Actually, if the truth be known, we think St-Luc, on the other side of the valley, is a nicer place to stay: it’s bigger, even prettier, and gets more sun. What’s more, it’s home to one of our favourite hotels in all the Alps – the Bella Tola. But that said, the skiing in St-Luc isn’t nearly as good as it is in Grimentz – and if you’re planning to do anything more than sit in a heap reading novels, Grimentz is the place to be.
The village of Grimentz has cobbled streets so narrow that in some places the chalet roofs almost touch each other across the road. But most of the rental accommodation is in the less attractive outer part of the village. Bear in mind that there are an awful lot of second homes here, many of which are available to rent from local agencies such as Grimentz Location. Some are slick and modern, others rather more dated, and considerably cheaper as a result. In mid-January you can find self-catering chalets in the middle of the village for a relatively modest price – for Switzerland. The Grimentz tourist office has a list of agencies.
For quick access to the lifts, Hotel Alpina is the place to be – on the short stretch of road that connects the old village with the lift station. It is just 30m from the telecabine and was recently refurbished. It now features flat-screen TVs in the 32 bedrooms and fancy taps in the bathrooms – although one visitor complained about the quality of some of the new furniture. The food is regularly praised. Because it has so little competition in the village, this place books up early.
Hotel Moiry is a cute but fairly basic two-star guesthouse, located at the bottom of the village, with a great reputation for its food. It’s a bit of a hike from here up to the lifts – having your own car would be really useful and would allow you to commute at will to the other ski areas, as well.
The skiing hub of the Val d’Anniviers
Four-star Bella Tola is elegant, urbane and yet just a little bit rustic too, it’s one of those places that engenders immediate hotel envy – if you are staying anywhere else. It was built in 1883, on the foundations of a Roman villa, and the current owners have decorated it completely in keeping with its history. It’s on the wrong side of the valley: St-Luc’s own ski area suffers mightily from the sun. But if you don’t plan to ski hard, and you’ve got the budget, this is the place to stay.
Tour operator, Mountain Heaven has chalets in the resort, including a four-bedroom catered one called Cole Ridge, on the edge of the piste. Chalet Etoile is an attractive Grimentz chalet with seven bedrooms. It was built in the 1960s, so it’s not one of the ancient blackened buildings – but it’s still pretty nice.