Located at the bottom of La Face piste – the former 1992 Olympic downhill run in Val d’Isere – Eagle’s Nest revolutionised the chalet holiday back in 2002 with the first ever indoor swimming-pool inside a private chalet.
This started a trend for the uber chalets – chalets so sublime that they were as good – or in some cases even better – than five-star boutique hotels. Other tour operators followed, some came and went, but Scott Dunn is still going strong.
The Nest, as it is known locally, sits in eyrie position in an exclusive little enclave above the resort, reachable either on foot or by car up a steeply spiralling indoor tunnel.
First impression on our visit all those years ago was of a wide open space with ancient oak beams, wooden floorboards, and a classic and cosy Alpine style. It took £5 (6.9€) million and the reclaimed timbers from 12 Bosnian barns to build Eagle’s Nest. The chalet is spread over four floors that are linked by lift.
Thirteen years on, The Nest has unveiled a new look following a €750,000 (£542,000) facelift. Major highlights include an open-plan living area, a new deck with hot tub, a bar with spectacular views, and a games room with table football. The bedrooms have all been redecorated with cosy velvet- and fur-textured curtains and upholstery.
The interior designer, Martine Parizot, numbers Le Chabichou, Rond Point des Pistes and Cheval Blanc hotels in Courchevel 1850 among her other renovations.
Why go: the views are unbeatable. The master bedroom has unrestricted views and is not overlooked. The living area, hot tub and swimming-pool have the same panoramic vistas.
Must-do: take a bath. On our last visit in 2002 we were amazed by the master bathroom with its tub overseen by a half-life-size 16th century Renaissance statue of the Madonna. We are pleased to report that she is still in residence, 13 years on.
Pack: swimming things to wallow in the only wood-panelled indoor swimming-pool, sauna and steam room we’ve ever come across. The pool itself is tiled, but it is completely surrounded by old wooden panels and beams so you feel like you are swimming inside an ancient barn.
Eat: there’s a culinary partnership with 2014 MasterChef Champion, Ping Coombes, who has designed an exclusive pan-Asian Malaysian menu here. We dined on a deliciously warming Malaysian laksa soup, and a fabulous chocolate lava cake complete with peanut brittle and black sesame ice cream. The pre-dinner canapés were to die for as well.
Ping has also created special children’s dishes for Scott Dunn’s private nanny service and for the Explorers kids club in Val d’Isere.
Ideal for: six sporty couples or a family who enjoys good food.
Getting there: seven nights at Eagle’s Nest costs from £1,575pp (2,183€) based on full occupancy and including return BA flights, airport transfers, private chef, host and in-resort driver service. Book with Scott Dunn.
No one could call this a cheap holiday, but it would make a lovely honeymoon retreat or would be ideal for a big birthday, anniversary, or just an extra-special holiday.
and Another Chalet…
Also in Val d’Isere, and best suited to families with active teenagers or groups of friends, is a chalet that goes beyond the imagination. Opened in 2014-15 and sleeping up to 14 in seven en-suite bedrooms, Chalet Husky is a rock star among chalets and epitomises everything that’s whacky in contemporary alpine design.
It houses an incredible games room, featuring a real rock climbing wall, an archery and rifle shooting range. A lovely wellness area is complete with a glass-sided swimming-pool (so you can watch your friends swimming from underneath) with rainbow lighting and a waterfall, sauna, whirlpool and massage rooms.
A vast open-plan living space spans the entire length of the chalet – from the dining and bar area at one end, over a glass walkway suspended above an indoor atrium garden, to the sitting area.
Quirky artefacts are scattered throughout the chalet, such as a sofa made entirely from a patchwork of cushions covered in denim jeans and another covered in a hand-painted fabric featuring The Beatles.
Seven nights at Chalet Husky costs from £1,675pp (2,322€) based on full occupancy, including return BA flights, resort transfers, in-resort driver service and a private chef and host. Book with Scott Dunn.
Also see Andrew Dunn’s feature, Clash of the Titans: Three Vallees vs Espace Killy.