705 Route du Chapeau
Tel: 33 4 50 54 03 76
This four-star hotel in the hamlet of Le Lavancher, between Chamonix and Argentière, has 23 wood-clad rooms decorated in chalet style, each with a balcony. They come in three types: the Balme rooms have views of the Argentière Valley, the Aiguilles look out onto the distinctive Aiguilles Rouges peaks, but best are the Balneo rooms, which are more spacious and have bathrooms with hot tubs. Chalet Emmanuelle is a separate quaint building that sleeps six in three bedrooms. It has its own private garden and full access to all hotel facilities. The hotel's Rosebud restaurant serves regional, classic, and "world" dishes, ranging from freshwater Lake Leman crayfish in tomato confit to king prawns in Chinese spices, crunchy veg and beetroot millefeuille.
Open early June through early May.
74 Promenade des Sonnailles
Tel: 33 4 50 90 96 56
The Clubhouse is a boutique hotel in an Art Deco mansion that was given a $1.5 million refurb in 2005. It has seven stylish rooms with accommodation for up to 20 guests, a bar and restaurant, spa, and a clubhouse lounge (linked to private member's club Milk & Honey in New York and London). The idea was to create a hotel with rooms to suit all pockets. At the top of the range is the Myla Suite, which has a custom-made nine-foot bed, double shower, and great views to Mont Blanc. At the other end of the price scale is the Bunkhouse, a luxury dorm for six people. All rooms have Frette linen, teak-decked rainforest showers, flat-screen TVs and DVD players. Breakfast and dinner are included in the price. Bookings are for stays of three or four nights or for whole weeks only.
Open mid-December through September.
89 Rue du Docteur Paccard
Tel: 33 4 50 55 37 80
The Grand was built in 1840 and is located right in the centre of town, convenient for both the Aiguille du Midi cable car and the restaurants and nightlife. A 2004 renovation gave each of the 30 rooms and three suites a tasteful makeover (all have wood-paneled walls, traditional wallpaper and upholstery, and marble bathrooms). The relaxation center has a swimming pool with a wave machine, hot tub, steam room, and massage rooms.
Open mid-December through mid-April and early June through late September.
79 Avenue du Mont-Blanc
Tel: 33 4 50 53 47 77
Despite the soulless, contemporary architecture, the 136 rooms at this huge hotel are spacious and comfortable. Most have balconies and all have stunning views of either Mont Blanc or Mont Brévent. The airy, seventh-floor restaurant serves traditional French cuisine, and there's live entertainment in the lounge each evening. Families with kids will appreciate the "mini-club"—sneak away to the slopes while the friendly staff amuses your darlings with sleighing, dancing, and handicrafts. A free hotel shuttle whisks guests to the ski areas.
Open December through April and June through August.
81 Rue Vallot
Tel: 33 4 50 53 00 11
This 35-room, alpine-style inn, conveniently situated in the heart of town, is Chamonix's oldest hotel (established circa 1793). It has a white stucco exterior and modest, pleasant rooms with good-sized bathrooms (in one, there's even a view of Mont Blanc from the tub). Be sure to request a room in the new building for more space and the convenience of an elevator. The excellent restaurant, La Brasserie de L'M, serves reasonably priced Savoyard specialties. The hotel shuttle bus can take you to the slopes in the morning.
Open mid-June through April.
62 Allée du Majestic
Tel: 33 4 50 53 05 64
Since 1878, this 40-room Belle Époque hotel in the center of town has welcomed the rich and famous. Guests enter a sumptuous lobby with period furnishings (there's also a sitting room/library) before retiring to the spacious, elegant bedrooms. Most have French doors that open onto private balconies perfect for enjoying views of Mont Blanc or Mont Brévent. The restaurant, Le Matafan, offers modern French cuisine at tables arranged around a pentagonal stone fireplace. In summer, you can lunch in the garden.
Open December through September.
149 Allée du Recteur Payot
Tel: 33 4 50 53 20 72
This large hotel has 91 generously sized rooms with ubiquitous chalet-style design—lots of warm pine and cheerful fabrics. All have balconies that look out on the Mont Blanc massif. The piano lounge has an après-ski-appropriate fireplace, and the La Baïta restaurant serves hearty four-course dinners and an acceptable breakfast buffet. Situated near the village center, the hotel is a five-minute walk from the "Chambus" bus stop and just down the road from the Aiguille du Midi cable car.
Open mid-December through mid-October.
69 Chemin de L'Hermine
Tel: 33 4 50 53 33 51
The Bois Prin describes itself as a mountain inn, albeit a very smart one with a good restaurant (try the rack of wild boar with cocoa sauce, apples and bilberries), sauna and hot tub. The 10 spacious rooms and suites each sleep up to four people and most have a private terrace with views of Mont Blanc. The décor perfectly pairs old and new, with wooden walls and ceilings, antique furniture, and rich natural fabrics.
Open early December through early May and late May through early November.
718 Route du Chapeau
Tel: 33 6 07 23 17 26
This collection of exquisite wood-and-stone mazots (ancient barns) has been converted into 10 chalets—the smallest can accommodate one person, the largest sleeps 20 adults and six kids. The hamlet is the life's work of a retired French film producer and is located in the tiny enclave of Le Lavancher between Chamonix and Argentière. You can ski back here off-piste down La Pendant from Les Grands Montets. The old buildings have been beautifully restored and are furnished with eclectic alpine antiques and local paintings. Flannel bed sheets add to the rural atmosphere, although Hermès toiletries in the bathrooms, a steam room, two outside hot tubs, and a home cinema soften the initial impression that you have inadvertently stumbled across the alpine hut of Heidi's grandfather. You can have meals delivered to your chalet or the resident chef will cook for parties of up to 12 in the 17th-century dining chalet.