When one thinks of Serre Chevalier, the first images that come to mind tend to be of charming French villages, a ski area with a long history and a destination full of culture. Spanning four villages along the valley, Serre Chevalier is a paradise for winter sports fans as well as summer mountain enthusiasts and is one of our favourite ski destinations. This is why when we heard news of an exciting new hotel opening in Le Monêtier-les-Bains, one of the resort’s quieter villages, we couldn’t wait to visit for ourselves.
Le Monêtier Hotel is a welcome new arrival in the area, bringing a refreshing, modern sense of style and quality that fits perfectly into the village. However, the building itself has been at the centre of village life for many years; for the past four decades it has been a UCPA hostel and before this it was a girls’ school.
Turning this into one of the area’s most chic hotels was quite the project for managers Alexandra and Guillaume Bizouard. Relocating to the tranquility of Serre Chevalier from the city of Paris, they took the hotel on in 2016 and have overseen a total renovation of the building. The result is a beautiful, modern hotel, which is still in keeping with the rest of the village and its traditional charm. It is set in the centre of the village, within walking distance of the slopes and of the fantastic thermal baths at Les Grands Bains du Monêiter, one of our favourite places to spend some time after a hard day’s skiing.
Upon entering the hotel, you arrive in the restaurant, Stabatio. Here, a well-stocked bar and comfortable lounge seating on one side provide the ultimate sanctuary for those who want a chilled out drink after a long ski day, allowing you to sit and enjoy the atmosphere underneath huge windows giving beautiful views of the surrounding peaks. A large outdoor terrace provides open-air seating for warmer days in the sunshine, though due to our visiting in early January, temperatures did not allow us to experience this for ourselves!
The other side of the restaurant holds a beautifully designed selection of tables and a large open kitchen, with the centrepiece a HUGE 16-person table, carved out of one singular piece of wood – truly remarkable.
A new establishment in the area, Stabatio is unsurprisingly causing excitement with local visitors, with a buzzing atmosphere each night. It’s a nice touch to know that this is not just a hotel restaurant, it’s a local eatery that is frequented by locals looking for a special evening out as much as it is by hotel guests enjoying their evening meal.
It’s clear to see why Stabatio has already established itself as a popular spot; the food here is truly delicious, with a seasonal menu that focuses on local produce. If you are a meat eater you will be in heaven, with a selection of mouth-watering grill dishes as well as a number of a la carte options. Those who do not fancy meat can select from a range of menu options and specials, and the kitchen are more than willing to whip something up if you fancy something off menu.
From the restaurant to the rooms, Le Monêtier is all about blending classic and modern architecture and design.The concept was created Christophe Bachman and with a unique dark colour scheme, it’s refreshingly different to the traditional Alpine chalet fare you get in lots of ski resort hotels.
Some classic Alpine touches are still present, just in understated ways, with the odd cosy fur throw and sheepskin rug. Combining concrete, raw wood and woollen textures, elegant light fixtures, quirky artwork and sleek timber ceilings, these rooms bring together both traditional and modern, functionality and comfort, in the most stylish of ways.
The bathrooms are gorgeous, with dark slate tiling and huge walk in showers which are extremely appreciated after a long day’s skiing! However, one of our favourite things about these rooms are the huge beds, which personally gave me some of the best night’s sleep I’ve had in a long while. According to Alexandra, the mattresses have been specially selected to provide the utmost in relaxation and comfort, accentuated by the impressive number of pillows provided and heavy curtains that succeed very well in keeping out any unwanted light.
Not that you would want to block out these views though – the rooms’ large French windows boast stunning vistas of the mountains surrounding the valley and a large balcony allows you to soak up the sun or drink in the mountainscape. Wherever you are in the hotel you will be able to appreciate these spectacular views as all 21 rooms face the summits.
What’s truly unique about Le Monêtier is that it is one of the only hotels in the surrounding area to remain open all year round.
Guillaume Bizouard, Le Monêtier Hôtel Manager says:
It’s very important that we stay open all year because at the moment Serre chevalier has a lack of accommodation along the year. Only 2 hotels are open in Briancon and none in the Vallée. We have already a lot of bookings, so the full opening is necessary.
This will allow more people the opportunity to explore the awesome area of Serre Chevalier in both summer and winter. Whether you want to make the most of the huge ski area (the largest in the Southern Alps with 250km of slopes), or the multiple summer activities available, from hiking and mountain biking to rock climbing and kayaking. It’s definitely an area worth visiting, whatever the season! What’s more, with super friendly staff, extremely comfortable rooms, fantastic food and a great location, we’d say Le Monêtier should be first on your list when it comes to where to stay in this area.
Opposite the hotel and well worth visiting is the Blue Bird cocktail bar. A hidden gem, this bar boasts an extensive and ever-changing menu, with an owner that truly knows his stuff, his passion for mixology shining through as he explains each drink’s flavour combinations. With a lovely ambience, this is a local favourite and definitely one to try out if you’re in the area.
For more information, head to: www.lemonetier.com