Remarkably, it had been some eight years since I had been to Courchevel, so a visit was long overdue. I was here to visit the four-star Portetta Hotel in Courchevel 1650 (now, Moriond) which has been on my hotel ‘must visit’ list since it opened. The old Portetta Hotel was gutted and rebuilt from scratch with 38 luxury rooms and 6 stunning loft suites. Located slope-side, you ski right back to the door. It’s been a favourite with Ski Solutions clients ever since. Though I must admit, our biggest challenge has been finding availability for clients – such is its popularity.
Owned by UK based Limewood Group, I was familiar with their properties back home. Limewood Lodge in the New Forest and their stable of Pig Hotels have proved to be irresistibly popular. You can see common themes across all properties, not least the cheerful, enthusiastic and efficient team.
Most recently, in partnership with Chef Angela Hartnett, the hotel has celebrated the opening of Cucina Angelina. The restaurant serves Italian influenced mountain food with a nod to the local Savoyard cuisine. Leaning on the relaxed, casual style at Portetta, this new dining room oozes rustic mountain chic with lots of reclaimed wood, stone floors and a magnificent bar decked with leather stools.
Supper was fantastic. From delicate Frito misto and creamy mozzarella, we moved on to divine pasta dishes, including the house speciality Agnolotti – guinea fowl stuffed pasta pockets in a light chicken broth. The wood fired grill provides a nice centrepiece, serving up marbled rib eye steaks, veal chops and chicken with salsa rosa. Puddings included lemon curd sundae and a light as air tiramisu. Delicious, and very reasonably priced (certainly compared to what you would find up the road in 1850!) The half board package at the hotel allows you to eat a la carte every night, which is wonderful. Daily specials mix things up and ensure you’d never run out of options for a week.
The following morning it was time to work that supper off, and build up an appetite for lunch (this time wood fired pizzas on the slope side terrace back at Portetta).
Having spent a lot of time travelling the world visiting resorts since my last visit to Courchevel, I was reminded just how very, very good it is here in comparison to most. I was pleasantly surprised by the level of investment in the infrastructure. Pretty much every lift I rode was a high-speed 6 man chair. And the skiing. Oh, how I had forgotten the joy of cruising those wide, crowd-free blues and reds above Courchevel. There is surely no finer resort for aspiring intermediates. These are runs which make even the most cautious skier feel fantastic. And of course, this is just one corner of the mighty lift-linked Three Valleys. I know one thing for sure. I won’t be leaving it eight years until my next visit.