If you follow me on Instagram (@georgiefenndog) you might know that I’ve been away in the delightful Alps skiing. This time, (fortunately) I managed to keep my kit on, so this post isn’t going to be another naked poem about swigging from a champagne bottle on a gentle blue run. For not only have I been skiing in the perfect conditions of Tignes, but I have been gorging on possibly the most delicious food in France constructed from the very talented hands of the various Maison Bouvier hotels for the past week, and I thought I’d share the experience with you.
My friend and I arrived at Hôtel Les Suites in Val Claret on a snowy Monday night. It had been a smooth journey considering the Avalanche risk of 5/5 had closed the main road from Bourg-St-Maurice to Tignes for most of the day. Thankfully for us it re-opened around 20 minutes before we got there.
Hôtel Les Suites is the first ever 5* hotel in Tignes and it is the ultimate alpine chic experience you could ever dream of.
The Bouvier group is owned and run by Michelin Star chef Jean-Michel Bouvier, his wife Catherine and their two children; Clément and Emma. Catherine has done a fantastic job of transforming the interior of the hotel into a classy, cosy and characteristic space that you can relax in after a long day of zooming across the mountains. The rooms are very comfortable with luxurious showers, a Jacuzzi bath and plenty of sheepskins and fur rugs are scattered everywhere to snuggle down in. What also fascinated me is the scent of the hotel, it’s simply divine and as someone who is a bit obsessed with good smells it really showed that the Bouviers have thought of everything.
Side note: The smell of the hotel comes from the many rooms that are filled with The Comfort Zone products including their Tranquility Body Moisturizer which includes the essential oils of Cedarwood, Sweet Orange, Rose, Sandalwood, Geranium and Vetiver. It’s 92% natural and 100% delicious.
As you enter reception you will be greeted by the famous Igloo, a St.Bernard who I am completely in love with. You may also catch sight of Lulu the spaniel too, she’s just as adorable.
There is also a beautiful spa featuring a swimming pool, hot tub, sauna, steam room and therapy rooms for a range of different treatments. The bright orange sunbeds surrounding the pool are perfect for a post-ski nap or if you’re like me you might want to get stuck into a really good book.
We need to talk about the food….
The main restaurant in Hotel Les Suites is run by renowned chef Clément Bouvier who has learned his skill from growing up helping his father and following this great upbringing with training at La Bouitte with the Meilleur. Clément then worked as sous-chef for Jean-François Piège for many years before returning to his family in Tignes to open Ursus.
The name, Ursus, comes from the name of the last bear species to roam the Alps. It’s a suitable name for such an atmospheric restaurant. Clément has designed the space to feel like a forest, to reflect his love of everything nature. You are sat in your own private cove with 390 trees surrounding you and the other guests. The carpet is slightly uneven and textured to feel like a forest floor and the great chandeliers hanging from the leafy ceiling make you feel like you’re on some sort of insane camping holiday. Ironically, Clément is a bit like a bear in presence, he is very tall with a dark beard but has piercing blue eyes. His passion to create natural but outstanding food is clear, I’ve never eaten such a journey of ingredients that you can tell are so incredibly fresh and thought through.
As for the wine, well, the wine list was extensive and as you can imagine from a restaurant of this caliber, fairly intimidating. So, I chose Joseph Burrier’s Fleurie “Colonies de Rochegrés” from Château de Beauregard which is a 100% Gamay grape. It was fleshy and jammy with a seductive long finish, really juicy and possibly not the best choice when we then opted for lobster but perfect with everything else.
There’s something surreal about being in such a luxurious hotel that’s positioned at 2,100 metres altitude with ski lifts only a 200 metre ski away, it’s literally the perfect position. After such a wonderful meal at Ursus, we took it easy with breakfast the next day before making the first lift in the beautiful sunshine.
Over the rest of the week we ate at the Le Panoramic restaurant which sits at a staggering 3032 metres altitude on the Grande Motte glacier in Tignes. I had Escargot, I’m a huge fan of snails in garlic and they were perfect. There’s also a beautiful shop next to the restaurant called La-Haut which sells some of the softest sheepskins, cow hides, adorable children’s clothes and other bits and bobs such as jewelry and home furnishings. The shop has been put together by Catherine Bouvier, interior extraordinaire, so it’s a bit like taking some of the luxury home with you.
We also ate at La Table de Jeanne which is where you’ll find Emma behind the smooth running of things. This restaurant is a bit more of a laid back with french-country style to it. The furnishings have been sourced from local antique shops which means the plates sometimes don’t match and it’s real, authentic, it’s just really quirky and fun. I had the fish and we had the house red – you’re always safe with house wine in France in my opinion, well in the Alps anyway.
Since returning home I am determined to be more French in my diet. I felt fantastic the whole time I was skiing and it’s probably because I didn’t consume so much sugar. Of course this will mean plenty of red wine, cheese, a massive breakfast and I am trying to take my own little lunch into work (and not eat it before 12pm) I’ll let you know how it goes.