Positioned right on Méribel’s slopes, ski-in ski-out Le Coucou is a colourful, contemporary take on a classic Alpine chalet, where plaid and reindeer prints have been swapped out for terracotta walls, teddy-shaped chairs and lots of strokeable sheepskin courtesy of interiors mastermind Pierre Yovanovitch. It’s all about the valley views: windows showcase the slopes at every turn, and you can enjoy them up close out on the restaurant terrace or braving the outdoor part of the pool. There’s a Beefbar outpost, an Italian restaurant serving hearty, truffle-filled suppers, and a super-cosy bar with yet more peak-filled panos.
Noon, but flexible, subject to availability. Earliest check-in, 3pm, also flexible, on request.
Double rooms from £563.23 (€660), including 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 and this season guests staying in a Chalet also get a free massage for each adult and a photoshoot session. Half-board rates include €100 an adult, a day, to be used in the restaurants and bar or towards room service.
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 lifts' lead, closely roughly between the start of April and the middle of December.
At the hotel
Free WiFi throughout, kids’ and teen club, ski room with strapping staff to get you in and out of your boots, gym, valet parking. In rooms: Le Labo bath products, 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, so you can watch the action from the wings (with blankets and hot chocolate). 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: moon boots, salopettes and sunglasses, with some stylish après wear thrown in to keep up with the Coucou crowd. Le Coucou has a handy ski room – where you can get kitted out with skis and ski boots – with a boutique section for anything you may have forgotten.
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 the Deluxe Junior Suite category and upward; some suites have a sofa bed. There are two chalet options that are perfect for families.
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 (and some tiny editions of those covetable Pierre Yovanovitch chairs). 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. 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. For guests staying on a half-board basis, children six and under stay free, seven to 12 year olds will be charged €50 a day, and 13 year olds and over will be charged €100 a day.
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 offerings, too); and some legendary mashed potato that has a ratio we can definitely get down with: half butter, half potato. There’s also Bianca Neve, also 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, more often that not loaded with truffle shavings. Those staying on a half-board basis get €100 to use in the two restaurants and bar (and towards room service) an adult, each day.
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. Afternoon tea (starring a pancake trolley that's wheeled over to your table, and a line-up of gâteaux taking over the bar counter) is served here from 4pm to 5.30pm. For fans of the stronger stuff, Le Fumoir is on the eighth floor and offers a connoisseur's collection of cigars and whiskies, with sports matches shown 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, which is itself in the middle of Les Trois Vallées, the biggest combined ski area in the world, apparently.
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 altiport 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 piste (with a horse-drawn sleigh ready and waiting to whisk non-skiers up to its door; walking is also an option), 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 behind 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 and Lou Pinet in St Tropez, 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 seat to admire the William Morris wallpaper in the cosy Le Fumoir, soothe ski-boot-fatigued legs with a Tata Harper 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 (where strapping staff will be waiting to unbuckle you out of your boots). And, though it may look perfectly Alpine from the exterior, there’s not a plaid rug or stag head in sight, thanks to star designer Pierre Yovanovitch's irreverent interiors.