Thought you needed a Lottery win to enjoy a luxury ski holiday in Kate and Wills’ beloved Courchevel? Think again: Inside a gem of a hotel at the French resort that doesn’t cost the earth
- Ted Thornhill checked into hotel Portetta in Courchevel Moriond (formerly Courchevel 1650)
- He writes: ‘It’s a four-star hotel, but the feel downstairs is firmly five-star.’ Plus, there is a quality restaurant
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In the French ski resort of Courchevel it’s the 1850 station that understandably hogs the limelight.
At 1,850m (6,070ft) above sea level it’s the most snow-sure, and it harbours world-class Michelin-star-adorned restaurants and stunning hotels, including several ‘palace-rated’ properties (where the prices per night in euros match the altitude).
No wonder Kate and Wills like skiing there.
But here I’m going to point the limelight down the mountain, where I discovered that there are also treasures to be savoured.
Not only does Courchevel Moriond (formerly Courchevel 1650) have superb snow-sure runs, but there’s also a gem of a hotel there – Portetta, a ski-in-ski-out property that sits right in front of the Belvedere piste.
Ted Thornhill checked into hotel Portetta (above) in Courchevel Moriond (formerly Courchevel 1650)
The Prince and Princess of Wales on holiday in Courchevel in 2016 with Prince George (two at the time) and Princess Charlotte (who was 10 months old)
Officially, it’s a four-star hotel, but the feel downstairs is firmly five-star.
There’s an expansive, luxuriously furnished living room – peppered with plump, sumptuous cushions, nomad-chic rugs and stuffed animals.
Next door is a superb bar with classy red bar stools, and beyond this a richly upholstered Italian restaurant – Cucina Angelina, by Angela Hartnett, head chef and proprietor of Michelin-starred Murano restaurant in Mayfair, London.
We learn that she’s pretty hands-on at Cucina Angelina, regularly visiting and rolling her sleeves up in the kitchen.
Rooms at Portetta start from 300 euros (£257) a night, which for a luxury hotel in Courchevel – is a bargain
Portetta’s luxuriously furnished living room with ‘nomad-chic rugs and sumptuous cushions’
Drink it all in: The hotel’s bar features ‘classy’ red stools. Ted says that everyone at the hotel ‘seemed to be having a great time’
She wasn’t there when I visited with my partner and young daughter, but her absence didn’t lead to any slacking off. The food was well executed and tasty – especially the seabream carpaccio with saffron vinaigrette, and the duck ragu – and the staff well-drilled and bursting with bonhomie.
We also enjoyed being surrounded by happy guests – mostly young families.
Everyone seemed to be having a great time, aided by Instagram-baiting end-of-season April snow.
We were kitted out for fun in the abundant white stuff in the hotel’s well-stocked ski room, and caught the free shuttle bus up to 1850, as our daughter was signed up for lessons at the amazing Club Piou Piou ski school there.
Stuffed animals feature heavily in the Portetta guest spaces. Ted writes: ‘Officially, it’s a four-star hotel, but the feel downstairs is firmly five-star’
The richly upholstered Italian restaurant Cucina Angelina, by Angela Hartnett. Ted describes the food there as ‘well executed and tasty’
Angela Hartnett, whose London restaurant Murano holds a Michelin star, regularly visits Cucina Angelina and rolls her sleeves up in the kitchen. Above is an example of a dish at Cucina Angelina
It’s easy enough to ski and snowboard from 1850 back to Portetta for anyone at beginner level or upwards, but it was a bit beyond our five-year-old.
Post-piste/Cucina carpaccio we slept well in our first-floor room, which didn’t match the public areas for luxury, but had a balcony with views up the slopes, a comfy double bed, and an ensuite bathroom adjacent to the bedroom with a cute little wooden window with shutters you could open so you could shower and take in the view.
On our final morning, with snow falling outside and as we breakfasted from the ample buffet in the Cucina dining room, the perky staff fuelling us with delicious coffee… we vowed to return. Portetta at Courchevel 1650 – it’s a top spot.
Ted was hosted by Portetta hotel, where rooms for the 2023/24 season start from 300 euros (£257). Visit www.portetta.com.
PROS: Cosy lounge that feels ‘five star’, superb bar, perky staff, good food in a richly upholstered restaurant, great location, room prices that are a bargain for Courchevel.
CONS: Bedroom didn’t quite match the public guest spaces for luxury.
Rating out of five: ****
For more on Courchevel visit courchevel.com/en.
There is now a Eurostar Snow train, departing every Saturday from London St Pancras throughout winter. This serves Chambery, Albertville, Moutiers (for Courchevel), Salins, Brides-Les-Bains, Aime-la-Plagne and Bourg-Saint-Maurice.
Tickets are on sale for travel between 16 December 2023 and 4 February 2024.
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