Inviting wellness center with heated pool, sauna, steam room, and Turkish bath
Cozy on-site bistro serves a breakfast buffet (for a fee)
Free in-room Wi-Fi and satellite TV
Babysitting services available (for a fee)
Most rooms don't have particularly thrilling views (but the spa does)
Parking fee (though covered garage is a plus in the snow)
This upscale mountain escape in the Italian Alps near the French border (thus the French name "Heart of Snow") is less a hotel and more a cluster of 16 charming chalets all sporting rustic-luxe decor and modern conveniences. Wooden furniture, floors and walls, working fireplaces, faux fur throws on the beds, and warm colors make each chalet (with private entrances) feel like a separate cabin in the woods (albeit one with free Wi-Fi and satellite TV). Situated within minutes of the ski slopes and also downtown Courmayeur, guests can ski in/ski out of the property (or easily walk predicated on the season) to the gondolas for outdoor activities, and then return "home" to recover in their quiet mountain retreat with a restorative spa. The spa has gorgeous views, which most of the rooms lack.
A modern property built to look like a traditional mountain ski lodge, the beauty of Au Couer des Neiges lies not only in the glorious natural surroundings of the Italian Alps but also in the rustic interiors. Raw wood, unfilled travertine tiles, antler accents, and warm colors all enhance the cozy feel that permeates this property. The exterior is adorned with authentic stone work and wooden logs, all enhanced by the well-kept grounds (when they're not covered by snow, of course); guests will often gather outside to watch the sunsets during the warmer months. The reception area and concierge desk are surrounded by more wood and stone work, and give the feeling that you've just walked into a handcrafted cabin. There is a sporty atmosphere to Au Couer des Neiges as well since skiing or hiking (predicated on the season) are favorite activities of guests taking advantage of the fresh air and mountainous setting.
Mere minutes from skiing/hiking paradise but also downtown areas
This location is especially ideal for nature lovers who want to stay away from the bustle of the city as well as avid skiers since Au Coeur des Neiges is about a three minute walk/ski to the lifts/gondolas for Courmayeur Mont Blanc, an area which includes downhill slopes known as the "paradise of freestyle" for skiers and snowboarders as well as trails for cross-country skiing in the Val Ferret (two valleys bordering Italy and Switzerland). These same areas are favorites for hikers in warmer weather. The chalets at Au Couer des Neiges are also only a five to 10-minute walk from the pedestrian streets of Courmayeur, putting you in close proximity to area restaurants, shops, and bars.
Separate chalets with a natural feel and modern conveniences
The sizes of the 16 guest abodes vary greatly predicated on if you book a larger chalet (which can feel like an entire house) or a quaint "petite chalet" in the main lodge area. Regardless of your selection, however, the decor feels natural and warm. Wooden floors and furniture are supported by unique architectural configurations like slanted ceilings. Faux fur throws and pillows on the beds, leather chairs, heavy drapes (with mountain-inspired patterns) and other "mountain lodge" touches lend an authentic chalet feel. Some rooms have fireplaces (with free wood supplied to keep things cozy), and some have full kitchens (others have mini-fridges) but all have modern conveniences like free Wi-Fi and flat-screen TVs with satellite channels.
Some rooms have just showers while others also include whirlpool tubs; all have bidets and modern fixtures, and there are plush robes and slippers and quality toiletries for guest use. Surprisingly, the windows in the rooms tend to be small so there are not sweeping views from the chalets (one must step outside to take in the panorama). Many of the rooms are more than one level with living room spaces and multiple separate bedrooms, giving each chalet a homey feel.
Though there is no free breakfast, the hearty repast served in the on-site Bistrot del Resort is a favorite with guests. Dinner is not advertised, but it can also be requested from the chef and guests often enjoy it served by the open-air fireplace as they sit on comfy red couches in the lounge, or in their chalets as room service. The lounge is also the perfect site for an apres-ski aperitif or hors d'ouerves in the evening. The area feels more like you are hanging out in someone's living room than a restaurant/bar which makes it very inviting for evening chats after a full day of activity.
The relaxing wellness center --included in the room price -- is another major gathering point thanks to the Turkish bath, sauna, steam room, multi-sensory showers, and relaxation area (where herbal teas are available). On the second floor of the spa is a pool and whirlpool with some of the best views on the property, thanks to the large glass windows looking out onto the Alps. Several different types of massages are available by appointment in treatment rooms. During colder months, ski/snowboard rentals are available on-site as well as other classic winter activities like ice skating and snowshoeing. There is a fee for parking, but the fact the structure is covered is a big bonus during snowy seasons so you won't have to shovel out your car.
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