Rhône-Alpes, France

Les Servages d'Armelle

Rates from (inc tax)$173.93

Price information

If you haven’t entered any dates, the rate shown is provided directly by the hotel and represents the cheapest double room (including tax) available in the next 21 days.

Prices have been converted from the hotel’s local currency (21EUR), via openexchangerates.org, using today’s exchange rate.

Style

Convivial contemporary chalet

Setting

Slopes of Mont Blanc

Reclaimed alpine wood mingles with sleek modern touches at Les Servages d’Armelle, a stylish chalet with a ski-in, ski-out location in the Rhône-Alpes' Haute-Savoie region. Hibernate in the mountain-warmth of crackling fires or make for the hammam for a reminder of warmer climes at this luxurious lodge.

Smith Extra

Get this when you book through us:

A half bottle (50cl) of Chignin Bergeron

Facilities

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Need to know

Rooms

10, including three suites. There’s also a self-contained chalet, sleeping up to six.

Check–Out

10am, but flexible if there’s availability. Earliest check-in, 4pm.

Rates

Double rooms from $173.93 (€155), excluding tax at 10 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional local city tax of €1.50 per person per night on check-out.

Price information

If you haven’t entered any dates, the rate shown is provided directly by the hotel and represents the cheapest double room (including tax) available in the next 21 days.

Prices have been converted from the hotel’s local currency (EUR170.01), via openexchangerates.org, using today’s exchange rate.

More details

The buffet breakfast (€25 a person, each day) is not included in the room rate.

Hotel closed

May and November.

At the hotel

Free WiFi throughout. In rooms: flatscreen TV, DVD player, Annick Goutal products, Balneo bath tubs, in-room spa treatments.

Our favourite rooms

The suites above the restaurant in the farmhouse have their own mini-spa: a hot tub and hammam to soothe away après-ski aches. Their French doors open out onto an Alp-facing terrace, and there’s an extra bedroom and bathroom upstairs.

Packing tips

Mountain finery for on and off the slopes – and some old tomes to curl up by the fire with.

Also

Pets can come, too, by arrangement. During the winter, there’s a two-night minimum stay.

Children

Under-10s stay free; extra beds for older children are €50 a night. Babysitting can be arranged with a local nanny. The restaurant has a children’s menu.

Food and Drink

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At the hotel

The restaurant is divided between a terrace, a conservatory and an indoor bit. You can watch chef at work in the kitchen, preparing inventive takes on traditional French and Italian dishes: black risotto with langoustines, fantastic steaks and appetite-whetting charcuterie. It’s all open and inviting, and buzzing with activity – you’ll feel completely at home wandering into the kitchen with a request. It’s elegantly rustic, with handmade crockery and a whole table topped with baskets of fresh bread.

At the bar

The bar, tucked away in a corner of the restaurant, is decked out with ponyskin stools, big wooden tables and grand mirrors. Iced buckets of champagne line the counter, ready for owner Armelle to pour you a Kir Royale. It’s open until 11pm, when an honesty bar takes over.

Last orders

The bar's open until 11pm when an honesty version takes over. Between October and December, the restaurants is closed on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

Room service

Breakfast and a selection of cold dishes on request.

Location

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Address
Les Servages d'Armelle
841 Route des Servages
74300
Les Carroz d' Araches
France

Planes

The nearest airport is Geneva, 53km from the hotel. You might need some wheels to get you all the way up into the mountains along the A40 – pick up a hire car from the Avis (www.avis.co.uk) desk at the airport. Altibus can arrange shuttles from the airport to various resorts (www.altibus.com).

Trains

The station in Cluses is 15km away. From here, you can reach Annecy and Lyon. The hotel can arrange taxis.

Automobiles

Cluses is around a 20-minute drive. The N205 road will get you to Chamonix. There’s free parking at the hotel.

Worth getting out of bed for

Most activities in the Grand Massif are mountain-based, even in the snow-free summer. Slow the pace by swapping downhill speed for horse-drawn sedateness: Cheval et Montagne in Les Carroz (+33 (0)6 10 80 05 99; www.lescarroz.com) will take you skijoring. And there’s a golf course at Flaine-Les-Carroz – the highest in Europe, open in summer only (+33 (0)4 50 90 85 44).

Local restaurants

In Chamonix, head to hotel restaurant Albert 1er on Route du Bouchet for creative, much-lauded menus featuring foie gras, caviar and lamb baked in hay and thyme (+33 (0)4 50 53 05 09). Atmosphère on Place Balmat does fine dining by the river, with speciality game dishes on offer in the autumn (+33 (0)4 50 55 97 97). La Cabane des Praz on Route du Golf is an Alpine cabin open for lunch, afternoon tea and dinner. The menu gives a gastronomic flourish to wild boar, Reblochon cheese and other regional flavours (+33 (0)4 50 53 23 27). Flocons de Sel on Route de Leutaz in Megève has a creative dynamo in the kitchen, and a suitably pine-panelled dining room (+33 (0)4 50 21 49 99).

Reviews

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Anonymous review

This review is taken from our guidebook, Mr & Mrs Smith Hotel Collection: France.

I like driving south to the sea. Mr Smith likes driving north to the mountains. We are driving north.
I watch as the signage changes to ‘edelweiss this’ and ‘glacier that’. We pass a big white peak. We take the turning off towards Les Carroz and I realise I am cold, and nervous. Cold because the temperature has dropped, and nervous because Mr Smith, an artist, a gourmet cook and a man of impeccable taste, can be a very difficult man to please.

When we enter Les Servages d’Armelle, I am hit by the smell of pine and the sound of a crackling fire. The dark honey colour of the untreated timber mingles with our hostess Armelle’s smile to create instant warmth. And yet all I can think about, as we follow her up the ample staircase, is when Mr Smith is going to launch his redesign. Will he bang on about the golden section? And what particular curse will he cast upon the fittings and fixtures?

Once Armelle has shown us to our suite and the door has closed with a wholesome click, Mr Smith gets to work. He circumnavigates the enormous timber bed with its clouds of white linen. He listens to the hushed action of the dimmer switches. He contemplates the ceiling-height log fire. He releases water from the chrome showerhead, and runs his finger over the sophisticated knobs that await the bathrobes, still snug in their wrapping. Then he parts the wooden louvred shutters and slides the glass doors open to reveal a panorama of mountain peaks floating in a sea of cloud like oeufs a? la neige. All of this he does without saying a word. Could this, I wonder, be the day on which Mr Smith is silenced by another’s good taste?

Outside the hotel, work is being done on ski slopes and lifts by men in quilted jackets; inside, we are naked and being pummelled to jelly in our private hammam. We collapse in a sweat, first on the granite bench of the steam room, and then on the firm but giving mattress, and finally we stand under a cascade of water illuminated so beautifully that it is like standing under a sunlit Victoria Falls. Now we are playing with our Anglepoise reading lamps. ‘We should get some like this,’ I say. ‘This,’ says Mr Smith, finally, as he pours himself a glass of Badoit, ‘is perfect’. Yes! I think. ‘Yes, we should,’ he says. ‘But why would anyone need a reading lamp here? I suppose if you were too old for sex or just starting out and needing a manual...’ ‘Dinner?’ I say.

We are seated on leather chairs in a cosy corner of the restaurant and, though it seems we are the only guests, we feel completely at ease. In fact, although we have come face to face with the ultimate irritants to a musician and a painter having supper – a speaker above us piping unwanted music and a blood-red painting glaring down at us (we only ask for one of them to be turned down) – we are laughing. With our view, through the glass, of industrious chef Pascal Flecheau, the logs sizzling in the grate, the sturdy antique furniture and white linen and, of course, the cheerful attention of Armelle, we are as comfortable and content as if the restaurant were buzzing. And it soon is – minutes later, half the village and their children turn up to bask in the glow with us.

From the excellent wine list, Mr Smith chooses a Burgundy that smells properly of camembert. Through the wooden hatch and onto our plates comes freshwater shrimp bisque, stuffed squid, fillet of beef, roasted kumquats and wild mushrooms. A big green salad, though not on the menu, is prepared for us. Everything is comme il faut. Our wine glasses are refilled somewhat over-eagerly by the waiter, who reassures us, when we gesture helplessly at the cheese platter (which boasts tommes de this and that, a melty Reblochon and a mammoth Beaufort), that the cheese will still be there in the morning. And indeed it is, along with fresh crusty bread, home-made jam, eggs, ham, Savoie yoghurt and an excellent bowl of Illy coffee prepared by Armelle, with a country jug of steamed milk. A perfect pre-ski breakfast.

Behind every great hotel there is a great host: Armelle, dainty and Alpine-pretty, is at reception to welcome you. She is in the restaurant at breakfast, lunch and dinner, happy to answer questions about anything from the local pottery they use to walking itineraries. When I ask for a sandwich before a trek, though she is busy serving, she makes it with the same care with which she seems to do everything else, and it is the best sandwich I have ever eaten (admittedly after a two-hour climb, while gazing at Mont Blanc).

It is clearly Armelle’s standards that are being met at every turn, and her love of elegant but functional design that prevails. And it is she who finally manages to silence and, indeed, satisfy Mr Smith. Even the gutters are fashioned from logs, for goodness sake, and Mr Smith is very fussy about gutters. I realise, as we drive south after two delectable nights, that I love Armelle, and the mountains, and log cabins, and the north, and above all I love Les Servages, where we have relaxed more than we have in the eight years of marriage we came here to celebrate.

The Guestbook

Whenever you book a stay at a Smith Hotel with us, we’ll invite you to review it when you get back. Read what other Smith members had to say in Les Servages d'Armelle’s Guestbook below.

We loved

Superb staff and spectacular in-house restaurant with great ambience

Don’t expect

Party scene after the snow starts to melt

Rating

Stayed on 1 Apr 2016