L'Apogée Courchevel is a haven of cosy alpine luxury

 

Words: Will Moffitt

The Gucci gondolas work hard in Courchevel, ferrying passengers from dawn to dusk to the foot of the resort’s immaculately manicured pistes. Chic and branded, the resort has become a byword for an ultra-glamorous kind of skiing – Mayfair meets the mountains if you will.

Located in Les Trois Vallées, the largest connected ski area in the world, the resort has grown from earthy, egalitarian roots. Designed by architect and town planner Laurent Chappis it was conceived as a prototype post-war ski resort that would bring jobs and skiing to the masses. The completion of links across the three valleys (in 1973) and the resort’s hosting of Olympic ski jumping and other events in the 1992 Albertville Olympics further cemented its allure.

Fast forward to the present and it’s a playground for the well heeled; a snow-blessed domain of luxury hotels and Michelin-starred restaurants where billionaires come and go Succession-style: landing their private jets onto the resort’s altiport.

Located in Courchevel 1850, the resort’s highest and most exclusive enclave, L'Apogée Courchevel is the first and only alpine hotel in Oetker Collection’s star-studded portfolio. The 53-room mountain retreat is connected to the resorts' hard-skiing roots, built on the site of an old Olympic ski jump, and delivers sweeping views across the valley and an enviable ski-in ski-out location.

 

Above: skiing in the ultra-glamorous Courchevel resort which links to the three valleys, (c) Romain Reglade

Opened in 2013, it has won over scores of guests and meticulous hotel inspectors – it achieved French Palace distinction in 2019 – with its blend of alpine cosiness and first-rate service. On arrival you’ll find an uber friendly cadre of staff clad in signature maroon scarf and navy beret uniform to show you around.  

Parisian designers India Mahdavi and Joseph Dirand – an interesting pairing of queen of colour meets monochrome minimalist – have spoken about their vision for L’Apogée as a “mansion in the mountains”. It's a brief that requires a delicate balancing act that they seem to have nailed: the interiors are smart but not extravagant – Fior Di Bosco marble and slabs of finely sharpened stone run into rustic woods and comfy velvet furniture in rooms you could sit idly in for hours.

This sleek but cosy aesthetic runs throughout: my room features chequered navy carpets, lime green velvet curtains and a bed clad in a fur rug. The bathroom is more opulent: marbled with orb-shaped mirrors and an enormous bath tub for a long soak after a day out on the piste. Alternatively, you can loosen those limbs with a massage in the spa which has a range of treatments along with a blue mosaic pool, hammam and saunas.

 

Above: a bedroom suite at L'Apogée, Below: the rustic and cosy hotel bar, (c) Jean Michel Sordello

 

Guests seeking more lavish quarters might also look to the Penthouse Suite with a roof terrace hot tub or one of two exclusive five-bedroom chalets with a butler and private chef at their disposal.

In keeping with the hotel’s wider ethos, the food at L'Apogée is a mixture of hearty and high end – perhaps best exemplified by French restaurant Le Comptoir. Caviar and Brittany lobster feature in a menu that has not lost sight of alpine staples like onion soup and croziflette. Next door and fresh in for the season is flagship Italian restaurant Gennaro’s, where the delicate menus of La Palma’s executive chef, Michelin-starred Gennaro Esposito, are overseen by another Michelin-starred master, Mr Jean-Luc Lefrançois. 

Lefrançois’s palette-twisting linguine with blue lobster and sea urchins makes for a unique dish, while the saffron and citrus-infused risotto transports the taste buds to the island of Capri. Buttery Genovese tortellini with parmesan fondue and truffle and a house special of nduja and mozzarella pizza make Gennaro’s an unmissable, comforting feast.

When L'Apogée’s inimitable hospitality really comes into its own is post-breakfast. Equipped with a fully furnished ski room on the ground floor, cheery staff members are there to help get you suited and booted – none of that schlepping around town waiting for fittings or carrying skis. They even put on your boots for you – a luxury they politely insist on. 

Outside you’ll find your skis diligently laid out according to your room number, and from there you’re off: free to roam across Courchevel and the three valleys, scything through those sculpted mounds of white piste, safe in knowledge that L'Apogée and its brand of cosy luxury will be there to greet you after a day on the mountains.

oetkercollection.com/hotels/lapogee-courchevel

Below: Jean-Luc Lefrançois, executive chef at L'Apogée Courchevel, (c) Romain Reglade