More Zen in Morzine!
A boutique bolthole for events
An invitation to ‘ski with the lads’ was an exciting opportunity from a friend to experience a high-quality chalet in the French Alps. With 14 years passing since my last ski trip, it would definitely test my staying power both on and off the slopes! But the prospect of discovering a new boutique bolthole ripe for corporate house parties, team rewards and hospitality, it was an invitation too good to refuse. If nothing else, I was told I could enjoy the chance to relax in zen-like tranquillity whilst the ‘kids’ pounded the slopes.
With an easy hop from Stansted to Geneva and a swift minivan transfer to Morzine, we arrived at my home for the next three nights.
La Ferme Du Lac Vert is a boutique hotel/ski chalet in Morzine, the heart of the French Alps. A beautiful 19th Century Savoyard farmhouse – built in 1842, restored in 2010 and situated in the village of Montriond.
This stunning building was lovingly restored by owners Lucy & Rob Mundell in 2010. With the help of local artisans and Lucy’s eye for interior design, they have created an utterly unique getaway perfect for ski holidays and special events in the Alps all year round.
The boutique chalet/hotel offers 14 en-suite bedrooms across the main house, its sister chalet La Petite Ferme and ground floor apartment.
The rooms are exceptionally spacious and designed in a fusion of contemporary and antique styles. Fickle event planners will warm to the welcome touches throughout. From Cowshed toiletries, Nespresso coffee and their own minivans and Lexus vehicles to shuttle guests.
The biggest surprise was the quality of dining. Having not experienced inclusive ski chalet dining, I guess I was expecting variety on a theme of pasta! Tom, the talented head chef, created stunning menus each evening to much praise from fellow diners. With a cocktail of the evening savoured with tantalising canapes, a four-course dinner with exquisite presentation. With each course introduced, this is far more than the typical chalet fayre ones expects in Europe. With menus including snails, rabbit, beef tartare amongst other delicacies, it will appeal to seasoned taste buds, but an assurance that all tastes are catered for in pre-stay profiling.
The staff throughout are warm, attentive and highly personable. Nicolas, the lodges dedicated Ski Concierge, demonstrated a friendly determination to extract me from the comfort of the Chalet to lure me back to the slopes after my exhausting first day. Thankfully he did! We skied over the border for lunch in Switzerland to a stunning, tucked away restaurant called ‘Lapisa’. The beautifully remote restaurant prides itself on making their own bread, cheese and cured meats. After devouring a cheese fondue in the glorious sunshine with breathtaking views, we were pulled by a rope tagged snowmobile along a long flat ledge to the nearest downward piste.
Beyond the Bolthole
A typical winter corporate incentive needs to appeal to non-skiers and skiers alike so finding a perfect location and venue which caters for all interest and levels can be a challenge for inexperienced event planner. As I retreated to non-skier status to soothe my aching pains, I merrily explored the area on foot to see if I could enjoy a day or two without being ‘on the piste’. Walking distance from the chalet is Morzine with easy pedestrian access to the mountains to enjoy spectacular views and restaurant terraces where I enjoyed great food and service.
Skiers and non-skiers can come together at hot spots such as Le Vaffieu Restaurant, Les Gets, located at the top of the Folliets chair lift. Or Folie Douce offering two restaurants: La Petite Cuisine – a fine dining canteen-style eatery. La Fruitière – a stylish and delicious dining experience. Plus it offers Après-ski clubbing: A different show every day with DJs, singers dancers and musicians performing live to get the chalet party started whatever the weather.
For non-skiers, snow fat-biking, skidoo rides and range of adventure activities are available via well-established operators and can be orchestrated via the team at the chalet.
For a change of scene and if the group can bear a night off from the amazing chalet dining, off-site dinners with horse-drawn carriages to a number of local, unique special venues will offer a fun, traditional alpine evening.
The Alps in Summertime
The beautiful lake in Montriond is stunning all year round with its dramatic mountain cliff backdrop which you can swim in during the summer months (it has its own beach), kayak on it in the autumn and admire the surrounding explosion of colour which is nothing short of spectacular.
Morzine is also in close proximity to popular historical and spa towns; Annecy, Yvoire, Thonon and Evian. Unlike many mountain resorts today, commercialism has not yet reached the charming, traditional market town of Morzine, allowing it to preserve its original structures and appealing features throughout the town. A summer event in Morzine is not only excellent value for money but also offers so much variety it’s guaranteed to keep everyone happy.
- Try white water rafting down the river Dranse, great fun and no previous experience required.
- Tackle some of the famous downhill mountain biking tracks available in Morzine; then let the chairlifts do the work for you on the way back up so your legs recover for the next run.
- The Morzine swimming pool complex offers an Olympic size pool, kids pool and water slide, with tennis courts next door.
- Join the Via Feratta craze that’s sweeping the Alps! The Saix du Tour is 600m in length with beautiful views over the valley.
- Kayak or swim in the turquoise-green waters of lake Montriond which has its own beach; perfect for relaxing with a good book.
- Explore charming Alpine villages; we loved the goat village at Linderet.
- Cycle the famous climbs of the Tour de France; Cols de Joux Plane/Encrenaz/Ramaz are all nearby for those that dare.
- Go walking on some of the 400 miles of marked trails the Portes du Soleil has to offer; the chalet will make you a gourmet picnic to take along.
But how was the skiing?
Despite a mere two pre-days at the gym to free up the leg muscles in prep, being 14 years older than the last trip, nothing prepared me for the ‘leg burn’! But despite aborting after just 1.5 days of skiing, it was enough to whet the appetite to renew an old passion and hopefully motivate my fitness level for future experiences. Thanks to the friendly and persistent Ski Concierge Nicolas, I skied France and Switzerland in one day, many laughs, a few tumbles in marvellous and very accessible ski areas with great company.
A huge thanks to the great “Team Skizeen’ at Le Ferme Du Lac Vert. To host Rob and his team …. Tadhg, Tom, James, Nick, Russ, Zeta, Holly, Charlotte & Frankie. Particular shout out to Zeta – super attentive and making sure I didn’t get lost on my walking tour via her mobile phone instructions!
Getting there ....
Fly to Geneva – well served internationally with many national and low cost carriers especially from UK departure points.
Situated in the heart of Montriond, the chalet is a stone throw from Morzine and Avoriaz. Morzine boast’s a prime location as one of the largest & closest ski resorts to Geneva, with a one-hour airport transfer.