Chamonix is known for its extreme skiing. But instead of whizzing down the dizzy heights of Aiguille des Grands Montets notorious 3295m drop, I enjoyed what I like to call extreme chalet-ing. Because I had the pleasure of staying at Chalet Amazon Creek, an abode so staggeringly luxurious, I don’t know why anybody who has the option of staying there would want to leave the cosy, under floor-heated confines of its beautiful timber clad walls.
The largest chalet of three, it’s ideal for groups and families, accommodating up to 10 guests at any one time in 5 elegantly arranged en suite bedrooms. Among the vast living areas you’ll find a ceiling-to-floor wine cellar, suede walled cinema, luxury spa – fully equipped with hamman steam room, sauna and jacuzzi. Plus, an outside wrap around terrace, complete with hot tub and never-ending infinity pool. Sprawling with custom-made furnishings, each space is finished with such finesse that even the boot room is to be marvelled at.
A a skiing novice, I was introduced to Rachel, a certified ski instructor from Scotland, who relocated to the French Alps 11 years ago. Two days learning alongside her expertise, patience and warm personality and it’s easy to see how she has acquired such a long and high profile list of clients.
It became apparent early on, somewhere between the 4th and 5th time Rachel obligingly dug me, and my ski’s (which regularly ejected themselves from my feet) out of the snow – that the two hour lesson I had embarked on in the UK prior to the trip, had not prepared me for what Chamonix had to offer. Unphased Rachel ran through several different techniques until we found one that resonated with me and off we went.
Between the precision timed manoeuvre that is getting on and getting off a chairlift, I couldn’t help but admire the 5 year old French children whizzing past me, taking the whole ordeal in their 3ft 5 stride. ‘Children are little sponges, they absorb everything’ Rachel quipped sensing my bewilderment. But we both knew the only thing I was going to be soaking up were piles of snow, which despite my sixty-five thousand layers found their way into my salopettes at every opportunity.
Soon after coyly navigating the first set of slopes with minimal fuss, my false sense of confidence waned when I found myself half way down a mountain begging to slide down the remainder of it on my bum. Alas, it was not allowed so I swallowed my crocodile tears, pulled up my socks up and before long we arrived at a small cabin café. Home to a toasty open fire, red gingham tablecloths, and copious amounts of hot chocolate, it was like stepping into a life-size gingerbread house and suddenly, life was good again.
Before we set off for round two we munched our way through croûte fromage. Chamonix’s signature dish of bread swimming in cheese and cream. A local delicacy for centuries, it dates back to a time when the local dairy farmers would make use of the only ingredients available to them, which included foraging in the forest for wild mushrooms to use as toppings. Whilst warming and utterly indulgent it fell short of the 4-course banquets we had become accustomed to each evening courtesy of chef Lisa at Chalet Amazon Creek. Succulent pumpkin ravioli, pan fried cod and honey roast lamb all graced the menu. As did a slither of chocolate delice so irresistibly moreish it momentarily silenced the entire dinner table.
And then there were the homemade afternoon bakes, which we arrived back to every tea-time. The trick was to slip off the slopes at precisely 4pm so there was enough time for a slice of cake and some serious chalet-ing before the others returned after wringing out every last ounce of daylight on the slopes. Whilst the rest of the group were defiantly venturing off piste with avalanche safety devices strapped to their chests, I took to idly floating about in the sunken indoor Jacuzzi watching snowflakes the size of scraps of paper sachet past the panoramic windows. Not to mention enjoying a fully body massage in the fully kitted out basement beauty studio.
If private chefs, one-to-one ski instructors and drop-in beauty therapists weren’t enough, Tim and Lisa from Amazon Creek (who pride themselves on their bespoke service), also coordinate and organise excursions such as snow shoeing – an afternoon spent happily waddling through the forest with the prospect of seeing Bambi at every bend and husky sledging – which is every bit as enchanting as you might expect.
The only thing they can’t guarantee is the weather but as luck would have it Chamonix received 50cm of fresh snow last night and the downpour is set to continue. Make the most of these amazing late season conditions with a 20% discount on any of Amazon Creek‘s three chalets in the Chamonix valley for the week of the 12th April. What are you waiting for?
Amazon Creek is approximately one hour from Geneva Airport, transfers are organised by the chalet. SWISS flights start from £58 from London (Geneva Economy Light) and from £99 for all-inclusive fares.
All-inclusive fares include: Free ski equipment transport, free baggage, inflight catering, SWISS service, airport taxes and fees, Miles & More Miles collection.
(*Free ski carriage is not applicable for travel on SWISS Geneva Economy Light fares).