This piece was originally posted on HOUSE by House & Garden.
Looking for the perfect ski resort? Sienna Rodgers recommends a trip to Samoëns, a small Alpine village in the Haute-Savoie region of France
Conveniently located in the centre of the picturesque village of Samoëns, Villa Rose is a boutique hotel of just four rooms and one suite. While service in France can be wanting, the hotel’s anglophone staff are enormously helpful and friendly. Texan owner Kimberly Williamson has hand-picked the décor of the bedrooms, which are largely monochrome and feature striped and Damask wallpaper, black modern furniture and watermelon pink accents. The design eschews the classic chalet-style interiors that one might expect in the Alps, appearing only in the living area where authentic touches include traditional wood panelling and floors stained with bespoke paintings by a local artist.
Samoëns, part of the Grand Massif ski area, is an ideal skiing resort for families with young children thanks to its proximity to nursery slopes, toddler-friendly lifts and easy runs. More difficult ‘pistes‘ are plentiful further up the mountain. A six-day ski pass costs €237 (£178). This year, the season ends 17 April.
If snow is thin on the ground during your visit, as it was on ours, walking is a great alternative to the slopes. Samoëns has been awarded the ‘ville fleurie‘ label. The Jaÿsinia botanical garden, which covers over three acres, offers exquisite, all-encompassing views of the village enveloped by snow-topped mountains. Thousands of alpine flowers are conserved and carefully labelled. It is free and open all year round, although of course, being France, the garden closes for lunch.
From bubbling fondue and melting raclette to the indulgent tartiflette, cheese constitutes a major part of the Alpine diet. We enjoyed simple but perfect open sandwiches at Les Tartines de Martine and a wonderfully uncomplicated hunk of raclette cheese with buttery boiled potatoes and a well-dressed salade verte at the little Gourmandises de Marierestaurant. On Wednesday mornings, a market is held where stall holders offer locally produced meat and dairy including Reblochon cheese.
The village is full of shops selling bric-a-brac. The ‘quincaillerie‘ (hardware shop) Granger Deco sells alpine-style oiled tablecloths, chalet-inspired homeware, raclette and fondue sets, plus practical objects such as enormous snow shovels. Throughout Samoëns, you can buy any skiwear – slim fit anoraks, brightly coloured fleeces, helmets, moon boots – that you may have forgotten to pack.
WAYS AND MEANS
Sienna Rodgers stayed as a guest of Villa Rose. A room starts at €310 (£232) in winter, B&B, based on two people sharing and €275 (£206) in summer. A week’s hire of the entire villa starts at €8,400 (£6,282), fully catered, accommodating twelve people. For more information about the village, visit samoens.com.