Sometimes, the stars align.
And so it is with hotel Aman Le Melezin in the uber-swish French ski resort of Courchevel 1850, a property that’s a bewitching cross between a large luxury chalet and a Japanese temple, where the hospitality is divine, our bedroom heavenly and the location worthy of committing to scripture.
It sits in surely one of the most coveted spots in world skiing – right next to 1850’s tree-lined Bellecote run that descends into the centre of the resort, just 200 metres away.
Ted Thornhill checks in to Aman Le Melezin (above) in the uber-swish French ski resort of Courchevel 1850
Aman Le Melezin sits in surely one of the most coveted spots in world skiing – right next to Courchevel 1850’s tree-lined Bellecote run
Our corner suite has a breathtaking view of this scene from the piece de resistance – an oversized banquette-cum-bed at one end of the room adjoining the master bedroom that’s flush on two sides with several huge windows.
I say banquette. It might actually be a breeding centre for cushions – it’s covered in them.
We recline amid them clutching ‘welcome’ glasses of Veuve Clicquot – a bottle of which had been placed in the room in an ice bucket filled with ice and actual snow – and gaze out at the snow-laden fairytale scene before us.
The hotel’s ‘wonderful’ subterranean temple-style pool, which features two huge integrated hot tubs and a shallow-water section that’s ‘perfect for toddlers’
The piece de resistance in Ted’s corner suite is an oversized banquette-cum-bed (above) at one end of the room adjoining the master bedroom that’s flush on two sides with several huge windows
This image shows Ted’s master bedroom. He says: ‘Our room is straightened out into a tranquil haven every night by the turn-down team, who even tidy my earphones into a little metal tin by the bed’
LEFT: Ted’s daughter enjoys the view from the sea of cushions on the bedroom banquette. RIGHT: Each guest is served pastries, yoghurt and a juice on a cute rectangular tray for breakfast each morning
The larch trees all around are caked in snow, bubble lifts are gliding up into the mountainside and the lights of the resort are beginning to twinkle in the gloaming.
What makes our cushion-themed vantage point extra thrilling is a feeling of almost floating out over the snow.
We’ve just arrived, yet I already know leaving is going to be a heartbreaking wrench.
The rest of the room comprises a lovely king-sized bed, separate rain shower and deep tub, twin sinks and a high-tech heated Japanese loo – and, like the rest of the hotel, it’s smothered in beautifully luxurious wood, with the occasional imperfection for bonus cosy vibes.
Art? None. Aman keeps clutter in the bedroom to a minimum for a zen-like atmosphere.
There is a little bonsai tree, though, and a giant one in the serene reception area.
On one side of this is the 31-room hotel’s exceptional Nama restaurant, which at lunch and dinner distributes precisely executed Japanese dishes – the wagyu-beef mini burgers and the crispy sushi rice with salmon are particularly excellent – with signature cocktails available too.
The hotel’s exceptional Nama restaurant, which at lunch and dinner ‘distributes precisely executed Japanese dishes’. Ted regards the wagyu-beef mini burgers and the crispy sushi rice with salmon as ‘particularly excellent’
How the other half do apres at the Aman – sommelier-selected wine in the oh-so-plush bar (above) is one option
This is Aman Le Melezin’s swanky piste-side ‘boot room’, where ‘two ridiculously efficient staff members’ set Ted up with a snowboard and his partner and daughter with skis
Ted writes: ‘The hospitality is divine, our bedroom heavenly and the location worthy of committing to scripture’
Aman Le Melezin’s children’s kingdom
We get proceedings underway with a ‘Coupette Samurai’ – made with French Ciroc Vodka, apple juice and passion fruit syrup, with a passion fruit floating on top – then allow the hotel’s top sommelier to guide us to glasses of the 16-euro (£13) Savoie Chignin Bergeron by Domaine Magnin. Made with Roussanne grapes, it’s a smashing fresh and fruity number.
We return to Nama each morning, where breakfast is beautifully presented. Each guest is served pastries, yoghurt and a juice on a cute rectangular tray as a matter of course, with the items rotated daily, and given a choice of a la carte dishes.
Post-breakfast on day one, we descend to the hotel’s swanky piste-side boot room and ski shop, where two ridiculously efficient staff members set me up with a snowboard and my partner and daughter with skis.
Our daily routine is then to ride with the little one in the hotel’s luxury VW shuttle van to Courchevel 1850’s impossibly cute Club Piou Piou ski school, which is fashioned after a medieval castle.
While she’s learning to ski on the dinky infant slopes, we hit Courchevel’s just-challenging-enough pistes for a couple of hours as clouds drape themselves around the area’s eye-catching crags.
In the afternoon, it’s back to the hotel for lunch and to drop munchkin off at the hotel’s amazing little children’s kingdom next to the ski room.
There an amiable professional nanny watches over little ones as they have their photos taken in a photobooth, fill their hands with sweets from rows of dispensers, play Mario Kart on arcade machines and sit on beanbags in a little cinema room to watch animations.
In this spellbinding photo Aman Le Melezin can be seen poking through the trees on the Bellecote run
The view from the hotel to the centre of Courchevel 1850, one of Europe’s most glamorous resorts
Ted says that he knew as soon as he arrived at the hotel that leaving would be a heartbreaking wrench
Ted describes Aman Le Melezin as a property that’s a cross between a large luxury chalet and a Japanese temple
Aman Le Melezin – ‘it’s how the other half ski’, says Ted
Bliss for young and old, because it means we can hit the slopes again, worry-free.
At the beginning of every mountain session our kit is placed on the slope, and put away for us afterwards, when the staff help prise our boots off and enthusiastically offer shots of their friend’s homemade genepy liqueur.
This is how the other half ski.
And how the other half do apres at the Aman is more sommelier-selected wine in the oh-so-plush bar – during our stay in the presence of a well-known British comedian – and a dip in the hotel’s seductive subterranean temple-style pool, which features two huge integrated hot tubs and a shallow-water section that’s perfect for toddlers.
Our room is straightened out into a tranquil haven every night by the turn-down team, who even tidy my earphones into a little metal tin by the bed.
It’s Le Melezin in a microcosm – a stellar property where perfect harmony is the name of the game.
Ted and his family are hosted by Aman Le Melezin. Rates start at £2,064 per night including taxes and fees, and daily breakfast.
PROS: Stunning location, beautiful decor, tranquil atmosphere, seductive pool, classy Japanese dining, on-point service, first-class ski and snowboard service, fun children’s room.
CONS: None, except that this is a paradise only for those with very deep pockets.
Rating out of five: *****
Information and prices correct at time of writing.
Visit Eurostar.com for information on its high-speed services between London St Pancras and Paris Gare du Nord.
Ted uses the superb Blacklane chauffeur service to transport him to and from the Eurostar terminal at London St Pancras and between Paris Gare du Nord and Gare de Lyon, where he catches a TGV to Moutiers, the nearest station to Courchevel. Blacklane has a brilliantly user-friendly booking system and operates in more than 200 cities around the world. Visit www.blacklane.com/en.
For more on Courchevel, visit courchevel.com/en.