Discover a new breed of Alpine chalet that intertwines traditional character with extraordinary levels of refinement, relaxation and style.
On a clear morning, Mont Blanc looms large from the balcony of the hotel chalet. Enviably situated in the French Alps, the small town of Megève has a population of just 3,000: a little over an hour south of Geneva and mere moments from the slopes, it feels splendidly isolated and it is hard to believe that this is one of Europe’s most popular ski destinations. The beautiful boutique chalet where we are staying is Ultima Megève, the brainchild of entrepreneurs Byron Baciocchi and Max-Hervé George, two young hoteliers and art pundits who have made a name for themselves attracting a particularly savvy set of travellers.
From the moment we arrive, the location sets the tone. The characterful chalet building has been carefully designed and renovated. Sprawling across 1,500sq m it is arranged on a plateau high up in the French Alps, surrounded by nature – picturesque forests, crystal clear waters and fresh air. With its wooden walls and cosy furnishings, the design is reminiscent of a traditional chalet lodge. This unique venue can host up to 18 guests, with each of the bedroom suites offering generous accommodation boasting high ceilings and vast windows allowing for breathtaking views. Impossibly comfortable beds, thoughtfully kitted out dressing rooms, luxurious bathrooms and a private terrace-balcony make up the suite offering. The interiors palette utilises a mix of gentle whites and soft textures, finished off with mirrored surfaces to perfectly bounce light around the room. But perhaps my favourite touch is that, at the press of a button at night, you can power down everything and enjoy a healthy sleep in pure darkness and silence. All this is offset by the chalet’s comprehensive facilities and state of the art approach to relaxation, which never compromises on luxury. From the in-residence private chef, dedicated drivers and staff, the signature spa and gym, arcade games room and nightclub, to the comfy rooms and quiet corners to hide and snuggle away in, it offers the ultimate secluded spot to escape from reality, and I never want to leave. Thankfully, we don’t have to go home just yet…
Our next stop is in the Valais region of Switzerland, arriving towards the end of the day we’re treated to the most spectacular views as the backdrop to the mountains turns from blue to orange. Our new home from home offers an unsurpassed mountain vista and is perfectly located for the slopes. There is something magical about Ultima Crans-Montana’s setting and we soon discover that the hotel itself is equally as special.
Taking the boutique hotel concept one step further, Ultima Crans-Montana is based on tailor-made programmes, with dedicated concierge teams, butlers, chefs and spa therapists, as well as private helicopter and car transfers included as standard. On arrival we are wowed by one of the biggest crystal chandeliers we have ever seen (15m to be exact) – there is no doubt that Ultima Crans-Montana is an aesthete’s heaven. With no shortage of the unique, it is at once beautiful, stylish, super luxurious and homely. The Ultima signature brand is instantly recognisable; intertwining traditional Swiss character and opulent modern touches, hoteliers Byron and Max-Hervé have worked with the best designers and artists to create a space that is totally exclusive. As the orange sky is gobbled up into darkness, I sit on a plush velvet sofa in the cosy double living room, complete with obligatory crackling open fire, beautiful designer artwork and coffee table books, and I very quickly feel at home. Completely comfortable, it is the perfect place to socialise, unwind and enjoy the atmosphere after a long day on the slopes.
Spanning an incredible 4,500sq m, Ultima Crans-Montana is composed of two independent chalets accommodating up to 38 guests in total privacy. The first and larger of the two consists of eight master suites and two snug children’s dormitories, sleeping up to 26 guests. Fully blending in with the environment, no two suites here are the same – all have been designed based on the original layout of the chalet. Each screams luxury, from the most spectacular views stretching from the Matterhorn to Mont Blanc, to the marble-clad bathrooms, Bvlgari amenities, sleek dressing rooms, Baobab fragrances and large open terrace balconies. The more intimate second chalet is just as comfortable, offering six bedrooms as well as a spacious open plan kitchen perfect for hosting. The two chalets have been designed for complete intimacy and privacy, but both are directly integrated and benefit from superior five-star facilities such as direct access to the slopes, a 1,000sq m spa, clinic and outdoor pool heated to 30 degrees, a private chef, private cinema room and a dedicated concierge team on hand to cater to every whim.
The Ultima collection offers a life of privilege, certainly, but also one of beauty, simplicity and sharing. After a few days spent experiencing the offering, we can see it is a vision that makes complete sense.
Rates at Ultima Megève start from €60,000 for a week in summer. Rates at Ultima Crans-Montana start from 35,000 CHF for a week in Chalet 2 in summer, and 75,000 CHF for Chalet 1 (41 22 779 33 33; ultimacollection.com)