Set in the mountains of Megève, the interiors of luxury ski lodge Zannier Hotels Le Chalet are rustic but refined and have everything we could wish for: a spoiling spa, Alpine views from the balconies and roaring fires throughout. After days zipping down the slopes, return to the fireside and cosy up under a warm blanket with a glass of wine and pastry in hand. Spend the few hours between aprés ski and pre-dinner drinks in the spa: unwind in the sauna, relax in the heated pool or, if you went all out on the pistes, organise a pampering massage. But it's not all snow-based; In summertime, exploring Megève’s authentic charm feels a bit like being let in on a secret with its own variety of Alpine pursuits from speed waters and sailing to hiking and paragliding. Dinner is an all-French affair with seasonal menus showcasing the Savoie’s finest fare. Whether you’ve opted for a cosy double room or one of the expansive apartment-style suites, you’ll sleep soundly on your king-size bed, waking well-rested ready to ski, spa, sip wine and repeat.
11am. Check-in is at 3pm. Both are flexible, subject to availability.
Double rooms from £249.55 (€290), including tax at 20 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional local city tax of €2.50 per person per night on check-out.
Rates usually include á la carte hot breakfasts and a Continental buffet of freshly-baked breads and pastries, fresh fruits and smoothies, yoghurts, cold meats, cheeses and jams. Please note, during the summer the hotel operates on a B&B basis only.
The hotel will arrange your ski passes and gear, and they’ve teamed up with a carefully selected group of ski instructors should you want lessons or a mountain guide during your stay.
Zannier Hotels Le Chalet is open for ski season, usually until April, and for summer from 22 June 2023 to 10 September 2023
At the hotel
Free WiFi throughout. In rooms: TV, DVD player, Sonos music system, air-conditioning, minibar with free bottled water, tea- and coffee-making facilities.
Our favourite rooms
Enjoy the suite life in Suites 1, 2, 3 or 4. Each is unique, though all boast huge wood-burning fireplaces ideal for cosy evenings in. You can enjoy snowy vistas from the comfort of your king-size bed if you stay in Suites 1 or 2; the former is the largest room in the hotel and has two bedrooms making it the perfect fit for families.
There’s an indoor relaxation pool in the spa. It’s a gloriously child-free spot for leisurely muscle-relaxing soaks in the warm water – no neon floats in sight. Please note, the pool is closed during the summer.
The luxury spa (open from 10am to 8pm) is a serene over-16s only space with a hammam, sauna and two treatment rooms for après ski massages, firming body scrubs, relaxing aromatherapy rituals, rejuvenating facials and an array of beauty treatments.
Layer up with stylish thermals, cashmere jumpers, a cosy gilet and Sorel boots.
Without a lift, the hotel isn’t ideal for guests with limited mobility.
All ages are welcome, but kids aren’t especially catered to. Babysitting can be arranged with 12 hours notice (€25 an hour) and the hotel has baby monitors and highchairs if you need them. Baby cots (free for under-threes) can be added to all rooms.
Take one of the tables at the back of the restaurant for mountain views during dinner.
Keep cosy with warm winter jumpers and a pair of woollen socks under your boots.
A homage to Alpine appetites, chef Julien Burlat uses only the finest French products from the surrounding countryside for his seasonal menus at La Ferme de mon Père. Like the rest of the hotel, the restaurant has a rustic charm with panelled walls and wooden furnishings draped in simple linens, although it’s undeniably chic and sophisticated. Fervently French dishes include liquorice-flavoured frog’s legs, pâté en croûte and rib steak with gratin dauphinois, spinach with hazelnut butter. These of course should be followed by the cheese platter or the blood orange parfait with red fruits, ginger and a warm madeleine with honey. For dinner and a spirited show, order the rum baba dessert which is assembled at your table. During the summer, the hotel operates on a B&B basis, so lunch and dinner are not available on site. At these times, breakfast is served on a tray in the restaurant or on the terrace, with egg dishes cooked to order.
Take a stool at the bar, or a fireside sofa and peruse the bar’s carefully selected list of wine at leisure. As well as offering fine vintages from country’s top estates, Le Chalet’s mixologists are skilled with a shaker and will mix up classic cocktails as you like them.
Breakfast is served 7am till 11am and dinner is from 7pm to 10pm. The bar is open from 11am till midnight.
The restaurant menu is available while the kitchen is open, plus there are a few classic room service favourites on offer like club sandwiches, burgers, and sharing plates of cheese and charcuterie. Room service is not available during the summer.
Le Chalet Zannier is set slopeside in the French ski resort of Megève.
Fly direct to Geneva airport from London and cities across European and the US. Our Smith24 team of travel experts are on hand round the clock to book your flights, if needed. Transfers take around 85 minutes and one-way transfers cost €275 for up to two guests, or €330 for three or more guests.
Sallanches train station is a 20-minute drive from the hotel. Paris is just under five hours away, Lyon is a three-hour journey away and Geneva is a two-and-a-half-hour ride away. Transfers from the station cost €90 for three or fewer guests and €105 for more
You won’t need a car while staying here: the hotel has a chauffeur service available from 7am till midnight. If you do decide to drive to Megève, there’s valet parking at the hotel (free for outside parking or €20 a day for indoor spaces).
For a swifter transfer, ask our Smith24 team to arrange a helicopter from the airport to the hotel.
Worth getting out of bed for
In the winter months, skiing or snowboarding are obvious outdoor pursuits during your stay. The team at the hotel can arrange lift passes, lessons, guides and all the gear you’ll need to hit the slopes. If the ski lifts don’t go high enough for you. or you’re eager to carve new tracks off piste, the area is renowned for its exceptional heli-skiing, and our Smith24 will happily arrange a trip or two for you. Although skiing is the main attraction of the area, there’s more to Megève than just en-piste activities. The Alpine landscape is equally impressive in the summer months, too. Go snowshoe trekking and husky-sledding through Alpine forests, ice-skating followed by a chocolat (or vin) chaud in the town centre, or take in the view from above paragliding over the mountain tops.
A ski trip isn’t complete without a fondue or two. Offering a contemporary take on traditional all-wood lodges, Chamois is full of wool-topped benches and booths, ideal for snuggling close while sharing a fondue; we recommend dipping between the truffle and morilles options. Set in a secluded spot up in the mountains, Flocons de Sel is a refined restaurant toting not one but three Michelin stars restaurant. Headed by chef Emmanuel Renaut, their seasonal cuisine is as subtle as it is inventive; every aspect of the dining experience is considered, from textures and smells, to careful wine pairings to enhance flavour. If you fancy a day off piste, the chefs here host day-long cooking courses. Another reclusive restaurant in the mountains, Le Refuge is a proudly Savoie eatery showcasing traditional local architecture and fare alike. Tuck into péla (a gratin made with fried potatoes and Reblochon cheese), followed by caramelised-veal sweetbreads with pumpkin purée, chestnuts, and an onion and tonka beans jus, then finish with a grand marnier soufflé.
Set in the centre of Megève, lodge-like Le Torrent is traditional in style with wood-panelled walls and wooden chairs covered with a sheepskin throws. While waiting for your wild trout or meaty farcement with monkfish and bacon, peruse the collection of antique ski gear adorning the walls. A sophisticated choice for aprés ski tea, those with a sweet tooth should head to Ladurée to sample your way through the famous French pâtissierie’s colourful selection of macarons. For more sweet treats head to Chez Maria for Maria’s signature square crêpes covered in nutella, cream, fresh fruit, cheese, ham…
M’s Bar has a unique mix of traditional chalet-style architecture, sleek contemporary lighting and the odd industrial accent. The star of their long drinks list has to be Le ‘M’ojito; a warm, ski slope-friendly counterpart to the traditional rum and mint-flavoured summer cocktail. With log-lined walls, taxidermied deer heads above enormous fireplaces, tartan curtains and antler-made chairs, The Lodge Bar is as cosy as they come. The fireside sofas are ideal spots to snuggle up after a day on the slopes, though in the summer the lush gardens are equally as appealing. Each drink is served in a particular glass, themed to suit the spirit within.
It had been Mr Smith’s bright idea to walk from the centre of Megève up to Zannier's Le Chalet, after he promised me that Google Maps said it really wasn’t that far. What Google didn’t tell him, however, is that it the walk was all uphill. We were also bundled up in ski clothes, carrying Mr Smith’s snowboard, and dragging a wheelie suitcase, so in the end, it definitely felt far.
When we finally got to the top of the hill I guess we looked lost, weary, and in need of a restorative hot chocolate, because someone actually stopped us to ask if we were looking for Le Chalet.
Our affirmative answer to the helpful stranger, who turned out to be a member of the chalet’s team, prompted a phone call to reception. Within a minute someone was there to thankfully relieve us of suitcases and snowboard and show us the way.
Inside, we were given an effusive greeting from the staff and hotel manager. I felt self consciously scruffy after my uphill hike but no-one seemed to care, they were too busy welcoming us in from the cold. Mr Smith and I let ourselves be led to a sofa right in front of a roaring fire, peeled off our winter layers, and sank back with a collective sigh and a complimentary drink in hand.
After regaining our composure slightly, and chatting with the barman about his impressive collection of rare, and eye-wateringly expensive whiskeys, it was time to see our room. Or to be more precise, our snug little chalet.
We had only glanced at Le Chalet on arrival but now as we stomped outside through the snow we could take it all in, and I was delighted to see a collection of cute, squat stone buildings topped with a thick layer of snow and flanked by deep green fir trees. Piles of logs sat below tiny windows framed with unfinished wood. I felt like I had arrived at the wood cutter’s house in a fairytale. Inside our guest house stairs led us down to a hidden winter retreat. I waited until we had been shown around to let out my excitement at Mr Smith in the form of a few happy little jumps.
He might be a seasoned snowboarder but I had never even been on a ski trip before, since I don’t actually ski. I had just held romantic ideas of being cosied up in the mountains in an all wood chalet, and now I was. Beautiful natural wood lined the floor, walls, and ceiling, finished with wooden beams. The huge bed was covered with fluffy white linens and oh-so-soft blankets, and in front of our small living area was a rustic wood burner.
We also had a terrace, but more importantly, we had a view. Snow-covered hills surrounded us, dotted with more festive fir trees. The blanket of snow had quietened any noise; it was like we could hear the silence. When I had dreamed of my first Alpine ski trip, it had definitely looked something like this.
Luckily, we had arrived just in time for a goûter, the French tradition of indulging in a sweet afternoon snack with a mug of something steaming hot. Mr Smith might have dragged me up a hill to the hotel, but at least he got me there in time for cake. A lot of cake.
We had thought about going back into Megève but when peeked in the bar to see what was on offer we couldn’t resist helping ourselves to the traditional gâteau de Savoie, fluffy muffins, slices of golden caramel flan, and my favourite, a fruit tart studded with shards of brandy snaps. Everything was freshly baked that day by the pastry chef, and everything was completely delicious. The same spot by the crackling fire was still waiting for us, and we parked ourselves down just in time for the arrival of mugs of real hot chocolate topped with dollops of freshly whipped cream. The uphill climb had been worth it.
After an afternoon of wandering around Megève, and a wobbly attempt at ice-skating on the open air rink, Mr Smith and I headed back to the chalet to warm up before dinner. This time we cannily used the hotel’s private car service, who were just a phone call away, to get us back up the hill. It was already dark and the fir trees surrounding the chalet twinkled with fairy lights. It was time to put the fire on.
After Mr Smith assured me that he knew how to get a fire going (where he’d learnt this growing up in Paris, I don’t know) I decided it was only fair to give him a few attempts before I called one of the team, who had already told us at check-in they would happily do it for us.
Unsurprisingly, I was soon on the phone. I don’t know how everyone here moved around so quickly in the icy snow, but within minutes a member of the ever-efficient team rapped on the wooden door and we soon had a glorious roaring hearth to enjoy, not to mention a bottle of red.
After accidentally finishing the bottle (I blame the cosy atmosphere) we tipsily headed across to the chalet’s restaurant, La Ferme de mon Père. Inside, the place is so popular that it was packed out with locals as well as guests. Megève can attract a high society crowd looking to pose in fine dining restaurants, but here there was a convivial buzz of French chatter as tables of friends caught up over comfort food and free flowing bottles of wine.
Without even needing to ask for it, doorstop slices of crispy bread arrived with a slab of butter, a good sign of what was to come. Being a vegetarian who is not unused to being served leftover veggies when dining out, Mr Smith was thrilled to see a far more decadent option on the menu; black truffle risotto with button mushrooms and aged Parmesan. I couldn’t resist the 30 days matured rib steak with smoked puree and spinach cooked in brown butter. The food was hearty and the portions were almost obscenely big but I still had room for dessert.
This time though I got beat by a Dame Blanche, or White Lady, the classic French creamy vanilla ice-cream topped with crunchy nuts and molten hot chocolate sauce. At least it helped soak up all that French wine.
The next morning, I left Mr Smith in bed to squeeze in some alone time in the subterranean spa. The space was dark, atmospheric, and blissfully private. A smiling therapist greeted me and led me to the changing rooms, designed in a minimalist Japanese wabi-sabi style which felt wonderfully soothing, even this early in the morning. Everything had been thoughtfully put together; even the Havaianas flip-flops were just the right shade to match my soft brown linen robe. I took mental style notes to hunt out a new dressing gown, or at least buy new towels when I got home.
Outside the pool glowed turquoise in an otherwise pitch black room. I helped myself to the platter of fresh fruit stacked with half open passion fruit, juicy oranges and kiwis before hitting the sauna. I kicked myself I hadn’t made time for a treatment, which incidentally used some of my favourite brands, Aesop and Aromatherapy Associates. I could’ve lounged around in the secreted away spa for hours, but I had to settle with just using the Aesop hand wash before I left instead.
Back in our chalet, we’d decided to be extra lazy on our last day and order breakfast in bed. I’d worked up an appetite with my swim but if I’d have known such a feast would arrive I’d have done a few extra laps. We tucked into bowls of fresh fruit, creamy yoghurt and deliciously crunchy granola, devoured the local cheeses, and smeared thick slices of crusty bread with dollops of jam. Mr Smith had also ordered eggs; I was jealous I hadn’t.
The finishing touch was a pot of steaming hot coffee for me, my morning essential, and a delicately perfumed tea for Mr Smith, elegantly presented in a Japanese teapot. I sunk back into the armchair and took one last look out over the snowy view. It was going to take more than a new bathrobe and a set of towels to recreate this.