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The best house party in the mountains

Ready for more partying after the Xmas season is over? How about heading for the Alps for the best party you can imagine?

Phew! Christmas is over, presents unwrapped, eating for two is a thing of the distant past and all of that partying is done…Uh, stop there. It’s ski season and you know what that means – the partying has only just begun! Forget putting your feet up with a box set of The Bodyguard and a mug of cocoa, it’s January and that means it’s time to book a holiday. Of course, Muddy is always the first to get that oh-so-exclusive invite to the very best in latest venue openings, new restaurants and trendiest hotels around the globe and this time we have been lucky enough to get a snoop around Chalet Fourmiliere – by our reckoning the home of the very best country house party in the Alps.

The chalet

Forget sleigh bells, cow skin rugs and wooden skis strapped to the ceiling, this is a chalet with a difference. Chalet Fourmiliere is a whole new concept in ski chalets – interior designed by the best of the best, it is more English country house than ski chalet, and has a real party atmosphere. This luxury boutique chalet in the heart of Morzine in the Portes du Soleil was originally an old farmhouse built in 1805, and is now a stunning contemporary home sleeping 12 guests in a haven of style. This gaff has been designed with real flair, perfectly blending original features with art, antiques and carefully chosen modern pieces. It’s definitely not your run-of-the-mill chalet – this place has been created specifically with house parties in mind. That’ll be us, then!

Think 3500 square feet of luxury, with stunning double height dining room, mezzanine library, cosy sitting room with open fire, plus a games room complete with pool table. 6 ensuite bedrooms are upstairs, with a relaxing therapy room too. Oh, and did I mention there’s a hot tub?

Now, I know I’ve been going on about partying (girls’ weekend or special birthday celebration, anyone?) but we reckon Chalet Fourmiliere is also a great place for a family holiday. With the special attention they give you it makes it easy to get Mudlets out on the slopes, and the chalet has plenty of games, books, toys, DVD’s, travel cots, high chairs – all the paraphernalia you’ll need. They will also organise the best ski instructors and childcare.

Perfumier

 

This is probably the only chalet in the Alps that has a scented ambience, and owners Alex and Tom have worked with renowned artisan fragrance house, The Perfumers Guild (established by Alex’s parents, no less, and, like her father, Alex is fascinated by the ancient art of mixing potions and perfumes) to bring their guests a range of luxury scented candles and signature toiletries infused with exclusive fragrance. They even offer a collection of signature fragrances which you get to wear during your stay. For something even more special, the founder of The Perfumers Guild, John Bailey, offers La Fourmiliere guests a ‘by appointment’ service and opportunity to commission their own bespoke fine fragrance, making your stay a truly unique experience. How cool is that?

 

 

Hosts with the mosts

 

A big mention must go to Tom and Alex’s bespoke service. Yes, we know that lots of high-end chalets offer a hosted service, with drivers to take you to the slopes, but they go above and beyond here – you’ll not only get the best of six-star hospitality but Tom and Alex throw in a full concierge service too. They know every nook and cranny of the resort – the very best restaurants, the most fun activities and the best clubs to apres-dance the night away.

 

Your lift passes will be waiting for you at the chalet so you can avoid the queues and head straight to the slopes on your first morning, ski and boot hire takes place in the chalet (enjoy drinks and canapés while you’re at it), they will take you to the lifts in their mini bus or Land Rover and pick you up when you are ready, will arrange ski guides, lessons and ski school for you, book tables for lunch at the best mountain restaurants and even arrange for physiotherapy and massages in the chalet to ease all those aches and pains away.

 

For foodies

 

They’re going to have to roll me out of here….cooked and continental breakfast, afternoon tea and cakes, pre dinner drinks and canapés, 4-course evening meal, house wines carefully chosen to compliment each menu, an all-day cookie jar, provisions for the slopes including snacks, chocolate and hip flask re-fills, and a full house bar with your favourite spirits. Plus, they have one of the best gin collections in the Alps. Shall I go on?

 

 

The resort

 

Having skied a few Christmases on grass (hay, even. That was an interesting experience) I was starting to think that many ski resorts aren’t worth skiing except for peak times. Tignes, Val Thorens, the bold-brash office blocks of Ishgl, even Whistler and Keystone, these were the only resorts that could guarantee snow, with their purpose-built smugness and tip-top prices and peaks well above 3000m. But I was wrong. Turns out, with the issue of climate change lurking in the background, more and more lower resorts are making snow from the water in local lakes or reservoirs and, ta da!, white everywhere! Even in Colorado, around 98% of resorts are reliant on what can be created by machines.

 

In fact, the top resort in Europe for keeping the slopes open  – and not purely by making snow, they also conserve the downfalls they have early in the season and manage the slopes carefully – is Portes du Soleil. Les Portes du Soleil encompasses thirteen resorts between Mont Blanc in France and Lake Geneva in Switzerland, primarily Avoriaz, Morzine and Les Gets, with a bumper bonus in that they are a mere 90 minute transfer from Geneva airport, so no long coach journeys up windy mountain roads with puking Mudlets. Plus, by making snow and keeping the runs open, we’re on for both early and late skiing, so you can get super-luxe winter hols without paying the prices of mid Feb. This means that the waaaaay less expensive weeks at the very beginning of the season (sometimes even Christmas week, depending when the big day itself falls) and all of April are serious contenders for a great week’s skiing.

 

We give Morzine a Muddy thumbs up for its 196 ski lifts, 286 runs, 600km of skiing and 30 snow parks and boarder cross, with boxes, tables, wall rides, big air jumps, raised bends, air bags and rails that riders of all levels will be more than happy with.

Non-skiers paradise

Ah, now we’re talking the fun stuff. No, I don’t mean dancing on the tables in ski boots with a bottle of schnapps in hand, although now you mention it…There are other ways to have a blast in Morzine. In fact, I’d totally come and stay at La Fourmiliere even as a non-skier. Stay indoors and enjoy a drink or three in front of a roaring fire, snow shoe through the woods, hang out in the hot tub or relax with a massage in the chalet treatment room.
Beyond the chalet, there is loads on offer to occupy the less keen skiers – from picture-postcard scenery to excellent restaurants both on and off the mountain. morzine-avoriaz.com has loads of cool things to do from biathlon (no, I’m not joking) to paragliding, speed riding, ski touring, heli-skiing, indoor and outdoor ice rinks, nordic walking, snowmobiling, swimming, ice diving (!) and night-sledging, which is truly awesome. Heard of ski Joëring? Nope, me neither but it involves a horse as well as skis and might be a lot of fun. With a lot of gin in my system first.
The Portes du Soleil’s high altitude music Festivals, Rock the Pistes and SnowBoxx, are growing massively in both popularity and headline acts, and Morzine also enjoys a higher than average number of days of sunshine a year, perfect for lazy afternoons lingering over lunch on the terrace. And the best news ever? Hot off the press is that La Folie Douce has just opened for the 2018/2019 season in Avoriaz. It’s party time!
 
Make it a weekend

So, you’d rather have a whole week here but time is of the essence? How about a short break instead? A 3-night stay means less time off work, less time for Granny to cope with the little cherubs and you can still get four full days skiing if you are clever with your timings. Chalet Fourmiliere is the perfect venue for smart, catered short breaks and, of course, house parties in the Alps with your besties.

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Ready to book? 

 

Right then, it’s powder days and goggle tans, and I’m gonna need a new ski jacket. Let’s get booking! Need any more convincing? Doubt it, my lovelies. Chalet Fourmiliere is available to rent as a whole chalet in peak weeks (anyone fancy Feb half term?), or you can book individual rooms in less busy weeks. Short breaks are available during the season too. Book now for the best party place in the mountains, and check out for yourself what Morzine has to offer.

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HOT OFF THE PRESS! Chalet Fourmiliere is offering free transfers to Geneva for all last minute January bookings and flexible dates in January. Breaks start at from €480 pp for 3 days, based on two sharing a room. Or fancy pushing the boat out? Get 10% off half term week for exclusive use of the entire chalet, 16 to 23 February. It’s pricey but worth it!

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Chalet Fourmiliere, 29 Chemin des Granges, 74110 Morzine, France, tel: 0044 (0) 7710 328 586, email hello@chaletfourmiliere.com, www.chaletfourmiliere.com

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