There’s a golden touch to Grand Hôtel Soleil d’Or, a ski stay in the French resort of Megève. The belle époque building is the oldest in town, with classic Alpine cosiness to match. After days out on the slopes or trails, retreat to the roaring fire for hot chocolate made by the in-house chocolatier, or slow-cooked stews and stand-out soufflés under the sparkly chandelier. Up on the roof is where things get lively; the colourful cocktails keep the aprѐs crowd coming for ski-boot parties with magical mountain views – more of which await along the length of the pool in the spa.
Noon. Earliest check-in, 3pm. Both are flexible, subject to availability.
Double rooms from £1594.01 (€1,800), including tax at 10 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional local city tax of €2.50 per person per night on check-in.
Rates don’t usually include breakfast (€25 a person).
The hotel is Megève’s founding father – the 1901 building is the oldest in town.
The hotel is closed annually from 10 May until 4 June 2020, and again between the middle of October and the beginning of December.
At the hotel
Ski room, library, gym, free shuttle to the ski lift and restaurants, free WiFi throughout. In rooms: TV, free bottled water, minibar, tea and coffee kit, and Gemology bath products.
Our favourite rooms
Families and groups will love the space afforded by the four-bedroom chalet, where breakfasts can be delivered if you don’t fancy making it to the restaurant. We’re fans of spacious room 5, which has a magical mountain view, a mustard and green palette, and a really quite big bath tub.
There’s a heated, adults-only pool in the spa, but you’ll have to have a treatment booked to use it (trust us, it’s worth splashing out for that view).
There’s a spa with a pool, steam room and sauna that you can relax in before or after a treatment in one of the three rooms. The signature treatment uses chocolate, but you can stick to plain old oils and hot stones, too.
Bring ski gear if you’re planning on hitting the piste in winter; and sturdy hiking shoes and walking poles for serious Alpine strolls during the summer.
There’s a lift to reach the rooms and communal areas, and some of the guestrooms have been adapted for wheelchair users.
All ages are welcome. Extra beds and baby cots can be added to rooms, and families can book the four-bedroom chalet. Babysitting is available with a day’s notice for €15 an hour (a surcharge for nights may apply).
The hotel uses planet-friendly cleaning products, along with locally sourced and seasonal produce; and minimal towel usage is encouraged.
Stilettos or salopettes, no one’s judging; bonus points for some fabulous faux fur.
The restaurant cooks up classic Savoyard cuisine (this many calories are allowed in the mountains); don’t miss the cheese soufflé if it’s on the menu. Breakfast is a hearty spread of cakes, bread, charcuterie, eggs, muesli and fruit to prepare you for the piste. Head to the chocolaterie for hot drinks by the fire, with the house special if all that mountain air’s made you peckish: toasted country bread with butter and dark-chocolate shavings.
Staff up at the rooftop bar are equally adept in the art of the mocktail as they are the cocktail, and if you’ve had one too many, raclette rolls will come to the rescue. Bespoke blends are available if classic cocktails don’t quite cut it (just state your favourite spirit). Daytime drinkers, rejoice: things get lively from as early as 4pm up here thanks to some keen après-skiers and a little live music.
Breakfast is served in the restaurant between 7am and 11am. The chocolaterie is open from 9.30am to 6.30pm. The bar serves drinks from 11am to midnight.
A menu of soups, sandwiches (don’t miss the truffled grilled cheese), burgers and platters is available around the clock, with a slightly restricted selection taking over between 11pm and 6am.
The name may make you think of sunshine, but the forecast is more likely to be snow at this mountain hotel in the French ski resort of Megève.
Geneva’s airport is closest, a 90-minute drive away. Hotel transfers cost €250 each way.
The nearest station is Sallanches-Combloux Megève, 20 minutes by car from the hotel. SNCF services call in here from other parts of France, but chances are you’ll have to change if you’re coming from Paris, Lyon or Geneva. Hotel transfers to and from this station are €60 each way.
You’ll probably be strapping into either ski boots or walking shoes during your time in Megève, but if you have come by car, valet parking is €25 a night.
Casual chopper transfers can be arranged on request.
Worth getting out of bed for
Chocoholics not content with simply eating the stuff will love the cocoa-bean-based treatment at the spa – but if you do prefer to ingest it, head to the chocolatier on the ground floor for a hot chocolate. Cocktails with a view, up on the rooftop, are a must, or pick a book from the library and settle in by the fireplace next to the front desk.
In winter, Megève is all about skiing: its three main areas are Mont d’Arbois, Rochebrune and Le Jaillet. The mountains are just as magical in summer, too, when you can swap skis and snowboards for hiking boots and bicycles. There’s a market in town every Friday.
At any time of the year, the Calvary Way is a scenic stroll that takes in a couple of decorated chapels – stick around for a drink and some Savoie fare on the terrace at Le Refuge du Calvaire.
Sugar fixes await at Le Comptoir du Père Sotieu, where even the gingerbread-house-like exterior looks good enough to eat. Le Bistrot de Megève is where to head for French faves like foie gras, reblochon and beaufort beignets, and terrines – along with filling mountain fare (fondue, tartiflette, raclette); more of which awaits at Le Hibou Blanc in town, which draws a cool crowd coming down off the slopes for Josper-grilled meats and fruits de mers on ice. At Le Torrent, the tartiflette comes in spring-roll form (trust us on this one) – with a token side of greens to make you feel better – the walls are timber and even the bathrooms are lined in fur for peak Alpine kitsch.
If you’re looking for somewhere après the après-ski, try Les 5 Rues for jazz, blues and late-night live music.
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 piste-side hotel in France and unpacked their ski jackets and thermals, a full account of their mountain break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Grand Hôtel du Soleil d'or in Megève…
The sun is always shining at Grand Hôtel du Soleil d'or, even when it’s snowing. This ski hotel in the middle of Megève is set in the oldest building in town (with the 1901 timestamp proudly displayed on its exterior), but everything else about this cosy, contemporary chalet has been brought up to date. A master chocolatier has staked out the ground floor, where he churns out heavenly hot chocolates and other sweet treats. There’s a log-lined fireplace for some afternoon reading (or baked-goods eating), as well as a restaurant with calorific cuisine for post-piste carb-loading (you’ve earned that cheese soufflé). Rooms have sloping ceilings, copper sinks, checked blankets and all the cosy traits you’d hope for in a chalet. The rooftop bar is revelry central, a firm favourite with the skiers coming off the slopes to end their day in style (with a neon-green cocktail rather than some boring old rosé). It’s our new favourite place in the sun (or snow) – and it’s got a golden touch.