It's no secret that the French Alps offer some of the world's best skiing and the biggest variety of ski resorts, where powder hounds can take their pick from the glitzy, family-friendly, party central and traditional. But as ski holidays aren't just about the skiing these days we're inspiring you to experience a different kind of mountain escape this year - one where you can explore the wonders of the Savoie region in a French chateau and the fun and adventures at a ski resort.
SEE ALSO: Best activities for non-skiers in Courchevel and Meribel
SEE ALSO: Can you have a cheap holiday in Courchevel?
As getting the best holiday experiences doesn't always have to come with the price tag, we've picked three affordable French Alps hotels from Ski France that you'll fall in love with. Whether you're looking to head straight for the slopes in glamorous Courchevel or charming Meribel-Mottaret, or indulge in a little Savoie living (lots of cheese and wine!) in Chambery beforehand, these are our top picks for a 2017 ski holiday in France...
Getting in: Chateaux Candie, Chambery
Arriving in Chambery by train or flying to Geneva, an hour's drive away, affords you the perfect opportunity to start your ski holiday as you mean to go on - with utter indulgence. The elegant Chateau de Candie provides a picturesque setting for a winter chateau stay, where the rooms are thoroughly French and romantic: think four-poster beds, blue and white Toile de Jouy curtains and opulent wallpaper. The four-star hotel, which could easily be mistaken for a five-star, boasts gorgeous views and top-notch restaurants. L'Orangerie serves up decadent dishes in a graceful setting, with roasted pigeon breast and Isere River trout on the menu, plus an after-dinner cheese trolley with regional specialities, while intimate La Cantine is a lovely spot for lunch: try the winter warming butternut squash velouté. Be sure to sample the region's delicious sparkling wine Crémant de Savoie or book a tasting of local varieties with master sommelier Frédéric Claude. Candie is a great base for embracing Savoyard living, enjoying strolls in the vineyards, visiting the town of Chambery and exploring nearby Aix-les-Bains, a favourite holiday destination of Queen Victoria.
The charming resort: Hotel Le Mottaret, Meribel-Mottaret
Serious skiers looking for a ski-in ski-out hotel in friendly Meribel-Mottaret will adore the three-star Hotel Le Mottaret. Situated seconds from the slopes in the heart of the Three Valleys, this delightful bolthole will surprise you with its unexpected luxuries. Its style is boutique, contemporary and lively, where après-ski enjoyment is had at trendy lounge bar Pole Sud Bar or at Cafe del Mott, the hotel's fun, al-fresco eatery. The rooms are cosy and modern, featuring large TVs, glorious views of the pistes and spacious showers with luxury Hierbas de Ibiza toiletries. The dinner buffet is impressive - expect Bordeaux oysters, a delectable selection of meat and fish, as well as cheese and desserts to gorge on after dinner (with unlimited wine, of course). Guests staying on a half-board or all-inclusive basis can also enjoy lunch at Le Chabotté, a superb bistro in Courchevel. Another highlight of Hotel Le Mottaret is the outdoor hot tub for magical evenings under the stars surrounded by snow. You can even reserve the Jacuzzi free of charge in the evenings.
Glamour on a budget: Hotel Olympic, Courchevel
The only two-star hotel in ritzy, glitzy Courchevel is terrific for a taste of how the other half lives without breaking the bank. Hotel Olympic allows you to experience the Champagne lifestyle with lemonade money and is located in the centre of what was formerly known as 1850, the ideal location for spotting the glamorous resort's majority wealthy Russian skiers who take to the slopes in their furs and shop in the designer boutiques of Hermès, Louis Vuitton and Moncler. The boutique hotel offers just 28 rooms, with standard, triple and superior rooms available for couples, families and groups of friends skiing in Courchevel. The rooms are simple and feature large windows to take in the mountain views, while the lounge-bar invites guests to socialise over a game of Monopoly or pool, or enjoy a drink by the fire. Breakfast is served at the hotel but guests staying on a half-board basis can enjoy three-course meals at the local restaurants, including Le 9.9.
Chateau de Candie: Overnight stays in a classic room on a bed and breakfast basis start from £87 per room. Guests can stay three nights and pay for two or stay six nights and pay for four.
Hotel Le Mottaret: A seven-night stay in a superior room on an all-inclusive basis costs from £1,148 per person.
Hotel Olympic: A seven-night stay in a standard room on a bed and breakfast basis costs from £577 per person.