Lots of ski chalet operators boast these days about being full of home comforts.
If your idea of home comforts includes a visiting masseuse, a private chauffeur poised to take you where you wish day and evening, gourmet dinners preceded by champagne cocktails and delicate canapes every night, ski gear delivered to you (to avoid the horrible inconvenience of visiting a shop) and of course sublime snowy mountain views from the hot-tub on a wrap-around balcony – well, you have quite a home and, should you wish to sell, Rightmove or Zoopla could no doubt shift it for you within minutes.
The above was very much the profile of the luxurious mountain lair where we have been enjoying lazy, mostly sunny, late season days in the French resort of Morzine, in the Portes du Soleil ski area.
In many ways the standards reached in a chalet such as The Nest, run by a small company called Mountain Spaces, match the level of a five-star hotel.
But there is one major difference. At a five-star hotel we would have checked in at a polite and efficient reception desk. At The Nest, where we arrived very late one evening, we were greeted by people who gave the clear impression that the only factor preventing them from fully enjoying their holiday up to then had been our absence. The welcome, from other guests and chalet staff, could not have been warmer.
There was even a gourmet meal awaiting us at an outrageous time when a cup of cocoa and a reblochon sandwich was all we were realistically anticipating. Obviously, it spurred us to immediately unfriend a number of people from our Facebook account who have not been paying us sufficient attention lately and replace them with this jolly and convivial bunch who have helped make this ski trip very special. John, Lucy x 2, Sue and David, take a bow! And let me say here that even the boarders among them knew how to behave impeccably in the refined surroundings of The Nest.
The Portes du Soleil, that expansive ski area straddling the French-Swiss border and embracing a whole clutch of ski villages, of which Morzine is one, was plainly concerned that the combined delights of The Nest and the vast amount of skiing on offer would be insufficient to amuse us for a whole week and so kindly put on just for us a programme of big-name music gigs at various mountaintop venues, calling it Rock the Pistes.
Rag’n’Bone Man, the tattoed giant with a rich and soulful voice (named British Breakthrough Act at the 2017 Brit awards following his huge hit Human) and known to his mum and dad as Rory Graham, was excellent in a natural amphitheatre beside the top of the Stade lift at Avoriaz. And electro swing maestros Caravan Palace were quirky, catchy and captivating at Les Gets.
Basement Jaxx also performed at Avoriaz. UK garage duo Sweet Female Attitude (and I’m sure I don’t have to remind pop savvy MadDogSki readers of their big hit Flowers in 2000) were another attraction, as well as English DJs Jax Jones and Hannah Wants (who also, interestingly, used to play football for Aston Villa Ladies in the Women’s Premier League – and rest assured, the extra research involved in unearthing this nugget of information comes at no additional charge).
The gigs were very conveniently timed for at 1.30pm start – which meant plenty of time for a morning ski, a concert in the sun, and then back to the hedonistic haven that was our chalet for afternoon tea (with perhaps lemon drizzle cake or, on a particularly indulgent occasion, Malteser cookies) prepared by our ever-attentive hosts Sacha and Gaz (who went above and beyond the call of duty from the crack of dawn to late at night to meet our every whim).
The Nest is in the Montriond area of Morzine, and a few minutes from the Ardent telecabine (at least it is by private chauffeur, a little more for those unfortunates who have to tramp down the road to take the public skibus). The gondola takes you to the heart of the skiing, and very handy for connecting with either Avoriaz, to the right, or Chatel, to the left – all covered by a Portes du Soleil lift pass.
Mountain Spaces, run with energy, dedication and passion by British couple Chris and Kate Lawler, operate a number of other chalets in Morzine – mostly catered but also with two available for hire uncatered. But it’s difficult to imagine surviving the privations of fending for oneself after enjoying the unrivalled ministrations of Sacha and Gaz for a week.
Rob stayed at The Nest, one of the luxury chalets run in Morzine, Portes du Soleil by Mountain Spaces. Tel: 0033 (0) 970737529.
Ski gear was delivered and fitted at the chalet by All Mountain Rental, an ultra efficient mobile ski hire firm that has a fabulous range of the latest skis, boards and boots – you book online and they can meet you at your chalet within minutes of your arrival in the resort.
Transfers to and from Geneva Airport were by Skiidy Gonzales, who provide private and shared transfers between Geneva and many French resorts, including those in the Portes du Soleil ski area.