Stay the night: Les Neiges d'Antan, Cervinia

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

Don't judge this hotel from its outward appearance – inside it's a one-off, says Rhiannon Batten. And then there's that view...

There's little chance of losing your way at Les Neiges d'Antan, a family-run hotel in Italy's Aosta Valley.

Through its restaurant (and some bedroom) windows you can see the Matterhorn, or Monte Cervino as they call it on the Italian side, in all its toothsome, Toblerone-shaped glory. And there are myriad pictures of the famous peak, in a pleasantly mismatched collection of frames, on several of the hotel's walls.

But staying here isn't only for mountain-spotters. In winter, the hotel is a popular base for skiers, because it's only 10 minutes' drive, in a free shuttle, to the slopes at Cervinia, which is also lift-linked to Zermatt. In summer, guests are lured by fabulous hiking, mountain-biking, and the occasional yoga retreat or wine-tasting weekend. Lovely woodland walks lead away from the front of the hotel or, if you want to stretch your legs in a more challenging fashion, current owner Ludo Bich can direct you to the best mountain trails.

Why stay here rather than in one of Cervinia's pretty old wooden chalet hotels? Because although the hotel looks like any other modern, mid-range European hotel from the outside, inside it's a complete one-off, with properly roaring open fires, a convivial wood-panelled bar, a lounge lined with Ludo's vast vinyl collection (guests are welcome to use it as a jukebox) and thoughtful touches such as telescopes for star-gazing.

Another surprise? It's deeply green, with solar panels for electricity and heating and hot water powered by a giant woodchip boiler (occasionally also fed hazelnut shells, the by-product of a nearby Nutella factory).

The rooms

There are just 24 rooms: 12 classics, nine superiors, and three suites. The main difference is in style – the classic rooms are simple and modern, whereas the superior rooms have more mountain charm, with wood panelling, floorboards and heirloom furniture. Bathrooms also vary slightly, with classic rooms having a bath or a shower and superior rooms having both.

The food and drink

Gastronomy is the hotel's other major selling point. According to Ludo, it was his family who created "Seuppa alla Valpellinentze," a cheesy, cabbage soup, a bit like a savoury bread and butter pudding, that's now ubiquitous in the local area. If that sounds decidedly rustic, the restaurant isn't. Wooden tables are dressed with smart linen cloths, the silver cutlery and cruets are vintage, and the wine glasses are Riedel. Even if you're not staying here, it's worth booking in for the ultimate slow lunch – local smoked trout with redcurrants (€15/£13), organic locally produced polenta with "meat three ways" – beef, chicken and rabbit (€15), and, perhaps, a seasonal fruit ice cream (€6). Don't miss the wine, either. Ludo has both a vast wine cellar and access to bottlings that others might not – I plumped for a great local pinot noir. Prices range from €20 to €580 per bottle, with plenty to choose from in between.

The extras

Wi-Fi aside (which is free throughout the hotel), the main "frill" at Les Neiges is its spa. Small but stylishly formed, it's less about having a treatment here (though massages can be booked), more about unwinding at the end of the day. Potter between a sleek wood-fired sauna, an outdoor hot tub, and an igloo-shaped steam room before retreating to a lounger in the relaxation area.

The access

Children and dogs are welcome; dogs incur a €5 per day supplement. There is no wheelchair access.

The bill

B&B from €75 per person per night.

The address

Crêt Perréres, 11021 Breuil-Cervinia, Aosta, Italy (00 39 166 948 775;

Suggested Topics
Arts and Entertainment
The Ridiculous Six has been produced by Adam Sandler, who also stars in it
filmNew controversy after nine Native American actors walked off set
Life and Style
The original ZX Spectrum was simple to plug into your TV and get playing on
techThe ZX Spectrum is going back on sale - with all your favourite retro games
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Recruitment Genius: Technical Supervisor

    £24800 - £29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: As one of London's leading Muse...

    Recruitment Genius: Centre Manager

    £14000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

    Guru Careers: Accountant

    £28 - 45k (DOE): Guru Careers: An Accountant is needed to take control of the ...

    Recruitment Genius: Hotel Assistant Manager

    £18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This hotel in Chadderton is a p...

    Day In a Page

    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
    Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

    The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

    A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
    'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

    Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

    Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

    The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
    Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

    Vince Cable exclusive interview

    Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
    Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

    Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

    Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
    Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

    Everyone is talking about The Trews

    Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
    Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

    It's time for my close-up

    Meet the man who films great whites for a living
    Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

    Homeless people keep mobile phones

    A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
    'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

    'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

    British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
    Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

    Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

    Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
    14 best kids' hoodies

    14 best kids' hoodies

    Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

    The acceptable face of the Emirates

    Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk