Flora Beaumont travels to Le Massif in the Italian Alps for the ultimate family-friendly ski holiday
For years, the French Alps have been the first choice for family ski holidays, but with rising prices and over-crowding, more and more families have been looking elsewhere. Sprinkled with charming towns and villages, delicious food and family-friendly slopes, the Italian Alps are fast becoming a firm favourite. If you’re looking for a change or are new to winter sports, but have your heart set on authentic alpine beauty, the Italian Alps are for you.
One of the most attractive places in the region is the town of Courmayeur. Known for having some of the best restaurants in the Alps, this family ski area has a lot to offer. Not least, the new Le Massif hotel, part of Italian Hospitality Collection.
Le Massif opened in December 2018 for the season, giving life to a building that has lain empty for more than 30 years. This sleek hotel houses 80 rooms and suites, including cosy two-bedroom corner suites with balconies for families.Le Massif is especially well set-up for families. This chic five-star hotel is just the ticket if you are looking for a ski holiday that you will enjoy as much as your children. There are two price points for children under the age of 13 – only £27 a night for under threes and £90 a night for three to 12-year-olds when sharing a room with their parents.
Children are automatically placed on an all-inclusive package, which includes all meals and access to two kids clubs, giving parents the freedom to enjoy the slopes safe in the knowledge that their kids are in expert hands. The hotel is a great base, located only two minutes’ walk from the main cable car up to the ski area and steps away from the heart of the historic town.
If you picture family ski holidays involving you lugging three sets of skis around as you wade to the slopes in heavy ski boots, think again. At Le Massif, convenience is the name of the game and the ski locker room is located up on the slopes, at La Loge du Massif. This slope-side mountain restaurant is located at the top of the cable car, besides the ski hire shop. The La Loge ski room has expansive lockers that open with the swipe of your hotel room key card. The heated lockers ensure damp boots, hats, gloves and goggles are warm and dry by the next morning.
La Loge du Massif has a warm and cosy fireplace, ideal for wintery days, as well as a sun-drenched terrace that is just the place for a languorous long lunch or après-ski aperitif. Expect some of the best fresh sushi in Courmayeur, as well as family favourite Italian ragus and creamy risottos – much deserved after an energetic morning on the slopes.
For little ones who tire of a long lunch or don’t quite have the energy for an afternoon of winter sports, La Loge du Massif houses one of Le Massif ’s two kids clubs – the other being in the main hotel. The two clubs are open throughout the day for three to 12-year-olds so parents can continue their day skiing, enjoying an aperitif, or relaxing in the hotel spa while kids go off and have some fun. Younger children can also attend if accompanied by an adult. At the kid’s clubs, animators with endless energy ensure children are constantly entertained and cared for while taking part in activities that combine learning and play, during moments of rest or at lunch.
After a busy day on the slopes, there is nothing more pleasurable than returning to your hotel to soak your aching legs. Le Massif has a gorgeous Scandidesign spa for guests to use with a much-appreciated indoor/outdoor pool. Sitting outdoors in the hot water with the scent of pine and snowflakes fluttering around you is absolute bliss, not least because it releases tension and fluid retention. Kids love the pool just as much as adults and are especially fond of pressing the button that opens the glass screen door to let you swim from inside to outside.
Parents can also seek refuge in the steam room, and sauna. If you want to really indulge, the spa therapists are on another level. Italian Hospitality Collection is, at heart, a spa as well as hospitality brand, with three beautiful historic spa hotels set above thermal hot springs in Tuscany – Fonteverde, Bagni di Pisa and Grotta Giusti. The seriously experienced therapists from these spa resorts have trained the team at Le Massif so the treatments are of the highest quality. Try a Re-Energising Massage designed to soothe tired and tight muscles. As you are led into the calm treatment room, tension immediately begins to melt away. The ensuing full body massage, includes a heavenly foot massage.
At Le Massif, food is a major draw. The two restaurants within the property are Chétif and Cervo Rosso Steakhouse. The restaurants lean towards fine dining but there are also kids’ menus on offer for little ones and staple favourites, including fresh Italian pastas, on the menu. Expect an abundance of truffle for those who are fans of the delicious, intense flavour, plenty of fish and vibrant shellfish dishes including crispy cod with Mediterranean vegetables and succulent prawns with blitzed avocado purée, beautiful steaks and melting wagyu beef. In our group, we had shellfish and dairy allergies, which the hotel’s team handled with aplomb, seamlessly suggesting delightful alternatives at every turn.
Courmayeur is part of the Val d’Aosta region on the Italian side of Mont Blanc, close to the French resort of Chamonix. The resort offers 100km of groomed pistes for beginners to experts, from 1,210m to 2,755m, and offers spectacular views of 14 4,000m plus mountain peaks, including Mont Blanc. There is also an abundance of off-piste skiing for the thrill seekers among us.
Le Massif has relationships with the best ski schools and guides in the region and can help arrange ski lessons and tours for all levels. The hotel can also arrange ski passes in advance that can be collected from reception, as well as airport transfers and more to ensure a relaxing holiday from start to finish.
The most convenient airports are Geneva and Turin, both 1.5 hours drive from the hotel. Return flights from London to Geneva are from £45. Return flights from London to Turin are from £49. Le Massif can arrange airport transfers.
Where to stay
Nightly rates at Le Massif for a family of four start from £403 per adult per night B&B in a Rooftop Suite, sleeping two adults and two children. Children up to three years cost £27 per child per night. Children three to 12 cost £90 per child per night. This rate includes buffet breakfast, lunch, dinner and meal plan beverages, mini and kids club activities.