The enchantment of France’s Courchevel has forever bewitched us mere mortals into a hypnotic trance, with its serenely glamorous, snow kingdom playground. Resting by its bordering neighbour of the equally bewitching Switzerland, Courchevel sits with unabashed poise amongst settings of dramatic alps, ungroomed avalanche runs, and endearing, fairy-tale Alpine villages.
This celestial destination has continued to satiate the ultra elite jet setters and their appetites for the more decadent things in life, submerging them into a nirvana of Michelin gastronomic delights, extravagant designer boutiques and luxuriously, unparalleled hotels and private chalets.
Making its festive, December 2021 debut in the picture postcard backdrop of Courchevel was the extraordinary luxury ski residence: Ultima, Courchevel Belvedere. This award-winning Arcadia sits with fetching serenity within the Ultima Collection’s grand portfolio, boasting an ever-flourishing presence gracing some of the most to-die-for destinations, from the yacht filled, Adriatic shores of Corfu, Greece, to the French aristocratic commune of Megeve, offering awe inspiring views of the formidable Mont Blanc.
I was invited for an enrapturing experience inside Ultima’s unparalleled vision of formidable, made to measure luxury in the café society resort haunt, synonymous with snow, skiing and sparkle. Here’s what I thought.
From the first step out of Geneva airport, the Ultima’s endearing chauffeur awaits to usher you into the elegant confinements of their sleek, jet-black vehicle or for the utmost, unabashed haut monde clientele, the decadence of a private jet or helicopter transfer.
A two-hour drive brings you to a quintessential Swiss chalet of solid pine tree wood, positioned on the Belvedere slopes amongst the snow-clad mountains and valley, and a slope stretch from Courchevel 1850 and La Rosière forest.
Following an extraordinaire welcome from the Ultima hosts, my heart chose to prevail in forevermore, skip a beat mode soaking up the glorious trappings of classic, wooden features with back and under lit lighting, timber walls and sloped roofs as a nod to the endorsement of true, alpine architecture. Also evident were ornate accessories of antique gold hanging features, unique art displays from Geneva’s Belle Art Galleries and deep, ruby red velvet seating all creating an ultra luxuriant, chalet/yacht infusion.
It was soon fated at full tilt, that months of gorging over multiple photos and video clips were to do little to brace me for the three enchanting nights in my not-so humble abode.
Thirteen epically proportioned chalets, housing four to five bedrooms and their own private lifts beckon your presence, interconnected on the north and south sides via the ground floor. Categorisation comes in three brackets, titled grand, prestige and signature, based on service requests, while equally maintaining those extravagant, Ultima hallmarked attributes be they private dining services, ski butlers or concierge at your beck and call 24/7.
My residence rested in the palatial habitat of the Prestige chalet, unashamedly claiming prime posture closest to the sunlight Belvédère slopes where a majestic, snow-blanketed kingdom encircled the property to be enjoyed on the chalet’s balcony.
Nothing bellows bucket list fantasy more than your own dashing suave butler, awaiting your appearance with a silver tray of flower topped welcome cocktails, before leading you into the living room to a lavish ‘light lunch’ of cold meat cuts, French cheeses, fresh bread and scrumptious pastry delights to be washed down with a bottle of Laurent-Perrier champagne.
Glossy book laden shelves, velvet seating, roaring fireplaces and fine, leather upholstered furnishings adorned the grandeur of the living room, as it bathed in natural sun-soaked rays radiating from the gleaming floor to ceiling windows.
A coffee teetotaller since birth, even I can understand the gravity of the sleek Nepresso machine awaiting inside the fully equipped, open plan Miele kitchen, although the sight of a resplendent premium tea collection and full brimming mini bar, certainly proved that little more pleasing to the eye, as did the malleable intricacy of the tumbling crystal chandelier by Baccarat, shimmering with full gusto over the immaculate, glass covered dining table.
All four bedrooms occupying the chalets come garnished with en-suite facilities. Unapologetically chic proves a befitting appraisal of the bathroom, clad in luminous Italian grey marble and a luxuriant walk-in rain shower, completed with the finishing deluxe touches of Bulgari minis and a fluffy bathrobe bearing the iconic Ultima seal.
Nothing, however, proved more enrapturing than my one-bedroom cocoon kitted out with a stylish walk-in wardrobe for those glittering glad-rags, back lit wood, leather upholstered features and luscious fur throws enveloping the soft as cloud two metre beds, Sleeping Beauty would would have nothing on me, spellbound curse and all.
All 13 private residences gain access to the guests only lobby bar and fine-dining restaurant to enjoy, should they wish a slice of the high resort lifestyle mingled with the opulent home from home ambience.
The centre stage lobby bar is designed to turn heads, draped in white leather, glamorous lighting and plush red seating where I delighted in a pre dinner champagne, followed by a bespoke VIP cocktail whipped up to my lightly sweet, and full fruity penchant by the infectiously energetic mixologist.
The dapper restaurant team took great pleasure hosting with upmost attentiveness in the refined, golden light bathed settings of the restaurant boasting an ever evolving, bon viveur menu showcasing fresh ingredients whilst mingling tradition with creativity.
Food is pure exquisite artistry at Ultima Courchevel Belvédère, with sublime sushi feasts topped with edible flowers and caviar rivalling the world’s most coveted Japanese Michelin bearers, or flavoursome risotto abundant with earthy notes of meaty mushrooms and black truffle shavings
Chalet dining proves an equally riveting and delicious treat, as meticulously curated menus are designed around your dietary whims courtesy of the top-drawer private chef’s brigade, completed with the cocktail theatrics of your own in-residence martini trolley.
Not many an activity can conquer a morning alarm of just out of the oven bread, croissants and freshly brewed coffee perfuming the air of your chalet sanctuary, as you tuck into a wholesome breakfast regale of fresh exotic fruits, fluffy sugar dusted pancakes and eggs cooked to your explicit liking, washed down with an array of natural fruit juices.
Some of many copious evening dining delights included mild flaky sea bream drizzled with a rich butter sauce, melt-in-the-mouth truffle-topped tomahawk steak served with golden, crisp potato fondant and, of course, a legendary fondue night of bubbling, silk-like melted cheese selections served with warm soft potatoes, and prime quality smoked charcuterie platters complemented with perfect wine pairings.
Ultima Courchevel Belvédère has earned a befitting status as one of the world’s most pioneering ski resorts, taking the adventure to new airy heights with their ski-in and ski-out chalet concept.
The affair offers some of the upmost first-rate runs, whether at the edge of Ultima for those cautious beginners or 600km beyond, stretching into the Narnian settings of Les 3 Vallees for those ski maestros before diving into an après bar afternoon of Rose magnums and DJ tunes at La Cave des Creux, watching the beaus and belles party as hard as they ski.
The otherwise tiresome experience is transformed into a harmonious one, as your chalet lifts swoosh you straight down, and into the cosy confinements of the boot room after a swift walk in a straight line. To have a bunch of chummy and rather pleasing to the eye ski butlers served as a real treat, as they swiftly kitted me out along with the helmet, poles, and skis at the ready to whoosh straight onto the run for an adrenaline-charged crusade on the slopes.
A full range of ski equipment are available to rent, while a ski shop situated in the north side houses Courchevel’s native atelier, Bernard Orcel, with their ultra-luxe ensemble collections available for the Ultima’s well-heeled clientele to purchase.
This French Alps ski resort offers a plethora of ritzy activities beyond the ski world, for which the concierge team will strive around the clock to fulfil your Winter whims. Husky sledging and wine tastings form part of made to measure itineraries, while the Ultima drivers await on hand to chauffeur you should you desire, the designer laden avenue of Courchevel 1850, followed by an exquisite, fine dining soirée at Courchevel’s only three-Michelin-starred restaurant, Le 1947 at Cheval Blanc.
Nestled in 350 square metres of towering snow-white orchids, Carrara white marble and glistening bronze is the south-side Ultima Spa, blending opulent wellness artistry with state-of-the-art aesthetic technology.
On hand lies a hammam and steam room, and a captivating tropical rain shower fitted with rainbow lights and sound effects to mimic a jungle like rainforest; not forgetting the entrancing, outdoor heated swimming pool. The spa’s glass door opened to a wondrous, snow sheathed mountainside realm as I swam out, submerged in 30 plus degrees of steam fuelled oscillating ripples from a sapphire blue, emerald green to amethyst purple.
The gold frosting of twinkling fairy lights on the chalet balconies shimmered ever more as the day creeped into the dusky hours, and I surrendered all inhibitions to lose myself floating amongst the sultry holistic ambience.
Neighbouring this elegant oasis is the beauty room, equipped with a multitude of treatment areas to relish in for the perfect post-ski antidote. For yours truly the order of the day was a one-hour purifying, deep tissue massage slathered with cutting edge Swiss Perfection oils for that heightened grandeur experience, before quenching my thirst with an organic fruit juice fresh from the detox bar to leave me refreshed and rejuvenated.
Also available for guests is fitness suite attired with the state-of-the-art Technogym gadgets to get your sweats on, while the North-side chalets boast a modest, yet equally alluring indoor pool doused in Saharan black marble, and a heated outdoor jacuzzi.
For all their impeccably groomed attires, glossy manes and chiselled model-esque looks, the Ultima team personifies the spirit of the brand’s revolutionary grandiosity interweaved with Courchevel’s high-brow pedigree stature; suave, charismatic, yet humble with a splash of vivacious sass that the mere term above and beyond is pure unjust.
Nothing proved too cumbersome from the butler preparing a crystal glass full of steaming hot chocolate or a cosmopolitan cocktail topped with a dollop of egg white (unexpectedly divine), to the turn down evening service placing feather supple foot pillows by the bed for your comfort.
Article Source: Luxury Lifestyle Magazine