The scent of pine cones permeates the alpine air, amidst the serenity of a landscape covered in snow, at this winter-only mountain retreat
Zannier Hotels Le Chalet in Megève
In the picturesque ski resort of Mevège, overlooking the snow-capped French Alps, Zannier Hotels Le Chalet is made for cocooning. It is perched 1621m above sea level. Spread across three wooden chalets, elements of nature take center stage at this twelve suites boutique hotel that advocates understated luxury. The interiors echo the raw scenery of its mountainous surroundings while preserving the historical character of the Haute-Savoie. The scent of pine cones permeates the alpine air, amidst the serenity of a landscape covered in snow, at this winter-only mountain retreat.
The brainchild of Arnaud Zannier, Zannier Hotels Le Chalet opened doors to the world in 2011. «Since its inception, Le Chalet has been an extension of Arnaud’s passions and personal values. From the inception of concept till the completion of the project, he has been the creative force behind every aspect of the hotel», says Guiraud, the Group Head of Communication. Zannier’s connection with the ski slopes of Mevège goes back to his childhood.
The Alpine peaks and their untouched snow, in fact, attracted the Zanniers, a family of avid skiers. Turning their winter sports spot into a curated travel experience is the embodiment of their longstanding bond with Megève. «Arnaud and his father have been frequent visitors of the resort. When they discovered the chalet was up for sale they thought twice before they decided to buy it».
Before launching Zannier Hotels, Arnaud spent over twenty years in the fashion industry. Having started his career in London, he developed the Kickers footwear brand. He then proceeded to establish his label, n.d.c made by hand, in 2001, manufacturing handcrafted and bespoke footgear. During his seventeen years tenure as the chief executive, he opened brand outlets in Paris and Brussels. He also led its distribution in three-fifty leading boutiques across the globe.
Arnaud’s interest began to gravitate towards the world of hospitality. His desire was, therefore, to create concepts that honor simplicity: giving birth to Le Chalet. Zannier Hotels – founded ten years ago – has pioneered what it calls a new era of progressive luxury hospitality. It, in fact, features a collection of hotels, resorts, and lodges, in Europe, Africa, and Asia. Echoing the spirit of their surroundings, each destination enraptured every sense, alluring the guests to have an immersive experience.
The village of Megève
Oozing with aristocratic legacy, Megève is the personification of French resort luxury. Noémie de Rothschild was the wife of Baron Maurice de Rothschild. Right after World War I, she decided that France should have a mountain resort to rival those in Switzerland. Since Chamonix was already the province of English tourists, they turned to Haute-Savoie for another location. Megève – a small Savoyard farming village in the valley of the Arve River – is at about four thousand feet, facing Mont Blanc. It was converted into a ski resort.
Megève garnered popularity in the twenties as a preferred ski destination for the rich. It has maintained the reputation till date. It, in fact, represents a haven for those looking to avoid crowded pistes and lift-queue scrums. Megève boasts a thriving gastronomy scene with a concentration of Michelin-starred restaurants, along with clubs, casinos, and jazz bars. Situated in the region of Haute-Savoie in the southeast of France, it falls on the Italian and Swiss borders. Zannier Hotels Le Chalet is ten minutes away from the Megève city center. The neighborhood delineates an alpine character with cobblestone streets, traditional Savoyard architecture, horse-drawn carriage, and an old-fashioned medieval charm.
Lampoon review: Zannier Hotels Le Chalet’s design
The design depicts timeless sophistication attributed through elements such as wrought iron handles, a cord of seasoned firewood, traditional oak floors, fieldstone walls, imperfection of heirloom objects, and sanded wood furniture polished with lime resin. Interiors suggest a minimalist approach with punctuations of antiquity to showcase the passage of time. The spatial lighting orchestrated by Kurve Lichttechniek has the aim of creating the feeling of natural light. Further, Johan de Groote signed the architectural works. He is also behind Zannier’s family house in Ghent. The neighboring alpine villages provided all materials used for the restoration and construction works.
Three chalets characterize the complex. Two chalets feature the rooms, lounge area, and restaurant. The third one is a private chalet. Consisting of three levels, the private chalet can accommodate up to sixteen guests. Installed with a fully-equipped kitchen, ski and snowboard room with dryers, playroom for children, wine cellar, wellness area, and a treatment room. «This is usually reserved for our founder’s family. Arnaud’s father is our frequent guest, as he likes to come and spend his winters in the Alps», says Guiraud.
The hotel’s lounge evokes a sense of conviviality featuring a large open fireplace with sofa seating. After a long day of zipping down the slopes, the guests can, in fact, warm up in the common area. In the afternoons this space is filled with the whiff of freshly baked savories as the in-house pastry chef prepares a selection of patisserie to accompany the warm drinks as a part of goûter, the French high-tea tradition.
Rooms and suites
The hotel houses twelve suites. High vaulted ceilings, an abundance of wood as well as a cozy fireplace characterize the rooms. One of the them, The Prestige, has been designed around a natural free-standing mountain rock that lends itself as a wall for the room. «This was a part of the topography. The owners, in fact, decided to retain it to create a natural ambiance corresponding to the elements outside. Hence, the room was built around the rock», says Guiraud.
All rooms come with a feature of a balcony or terrace to enjoy the view of the French Alps. «When our guests enter the suite for the first time we want it to be a moment to cherish. The warmth of the fire we have kindled just for them and the smell of clean linen. Like freshly fallen snow, everything is untouched». The mountain retreat pivots tailor-made experiences and attention to detail by anticipating the needs of their clients. From ski snacks on the seats of the driver service to the Ugg boots in the room keeping you warm on your way to the spa, they have thought of everything. «The entire concept of the hotel is home away from home. So we like to make sure that we have you covered in all aspects», he adds.
La Ferme de mon Père: the hotel restaurant
The hotel’s restaurant La Ferme de mon Père is led by the acclaimed, chef Julien Burlat. Founder and director of the Michelin star restaurant Dôme in Antwerp, Burlat was Zannier’s first choice for Zannier Hotels Le Chalet’s in-house restaurant. Having nurtured a friendship for over forty years, Burlat and Zannier share a camaraderie suggested in their work relationship.
Before Zannier’s take-over, the restaurant garnered three Michelin stars, under the wings of seasoned chef Marc Veyrat. After the property acquisition, Zannier decided to retain the name. But, he changed the offering from fine-dining to fine-eating, by relinquishing the Michelin title. «We deliberately chose to not make our in-house restaurant a Michelin star one to maintain affordable prices for people coming to Megève and looking for an authentic and homemade gastronomic experience. We wanted to curate a humble and unpretentious restaurant environment where people feel comfortable bringing their children as well». The restaurant, therefore, creates a bistro-chic ambiance with interiors exhibiting a blend of rustic and refined.
From an ancient Berkel manual slicer for charcuterie to rusted cast iron pans, elements of nostalgia punctuate the decor at this eatery. Hues of chocolate brown characterize the walls. While the lamps are cream-colored, evoking the traditional characteristics of mountain cellars. Julien Burlat devised the menu of La Ferme de mon Père as an ode to nature. From the vegetable gardens and stables to the lakes and the seas, La Ferme de mon Père offers a culinary journey across the French Alps.
Focus on terroir cuisine
Burlat’s food focuses on terroir cuisine. Proximity and transparency of the ingredients procured are, therefore, fundamental. «Everything is sourced from within a few km radii. Fresh fruits and vegetables come from Savoie or Haute-Savoie. Further, meat comes from the alpine pasture, the dairy products, including cheeses come from La Ferme des Montagnards in Combloux, a village five minutes from Megève», he adds. Curious guests and gastronomy enthusiasts can also make a little trip to meet the cheesemakers and dairy producers in the neighboring villages.
Some of their menu highlights include Simmental rib steak matured for thirty days served with smoked purèe, spinach in brown butter. Grilled vegetables with roasted hazelnuts and Tomme de Montagne shavings. Steak tartare. Black truffle risotto. Sea bass roasted in juniper, buttered savoy cabbage, mountain ham. Velouté and crisps of Jerusalem artichokes, black truffle Chantilly. Thin tart of winter vegetables, fresh goat’s cheese from the farm of Laya, grated Galabé, fresh herbs juice. «We also have frog legs and duck foie gras pâté croûte among others on the menu for those looking for traditional French plates».
Best Ski Boutique Hotel in France: Zannier Hotels Le Chalet
Zannier Hotels Le Chalet has won, for three consecutive years, the award for the Best Ski Boutique Hotel in France. Megève’s vast ski region comprises one hundred thirty-six groomed runs spread across four hundred forty-five kilometers. Ski aficionados checked in at the hotel, can also enjoy a fuss-free experience on the adrenaline-infused slopes, on a powder day. «We offer our guests a dedicated ski concierge to facilitate smooth access to ski passes, pieces of equipment, and tutorials with professional instructors». From helicopter and private plane tours above Mont Blanc and paragliding to a sunrise hot-air balloon followed by a champagne breakfast, «Zannier Hotels Le Chalet is all about curating experiences», Giraud adds.
The lower ground level at the hotel is occupied by the spa area in a cave-esque atmosphere. Wellness experiences at Zannier Hotels Le Chalet include a state-of-the-art spa, indoor heated pool, hammam, a relaxation lounge. There are also two treatment rooms for European massage therapies. The perfume of wildflowers permeates this space owing to the presence of scented candles tailor-made for the hotel. «We developed our fragrance for the candles in collaboration with Fueguia, an Argentinean niche perfumery. Apart from that, we also offer a wide array of beauty treatments using Aesop and Aromatherapy Associates products – as the values and philosophy of both brands resonate with ours».
The hotel has also tied up with Le Palais Megève, the largest sports complex in the Alps to promote movement and fitness activities. Through its combination of adventure sports, fitness, luxury, and wellness offering, Zannier Hotels Le Chalet encourages its patrons to: stay active, stay well.
367 Route du Crêt, 74120 Megève, France
Zannier Hotels Le Chalet is an exquisite boutique hotel in Megève, a short walk from the village centre. Located at the foot of Mount Arbois in the French Alps