Hotel Bel' Alpe, Morzine 8th – 14th February 2014.
A Stone’s throw between the two main Telecabine stations in Morzine.
It is just two blocks away for the Super Morzine Telecabine, (takes you to Avoriaz and the Portes Du Soleil circuit) and 4 blocks away for the Pleney telecabine (for the Morzine local area and access to Les Gets).
It just felt right the moment you walk into the hotel. It clearly has a woman’s touch with lovely decoration and it always smells lovely of candle incense and spice.
My room was on the second floor, double bed en-suite with a balcony. I asked for a quiet room but slightly concerned that I was by the stairs but it was never noisy. This is a hotel for people looking for cosy and quiet. It is just on the edge of the town centre so you have the quiet but still in very close proximity to everything.
Bathroom was compact and a bit of a squeeze but typical of en suite put into rooms sometime after the building was built. Room was perfectly warm as with the duvet and the enormous square pillow. I slept unusually really well in a hotel room.
There is a TV in the room, normally not a plus but this week I could follow the Winter Olympics, and check the weather forecast.
The ski room is nicely heated and I did not have to take my boots to my room to dry at any time. The room is small and just about house all the skis and boots. I chose to store my skis in the corridor so that I can retrieve them easily in the morning.
Not much used Games rooms and small sauna are in the basement next to the ski room.
The rooms at the front have views of the Morzine pistes and the view from the back is of the SuperMorzine lift and mountain view.
Dinner is a no choice 4 course menu, the fourth being the cheese course. The meat portion in the main course is small but you won’t complain of hunger at the end of the meal. For a two star hotel the cooking is of high level of competence, beautifully presented and creative and a different farinaceous accompaniment each night from puree of Jerusalem artichoke to creamy semolina. I am not crazy about semolina but this was delicious. When I saw turkey on the menu, I thought “oh!” but it was rolled turkey breast with forced meat and morel mushrooms. And I really enjoyed it.
The only minus was that the cheeses on offer were almost the same every night.
The Chocolate choux pastry was filled with ice cream but hard rock when served is the only faux pas experienced this week.
Breakfast is the same daily with the usual help yourselves buffet style of ham, cheese, croissants, etc. Big minus is that coffee machine coffee is served but you can order coffee from the bar/ espresso machine (at a supplement I expect). However the baguettes were always delicious as with the thickly sliced ham.
The only disappointment of the week was to come down on departure morning at 5.00am to find the dining room in darkness and not being able to find the light switches until I realised there were a few table lamps around which I switched on. The room was still rather dark which was not a nice finish to an otherwise wonderful stay. A disappointing reduced breakfast was served. Would have preferred a more substantial packed breakfast instead.
And the rest…
Tip: Spar is expensive but Carre Four is best bet for choice and price although Ed’s Supermarket will do on first night, as it is near.
It is a pretty sizeable town with good number of shops.
I booked with Inghams and arrived in resort at 12.00pm and managed to purchase a half day local pass for 25€ so opt for early flight if you want to so this.
Also extra discount of 10% is available for 4 ski passes purchased together (2 adults and 2 children under 19 years old) available only at the office.
The Pleney telecabine is on one side of the valley that takes you to the local Mozine ski area and also connects to the Les Gets ski area. The ski-ing here is significant but unfortunately pales in comparison to what is on offer on the other side of the valley. Consequently this area is less busy and the pistes keep better throughout the day.
Morzine is quite low down at 1000m and rain was experienced often in resort. Is this because of very warm weather this year or is rain a regular thing? Understandably I did not spend much time in this area due to challenging wet conditions. I did bring a raincoat after checking the weather forecast for the week and this was put to good use.
The Super Morzine telecabine takes you into the Avoriaz ski area and the access to the whole Portes Du Soleil circuit. You can’t ski back to resort from this side and will need to take the telecabine back down.
Both the Telecabines are very fast.
Avoriaz is the heart of this massive area and is also the most popular and easy to reach from Morzine. For this reason the pistes does get bashed up each day and gets mogully very quickly. The top half of Avoriaz is high so good spot to be on bad snow days. Also best to return from Switzerland by heading for Chavanette.
The Stash is by far my favourite spot, which is a natural spot through treelines and many variable signposted runs allowing you to decide your own combination of a run. It is popular with snowboarders also with a number of jumps. But on bad weather foggy days I have stayed in this area and maximised my ski-ing pleasure.
Towards the top right of Avoriaz you will find two areas called Snow Crosses Pschott and Marmotte, which were great area for powder ski-ing. There are some Black runs further to the right, which are demanding and takes you into canyons and tree lines. I went down on a day with good powder but reckon these runs will be much more demanding when conditions are different.
Chatel are on two sides of the valley and a bus ride across the town to access the other side. I did not make this effort, as there are so much more to experience elsewhere. I headed here when Avoriaz was foggy and enjoyed better conditions as it is on a different mountain so this is something to consider. Again this is a less popular area and the pistes keep better throughout the day.
I found Les Crosets and Champoussin easy and relaxing and runs, which takes you into the wilderness with great treelines and views. Expect a few draglifts and slow lifts. The runs in the heart of Les Crosets are very interlinked and were slightly difficult to figure the map to pistes initially. But this makes it very easy to get back to France.
So much to do here it is worthwhile considering a 2 weeks trip.
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