Scale up your skiing with a trip to L'Apogée Courchevel
Overlooking the Courchevel valley, the luxury hotel L’Apogée Courchevel offers a feast for the senses, inside and out
It’s incredible to think that back in the 1940s, the part of the French Alps that would become Courchevel (in the Trois Vallees, the biggest interconnected ski area in the world) was considered a barren write-off. These days, you could employ umpteen superlatives for this 1,785 hectares ski resort site with its 600km of slopes. And the word ‘breathtaking’ would surely be high up on that list. As high, in fact, as the former Olympic ski jump, constructed for the 1992 Winter Games, that the L’Apogée Courchevel has perched on since it first opened in 2013. Not bad going for the €100m five-star hotel that started construction just a year previously.
Conceived by the prestigious and private Oetker hotel group (responsible for the legendary hotels including the iconic Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc and Le Bristol, Paris) Oetker’s first Alpine retreat is off-the-scale beautiful, affording jaw-dropping views down the Courchevel valley, for around 110 days of the year. Putting the customer first is at the heart of everything Oetker does and this hotel is no exception: the lift might be designed by Karl Lagerfeld but the fantastic children’s club has been designed like a pin ball machine and, with dressing-up boxes, ping pong and drumkits, L’Apogee Courcheval is as much a place for whole families to unwind in as it is for visiting royals and celebrities.
This hotel pulls off the trick of being stylish – 100 tonnes of marble have gone into the interiors – but also discreet, relaxing and homely. From the laid-back cocktail bar with its exquisite crystal glassware to the soothing spa and steam room with masseuse, and indoor pool, every detail has been carefully considered to provide the ultimate in luxury. Decorated in jewel coloured checks, the 53 rooms and suites (and penthouse), contain huge beds and bespoke furniture along with old-fashioned, luxurious drapes.
Equally ravishing are the art deco bathrooms, with their gold taps, antique mirrors and Bamford and Sisley toiletries. As L’Apogée Courchevel’s Parisian designer India Mahdavi says “We wanted people to come in and feel cocooned… something that felt more like a home, a manor house.” Meanwhile, those wanting the full-on ski chalet experience can take advantage of a five-bedroom chalet replete with hot tub, home cinema, dining area and butler.
Cuisine-wise, the hotel is justly proud of its new Japanese restaurant Koori, offering the best sushi in the Trois Vallées courtesy of Michelin star Chef Jean-Luc Lefrançois; a quiet man whose daily recharge session – a mountain climb up and ski down for an hour-and-a half each day – keeps him physically and mentally fit. His involvement in the ski resort came about, he says, “due to an extreme attachment for the mountains”. There’s a sense of calm and efficiency in his busy but still serene kitchen. He recommends the Black Cod, “for its texture and its healthy virtues”.
Add in a designated skiing service, with snowmobiles, and added ski valet, who’ll ensure your skis are waiting for you on the slopes come the morning and blissfully warmed fur line slippers when you prise off your boots, and it’s clear Oetker have gained their world-beating reputation for their incredible attention to detail and giving customers exactly what they want – even before they know they want it. L’Apogée Courchevel is an alpine dream come true.