Family ski holidays

Le Portetta: the family hotel that could change your mind about Courchevel

Last updated 27th January 2024

Forget what you think you know about Courchevel. John Lewisohn recently stayed at Le Portetta in Courchevel Moriond and had his preconceptions challenged in the best possible way.

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Le Portetta, Courchevel Moriond © Amy Murrell

The Courchevel you may want to keep to yourself

Courchevel has a reputation as the playground of the rich with expensive boutiques full of oligarchs, haute couture skiwear, pricey lunches on the mountainside and skiing coming second to the main activity of shopping and being seen.

If this still takes place then it does so at Courchevel 1850 the largest of the 5 resorts that make up Courchevel.

But there is another world, one I was keen to explore, at Courchevel Moriond. It’s just a ski away, or 10 minutes by bus or taxi at the lower altitude of 1650, and home to Le Portetta a 4-star ski-in-ski-out hotel that turned out to be the ski accommodation of my dreams.

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Le Portetta, Courchevel Moriond © Amy Murrell

Meet the local wildlife at Le Portetta

Set at the foot of the Belvedere piste, the main run that finishes in the heart of Moriond, Le Portetta is also metres away from the ESF ski school, kids club and themed nursery runs. So it really ticks all the boxes for a family holiday and that’s even before you venture inside.

Warm wood interiors glow in the soft light from big windows and the huge fire that’s lit from morning to night and surrounded on all sides by generously deep sofas resting on antique rugs with shiny reclaimed parquet floors. In short, the perfect place to lounge after a day on the slopes, perhaps with a hot chocolate, a good book or over a board game with the kids.

David Elton, the Hotel Director has a keen eye for design and has populated all public spaces with finds from a local taxidermy auction he came across. S0 you’ll find yourself sharing this welcoming space with a menagerie of boar, deer, and even alpine sheep heads: complete with curved horns.

My coffee cup rested on a table alongside a stuffed mountain muskrat perched on a log. However, the placidly staring creatures aren’t even slightly macabre. Although there was one mouflon which definitely gave me a malign look. “Hey buddy, I wasn’t the one that shot you – sorry.”

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Fire & Ice terrace, Le Portetta, Courchevel Moriond

Experience Fire & Ice on the largest terrace in Courchevel Moriond

Outside, overlooking the mountains is the largest terrace in Courchevel Moriond where you can experience Fire & Ice: log fires, flaming torches, a wood-fired pizza oven and ice-shots, added to by fur snugs and heated bar seating: great place to meet for apres-ski.

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Cucina Angelina, Le Portetta

Cucina Angelina sets a new standard for ski resort restaurants

In addition to ice shots on the terrace, Le Portetta also features a long bar with a fabulous array of unique cocktails. This in turn leads into the main restaurant Cucina Angelina, run by the multi-starred Michelin chef Angela Hartnett and her colleague Luke Holder, who also helm the kitchen at the redoubtable Lime Wood hotel in the New Forest.

I can honestly say, Cucina Angelina is hands-down the best food I have ever eaten in a ski resort, or arguably anywhere. I was utterly bereft when I realised I’d eaten my last meal there, it was that good. There are no foams or smears of balsamic vinegar here, instead Angela, Luke and their brigade want to fill you up until every stitch of your clothing is straining. I dutifully did my best to comply, probably piling on a couple of kilos in the process, despite skiing hard all day.

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Tarte Citron, Cucina Angelina © Amy Murrell

Simple food done this well is a hard trick to pull off

Food is served in antique farmhouse-wide bowl plates, the better to ensure luscious gravies can pool the stews and casseroles that characterize the Alpine-Italian style menu. Simple food done this well is a hard trick to pull off, but pull it off they do from rabbit pappardelle and gnocchi with game ragout to veal haunch with mashed potato. Then come the daily specials, like the best boeuf bourguignon you will ever eat. Fish is flown in daily, think whole dover sole swimming in butter or sea bream carpaccio starters. And to finish up, the cheese board is immense and I can personally recommend the tarte Tatin: I had to be physically restrained from gorging the entire two-person portion.

You can enjoy almost the same menu at lunch, with the addition of pizzas and juicy steaks as well as an extensive children’s menu. Breakfasts run the gamut of great granola, dairy products, fruit and made to order hot dishes from a full fry up to daintier egg dishes. And prices are surprisingly reasonable given the quality, quantity and Courchevel-factor. Although be warned, you may need to be wheeled out, even if you are only half as greedy as I was.

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Piste View Room, Le Portetta © Jeremy Wilson

Le Portetta lofts are made for family ski holidays in Courchevel

Accommodation at Le Portetta is laid out over two floors, and after dinner you’ll be thankful for the lift.

All bedrooms are accented in the same tones as the public areas, and each has a wide balcony overlooking the Belvedere piste or the valley below. The beds are huge, and our suite had two bathrooms, complete with toiletries by Bamford, as well as a separate children’s room with sweet bunk beds.

Alternatively, via a separate entrance, Le Portetta offers six lofts, some mezzanines, and all with huge living rooms and wood-burning fires. They feature large kitchens too, but with Cucina Angelina downstairs, its hard to imagine these get used too much. Although they’ll certainly come in handy for snacks, or if your children need something quick and easy. Babysitting can be arranged too.

Discover Pensacola and find your own, personal Way to Beach

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Spa, Le Portetta © Amy Murrell

Everything has been thought of, from spa to ski room to kids’ club

Speaking of children, Le Portetta is also home to a kids’ club exclusively for guests. Book a place in advance and you can look forward to a stress free drop off and pick up service from ski school, fully supervised fun for your children, and uninterrupted ski days (or long mountain lunches) for yourself. The club even has its own dedicated space in the hotel, and cares for kids from as young as four months.

On the hotel’s lower floor, also accessed by lift, there’s an excellent spa where tired skiers get to indulge in Bamford deep tissue and de-stress signature massages or simply relax in the hammam and sauna.

Also on the spa floor and another great boon, is Portetta’s own ski room, where equipment can be hired, bought and stored. So you have the guarantee of warm boots every morning, along with a separate elevator for quick access to the chairlift outside. What you don’t have is the endless queuing for equipment in the resort on transfer days. And anyone who’s endured that, knows how unwelcome it is, particularly after a long travel day and with tired children to kit out before having to traipse back to your hotel, laden down with equipment.

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Les Trois Vallees © Amy Murrell

And you get to ski the vast Trois Vallées too

The Trois Vallées lift pass is comparable price wise to many other world class Alpine resorts. However, it’s arguably better value given the huge breadth of skiing available both in Morion, the rest of Courchevel, and further afield in Meribel and Val Thorens.

The total area covers upwards of 600km, including 337 pistes and altitudes of up to 3420m and even expert skiers would find it virtually impossible to ski every piste in a week. Courchevel is also one of the most snow-sure resorts, and with 3 North facing bowls, snow tends to be of better quality and runs less busy than neighbouring Méribel for example.

In addition to the resort’s outstanding skiing, there are plenty of opportunities for family fun off the slopes, starting with new Aquamotion swimming and leisure complex, which features indoor and outdoor swimming pools, slides, river rapids, a kids’ play area and indoor surf pool: all free with a two-day or more Trois Vallées’ lift pass. Just somewhere else to work up the type of appetite you need to do justice to those heavenly meals at Cucina Angelina, which I’m still dreaming about…

How to plan your Courchevel ski break 2024

How to get there

Direct UK flights to Chambery, from 1 hour, 52 minutes

Transfer to Courchevel from 1 hour, 30 minutes

Where to stay

F&P Travel offers 7 nights at Le Portetta in a Family Valley Room, sleeping 2 adults and 2 children, from £9,578.  Includes breakfast and complimentary F&P Travel concierge service.*

F&P Travel offers 7 nights at Le Portetta in a Loft Room, sleeping 2 adults and 2 children, from £12,495.  Includes breakfast and complimentary F&P Travel concierge service.*

Find out more and book Le Portetta

*Please note there is no availability for February half term.  Prices based on Easter Holidays 6 to 13 April 2024