This snug Alpine bolthole is nestled in the valley of super-chic French ski resort Megève, in the stunning Mont-Blanc region of France. It offers sensational treatments in a white fur and bark-clad Pure Altitude Spa, cleverly tucked away in the basement with chic and cosy treatment cabins and relaxation areas. A soothing fantasy forest feel permeates—walls are lined with local birch trees or clad with bark and boulders, chairs are covered with white animal hides while wooden ceilings and beams are limed white. There’s also a light and airy swimming pool, sauna, Jacuzzi and an indoor and outdoor hot tub.
The spa uses its own Pure Altitude range, a gorgeous smelling collection of effective, natural products based around mountain plants, herbs and minerals, created by the hotel’s founder Jocelyne Sibuet. Treatments are a blend of professional and gentle with a pinch of clinical no-nonsense about them—an addictive combination that makes them feel incredibly effective.
Get your complexion glowing with a detox facial using hot stones, or rejuvenate tired skin with a nourishing facial combining lymphatic drainage with a Himalayan Elixir made from musk rose and jojoba. Relaxing yet firm and effective body scrubs leave skin baby soft and smelling divine, and there’s a huge range of bodywork and massages—relax with a 50-minute Candle Ritual using warm oil or energise with an 80-minute ‘Energetique des Alpes,’ which uses linen bags filled with mineral salts and mountain plants to gently pummel tired muscles. There are also Thai, Ayurvedic or Shiatsu treatments and slimming and sports massages.
You’ll also want to get out for one of the stunning Alpine hikes direct from the hotel in summer and skiing in winter. You can book a personalised wellbeing stay, which includes a personal trainer, healthy meals and a programme of treatments, and in summer there is often outdoor yoga overlooking the Alpine meadows.
The hotel was formed of nine interlinked old wooden farm buildings that were salvaged from ruin in locations around the valley and painstakingly relocated to the site of Les Fermes de Marie, piece by piece. Decor throughout mixes chic antique cowbells, antique furnishings and an almost eccentric but seductive abundance of local wood with seriously stylish antiques, woollen blankets, faux fur throws and definitely-not-faux stuffed animal busts; it creates the feel of a fantasy mountain lodge.
There are endless areas to hang out, from the vast squishy sofas in the mezzanine lounge areas to the stylish but welcoming bar and outdoor terraces on sunny days. Glance beyond the local wooden houses to the dramatic snow-capped peaks of Mont-Blanc, or tuck yourself up with a good book or a game of chess in the library. The village is all poodles and Prada, and the hotel attracts an international clientele and French weekenders with unnervingly well-behaved children.
Elegant but satisfying meals use a lot of local and seasonal produce and range from indulgently French dishes such as foie gras and cote du boeuf to lighter options such as marinated trout or poached fish, hearty soups and generous salads. Families are welcome, and there are plenty of activities (cleverly hidden away from other guests) to keep little ones amused while you do your own thing. If you’re loaded, then take one of the private chalets for the ultimate in Alpine retreats.
From 160 euros per night room only based on two people sharing in the summer; from 300 euros in the Winter. www.fermesdemarie.com.
Words by Louisa Carter and Caroline Sylger Jones
For more wellness travel ideas, check out Caroline’s brilliant site Queen of Retreats at www.queenofretreats.com.
For more wellness travel ideas check out Queen of Retreats. Queen of Retreats was founded by Caroline Sylger Jones, an author and freelance journalist who travels the world checking out spas, retreats and healthy holidays for international newspapers, glossy magazines and websites.
Follow on Twitter: @QueenOfRetreats
Follow on Facebook: @QueenOfRetreats
Follow on Instagram: @QueenOfRetreats
Like this article? Sign up to our newsletter to get more articles like this delivered straight to your inbox.