In ski resorts, hotels go off-piste

In ski resorts, hotels go off-piste


 what is called taking a facelift. After forty-three years of good and loyal services at the foot of the ski slopes, the Mercure Val-Thorens, in Savoie, has offered a little “repoudrage”. In November 2016, this massive hotel, recognizable by its concrete facade, won a fourth star by changing its design and name to become the elegant Fahrenheit Seven. The exterior walls were clad in wood. Inside, everything has been redesigned from the spacious rooms (27 to 57 m 2 ), a huge terrace, but also several bars, evenings concerts, a different breakfast every morning, a spa, a hammam. The motto of the house: “Dream, play , do nothingto do . “ Amazing program for a ski holiday.

It must be said that the uses have changed. In 1964, the state launched the Snow Plan, an extensive program of high-altitude station construction that was supposed to meet demand – at the time, and until recently, vacationers were going to the mountains in winter to hit the slopes. . Today, tourism professionals face “new constraints” and “new demands,” says Nicolas Sibuet, heir to the empire of the same name, which has hotels in many resorts. To learn more erratic than ever snow and a different customer profile.“The day starts at 8:30 in the ski room and ends at 17:00, exhausted in the room, it’s over,” says Suzette Da Silva, commercial director of Taj-I Mah, which has just opened its doors. doors
to Arc 2000.

Hybrid places at all prices

According to the French Federation of Sports and Leisure Industries, only 13% of French people practice skiing. Not to mention that, according to industry professionals, the activity would seduce less and less the younger generations. “A growing part of our clientele does not come to ski ,”continues Suzette Da Silva. You have to offer him an offer that holds up, whether at the table or the spa. “ In two words: ” strengthen after-ski “, summarizes Michel Giraudy, president of the France Montagnes association, which brings together the main players in altitude tourism. This strategy is reflected in an overhaul of the hotel offering, which abandons “chicken cage” residences and wooden chalets to favor “lifestyle hotels” inspired by fashionable urban establishments.

In mid-December, the Barrière group opened its first mountain hotel in Courchevel, soberly named Les Neiges. In addition to a Fouquet’s brewery, a private cinema and an Argentinian rotisserie, you can spend the day in a 1000 m 2 spa with a water course, outdoor Jacuzzi and ultracomplete range of treatments. In short, everything is done to retain customers inside (especially as the night is from € 1,200). “The urban hotel industry is the first to have imagined hotels as hybrid living spaces. Gradually, the mountain takes up the concept “ , analyzes Nicolas Sibuet.

 Read also:   Ski resorts adapt to the lack of snow

An intuition shared by Romain Trollet, well known in the Chamonix Valley, where he has just opened his RockyPop Hotel. In this building that looks like an old motel, the food trucks replace the fondue restaurant and La Guinguette, a covered terrace bar with a huge olive tree, takes precedence over the resort’s discotheque. “It’s sure that the offer will not appeal to fans of traditional ski holidays. But our clients come from Paris, London or New York. They are urban, for whom the main criterion of quality is not the proximity of the slopes, but the experience they are offered. » With more than attractive rates (double rooms from 50 €), the hotel offers the luxury of not having to go downthe curtain in the spring. A good calculation in a market where seasonality is the nerve of war.

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