If we put together a list of our most requested elements for a ski holiday it might read like this: a mid price hotel with a spa, ski-in/ski-out access, a snow-sure resort, a large ski area, a short transfer and can we also make sure there’s lots of availability for short breaks as well? Until now it’s been tricky trying to tick all of those boxes, but the newly renovated Hotel des Dromonts in Avoriaz offers all that and more.
I was lucky enough to escape the office for a couple of days in December to check it out for myself. For the uninitiated, Avoriaz is in the centre of the massive Portes du Soleil ski area which spans a number of popular resorts in France and Switzerland. It’s just an hour and a half from Geneva Airport (less on a good day) and sits high on a plateau at 1800 metres. Avoriaz isn’t chocolate box pretty, but the timber clad 1960’s designed architecture is unique and quirky and has a charm all of its own, The traditional ‘tavallion’ (wooden tiles) that cover every building have a rustic charm that is a long way from the concrete you find at some of Avoriaz’s contemporaries. Added to this, the complete lack of traffic in this car free village means true peace and quiet. The only noise being the gentle sound of sleigh bells from the horse-drawn taxis.
Avoriaz has long been the go-to ski resort for clients looking for a wide range of self catering apartments and what’s been missing is a great hotel option for clients who want the high-altitude location but with hotel services and facilities. All that has changed with the refurbishment and re-opening of the Hotel des Dromonts
Upon our arrival at the welcome centre we loaded ourselves and our luggage onto horse drawn sleighs for the short ride to our hotel. The Hotel des Dromonts sits just below the resort centre and is conveniently located close to the ski school, the Village des Enfants and resort childcare. Around €12 gets you and your bags to the hotel via the furry equine taxi and it’s by far the most fun way to travel!
The Hotel des Dromonts was taken over by the Sibuet family in the summer and they spent a busy few months refurbishing the unloved rooms and breathing new life into the oldest building in Avoriaz (built 1967). Rather than fight with the 60’s architecture they embraced the style and I think they’ve done rather a good job. I must confess that prior to visiting I was a little apprehensive about the description, but it has been done very tastefully and now has the feel of an upmarket boutique hotel. The use of bespoke fabrics and textiles is a signature of the Sibuet brand and yet all of their hotels retain a character all of their own.
For those who want space over style the rooms may feel on the compact side, but the space has been designed thoughtfully and there are nice touches like USB ports by the bed for charging devices, wall mounted TVs with plenty of international channels, lots of in room storage, and great views from every room.
The spa is a kaleidoscope of colour and light and having visited many identikit spas in the Alps it was refreshing to find something different. Three rooms are available and provide some interesting treatments from the Pure Altitude Spa group, and there’s an outdoor hot-tub, sauna cabin and hammam for guests to use as well.
All good hotels need a good restaurant and this one has two! The bar serves up excellent lunches and dinners with things like fondue, burgers and stews: Hearty grub for refuelling ski legs – and it tasted fab! The artwork offers a fascinating history of Avoriaz through the years. Upstairs the Sibuets’ have introduced their successful ‘Les Enfants Terribles’ restaurant brand with a great menu offering classic and contemporary dishes. If you book half -board then you’ll be eating there and they have a daily changing 3 course menu.
One of the complaints I often have of hotels is a lack of decent seating in a public area. You don’t always want to feel obliged to buy a drink in the bar, and hotel has got it right with several comfy sofas, easy chairs and a cosy open fire in reception.
The re-born Hotel des Dromonts is already proving to be very popular and adds a fantastic extra dimension to Avoriaz. When Residence L’Amara arrived on the scene a few years back, it added a much needed higher end 4 star apartment choice. Now the Hotel des Dromonts has arrived to do the same thing, but in the hotel space.
I loved it – check it out and let me know if you agree!
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