Review: Portetta, Courchevel 1650
November 15, 2018 | Hollie-Rae Brader
Its close proximity to the ski lift – just two minutes away – means it’s the only hotel here that’s ski-in ski-out
LOCATION: Location is everything at Portetta. The property sits at the foot of the slopes in Courchevel 1650, the more laid-back and less pretentious little sister to Courchevel 1850. Its close proximity to the ski lift – just two minutes away – means it’s the only hotel here that’s ski-in ski-out.
FIRST IMPRESSIONS: A wonderful combination of fresh mountain air, endless views of snowy mountains and a perfectly homely lodge-style property meant I was all smiles when I pitched up at Portetta. Add in mountain staples such as intensely rich hot chocolates, hearty cheese‑filled meals and, of course, brilliant ski conditions, and I knew I was in for a wonderful stay. The property has all of the countryside and forest-infused charm you’d expect of a hotel whose UK sister properties are Lime Wood and The Pig series. I headed straight to the lounge, and the first thing I noticed was the abundance of taxidermically-stuffed animals adorning the walls. The decor is typically Alpine and lodge-like, with lots of wooden furniture, sofas you could sink into and never escape, and a constantly burning log fire. The atmosphere here at 1650 is much friendlier and more chilled than in 1850, which is known for its party atmosphere, big-spending billionaires and designer boutiques.
THE FACTS: Portetta has 39 rooms, plus six lofts, the biggest of which sleeps four adults and two children. The rooms are a little small, so if space is important, book a loft. The property happily promotes itself as four‑star, knowing it is likely to exceed expectations with its fantastic service. The staff are mostly British and tend to have previously worked at either Lime Wood or one of The Pigs. The property has two restaurants, a lounge and a beautiful wellness area.
CUISINE: Portetta prides itself on its cuisine and restaurant Cucina Angelina, overseen by Michelin-starred chef Angela Hartnett, serves up exquisite grilled meats, Italian dishes and mountain classics. You won’t leave hungry. The food at the outdoor Fire and Ice terrace bar will also tempt you, with delicious pizzas served all day– indeed, their tempting aromas hit you as you make your way down the slopes.
The terrace bar has become popular with skiers in the Courchevel area, who head here in droves each afternoon for some après‑ski treats after a morning on the mountains. Try the shots, served in ice ‘glasses’, before snuggling under a faux-fur blanket. You’ll find it hard to put those ski boots back on.
EXPLORE: Jump on the bubble lift, close to the property’s backdoor, and explore the 600km of pistes surrounding you, including Les Trois Vallées. The stunning valleys of Val Thorens and Meribel are within easy reach. The 1650 area is ideal for all levels of skiers, with wider pistes making it easier for beginners. A new toboggan run opened this year and is a great non‑skiing activity, but beware: even this isn’t for the faint-hearted. 1650 has a small number of independent shops to explore, but if you want big brands you’ll need to head up to 1850.
And don’t fret if you’ve forgotten something – Portetta has its own on-site ski shop, which is also where you get kitted out with your boots, skis and poles each morning.
WOW: The spa, which uses highly regarded Bamford and Oskia products, is impressive for a property of this size. It has three treatment rooms, a steam room, hamman and sauna. Unlike many hotel spas, this one is well-used, with skiers heading here to rest weary limbs after a day on the slopes.
Hollie is editor of Aspire’s print and online products. She is responsible for the running of the club and ensuring the content produced and the events organised are relevant to the Aspire audience. She was previously deputy news editor and cruise writer for sister title Travel Weekly. She loves exploring new destinations and is gradually ticking new countries off her list. She most enjoys writing about cruise, South America and Japan. Before working in the travel industry she held news reporting roles at the East Anglian Daily Times and Ipswich Star.