Chamonix offers the full spectrum, from youth hostels to five-star hotels, plus a wide choice of catered chalets and self-catering apartments in between. Just remember to pay close attention to the location before you book.
This is a long valley – you don’t want to end up in the wrong place
If it’s nightlife you’re after, then you need to be in Chamonix itself. This is where the cable-car for the Aiguille du Midi leaves from, too, so if the Vallee Blanche is your focus, you might want to stay here, too. More expert off-pisters are usually happiest in Argentiere – as close to the lift up the Grands Montets as possible.
The village of Les Houches often bills itself as part of Chamonix, but in many ways it’s a separate resort (and a much better place to stay if you’re skiing with children).
Plenty of ski apartments to choose from
If you’re on a tight budget – or prefer to spend money on a mountain guide, rather than posh accommodation – then the Maeva Residence la Riviere makes a lot of sense. It’s south of the town centre – but still within walking distance of both the nightlife, and the Aiguille du Midi cable car. Its small apartments were recently refurbished, and generally the feedback is good – although you mustn’t expect the Ritz. Staying here with a car makes lots of sense – so you can day-trip up and down the valley.
A little more expensive are Les Balcons du Savoy which are almost ski-in, ski-out, at bottom of the lifts to the Brevent sector. Meanwhile, the Pierre & Vacances Premium Chamonix La Ginabelle is a development of self-catering apartments next door to Chamonix’s railway station, close to the town centre. There’s a small swimming-pool and spa, and a car-park in the basement – which makes this a good base for anyone with their own transport who wants to day-trip up and down the valley, and maybe even visit Courmayeur. Decor is upmarket, and there’s free WiFi in the apartments – but don’t come expecting lots of space.
For a rather more eclectic choice of ski apartments, try the offering from Snostation apartments – which offers everything from basic studios to cool lofts.
Hotels and chalets in Chamonix centre
Chamonix is well-stocked with posh hotels and chalets – which is odd given how hard-core the skiing is here. Take for example the five-star Le Hameau Albert 1er – a stylish and atmospheric hotel owned by the Carrier brothers. Its gastronomic restaurant has two Michelin stars, and has some of the loveliest bedrooms in the Alps, courtesy of its rustic-chic (very chic) annex at the Farmhouse. But you can’t help wondering – how many of its well-heeled guests can do justice to Grands Montets?
Meanwhile, the four-star l’Auberge du Bois Prin, is another pampering place to stay with a highly-rated restaurant, serving locally-sourced produce, and a fine selection of Savoie wines. Up there, too, is Grand Hotel des Alpes, which is extremely comfortable (it’s the sister property of the lovely Breithorn in Champoluc, Italy). It features a “relaxation centre” with hot tub, wave swimming-pool and massage rooms.
Simpler, as well as lively and central, is Hotel Gustavia (“food is fantastic and the lively apres-ski bar is separated from the hotel by a sound-proof door,” says one reporter). The Swedish owners have created a modern hotel with a vibrant atmosphere. Park Hotel Suisse was r ated “superb” by reporters. The smart, panelled bedrooms have satellite TV. Although slightly dated, the centrally-located Hotel Richemond is “spotless, the staff are friendly and breakfasts very good,” says one recent visitor.
Le Vert Hotel is an affordable place with a growing reputation as the place to stay in Chamonix and the social hub for extreme sports.
For more of a home-from-home, stay in a chalet instead of a hotel. A good choice would be Villa Terrier, a grand old Chamonix house built in 1910 that still exudes an atmosphere of elegant opulence. The ulta-health-conscious can combine yoga and skiing at chalet Amazon Creek.
Staying outside Chamonix
Hotel le Dahu is in Argentiere and has simple rooms, but is warmly recommended by those who’ve stayed here. In the hamlet of Lavancher, Hotel Jeu de Paume is a romantic boutique hotel with an outstanding gourmet restaurant called Le Rosebud.