I am just back from a week of cross country skiing, staying at La Barme with my wife and 5 1/2 year old daughter. I travel a lot and it's been ages since I've been so enthusiastic about a hotel. First a word about the area. Cogne is a pleasant sizable village at 1,500 meters altitude with plenty of restaurants and hotels, and excellent cross country skiing. There's a also a small downhill area and a very good ski school (Scuola Sci Gran Paradiso). We chose the area because it's low key, we could cross country ski, and our daughter could learn both downhill and xcountry. Valnontey, where La Barme is, is a cluster of around a dozen buildings about 3 km away from the main village and about 100 meters higher. It's set in extraordinary mountain scenery with cross country trails heading off both up and down the valley (we saw both foxes and chamois during our stay). In the summer you can take great hikes into the Gran Paradiso national park. It's also the end of the road so it's silent at night. La Barme is an old stone and wood building. It's not luxury - the rooms are simple - but everything is so well thought out and the family that runs it are so welcoming. They speak Italian, French and English. We had a two room `suite' so that our daughter had her own little room. Our bathroom was simple (shower, no bath) but had two sinks. Everything is spotlessly clean. If I have to complain about something it's that like many Italian budget hotels, our double bed was two single beds put together and they were a bit lumpy. But we still slept fine. We paid 152 euros a night, with breakfast and dinner included. Breakfast was a healthy spread of cereals, breads, yogurts and fruit. Dinner changed every night, was always good, and they'd always make special dishes for children. (the dinner menu would be pinned up early every morning and you could ask for special dishes for whatever reason). Wine is not included, but good local wines ranged from 10 to 18 euros a bottle. There's a large common area where people gather in the evening to chat and where kids could play or watch TV. The owners have stocked it with coloring books and board games. I'd just make one warning: this isn't a place for sleeping in. Almost everyone either had children or was there to take part in the valley's other great speciality, which is ice climbing, and requires an early start. By 8 o'clock everyone is up and about (also, avoid room 18, which is right off the common areas). There's a garage (5 euros a day), cross country and snowshoe renrtal, and a small hot tub and sauna (free). There's an internet terminal everyone can use, plus free wi-fi. Plus there's a sled run right in front of the hotel and free sleds. The week we were there most guests were Italian families, but there were also French, English and Canadians, and everyone made friends. It added up to a lovely stay. We ate well, skied many hours a day, got rest, made friends, and didn't spend that much money. What more could you want?
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Hotel Restaurant La Barme is situated in the heart of the Gran Paradiso National Park, just 2 km from the village of Cogne. The building and its location are in perfect harmony with the quaint rustic village of Valnontey with its beautiful mountain scenery and wildlife. This charming hotel has been developed from a cluster of authentic old mountain buildings, in keeping with the local tradition of stone and wood in valdôtain style. It is charming and quaint . The hotels unique situation is a superb base for walking and hiking in the summer and cross-country skiing and icefall climbing in the winter. ... more less
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