Squaw Valley is probably Val d’Isère’s smartest résidence. Spacious and quiet, it is much appreciated for its calm, understated décor, with lots of wood, granite and plain white. It is certainly the most perfectly situated building in town, being 50m from the eleventh-century church and 50m from the edge of the nursery slopes. The Savonette drag lifts and Grande Ourse restaurant are a minute’s walk away. You can eat lunch with the beau monde, while watching your children/parents/spouse having their first ski lessons. And nothing, from the Town Hall to most of the nightlife, is more than about 100m. You could visit the Mairie, say a Hail Mary and drink a couple of Bloody Marys within five minutes.
The apartment which is our Chalet Squaw Valley is on the first floor, looking towards the slopes and the sun. It has a large, comfortable sitting-dining room and two sweet bedrooms with good bathrooms. It has the usual flat screen for French TV and DVDs, WiFi, and bootwarmers in the basement. For two couples, a small family or Hugh Hefner, there is nowhere more perfect.
To us cynical Brits, the name Squaw Valley is likely to cause a smile. Wasn’t the squaw on the hippopotamus equal to the sons of the squaws on the other two hides? But the name sounds incredibly smart to the French, who are obsessed with things Californian. Just make sure your friends know you’re going to Chalet Squaw Valley in Val d’Isere, not the purpose-built resort of the same name with more beds than Val, a third of the lifts and a sixth of the skiing!