Luxury Explorer Review

5-Star Hotel Review

Hotel Mont Blanc

France

5-star views in the heart of Chamonix

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Hotel Mont Blanc

Location

Nestled in the heart of Chamonix, close to the town centre and a short walk from the Aiguille du Midi cable car.

Travel Information

1.5hrs from Geneva International Airport by car with TER and TGV connections to Chamonix Mont Blanc station.

Top Tips

Go in winter for the skiing, go in Spring for the flowers, go in Summer for hiking and go again in Autumn to see the leaves turn!

5-Star X-Factors

Open your shutters to mesmerising views of Mont Blanc

Where reality surpasses the imagination…

Situated in the centre of the bustling alpine market town of Chamonix, the Hotel Mont Blanc has been a favourite amongst those in the know since the mid-19th Century. This is a striking white building with powder blue shutters that open to stunning views of Europe’s highest peak.  

Chamonix is an easy one-and-a-bit-hour drive from Geneva airport and the final approach into the Chamonix valley is always uniquely spectacular. The sheer, towering walls of granite, ice, and snow are breath-taking and humbling and are a worthy hors d'oeuvre to the experience awaiting on arrival.

As a part-time resident of Chamonix I know the town very well and have visited Hotel Mont Blanc many times before, but this time is different.  Newly renovated by the renowned interior designer, Sybille de Margerie, the elegant foyer is uncluttered.  Chic design combines classical and contemporary with oversize black & white marble floor tiles, moulded ceilings and doorways and a chandelier which gives the illusion of floating chainmail.

Architecturally reminiscent of neoclassicism and the beaux-arts, the grand ornate staircase, bejewelled with wrought iron orchids, winds up five additional floors with glass baubles cascading down as a focal point.  The library and bar are furnished with subtle textures and colours, enhanced by the natural light which streams through the large windows throughout the seasons.  

'My' Junior Suite Mont Blanc is a welcome sight.  The entry hallway cleverly combines wardrobe space with a bar.  Separating the bedroom-lounge from the bathroom is a well-appointed dressing area, including a marble mosaic tiled sauna and shower.  A double sink and large bath are dotted with Clarins amenities.

The bedroom-lounge is a beautiful space flooded with sunlight, with double-aspect French doors, each opening onto a small balcony with views of the Mont Blanc massif, in all its glory. It takes my breath away.  For a few brief days, I relish the thought of possessing this spectacular view. Back inside an oak panelled alcove is embellished with motifs featured throughout the hotel. It creates a perfect niche for the large, sumptuous king-size bed. 

A year-round town for skiing, hiking and more

Hotel Mont Blanc looks on to the Place du Triangle de l’Amitie, which is surrounded by buildings of diverse architectural heritage and style.  Nearby, the bell from the Eglise Saint Michel church, originally built in the 12th century and rebuilt in the 18th century, strikes one o’clock.  Conveniently situated next door is the tourist office, and further along are cafés, patisseries and the Mairie. This town hall was built in the mid-19th century, at a time when the Savoy region was part of the Kingdom of Sardinia and provides a unique example of Sardo-Savoire neo-classicism.

Hotel Mont Blanc is a hub for the discerning traveller in search of the extremes: luxury and adventure.  Well-heeled Victorian travellers first graced this small alpine village, in search of thrilling mountain escapades and the tradition continues today in many guises.  Let’s not forget that full on adrenalin is not the only way to enjoy this extraordinary resort town. Discover snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and gentle walks along the valley floor as well as strolls along the River Arve or, hike through the forest of Le Bois in Le Praz.

White Powder Days

It’s hard to describe the feeling watching soft snow flakes falling silently outside, or hearing the muffled sounds of snow under foot in the crispness of the evening mountain air.  Every skier is a morning person on a powder day, as they say, and the excitement of laying fresh ski tracks beckons me out of bed at an unusually early hour. 

The hotel staff are friendly, experienced, and keen to help their guests hit the slopes. Thanks to the hotel shuttle, I am quickly on my way to the famous Les Grande Montets.  Chamonix ski resort is a loose term to describe the narrow valley, approximately 17 km long, served by at least 5 ski areas situated on its north and south sides.  Sitting in France on the borders of Switzerland and Italy and in the shadow of Europe’s highest peak, Mont Blanc, Chamonix's reputation for extreme skiing is legendary but, in fact, the valley caters to all levels of winter sports.  Travelling to the various ski area dotted along the valley adds a layer of complexity and planning but what you receive in return is a diverse range of skiable terrain, including wide, tree-lined pisted runs, glacier fields at high attitude, extreme freeriding mountain terrain, as well as snow parks.

Chamonix holds many crowns, including host to the first Winter Olympics in 1924, the free-riding capital of the world and the famous 20km Vallee Blanche glacier ski route.  For me, I can’t wait to make my own tracks down the face of the Grandes Montets.  Two sections of the cable car system, Lognan cable car reaching a height of 1972m and Grandes Montets cable car (aka the ‘Top-Top’) reaching 3,275m, link Argentiere to the top of this expansive ski area.  (At the height of the busy winter season booking the second section of this cable car is strongly recommended.  An on-line booking system is available.)  

With over 170km of pisted runs, Chamonix is not just for the extreme skier.  There are safe, dedicated areas for beginners, such as Le Savoy, near the town centre below the Brevent, and La Vormaine in Le Tour.  Loads of fun, family skiing can be found in Les Houches, Le Tour and the slopes of Vallocine, which is further up towards the Swiss border and linked by cable car to Le Tour.  Les Houches is also a perfect choice when bad weather sets in, thanks to its tree-lined pistes.  For unrivalled, panoramic views of the Mont Blanc massif, the south-facing runs of Brevent and Flegere, linked by a suspended gondola, are perfect for intermediate skiers.

Glacier Views – for days when you hang up your skies

From the centre of town, I catch the Montenvers train, a famous rack and pinion railway built in 1908, which winds up above the valley floor through lush forest. I arrive at Le Montenvers viewpoint and railway station, overlooking the legendary la Mer de Glace (or ‘Sea of Ice’) glacier, which has drawn climbers and mountaineers from around the world since the 1800s.  This imposing river of ice meanders along the valley with its deep crevasses and seracs, moving 90m/year or about 1 cm/hour. At first glance, it’s hard to appreciate the scale and size of this frozen mass until you see ant-size alpinists scaling a nearby peak and you gain a sense of perspective that is difficult to process initially. 

On arrival at the Mer de Glace railway station, I descend by cable car to the glacier, giving me a unique opportunity to see the blue ice up close.   Each year, an ice grotto is re-sculpted at the heart of the glacier, complete with ice sculptures and atmospheric lighting.  Feeling energetic, I decide to walk up to the Montenvers Railway station via 430 steps! Before returning to Chamonix town, I stop for a much-deserved aperitif at the historic and newly refurbished Grand Hotel du Montenvers, built for intrepid mountaineers in 1880.  Sitting on the terrace overlooking the panoramic views of Les Drus and the Grandes Jurasses, I can see and appreciate the mountains from an entirely different perspective.  Gentle, they are not, but these jagged peaks have the power to stir emotion and fascination, no matter the season, weather or time of day. 

Back at Hotel Mont Blanc

Back at Hotel Mont Blanc, I pamper myself in the Spa by Clarins and chill in the relaxation room and a sauna.  Anticipating a fun night out in Chamonix, I finish off with a Nordic shower, complete with a deluge wooden bucket and pull chain, to cool off after my sauna. A refreshing re-charge for the night ahead and diner in "Le Matafan" restaurant, where Chef Mickey Bourdillat offers a seasonal culinary journey through the Alps.

For the committed shoppers the town has a multitude of shops out of proportion to its size and population.  High-end shops, like Chanel and Montcler, are mixed with home interiors shops, like Arpin, specialising in chic mountain styles.  World famous sporting brand flagships are in abundance here, such as Peak Performance, POC, Arcteryx, Salomon, Norrona, Northface, Ripcurl and Quicksilver, to name but a few.  And not surprisingly, Chamonix is a shoppers’ paradise for those adventure lovers who like buying roughty-toughty mountaineer kit.  You can find anything from fur lined ski jackets that would not look out of place on the catwalk to hard-core mountaineering equipment and everything in between.

All year round there is a hive of activity at the doorstep of Hotel Mont Blanc.  The bars and restaurants are buzzing.  Après ski in winter and twilight alfresco drinks in summer add to the lively atmosphere of Chamonix village life. For me, another adventure awaits tomorrow, and tomorrow… and tomorrow.  I plan to take to the skies for a birds-eye-view of the ‘landscape of the sublime’ – paragliding! In Chamonix, expect the unexpected. 

Kelly Hail
Kelly Hail


Luxury Explorer
Luxury Explorer