Expert guide to Chamonix
These are unusual times, and the state of affairs can change quickly. Please check the latest travel guidance before making your journey. Note that our writer visited pre-pandemic.
With its charming town and year-round appeal to mountaineers and walkers as well as skiers, Chamonix has no shortage of hotel accommodation, but fewer chalets on offer. Hotelwise, since there’s so much competition, whether in search of luxurious heights of five-star places like the longstanding Hameau Albert 1r, in situ since 1903, hip modernism like the four-star Morgane, or a simple B&B, hoteliers are likely to be flexible on dates rather than enforcing Saturday to Saturday.
The spread out nature of Chamonix’s four main ski areas means that it’s important to think about which to be closest to before deciding on where to stay. Powderhounds may prefer to stay in quieter Argentière for easy access to the Grands Montets, for example, while staying in out of town Les Houches best suits intermediates.
The easier slopes of Brévent-Flégère, along with the spectacular heights of the Aiguille du Midi are most easily accessed from town, but whatever their skills, many visitors may decide that being here, with the majority of restaurants and bars, is most important. There are accommodation options for all budgets in the traffic-free and more lively resort centre and lift passes include bus transport around the valley.
Gite Le Belvédère in Argentière
A favourite of shoestring skiers and snowboarders, Gîte Le Belvédère in Argentière is a Chamonix crash pad, five minutes’ walk from the Grands Montets cable car station. Accommodation ranges from a bed in a dorm to en-suite doubles, and evening meals are also cheap.
Book it: Rooms from £28 pp/pn, when booked directly.
Le Vert Hotel
On the edge of Chamonix (Route des Gaillands) Le Vert Hotel is an eco-alert ski base camp in an old building, but with a young ambience. It has good rooms at a reasonable price, a shop, bar, restaurant and a fun atmosphere.
Book it: Rooms from £26 pp/pn, when booked directly.
Langley Hotel Gustavia
Situated in the centre of Chamonix, the Gustavia is a relaxed and informal hotel with elegant and simply furnished rooms, great service and good food. The hotel is also home to the Chambre Neuf bar, one of the best après venues in Chamonix, which hosts live music.
La Folie Douce
Well-known for its on-mountain après-ski bars around the French Alps, La Folie Douce opened its first hotel in Chamonix in December 2018. Situated in the former Savoy Palace hotel, it has 250 rooms, three restaurants, a spa, heated outdoor pool and, inevitably, a happening bar with live music and DJs, opens at après time only, from 4pm to 8pm.
Refuge Les Aiglons
A comfortable modern hotel near the Aiguille du Midi lift, the four-star Refuge Les Aiglons has a heated outdoor pool, a spa with sauna, steam room and massages, and a garage. There’s also a restaurant, La Table du Refuge, on the premises, serving local specialities and tapas with views of Mont Blanc.
The old lady of Chamonix’s grand hotels, with a plum central location, Mont Blanc offers comfort combined with high-ceilinged urban opulence. There’s a good spa and a fine restaurant, Le Matafan.
Refuge du Montenvers
For something different, Refuge du Montenvers is great for a night rather than a week. A mountain refuge high above the resort that opened in 1880 and now has 17 modern rooms, suites and dormitories. Situated at the foot of the famous Mer de Glace glacier and reached by a 30-minute train ride from town or by skiing the Vallée Blanche and climbing 300+ steps.
Hameau Albert 1er
Chamonix’s central five-star Relais & Chateau hotel, Hameau Albert 1er dates from 1903 panders to every whim. It has 21 contemporary rooms in the main building and more traditional rooms and suites in La Ferme in the grounds, built using wood reclaimed from ancient chalets. There’s a Michelin-starred restaurant and a sumptuous spa with indoor/outdoor pool facing Mont Blanc, hot tub, sauna, steam room and climbing wall.
Chalets and apartments
Sleeping 12 to 16 and situated in a peaceful and scenic position, supremely luxurious Chalet Valhalla has a log fire, outdoor hot tub and Mont Blanc views, and is within walking distance of the town centre.
Book it: Full board from £632, based on 12 adults sharing, including transfers but not flights, with Collineige.
A premium Pierre & Vacances residence near the station with one, La Ginabelle has two and three-bedroom self-catered apartments, an indoor pool, sauna, steam room and gym.
Booking.com rates above are guide prices per person per night, please note that packages can differ across accommodation. Owing to the current coronavirus pandemic, these rates may change. Please check the properties’ websites for further information on what’s included.
Unless stated otherwise, chalet prices are per person, based on two sharing a double or twin room, half-board, for seven nights, including flights and transfers.