Our destination turned out to be Le Gai Soleil, a hotel we had called directly with no luck. Beau-père achieved success via Logis de France, a large booking agent who evidently hold room quotas that direct booking can’t circumvent. We arrived to discover that it very much fitted the bill as a traditional chalet-style hotel and was a fully paid up member of Megève’s ‘Christmas lasts ‘til Easter’ club. Baubles in the windows and trimmings in abundance complemented the greeting’s card cliché of metre-deep snow on the sloping roof and the welcoming glow of shutter-flanked windows.
We were greeted by Roger, one half of the young Welsh couple who run the place. They are the current recipients of my career envy, although I suspect that maintaining a 30-room hotel in one of France’s most popular ski resorts doesn’t leave them with much time to indulge in their passion for winter sport.
Our room took the hotel euphemism of cosiness close to its natural conclusion. A double bed, narrow chest of drawers, and bedside table had been tastefully crammed in, leaving us with precious edging room to the astonishingly small en suite shower. All space-saving techniques had been employed: sliding, mirrored wardrobe and bathroom doors, wall-mounted TV, and a corner-mounted toilet, but there was no escaping the fact that this room was the antidote to any agoraphobia brought on by the great Alpine outdoors beyond the balcony. Let’s face it, though: if you need to use your hotel room as anything more than a crash pad during a ski trip, you’re just not doing it right.
Le Gai Soleil also boasts a function room and mini cinema theatre for showing videos (presumably catering for school trips and the like). In addition, while wandering down to breakfast, we spotted a fully equipped bar. Breakfast itself is buffet-based, with plenty of continental pastries, cold cuts, bread, and cereal on offer, all washed down with juice and ample coffee.
Close to the Rochebrune téléphérique, Le Gai Soleil is a perfectly adequate identikit chalet-style hotel. We gulped at the prices, but they’re fairly standard for this grand dame of French ski resorts, and you can pay much more.€111 bed and breakfast (€96 +€14 + €1 tax).
Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom
July 27, 2006
From journal Cutting a Dash in Megève