I'd like to tell you about one of those special weekends that I'll remember for a long time. You know, when the stars align and all is right with the world and you feel special and cared for. This weekend was courtesy of the White Valley Co and their beautiful chalets in Morzine. It's important to remember these special times I think, because all too quickly we can get immersed in every day life, hustle and work. For me, this is about managing to forget about the number of chores to be done and huge amounts work mounting up. Winternational is a small business and as such, from October to the end of March every day is like a sprint and I work seven days a week most of the time and never take a whole day off.
Early last December I was whisked away by the White Valley Co to spend a weekend in Morzine at one of the luxury chalets they run and own. The White Valley Co was set up several years ago by Nancy and Andrew. As they designed and built their own large but intimate chalet called the White Valley Lodge and they realised they had a gem of an idea. Their first ski season running a luxury chalet business was a success, albeit with a lot of hard work. Quickly neighbours asked them to run their chalets too and the business developed over several years offering unrivalled cuisine, decor and luxury chalet experiences.
A wonderful concierge in the UK helps you to put together your perfect trip, From this first point of contact, I felt cared for and safe in the knowledge that my holiday would be wonderful.
Landing in Geneva, it was so easy to find my driver. "Look out for the sombrero" they said and I did. A fab drive courtesy of a fab driver (in a sombrero!) and soon we were in Morzine and unloading at the chalet.
I was awestruck. Every detail was perfect. From the snow covered deer statue outside, to the welcoming staff inside. Scented candles were lit, lanterns flickered and there was the most wonderful glow from the fire. Gradually more members of staff appeared with tea and cakes and calmly introduced themselves. No brash meet the team ceremonies here. Instead warm people quietly introduced themselves and started helping and making you feel relaxed and valued. If I am making this sound solemn and no fun at all, this is not the case. The staff were light hearted and warm and there were plenty of jokes and silly moments among guests and staff alike over the weekend. As we were shown around the main chalet, we all realised we were somewhere very special indeed. The aesthetics were so pleasing that every room was a delight. Andrew and Nancy have mainly chosen soft muted colours that work well in every light and work with the wood and glass structure of the chalet.
Nancy told me that each year she makes changes to the chalet. New for this year was a gin bar, amongst other things. I wanted to to take everything in the chalet home with me, from the gorgeous soft bedding (check the humungous thread count), to the soaps in the bathrooms, to the lanterns and artworks dotted around. There were so many beautiful decorative touches. Even the board games were on point.
A ski and boot concierge service was arranged for us guests. Now we've all had this before right, or heard about it but no, not like this. The care and attention on me and my feet, boots and skiing style was so intense. After this I would ski like a pro (in my dreams!). For those who wanted, there were snow shoes and sledges to try too. Am I making you interested yet? I'm hoping I had you ages ago actually!
The food and wine at the White Valley Co is almost unspeakably good. But not quite, as I am going to try. The chef Steven and his partner were so focused. Ingredients are sourced locally where possible and served to Michelin standards. Every meal was a delight, from afternoon tea, to the canapes which are served for you, not plonked. The wonderful individual ravioli (or is that a raviolo?) starter was a complete delight. They make their own sausages, and smoke meats nearby in the chalet grounds. I can honestly say I have never eaten so well whilst on a ski holiday. We were treated to amazing fine wines (Andrew and Steven are both real experts) and desserts. For someone with a sweet tooth this was heaven. But even if you have a savoury tooth (is that even a thing?) you'll be happy here.
Spa treatments can be arranged for you in the chalet. I experienced the most wonderful facial from Carrie who runs Little Mountain Spa. One of the other guests had a massage and drifted off to sleep. Carrie offers treatments in Morzine too but because of the close relationship she has with the White Valley Co she will come directly to the chalet. I was warm and cosy and very relaxed having this treatment in the chalet. It was lovely afterwards to be able to slink back to my room and relax even more. There are plenty of other therapies available. For example, it's even possible to have sports massages and injury support should the worst happen.
As a special treat our group had in chalet pilates sessions in the mornings prior to breakfast and skiing. If this all sounds a bit too earnest, it wasn't at all. The Pilates instructor has the calmest voice and manner. What better way to start the skiing day with easing and stretching of hard-worked muscles.
One morning the group went out for a long walk around the outskirts of rural Morzine. It was an overwhelmingly beautiful and peaceful experience. Far away from people, ski lifts and any sound whatsoever except the gentle trickling of the river and the crunch of our footsteps in the snow. This was an acute reminder of how important it can be to step outside normal life and even your normal holiday where we race to ski, play games, laugh and chat. Holidays, like fashion, can be slow. Taking moments to to treasure peace and leisure. Enjoying each piece of your skiing wardrobe as a special friend that helps you feel and look good on the slopes and everywhere you go in winter time.
Morzine itself was a great place to ski. We had a mix of bluebird and pisted to powder to cater for all tastes. Some of the staff will ski with you too if you like. It's a great way to get to know your hosts better. They really know their way around mountains and can advise on when and where to hit the slopes to maximise your skiing, the weather and snow conditions. I'd love to come back to continue exploring as I heard of a wonderful long run that ends up at an amazing restaurant. There was the lovely town to explore, full of opportunities to shop and eat and drink, even a cinema and a spa.
Can it be that we didn't have time to sample the chalet's jacuzzi, sauna and cold plunge pool? Oh well Nancy and Andrew, I'll have to come back another time! Reading the testimonials on the White Valley Co website you can be assured that many others feel as I do about this special place and the special team of people who run it. Some things are worth saving up for.