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Press

Conde Nast Traveller

September 6, 2020

by Peter Browne

France

TERMINAL NEIGE REFUGE DU MONTENVERS, CHAMONIX

This is an exceptionally comfortable hut located above Chamonix, at the foot of France's largest glacier, the Mer de Glace.

Originally the Grand Hotel du Montenvers, this reassuring and solid granite building dates back to 1880 and was recently renovated by the Sibuet family, the elegant clan behind the Fermes de Marie in Megève.

The hotel can only be reached by funicular, on foot or on skis, via the legendary Vallée Blanche off-piste route. The hotel can only be reached by funicular, on foot or on skis, via the legendary Vallée Blanche off-piste route: Aperitifs are mixed in the fabulous 1920s bar, climbing boots are thrown in front of campfires, chandeliers are made of climbing rope and miners' lamps. The 20 rooms, each named after explorers who have stayed here over the decades, range from dormitories for 10 people to wonderfully romantic suites. They all offer breathtaking views of the surrounding peaks and glaciers, traditional wood-clad walls, edelweiss printed woollen curtains and slate-lined bathrooms, all embellished with products from Sibuet's beautiful Pure Altitude brand.

Summer hikes on the glaciers and skiing days in winter are rewarded with three hearty Savoyard dishes (cheese and chanterelles on toast, creamy tartiflette and blackberry tart) served on enamel dishes and drizzled with local wines.

LIGHTING POINT

Lunch in the Refuge's sister restaurant, Le Panoramique, a bistro three minutes walk away, known for its traditional dishes (choose grandmother's chicken for ultimate comfort).

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