A Fairy Tale Come To Life
“This is the best place in the hotel!” said a recent guest in the ski room of Hotel Les Airelles, carefully adjusting her boots and motioning to a tray of freshly baked cookies and cakes on the sideboard. Her ski instructor, who had just placed her equipment outside at the edge of the slopes, agreed. The ski room at Les Airelles, the original luxury hotel in Courchevel in the French Alps, is indeed a wonderful place. Warm wood paneling, puffy cushions in jewel tones, a fully staffed and equipped Bernard Orcel boutique for the perfect gear, and an old-fashioned country kitchen with hot drinks and warm treats to fortify skiers on their way out or back in after a long day.
Les Airelles is in many ways a fairy tale come to life. The hotel’s gingerbread-house exterior, peeking out from the greenery on the sunny side of the slopes, hints at the Tyrolean styling inside: carved and painted moldings, overstuffed velvet sofas, cheerful staff in dirndls and lederhosen. One of just 25 French hotels to be recognized by the government as a “palace” for its exceptional history, location, and service, Les Airelles is also a family place. A reservation in one of the hotel’s rooms and suites during the four-month winter season is a tradition handed down through generations—and a trophy for the discerning and lucky travelers who can get their booking in.
A reservation at Les Airelles is a tradition handed down through generations.
The Heart Of The Experience
From the moment they check in, Les Airelles encourages all guests to feel as though they are now members of a club—a feeling nurtured in ways large and small, from the head-to-toe service in the ski room to the sumptuous calm of the La Mer spa. On the proven theory that happy children make for happy parents, especially on vacation, Les Airelles provides spaces and experiences that leave the youngest guests wide-eyed with wonder: their own treehouse in the forest; a “Kingdom of Children” floor of playrooms filled with their favorite games and toys, where snack time is sacrosanct and helpings are unlimited.
Glorious food is very much a part of life at Les Airelles. The hotel boasts a Italian restaurant, PieroTT, created by Michelin-starred chef, Pierre Gagnaire, and the cozy Coin Savoyard for fondue and other local specialties. The heart of the experience, though, is Le Festin—a lavish buffet luncheon, presented every day in the Table des Airelles restaurant just off the lobby lounge. An invitation to linger and celebrate and indulge, Le Festin is where the Airelles tradition is passed on. Grandparents treat their ski instructor to lunch, parents teach their toddlers table manners, and starry-eyed young couples savor a wedding gift of a week’s introduction to a magical world.