Since opening its doors in 1992, Aman Le Melezin has led the way in slope-side luxury in one of the world’s most exclusive ski resorts.
Thirty years on, its reputation and appeal — boosted further by a slick renovation in 2017 — mean it continues to be the top choice for high-end alpine clientele in France’s coveted Courchevel.
It’s luxury from the get-go with Aman Le Melezin. From the slick SUV that transfers guests from the airport to the hotel, to the staff with umbrellas waiting to shelter us from the blizzard that arrives just as we do, the hotel’s opulence is felt before even stepping inside.
The property’s interiors feature a blend of Alpine cosiness and Aman’s signature minimalist Eastern touches. An intricately twisted 100-year-old bonsai tree sits in the center of the lobby, complementing the oak paneling and warm neutral tones that run throughout the hotel’s six storeys.
Check-in is a finely tuned and seamless process, helped along by a warm welcome from the property’s highly experienced team, many of whom have been there for decades.
The hotel is a stone’s throw from the center of Courchevel 1850, the biggest and buzziest of the resort’s four villages. Known for its exclusivity, disproportionate number of chic designer boutiques and lively apres and nightlife scenes, it remains the place to be seen in the Alps.
The area’s main draw, however, is its extensive and world-class ski offering. Part of the Trois Vallees, the largest ski area in the world, there’s more than 600 kilometers of run to be explored. Suitable for all ski levels, there’s a good amount of green (14 per cent) and black (10 per cent) runs, although the bulk of runs on offer here will suit intermediate skiers.
More than 180 lifts connect Courchevel with the other resorts that make up the Trois Vallees area, including Val Thorens and Meribel.
The safety measures
When we visit on opening weekend of the first full-swing season since the outbreak of the pandemic, there’s a palpable err of caution. As per the rules in France, everyone must show proof of vaccination to enter bars and restaurants, and the front desk help us to translate our UAE vaccine certificates to European ones.
They also ensure we are booked in for our fit-to-fly PCR tests, and have our negative certificates printed and ready for us before we set off for the airport. Masks are required in all common areas throughout the hotel.
Aman Le Melezin features an intimate 31 rooms, most of which look out directly over the wide and winding Bellecote piste on which the hotel sits. There are 11 categories on offer — from the cozy and compact Chambre Junior to the sprawling Suite Le Melezin. Several of the suites also boast outdoor hot tubs, for those who really want to elevate their experience.
Our Suite Ski Piste measures 699 square feet and features a separate living area, a huge double-vanity bathroom with a separate deep-soaking bath tub and shower, as well as a south-facing balcony looking directly on to the piste. The room is designed to perfectly frame the stunning landscapes that surround the hotel.
Rooms are equipped with state-of-the-art features, from Dyson hairdryers to Nespresso machines and smart TVs, although the latter remained firmly off during our visit, in favor of watching the world go by on the piste below.
Aman touches are felt throughout. From bowls of exotic fruit and miniature Bonsai trees on the nightstand, to daily own-brand treats left out at turn down, every detail has been considered.
Staff at Le Melezin are friendly and professional. From arranging transport to booking restaurants, they are on hand to assist at every turn.
The hotel’s general manager, Alexandra Vesin, has been at the property for close to three decades and greets guests as if welcoming old friends into her family home. Wait staff are helpful and polite, and although service is at times a little slow, everything is delivered with a smile.
The service that really stood out was that from the staff in the ski room, which is a real selling point at Aman Le Melezin. With state-of-the-art equipment available that can be borrowed directly from the property, fitting is a breeze. The knowledgeable team ask a few questions to establish ski level and equipment is ready and waiting for whenever guests want to hit the slopes. They are also there to greet you as soon as you ski-in, helping to carry your skis along the short path, and help take your boots off, with slippers ready and waiting.
With the fir tree-lined Bellecote piste on the doorstep of the chateau-style property, there’s an easy green run that leads down to the main ski lift station, which links the resort the wider Trois Vallees ski area.
When the weather allows, guests can enjoy lunch or afternoon tea overlooking the piste on the hotel’s outdoor terrace. Inside, guests can cozy up in the lounge, where an open fire burns throughout the day.
Away from the slopes, guests can make use of the hotel’s many recreational facilities. In 2017, the property underwent an ambitious renovation project that involved developers digging under the hotel to create two new basement levels, now home to a spa, gym and stunning yoga studio.
But the hotel’s crowning feature is the Aman Spa, a tranquil space set across two floors. The turquoise pool, flanked by ivory columns, inviting loungers and two Jacuzzis, is the perfect place to indulge in a little apres-ski relaxation. There’s also a plunge pool, traditional Turkish hammam and sauna, as well as Aman’s signature spa.
The dining offering at Aman Le Melezin veers away from traditional alpine fare in favor of the brand’s roots, offering a Japanese-inspired menu in its main restaurant. With plates that are designed to be shared, the menu includes a premium raw offering, as well as dishes such as black cod, Wagyu sirloin and a stand-out favourite, the spinach and mushroom Gomaae salad.
Those craving something slightly more hearty can order from the in-room dining menu, also served in the lounge, where they’ll find burgers, chips and a classic French cheese board.
Aman Le Melezin also offers a brilliant initiative for full-board guests, allowing them to dine at a number of partner restaurants around the resort. Included are the famous Les Airelles hotel, only a short drive away from Aman, which will satisfy any cravings for a truly festive alpine setting; the famous La Folie Douce over in neighboring Meribel that is known for its apres-ski theatrics; and exquisite slope-side lunch spot Le Chalet de Pierres.
highs and lows
While the beautiful rooms and unmatched recreational facilities make Aman Le Melezin one of Courchevel’s top hotels, the ski room was a real high point.
The only thing that could have been improved on was the wait time at breakfast, which occasionally raised a few eyebrows.
Aman Le Melezin offers unrivaled luxury in one of Europe’s most exclusive resorts. With its prime location, helpful staff, sprawling suites and impressive wellness and recreational facilities, it’s a stay that will appeal to skiers and non-skiers alike.
Stays at Aman Le Melezin start from €1,800 ($1,964) per night, inclusive of half-board for double occupancy, including taxes and fees. Etihad operates daily flights from Abu Dhabi to Geneva. Economy fares start from Dh1.010 one-way.
This review was conducted at the invitation of the hotel during the global coronavirus pandemic. It reflects hotel standards during this time; services may change in the future.
Updated: March 13, 2022, 11:01 AM