Opened in December 2021, the Ultima Courchevel Belvédère is a stunning chalet resort built right next to the slopes that comes complete with two spas, ski butlers and a fine-dining restaurant. Jenny Southan reports
The most recent debut from ultra-luxury hospitality brand Ultima Collection, Ultima Courchevel Belvédère was originally meant to open a year ago but because of the pandemic it was delayed. However, good things come to those who wait. Globetrender was invited to check-in for a pre-launch stay, before the first guests arrived in mid-December.
Located in the French ski resort of Courchevel in the Alps, at an altitude of 1750 metres, the ski-in, ski-out property is unique in that it has brought together the best of chalet and hotel living in the form of a resort that has 13 private residences, all of which have access to shared facilities such as a fine-dining restaurant and bar.Ideal for the pandemic when multi-generational vacations are on the rise, the chalets have four to five bedrooms in each of them, allowing guests to remain in their own social bubble as much as they desire but with the added support of hotel staff if they choose.The resort is divided into two parts – on the north side of the road there are five self-catered chalets, while on the south side are eight chalets that come with “full Ultima Collection Signature services” (this is where I was staying). Breakfast is included – lunch and dinner can be taken in the restaurant or in the chalet with a private chef on demand.
Chalets on both the north and south side are interconnected by a ground-floor corridor that takes people to the fitness rooms (compete with state-of-the-art Technogym machines) and spas – the south side has an outdoor pool heated to 31ºC, while the north side has an indoor pool and outdoor hot tub.The restaurant is also in the south resort, as is the bar and “boot room” where guests put on their ski gear and can head straight out on to a snow-covered blue run. Meanwhile, the north resort has a ski shop where people can buy top-end attire provided by local atelier Bernard Orcel.
Guests can also rent boots, helmets, poles and skis. I was impressed with the friendly “ski butlers” who got me kitted out, and had everything waiting for me in the south resort on the morning I was ready to hit the slopes.
The ski experience is made absolutely seamless by the fact that you can take the lift down from your chalet, walk straight into the boot room without going into the cold, and then woosh, straight on to the run. You can ski back to the hotel as well, meaning there is no faffing around with buses or pick-ups or crowded rental shops. Now that’s luxury.Although people from the UK have been banned from visiting France as tourists since just before Christmas, the ski season at Courchevel often lasts until early April so hopefully the restrictions will be relaxed for the remainder of the season. (It’s worth noting, though, that vaccine passports are needed for everyone over the age of 12 to use ski lifts in France.)
Upon arrival at Geneva airport, which is roughly a two-hour drive from Ultima Courchevel Belvédère, we were picked up in an Ultima Collection vehicle and driven directly to the property. (According to Ultima Collection, the majority of guests arrive by private jet. Helicopter transfers are also available.)The location is truly beautiful and from my bed in chalet one, I could see the entire valley and mountains beyond when the cloud cleared. At night it was incredibly peaceful.
Once in our south-side chalet, which had warm timber interiors and eye-catching contemporary artwork, we were greeted with champagne and homemade cake in the living room. It immediately made us feel relaxed and at home. After, we went down to our rooms to unpack before dinner. I was very impressed with how comfortable the beds were – during turndown service in the evening, they place a “foot pillow” by the bed to step on. (It sounds unnecessary but was weirdly delicious.)
I was also pleased to find a walk-in wardrobe that allowed me to hang up all my ski clothes. The black marble bathroom had both a walk-in shower and a tub (a hot soak is essential after skiing), and I loved having my own balcony offering panoramic views.
All chalets come with Miele kitchens (some open-plan and other closed off), custom-made Italian furniture and large balconies. Our chalet also had a screening room that could double as a room for a nanny, although there was no window. There was a laundry room on the ground floor but I was delighted to have a member of staff iron my clothes for me.
I was interested to learn that the art on display throughout the property is from from Bel-Air gallery in Gstaad, and all of it is for sale. Ultima Collection says that many clients are repeat guests so interiors are often refreshed with new works and if anything offends, it can be swapped. The brand likes to personalise stays as much as possible – even pets are welcomed. Meals at the restaurant are formal and elevated, with multi-course menus of artfully plated food. One of my favourite evenings, though, was when we had a meal in our chalet made personally by the head chef. It was fun to have restaurant-quality cuisine in our own “home” and I can imagine for groups of friends or family, especially those with children, this would be an ideal set-up. Plus you don’t have to wash up after.
Another highlight of my stay was spending a morning in the south-side spa. Although modest in size, there was an amazing tropical shower with colourful lights and rainforest sound effects, a traditional sauna and a steam room.My favourite was the outdoor pool, though, which could be accessed from inside via a doorway in the water. It felt great to grab handfuls of snow and rub it on your face – those who are really brave can jump in the snow drifts. Both spas also have four treatment rooms each. I had an excellent massage one afternoon – just what you need after a hard day’s skiing. (Products are by Swiss Perfection.)
Ultima Courchevel Belvédère is an innovative, well-executed concept that takes ski holidays for the super-rich to the next level. While all the other luxury resorts in Courchevel are clustered at the top at 1850, I really liked the position at 1750, which felt more peaceful and connected to the natural environment.
North resort chalet: from £25,990 per week.
South resort chalet: from £49,490 per week.