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May 8, 2013

Where Billionaires Go to Ski

By Chris Boyle

Chalet La Bergerie

Chalet La BergerieChalet La Bergerie

As the snow melts in ski resorts across the Northern Hemisphere, and skis are put to bed for the summer,  the clever few are already planning for next season.

Chalet La Bergerie in French resort Courchevel 1850 was built last year to the tune of some $20 million, and fetches peak season rents of $300,000 per week. The chalet sleeps 14 guests in five-star comfort, and boasts the biggest living room and swimming pool in Courchevel. No mean feat in a town dubbed ‘St. Tropez on snow’.

Working with the owners, local architect Jean-Philippe Velghe-Michaux has created an exterior that fits happily into the surrounding landscape, and belies the vast space inside. The muted interiors are the work of designer Alain Foeillet, with traditional Alpine timber and stone complemented by playful contemporary touches. The peaceful top floor living room features a large central fireplace, separate seating areas and sweeping views of Les Trois Vallées, the largest linked ski area in the world.

Guests have a choice of two master suites and five en suite double bedrooms, each with a stand-alone bathtub, rainforest shower and separate Japanese-style restroom. All rooms are furnished in natural materials and have access to the piste-facing terraces. Throughout the chalet a smart house system provides iPad music control, TV (including Kartina TV) and a TV-accessible movie server. For more cinematic needs, the chalet also features a $1 million private screening room, complete with HD projector, movie database, PS3 and Xbox.

The charming, professional staff includes a chalet manager, chef, chauffeur, several housekeepers and a spa team, all of whom run a very tight ship (literally, in fact – many of them spend the summer months crewing the world’s most coveted superyachts). Chalet guests can also make use of a Mercedes Viano during their stay, as well as a local concierge for anything from restaurant bookings to heli-skiing.

Take the sleek elevator to the basement spa, and you may never want to take it back up again. As well as a 65 ft x 16 ft swimming pool, guests have exclusive use of a Jacuzzi, hammam, sauna, acquajet massage, Pevonia Spa treatment room and a state-of-the-art fitness room with the latest Technogym equipment. A masseuse and beautician are available at all times, offering a wide range of manicures, pedicures, wraps and facials. If you’re lucky, your stay will coincide with Cler Fiorelli, whose massages are the stuff of legend. Soothing tender muscles after a hard day’s skiing, Cler blends Ayurvedic techniques with Swedish and sports massage, and will leave you feeling pretty content with the world.

Meals are served in the expansive upper floor dining room with mountain views and a generous bar and wine cellar. La Bergerie chef Guillaume Véra was formerly private chef to Roman Abramovich and the Qatari royal family, so expect cooking worthy of the world’s biggest bon viveurs. A typical dinner might include warm asparagus salad with poached egg, followed by steamed skinless salmon fillet with crushed potatoes, Italian style egg plant and balsamic-glazed red peppers, and a rich chocolate fondant to finish. Ingredients can be sourced from across the globe with no expense spared, and should you venture beyond the chalet to eat, you’ll find more Michelin-starred restaurants in Courchevel than in any other ski resort in the world (seven and counting).

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Courchevel 1850 is just over two hours by car from Geneva airport, or a swift helicopter ride to the resort’s helipad. From the chalet, a five-minute walk takes you to the center of town, with its pantheon of fashion stores—think Bulgari, Chanel, Cartier, Louis Vuitton and Hermès, not to mention oh-so-Courchevel brand ‘Save the Rich’.

So, though the mercury may be rising and the Mediterranean beckons, keep the next ski season in mind. La Bergerie will be the name to drop when yacht deck chat turns to winter plans.

For rental information and enquiries contact Polina Veselova at Courchevel Agence:

Phone: +33 4 79 08 10 79


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