The Maison du Rocher is part of a lovely stone farmhouse in that little enclave of stone chalets on the left as you reach Val d’Isère proper from La Daille. This is the chalet you may have read about once in the Telegraph, in an article so enthusiastic people thought we must have written it ourselves.
Perfectly situated in a large garden just above the main road, the chalet is totally insulated from the sound of passing traffic or people, yet close to the bus and just one stop from the funicular or three from the village centre. Not that its guests count bus stops: a Land Rover shuttle takes them straight to the lifts in the morning, and brings them home in the afternoon. It even makes pre-dinner drinks in town very accessible.
The building dates back to the 1620s, so its walls are deep and solid, its roof of granite slabs and whole trees robust enough to support the weight of Val d’Isère’s heavy snowfall (and a satellite dish).
Fortunately, the five bedrooms and en-suite bathrooms don’t date back to the 1620s. They are all individual, but all warm, welcoming and very comfortable, well fitted-out with lights and cupboards. Two of them (4 and 5) are split-level single rooms, with the bathrooms below and the beds above, under the eaves.
Bedrooms 3 and 4 have twin beds, which we can fit together to make 6ft doubles (please specify which you’d prefer when you book).
There is a separate dining room, where food is served which we defy any restaurant in Val d’Isère to match (the chef lives in the basement).
The vast sitting room is one of those rooms that feel right, perhaps because of the log fire, the bottomless hand-made British sofas (with duck-down cushions, so guests can spend hours wallowing in them, and chalet staff can spend hours plumping them back up again!) or just the stone walls and wood ceiling. And perhaps in spite of the home cinema system and all-channel satellite…
On the ground floor is a sauna. If you really want to do the thing properly, you can make the short sprint through the front door, roll in the snow in the garden, beat yourself with larch branches (beware – they’re spiky!) and sprint back into the sauna. But most guests seem just to chastise their bodies with a glass or two of bubbly.
The Land Rover is shared with the neighbours, YSE chalets Le Vieux Crêt and La Croix, and is available to ferry you to or from any point in Val d’Isère between 8.30 and 10am, then from 3.30 to 8pm.
(Please note that the use of the sauna in Maison du Rocher is at your own risk and that of your party members. YSE cannot accept responsibility for any accidents/injuries that occur during the use of the sauna. Children must be supervised when using the sauna.)