Part of the Crillon le Brave family, Le Coucou in Méribel is a ski-in, ski-out hotel with a hard-to-beat location, bovine Beefbar outpost and walls of windows showcasing the slopes at every turn. Interiors guru Pierre Yovanovitch swapped out the de rigueur reindeer prints and plaid in favour of colourful, contemporary: terracotta walls, patterned carpets, retro chairs and statement lighting. Retreat from a day ploughing through the piste for a cigar in Le Fumoir, a treatment at the spa, a bracing dip in the outdoor pool and fresh pasta at Bianca Neve… and repeat.
Noon, but flexible, subject to availability. Earliest check-in, 3pm, also flexible, on request.
Double rooms from $447.08 (€400), excluding tax at 10 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional local city tax of €3.30 per person per night on check-out.
Rates usually include breakfast.
In the unlikely event that you’re not getting enough exercise on the slopes, personal trainers are on hand to help.
The hotel follows the snow and the ski lift’s lead, closely roughly between the start of April and the middle of December.
At the hotel
Free WiFi throughout, teens club, kids’ club, ski room, gym, valet parking. In rooms: TV, air-conditioning, free bottled water, free soft drinks from the minibar, Nespresso coffee machine and tea.
Our favourite rooms
The rooms are far more colourful than your average alpine suite, and all have outdoor spaces with views across the piste. For the best vantage point, book one with a terrace so you can watch the action from the wings (with blankets and hot chocolates). There are some chalet options for families and groups, connected to the hotel via an inside (read: snow-proof) passage.
The pool is in two parts: the first half is inside, for admiring the Alps in the warmth; the second is past a glass wall in the great outdoors.
The supremely soothing spa has a wall of windows looking out onto the spectacular mountain scenery, a heated indoor pool and plenty of cocoon-like spaces to relax after a day on the piste. All treatments were developed in partnership with beauty pioneer Tata Harper, who creates her range of toxin-free beauty products from her farm in Vermont. Here, her creations are paired with a full range of signature treatments developed in line with her philosophy. There are six treatment rooms, including one for couples, and a sauna, hammam, Jacuzzi and hair salon.
This one’s pretty straightforward: ski boots, salopettes and sunglasses, with some stylish après wear thrown in to keep up with the Coucou crowd.
The hotel’s communal areas are wheelchair-accessible and there are some specially adapted rooms.
All ages are welcome. Cots can be added to all rooms and every room can have twin beds on request. There are two chalet options that are perfect for families. Babysitting can be arranged with a day’s notice; one-hour minimum.
All ages, but toddlers eager to enrol in ski school will have the most fun.
Cots can be added from category Deluxe Junior Suite and upward; some suites have a sofa bed. There are two chalet options that are perfect for families. Babies under two are free; kids aged three to nine are €150 a day; over-10s are €200 a day.
Petit VIP has a teen's lab (for ages 10 to 15) and a kid's club (for ages 3 to 9), so all ages of ankle-biters will be well cared for. Facilities include a slide, climbing wall, TV cabin and activity workshops. For teens, there’s ping-pong, table football and karaoke.–
Children are welcome in Bianca Neve and Beefbar. There's a dedicated kids menu, and regular menu dishes can be adapted. The nightly charge for over-threes includes breakfast and a daily €100 food credit. Highchairs are available.
Babysitting can be arranged with a day’s notice; one-hour minimum.
Over half of the rooms and suites in the hotel can be interconnected on request.
Go for a table out on the valley-facing terrace or warming up by the fireplace.
It’s casual, but you might want to switch out of your ski boots (unless they’re Fendi).
Riccardo Giraudi has brought his bovine Beefbar concept, popular everywhere from Mykonos to Monaco, to Méribel. Expect hearty cuts of meat, with Italian and French influences, for lunch and dinner (with plenty of vegetarian offers, too). There’s also Bianca Neve, designed by interiors guru Pierre Yovanovitch, which serves a breakfast buffet for pre-piste calorie stockpiling, with more to come at the end of the day, courtesy of shared antipasti, charcuterie plates, pizzas and fresh pasta.
The peak-cosy Bar is the perfect place to warm up after a day out in the snow. Settle in to watch the skiers still going, with a glass of French or Italian wine, or choose from a superb selection of spirits. For fans of the stronger stuff, Le Fumoir is perched on the eighth floor and offers a connoisseur's collection of cigars, whiskies, and sports matches on a giant screen.
Bianca Neve's breakfast hours are 7am to 10am; it opens for dinner between 6pm and 11pm. Beefbar is open for lunch from noon until 2pm; and dinner from 6pm until 11pm.
A selection of dishes are available to order in-room.
Le Coucou is on a Méribel mountainside in the heart of the famous French ski resort.
There are two airport options, a similar distance apart: Lyon St Exupéry and Geneva. The drive to and from either should take two hours; hotel transfers can be arranged on request for an extra cost.
The nearest train station is Moutiers, a 20-minute drive from the hotel. From here, SNCF services run to other French cities, including Paris and Lyon. Hotel transfers can be requested.
The drive to the nearest town, Albertville, will take around 50 minutes. The hotel has valet parking, which costs €40 a night.
Worth getting out of bed for
Méribel is first and foremost a ski resort, and a fabulous one at that. It’s all about the piste and luckily for Le Coucou guests there’s no wrestling with your gear in and out of minibuses to the lift, since you can ski right in and out of the hotel, which sits at the top of the station. There’s also a fabulous Tata Harper spa and heated indoor swimming pool to soothe sore muscles, and plenty of hiking and biking opportunities during the summer months. Break up your runs with a trip to La Folie Douce’s lively cabaret, but be prepared for it to turn into a party, especially if you’ve popped the champagne. Strong skiers will enjoy the quieter slopes and pretty tree-filled views of Pic Bleu.
Family-runLe Cèpe is a favourite of Le CouCou's concierge for its traditional cuisine and wonderfully fresh ingredients. Fill up on cheese fondue, pizzas and filet of beef at Le Cromagnon. On the road leading up to the town’s Aliport and golf course, Aux Petit Oignons is a Francophile’s haven with a menu almost exclusively made up of snails, foie gras and onion soup. Le Clos Bernard is a traditional mountain restaurant right by the ski station, where you can feast on Savoyard fare, either beneath the beamed chalet ceiling or out on the terrace, and meet the locals on one of the regular themed evenings (these Alpine sorts know how to have fun).
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 ski-in, ski-out hotel in France and unpacked their ski boots and salopettes, a full account of their mountain break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Le Coucou in Méribel…
The founder of hotel group Maisons Pariente may be more famous as the person responsible for beloved French brand Naf-Naf, but these days he’s more into hotels. With the help of his stylish daughters, he has created Le Coucou, Méribel’s hottest new opening for the 2019 season (the family are also in charge of Provence’s Crillon le Brave, so you can expect yet another hotel hit). Chef Riccardo Giraudi has been enlisted to man the kitchens, opening up another Beefbar, currently clamoured over everywhere from Paris to Dubai. You’ll be able to select a cigar and settle into a slope-facing seat in the cosy Le Fumoir, soothe ski-boot-fatigued legs with a spa treatment, or swim outside in the fresh mountain air. The giant chalet is at the top of the resort’s ski station, so you can ski out and straight back in again. And, though it may look perfectly Alpine from the exterior, there’s not a plaid rug or stag head in sight.
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