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. The road is one minute’s walk away, the bus stops a further minute, but if you’re a city type, and the thought of hiking for two minutes, some of it on a snowy track, in boots not made for walking, your skis (and possibly your partner’s and your children’s) over your shoulder, would spoil your breakfast and hang over you all day, fear not: all is sorted!
We are no longer able to provide a YSE Land Rover service between the chalet and the slopes. Instead, Taxi Raffi will run a shuttle to ferry you from the chalet to the slopes in an eight-seater minibus, for 35€ per vehicle. They will also bring you home from any point in Val d’Isère, drive you to shops or restaurants, etc. for a further 35€. Unless you all go skiing individually, this service will cost less than we had to budget into the holiday price for our famous yellow Defenders, and it is also available all day every day except on busy Saturdays.
We thoroughly recommend reserving the morning service if you are bringing children, older people, beginners or just slightly lazy people. The slots last 15 minutes, and the earlier you phone to book and pay the more certain you are to get the times you choose. Everyone needs to be outside the chalet at the agreed hour so that other guests aren’t held up, and the taxi can’t wait if you are not. For the return journey, just keep Raffi’s number (+33 622 830 684).
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. Each of these is sold as a single with the other bed being available as an extra bed at 50% of the normal price.
Bedroom 3 has twin beds, which we can fit together to make into a 6ft double (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.