Stay The Night: Maison Blanche & Verte, Portes Du Soleil

Two Londoners have created their dream chalet in the small French ski resort of Châtel, discovers Minty Clinch

If your twin passions are skiing and road biking, a chalet in the land of the Tour de France is, perhaps, the acme of mountain huts.

For years, Franco Bussandri and Denis Lonergan, brothers-in-law in their forties based in London, were regular visitors to Châtel in the French Alps. As they struggled up the mountains in summer and floated down them in winter, they dreamt up the perfect chalet for themselves, their wives – two of seven Italian sisters – and their children. In 2008-9, they built it. In 2010, they moved in. Two years later, they may have to look for an alternative place to stay because Blanche & Verte – white for snow, green for grass – is top of an exclusive wish list.

It is the first elite chalet in Châtel, a resort with rapid access to the Portes du Soleil, the 650km (400 miles) trans-border circuit that includes Avoriaz, Morzine and Champéry. Located on a hill in Petit-Châtel, it has sweeping views of the traditional Savoyard village and the mountains beyond. London architect Jimmy McDonald has created a building in two halves, one with bedrooms, the other with living areas, a concept that allows some to sleep undisturbed while others party into the night.

Inside, McDonald has gone for plate glass opposite contrasting walls of local stone, wood or white plaster. In the large square living space, the emphasis is on comfortable couches with furry cushions in shades of terracotta and grey and red arc floor lamps from Italy. Ornamental stags and cow skin rugs give clues to local fauna while pots of orchids suggest excellent central heating. A table for 12 surrounded by Eames Eiffel chairs looks out through a glass wall while interior windows look on to the swimming pool. Long sofas in the mezzanine are ideal for quiet moments with a good book.

The bedrooms

Blanche & Verte has six double bedrooms, four with bathtubs and two with showers, plus a bathroom with a double tub. In each bedroom, a door opens directly on to the balcony or deck, and one wall is made entirely of glass. Brown curtains and black furniture indicate contemporary chic, while White Company linen invites a good night's sleep. Bathrooms have sleekly square porcelain, sandstone tiling, Ren toiletries ... and rubber ducks.

The food and drink

Jim McGuire, born between Glasgow and Edinburgh, reigns over a bountiful kitchen, offering meals at all times of the day. He spent 20 years in Perth, winning the Chef of the Year in Western Australia and hosting his own television show, Western Delights. In his second season in the chalet, he describes his cooking as "Pacific Rim with a Savoyard twist". He sits down with guests to discuss preferences for the week and uses local butchers and delis for key ingredients. Every evening he takes breakfast orders: full English, eggs Benedict – your wish is his command. Light lunch is offered to ski shirkers, followed by afternoon tea and a five-course dinner.

As dedicated wine enthusiasts, Franco and Denis had a great time stocking the cellar. Guests have a choice of two house champagnes and four red and white house wines. These include excellent Chablis and Côtes du Rhône, but those who prefer to go off piste can plunder a global list of vintages, with the emphasis on Burgundy and Bordeaux.

The extras

There's an air-conditioned gym on site, as well as a sauna and a swimming pool kept at an inviting 30C. Treatments can be arranged on demand. A children's playroom with a Wii and bouncy mattresses reduces the competition for the cinema. This is the real deal with proper seats, acoustics and snacks.

The access

Chalet staff are on hand to drive guests to the main lifts in Châtel, or they can walk 100m to the Petit-Châtel chair and ski down to the village. The chalet has an underground garage for four cars. Wi-Fi is available throughout. Stairs between levels prevent wheelchair access.

The bill

Rental starts at £1,250 per person per week, including full board with house champagne and wines and private transfers from Geneva airport (90 minutes). Group occupancy only, sleeps 12 in six double bedrooms.

The address

Maison Blanche & Verte, 41 Chemin de Sur la Côte, Petit-Châtel, Haute Savoie, France (00 33 4 50 71 72 09; maisonblancheetverte.com).

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Living for the moment: Julianne Moore playing Alzheimer’s sufferer Alice
health
News
Jay Z
businessJay-Z's bid for Spotify rival could be blocked
News
The spider makes its break for freedom
VIDEO
Voices
A propaganda video shows Isis forces near Tikrit
voicesAdam Walker: The Koran has violent passages, but it also has others that explicitly tells us how to interpret them
Sport
Ashley Young celebrates the winner for Manchester United against Newcastle
footballNewcastle v United player ratings
Arts and Entertainment
books
Travel
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
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Recruitment Genius: Product Advisor - Automotive

    £17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Due to the consistent growth of...

    Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Automotive

    £18000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity exists for an ex...

    Recruitment Genius: Renewals Sales Executive - Automotive

    £20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity exists for an ou...

    Recruitment Genius: Membership Sales Advisor

    £18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The fastest growing fitness cha...

    Day In a Page

    War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

    Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

    Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
    Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

    What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

    Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
    The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

    Setting in motion the Internet of Things

    British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
    Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

    Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

    Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
    Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

    Cult competition The Moth goes global

    The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
    Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

    Pakistani women come out fighting

    Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
    Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

    Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

    The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
    LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

    Education: LGBT History Month

    Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
    11 best gel eyeliners

    Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

    Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
    Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

    Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

    The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
    Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

    Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

    After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
    Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

    Climate change key in Syrian conflict

    And it will trigger more war in future
    How I outwitted the Gestapo

    How I outwitted the Gestapo

    My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
    The nation's favourite animal revealed

    The nation's favourite animal revealed

    Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
    Is this the way to get young people to vote?

    Getting young people to vote

    From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot