all worlds, Chalet Hibou has the relaxed vibe of home, enough kit (from bar to spa via the gym) to rival a resort hotel and the kind of seamless service that you only get from a hosted chalet stay. Both food and décor are Alpine in style, only finessed: no checks or chintz in its cosseting rooms, and cheese fests are on demand, not by default. The real alchemy is in the scope of guided adventures this remote hotel can offer – from heli-skiing and dog sledding in winter, to via ferrata and canyoning in summer.
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A cheese board with Beaufort, Tarentais and Reblochon, and a glass of Nicolas Feuillatte champagne
10am. Earliest check-in, 4pm. Both are flexible, subject to availability.
Double rooms from £6482.49 (€7,670), including tax at 20 per cent.
Rates include breakfast, dinner, soft drinks, house wines and some spirits. You’ll have a team of chalet staff, use of equipment, guides, local transfers and some activities. The chalet is for exclusive use (buy-out) only in winter.
Hotel outpost the Alpage is a historic shepherd’s hut on the mountain which has been turned into an off-grid refuge where Chalet Hibou guests can dine by candlelight and party under the stars.
At the hotel
Hot tub, cold plunge pool, gym, sauna, steam room and treatment room; wine cellar, basement bar, media and games rooms, boot room, bikes and ski kit to borrow, honesty bar in the lounge, guitars and bongos to borrow. In rooms: Aesop bath products.
Our favourite rooms
The Ruitor suite in the eaves is Chalet Hibou’s literal and figurative crowning glory, with a private balcony and rafter-framed living room with a log-burning stove. Secluded Bec Rouge, furnished in scarlet hues with a private balcony, comes a close second and Bec de l’Ane brings the private-balcony tally to three. For children, the Bunk Room beside the cinema-screen touting Media Room has den-like appeal.
On the main terrace beside the lounge you’ll find the hot tub, where the mountain views are as therapeutic as the bath-hot bubbles, and a cattle-trough-like plunge pool provides bracing contrast.
The chalet team can organise massages or hot-stone treatments to order in the chalet treatment room. This is also where you can kick back on loungers to watch TV, or make use of the sauna and pebbled steam room.
A pre-arrival chat to curate your wishlist of activities during your stay means you’ll know exactly what kit the hotel provides and what you need to pack.
For wheelchair users with some mobility, there are two accessible rooms on the ground floor, but no specific fittings in bathrooms or communal areas.
Very welcome. Cots can be provided and, although no extra beds can be added to rooms, the chalet’s Bunk Room is a winning option for little Smiths.
Children over six – old enough to enjoy the activities this Alpine retreat has to offer.
The Bunk Room has curtained bunks with wooden staircases to the top level and sleeps up to four children. If it’s a cot you need, Bec de l’Ane, Bec Rouge and Ruitor are the roomiest options.
Pre-arrival, the team will call you to discuss any childcare needs and can organise places at an off-site crèche (extra cost), but you’ll need to arrange this ahead of your stay.
When not on the slopes the hotel has plenty to keep the kids entertained; there are children’s books, DVDs, games consoles, arts-and-crafts materials, board games and soft toys. Snow-based activities abound: think snowball battles, snowman construction, sledding sessions and more. The hotel can arrange ski school or private lessons for budding skiers and boarders.
There’s no pool at Chalet Hibou and the hot tub will be too warm for the littlest of Smiths.
The menu can be tailored to suit younger guests’ tastes. The hotel has baby food and chalet staff can buy formula milk for you and there are bottle sterilising facilities and beakers at the hotel. Highchairs, bibs and kids’ cutlery are also available.
With at least four weeks’ notice, the hotel can book babysitting or a nanny for daytime childcare (extra cost).
No need to pack
The hotel has arm bands, baby bedlinen, potties, changing mats and booster seats, and you can buy nappies and baby wipes at the hotel.
Baby monitors and stair gates are available on request.
Geothermal energy keeps the water hot and the chalet toasty. In an effort to reduce waste, the hotel has a recycling policy and composts food waste. Coffee is made with freshly ground beans, not pods, and guests are given refillable water bottles for the duration of their stay.
The day’s adventures bring much convivial chat to proceedings at Chalet Hibou, whether in the fire-warmed dining room in winter or alfresco on the terrace in summer.
As if you were at home.
Opening onto the terrace, with the Tarentaise peaks for scenery, the long-tabled dining room is where small plates of seasonal Savoyard cuisine, showcasing local produce, are savoured communally by guests. It all starts with fizz and canapés, either on the terrace or in the lounge, building to dishes such as heritage tomatoes with mozzarella, watermelon and homemade pesto, followed by beef tournelot on potato rosti, and tarte au citron deconstructed (or ‘revisité’ as the French say).
As well as the living room honesty bar, Chalet Hibou has a basement bar that chalet staff will tend on request, ideal for après-ski cocktails. The hotel will also organise French wine tasting – with cheese and charcuterie, naturellement – around barrels in the cellar where it’s stored.
Breakfast is served 8am–9am.
None as such, but staff are on hand to supply hot drinks; there’s a snack station in the boot room, and the honesty bar in the living room means drinks, alcoholic and soft, are in ready supply.
Chalet Hibou is in the Tarentaise hamlet of Le Miroir, near Sainte Foy.
Chambéry airport is 90 minutes away by car. Both Geneva and Lyon St Exupéry airports are two and half hours’ drive from the chalet.
Bourg-Saint-Maurice train station is a 20-minute drive away, with connections from Chambéry.
If you’re comfortable with the gradient-snaking bends that come with driving in the French Alps, hiring wheels is an option and there is a public car park next to the chalet. For winter trips, you’ll need snow tyres and just-in-case snow chains.
The chalet can arrange transfers to and from the airport (extra cost) or train station (free). Ferrying you to and from any of the Tarentaise villages or resorts on your itinerary is included with your stay.
Worth getting out of bed for
Adventures at Chalet Hibou are a tale of two seasons: in winter, you’ll have access to seven Tarentaise resorts including Sainte Foy, Val d’Isère and Les Arcs for skiing and snowboarding, on piste and off, as well as heli-skiing over the border in Italy. Snowshoeing, dog sledding, ice climbing and biathlon are also on the menu. In summer, don hiking boots to explore the picturesque peaks on foot, or try via ferrata, glacier hiking or mountaineering. Watery pursuits on the Isère river include canyoning, white water rafting and fly fishing.
Chez Merie is a top-notch restaurant nearby with sheep-skin covered chairs, low beamed ceilings and a terrace with hard-to-beat views. Feast on unexpected delicacies such as artichoke and Beaufort terrine, smoked Savoie trout with black bread and pickled veg and apple clafoutis. For a very fine fondue, try upscale Le Monal, where the wood-lined dining room comes with leather chairs and linened tables. Ski-in, ski-out chalet restaurant Eden’s Kitchen (+33 4 57 37 24 57) is the spot for a warming lunch on the terrace of celeriac soup with truffles followed by sticky-toffee pudding, or vins chauds and live music, late afternoon.
On a scenic square at the heart of Sainte Foy, Le Saint Germain tapas and wine bar offers French wines paired with local cheese and charcuterie.
Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this luxury mountainside hotel in the French Alps and unpacked their génépy and cow bells, a full account of their Alpine break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Chalet Hibou in Le Miroir…
An extraordinary summer’s day is pretty typical at Chalet Hibou: after a chef-prepared breakfast, head out on e-bikes down grassy switchbacks to Bourg St Maurice, stopping off in Le Monal to sample Beaufort from the dairy. After a café lunch, it’s time to paddle the Isère rapids by raft… In winter, mountain guides can take you to the best snow on and off piste, or high-altitude Italian powder with a day heli-skiing. Chalet Hibou may be all about seamlessly arranged Alpine adventures, but its grand scale and top-notch credentials make staying put an equal joy – from the boot-room bar for après-ski apéros, to the hot tub and plunge bath on the panoramic terrace. Chef brings a sense of occasion to every evening with fizz and canapés followed by seasonal Savoyard plates. And a candlelit dinner on the mountain at Chalet Hibou’s off-grid outpost is an unforgettable night out.