CHAMONIX & MEGÈVE
One of the world’s most-loved ski resorts, Chamonix sits on the junction between France, Switzerland and Italy, and at the base of Mont Blanc – the highest point in the Alps. Tourists flock there every winter to enjoy some of the best snow in the region, but come summer, the resort often enjoys temperatures of a balmy 25°C. Ski lifts remain open throughout the season, so visitors can still journey up the mountain to drink in the stunning views, while music lovers should head to the annual Jazz Festival, which is scheduled to take place between the 16th and 22nd of August this year. Journey 30 minutes out of Chamonix and you’ll reach Megève, a neighbouring resort with a pretty old town brimming with charming boutiques and rustic restaurants. Take your walking shoes and embark on one of the trails that pass through the region’s lush green forests, before heading up to the impressive Mont d’Arbois. Along with hikes and cycling routes, visitors can also take part in rock climbing, water rafting and canyoning.
Where To Stay: The charming Les Fermes de Marie is a traditional, rustic chalet-style hotel but with all the luxuries you’d expect from a five star residence. Located just a five minute walk from Megève village, it acts as the perfect nesting hole for those wanting to explore the area. In Chamonix, book a room at the iconic Hotel Chamonix Mont-Blanc, which offers guests panoramic views of the famous peak from every room.
One of the resorts making up the Trois Vallées, Méribel is an increasingly popular summer holiday destination thanks to its magnificent scenery and plethora of outdoor activities. Spend your days ticking off the many walking routes that circle the resort, before stopping off for a sunbathing session and picnic lunch at one of the nearby lakes. If cycling is more your speed, Méribel is home to hundreds of kilometres worth of trails – all of which are graded like ski runs, so you can choose which one to take depending on your own ability. This year, the Tour de France is set to pass through the resort on the 16th and 17th of September. For the more adventurous, there’s also the opportunity to go rock climbing, with one of the most popular spots being Via Ferrata, a freshwater waterfall where you can also go canyoning. After working up an appetite, tuck into traditional French fare at Bouc Blanc, where you can enjoy the panoramic views from a spot on the terrace.
Where To Stay: With room for up to ten guests, Chalet Marmotte* is a great choice for a family or large group. A traditional Alpine hotel, expect neutral interiors with rustic, wooden touches, alongside comfy, soft furnishings. This chalet also boasts a large outside terrace, the perfect place to enjoy a glass of local rosé in the sunshine, and is ideally located in the heart of Méribel village.
*SheerLuxe readers can get an exclusive 10% discount off Chalet Marmotte with the code SHEERLUXE10.
For a romantic summer break, head to Annecy. A pretty, historic village built around a large crystal clear lake, the old town weaves around winding canals and coloured buildings, with plenty of shops and cafés from which to pick up your morning croissant. Head to the medieval Château d’Annecy, which was once home to the Counts of Geneva, for your culture fix – the grand property keeps a watchful eye over the village and now acts as a museum filled with regional artefacts. For beach lovers, Annecy is also home to plenty of waterside spots. La Crique & Criq’Parc has a secret grassy beach perfect for sunbathing, which is open between March and November, complete with an ice cream stall for a mid-afternoon pick me up. In the nearby commune of Talloires you’ll find the sandy Angon beach, which is open from June until the end of August. Annecy has plenty of outdoor activities on offer, too, including water spots, biking, hiking, golf and, if you’re feeling particularly brave, mountain paragliding.
Where To Stay: Situated right on the lake with a private jetty and sunbathing deck, the Yoann Conte is the place to stay while in Annecy. Rooms are comfortable and stylish – everything you want for an Alpine home away from home.
Verbier is known for its unparalleled nightlife, which draws in a glamorous crowd every winter. But between June and September, the resort is transformed into a summer playground. With over 500km of hiking routes, families should opt for the downhill Bisse du Levron trail, which journeys past the Bisse, a man-made stream that flows into a cascading waterfall. For cyclists, the BikePark is home to thousands of kilometres worth of routes. If you’re staying more than one night, the tourist office sells a Verbier Infinite Playground Pass (VIP), offering tourists the chance to enjoy more than 50 activities for free, or at a discounted rate, during their stay. One of the other big draws is the cuisine. You’ll find many of the restaurants are often overcrowded in the winter, but give way to a more relaxed atmosphere during summer. La Marlenaz is a local institution, sitting at an altitude of 1895m and offering diners a stunning panorama of the Grand Combin mountain from its roof terrace. Menu highlights include the antipasti board, featuring local meats and cheeses and, of course, the fondue.
Where To Stay: For something ultra cool, head to the W Hotel, run by the Marriott group. It’s central location and direct access to many of the cycling and walking routes make it a great spot for those looking to explore. Return to a contemporary, yet comfy, room after a day out before enjoying a drink on your private balcony. Even better, the hotel is also home to a luxurious spa.
Alta Badia in South Tyrol is the perfect spot from which to explore the Dolomites. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, summer temperatures often reach the high 20s, while the area is also renowned for its cuisine. Bypass the traditional carbs and cheese feast and head to the St Hubertus restaurant in the Rosa Alpina hotel. With three Michelin stars to its name, it’s an ideal spot for a celebratory meal, with a menu which focuses on fresh, locally sourced produce. In summer, it’s open on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays for dinner, while Sundays are reserved for a special lunch menu. To work up an appetite, spend the morning trekking in the Dolomite’s lush green valleys, or embark on one of the cycle routes around the resort. The ski lifts are also open from the 27th June until the 27th of September if you want a little help getting to the top. For families, the SummerPark La Crusc is open between June and September, with plenty of attractions to keep children entertained. Finally, Alta Badia is also home to two natural parks, Fanes-Senes-Braies and Puez-Odle, both of which are beautiful spots to enjoy a picnic in.
Where To Stay: Lagació is a relaxed boutique hotel and spa that sits at the base of the Dolomites. Luxurious touches compliment the paired back interiors, all of which nod to local South Tyrolean style and heritage. While you’re set to make the most of the local eateries for lunch and dinner, the hotel’s breakfast is something special. Expect a menu brimming with organic, homemade produce from the jam to the seeded bread.
The summer signals the start of of the hiking season in the Swiss resort of Zermatt, with most ski lifts open and passes available for purchase prior to arrival. One of the most popular walking routes here is the Five Lakes trail, which takes you up to Blauherd ready to a walk down the valley, stopping off at one of the many lakes along the way. If you’d rather travel around on two wheels, pick up a Zermatt Bike Pass to hire a mountain bike from Bike Arena at a special rate. When passing by the Sunnegga lift, leave yours at the door and pop in for lunch at Findlerhof, a rustic restaurant offering one of the best views of the Matterhorn. For children, a visit to the Forest Fun Park is a must. Home to an adventurous rope course, there are also 25 zip lines and over 80 obstacles to tackle. For those wanting to finish their holiday off in style, book a helicopter tour of Zermatt’s mountainous skyline.
Where To Stay: Set high up in the mountains, the aptly named Chalet La Vue offers up some stunning vistas. There are six family-friendly apartments to choose from, all of which have large open plan living spaces and balconies. Albeit self-catered, the chalet team can fill your fridge before you arrive, as well as organise lift passes and book you into the must-visit restaurants.
SheerLuxe readers can get an exclusive 10% discount off Chalet La Vue with the code SHEERLUXE10.
Located between Lake Geneva and Mont Blanc, the French resort of Morzine is a short drive from Geneva airport or a nine hour drive from Calais. In the summer, the Alpine village’s stunning scenery provides the perfect backdrop for a relaxing break. Spend your days exploring the charming cafés, shops and markets, or get your blood pumping by taking part in some of the many activities on offer between June and September. Standard lift passes are available, as is the resort’s Multi Pass, which offers discounted entry to over 50 attractions across Portes du Soleil, from swimming pools to tennis courts, and even a summer toboggan run. If watersports are more your thing, head to Lac de Montriond, where you can hire a kayak, canoe or paddle board. After working up an appetite, tuck in to dinner at La Rotonde. This trendy restaurant can be found in the heart of the resort, and offers a menu brimming with traditional Alpine dishes such as raclette and tartiflette, as well as a large selection of steaks and Asian-infused plates.
Where To Stay: For something truly luxurious, book a stay at Chalet M. Offering unparalleled views of the resort, this three floor property sleeps up to 12 guests and is just a stone's throw from the main lifts. Opt for a staffed and catered stay, where a full team including a chalet manager, host and private chef will look after you.