My (Adam Honey) first visit to Chamonix was in 1995 and I moved here in 2001 and set up the Chamonix Chalets business. We operated a wonderful alpine Chalet (La Ferme du Tour) at the foot of the slopes and Chalet Anemone (in the heart of Chamonix village) for 5 years including catering, airport transfers and my own daily look in with the guests to check that my professional chefs were cooking up a storm. I loved those days and created hundreds of holidays for families and groups of friends. Many stories to tell….
Chamonix is well known for a wide variety of catered and self-catered chalets. Back in the 1990’s the first independent chalet owners started offering catered chalet holidays. Often they would be couples pioneering a change from city life or a career break and dedicated themselves to creating Chamonix holidays which embodied the warmth and welcome of the “home away from home” feel.
If you wanted to plan a chalet based vacation, without the tiresome need to shop, cook and clean these original chalet owners provided just such an opportunity. At the peak of the phenomenal success of these holidays there were over 200 hundred catered chalets available covering the range of basic cooking through to high end gourmet cuisine.
The owners and businesses that offered these holiday packages often included airport and local transfer services, daily housekeeping, concierge and hotel style turn down services. The market proliferated as did the incredible service offered by mainly willing ski seasonaires who were prepared to work extremely hard to get some precious mountain time and first tracks.
The chalets were often private dwellings and weren’t kept up to date with local fire, safety, food hygiene and tourism regulations and eventually the authorities moved to improve regulatory and tax compliance. This has had a dramatic impact on the market and nowadays there are just a few dozen chalets available in Chamonix that offer catering as an option or as part of an included ski holiday package.
There are still a few old timers left who have been operating chalets for 30 or more years including Tim and Gaby who have two lovely chalets in Les Houches which they have lovingly restored and a few others including Colleen who has the beautiful traditional Chalet Carmel just outside Chamonix village.
Chamonix Chalets grew out of this love of delivering great service, warm hospitality and really terrific food and wine. Some of my guests came back year after year and still book their annual Chamonix ski trip with me knowing that as a business we always keep the guests first in mind.
Catering has evolved over the last two decades in response to the needs of guests. With the rise in vegan and vegetarianism, food allergies and intolerances, the role of the chalet chef has become ever more important and professional. The chalets we recommend tend now to be the best luxury chalets in the valley and some display the skills of world renowned chefs.
That is not to say you can’t find more or less home cooking in some chalets too, but if you are looking for a catered chalet for high season weeks, please try to book half term holidays and new year at least 6 months in advance. In summer, especially during July and August there is not that much choice either, so early planning is advisable.
All is not lost though if you miss out on the normally catered chalets. Most of the time we can help you source local chefs to shop, cook and clean for you and who can embed themselves at your self-catered chalet rental just for the duration of your Chamonix ski holiday. This is one of the advantages of using a small, local company like Chamonix Chalets. Our breadth of knowledge of good chalets, staff, operators and suppliers mean that you have the complete freedom to choose the holiday you want to plan.
If catered chalet is what you are looking for, we are here to help, every step, slide, turn or jump along the way.
We love the mountains and were taught to share…
Adam & the team
+44 (0) 845 460 0606