Ever wondered what it would be like to stay in a £156,000 a week luxury chalet? Well walk this way, I’m about to take you on an enticing tour of Sir Richard Branson’s Lodge in Verbier. And yes, it’s as epic as you’re thinking and then some…
Many think chalets are just for winter, all geared towards the power-hound skiers and boarders. Oh, how wrong they are! In summer the white-capped slopes home to the beautiful wooden abodes literally spring to life like a page out of Heidi.
Think lush green pastures, soaring mountains and picturesque villages. And yes the hills are alive but with the abundance of colourful wild flowers. There is really no better feeling than relaxing in the mountain sun, filling your lungs with the crisp fresh air and listening to the melodic tinkering of cow bells in the distance. It’s a slice of pure Swiss bliss.
This dreamy situation increased ten fold when I entered our mountain retreat in Verbier. Perched high in the Swiss Alps The Lodge is the ultimate getaway. It’s part of Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Limited Edition collection of worldwide unique retreats and luxury hotels.
During the ski season you can hire only on an exclusive weekly basis, but come summer it also adopts an individual room rates policy. Bringing it into the grasp of travellers who would perhaps only dream of visiting this exclusive alpine retreat.
However, the luxury on offer is on a more casual level. Think home from home, but with everything you could wish for in a summer escape. Here’s why…
The Personal Touch
From our friendly welcome as soon as we stepped out of the chauffeur driven car to the glass of bubbles in your hand to ease the essential check in process, you’d be hard pressed to feel any more relaxed.
At first glance you’d be forgiven for thinking you’d actually walked into Richard Branson’s home. Scattered around the living room area are framed family and staff pictures, adding a real cosy feel to the chalet.
And when I say living room, the open plan area includes a large lounge and communal dining area plus one of the two bars in the property. Yes that’s right, two bars in your chalet!
…Where you can help yourself to any tipple you fancy, whenever you desire. Although the staff seem to have a sixth sense and magically appear when you want something. They were always on hand to pour a well needed drink.
The personalisation hit its peak when we were taken to our room. There are no locks on the door (unless you ask for one) and no room numbers here. Instead your names are written on the door with chalk.
The Lodge can accommodate 18 adults and six children with a mix of nine bedrooms and suites. For the kids there is a large bunk room with a separate shower room, plasma screen TV with DVD player, a games console and bean bags. I mean, if that doesn’t scream the BEST sleepover ever – I’m at a loss!
Our vast and plush bedroom immediately bowled us over from the moment we stepped over the threshold, with its own living room and wrap around balcony.
The high-end modern furnishings blends in beautifully with the traditional alpine accents and the cooling tones of white distressed wood.
It’s the small and thoughtful touches that really make the rooms. A desk stocked with pre-stamped postcards, plug adapters, every choice of tea and Nespresso machine. The ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign sits on the bed as a cuddly St. Bernard, which in the evening holds your goodnight treat in the form of a very big Toblerone – Turndown service winner!
The rather generous bathroom comes with freestanding contemporary bath complete with a rubber duck, a rain shower and twin bathroom sinks. A huge range of full-sized Cowshed products left me with a beaming smile and smelling gorgeous through my entire stay.
Of course I immediately felt at home in my lush surroundings.
Live It Up
The ultimate mountain bolthole obviously houses some equally fanciful facilities. The basement is the epitome of hedonistic action.
There’s another open-all-hours bar, an impressive wine library, a pool table which turns into a table tennis table, the biggest cosy pillow-filled couches, a large plasma TV, DVD player, a huge collection of DVDs and disco ball to top it off to get the party well and truly started.
A set of automatic doors leads you to a relaxed space with a nine metre heated indoor swimming pool, steam room and jacuzzi.
For the sporty types there is also a small gym or if you’re anything like me you’ll be booking yourself a massage in the treatment room.
The one hour aromatherapy massage booked for our return from the mountain hike was well needed and received. A new, unknotted, serene and relaxed woman with the softest skin walked out of those doors.
In the sunny season you can make full use of the outdoor space, with plenty of loungers and a humongous hammock to soak up the rays.
Or chill in the hot tub with a glass of bubbles of course, whilst you admire the glorious mountain surroundings.
During the summer months Verbier offers a wealth of outdoor activities, which can all be organised by the helpful staff at The Lodge. From paragliding, mountain biking, rock climbing, and hiking. For all the golfing enthusiasts there are five different courses to choose from to improve your handicap.
And it’s not just about the fitness activities. If you love your vino you can organise a wine tasting at the nearby vineyards. Music lovers can also plan their visit for the famous jazz and classical music festivals which come to town.
We opted to indulge in a spot of hiking. By spot, I actually mean a four-hour hike. It took us past the most beautiful picture postcard landscapes.
Before leaving The Lodge, rucksacks filled with a cooler full of lunchtime delights, water, maps and suncream were handed over. They really do think of everything!
Dropped at the start of the trail we meandered down the mountain following a bubbling stream, through woodlands, past boisterous cows and the most beautiful fields of wild flowers.
Needless to say there were plenty of stops to admire the glorious panoramas…
and let’s be honest snap a gazillion stridebys!
Without a doubt the most idyllic place to enjoy our packed lunch of sandwiches, pringles, freshly baked cookies and mini toblerones in the fresh mountain air.
Whilst we’re on the subject of food, you’re in for a treat at The Lodge with Michelin trained chef Adam Bateman. Breakfast can be enjoyed in the communal dining area downstairs or in your room with a choice of juices, smoothies and a continental or hot cooked option.
On our last morning we spoiled ourselves with al fresco champagne breakfast on our room balcony – just heavenly.
During breakfast you also have a sneak peak at the evening menu. Allowing plenty of time for any changes if you wish. The kitchen team cater for all dietary requirements, the sight of my name on the menu against my tasty sounding veggie dishes delighted me no end.
When the mid afternoon munchies strike the relaxed afternoon tea hits the spot. Think soft chewy cookies and toblerone brownies, along with an equally tasty savoury dish.
Every evening meal begins with canapés and champers on the terrace where you catch up on everyone else’s day. Before making your way to the dining table for the much-anticipated evening meal.
Over our two days I feasted on vegetarian plates like cucumber with avocado purée, toasted panko and shiso benito dressing; velouté of cauliflower with almonds, garden curry leaf and basil; herb gnocchi with mushroom duxelle, leek, cabbage and pesto. My mouth is salivating as I type remembering the deliciousness.
Carnivores were treated to dishes such as roast rack of lamb with peas & fevs, caramelized potatoes, confit shallot and lamb jus.
There is also a constant flow of wine, a different bottle for each course (hic). Desserts were just as impressive, take a look this manjari delice with spiced orange, yogurt sorbet and oatcrumbs.
And if you can find anymore room the cheese board follows – all local, creamy and dreamy.
Wherever possible the ingredients are locally sourced for sustainability. The four course gourmet experience, served in a friendly and cosy ambience again adds to the homey feel which is a constant during your stay. Included in your stay is breakfast, light lunch and dinner as well as alcoholic beverages.
Parents will be pleased to hear that children are most welcome at The Lodge, they can either share a room or stay in the fun bunk room. All the activities are easily adapted to cater for all ages, and there are treasure hunts and a Lodge Ranger programme to keep them fully occupied. If you fancy some time out the staff can also arrange babysitting as and when required.
There is also a cute four-legged resident, named Raffi who can take out for walks. He’s so adorable and friendly, the kids are bound to be thrilled, as were we!
One of the overall reasons I fell in love with The Lodge was the relaxed and intimate atmosphere it exudes. It’s not ostentatious, or flamboyant just the right level of laid-back luxury.
I’m a keen lover of summer in the mountains and spending time at this incredible Swiss alpine retreat is worth every penny. From the fresh crisp air, spectacular landscapes, delectable food, constant flowing champagne to the impeccable hospitality. You’ll never want to leave.
To bring this idea of heaven within your grasp, The Lodge are currently offering four nights for the price of three this summer. More details in the link here.
For further information or to make a booking you can visit their website here.
Disclaimer: My stay at The Lodge was complimentary, however, all views, opinions and photos unless otherwise stated are my own and remain a trademark of the Curious Pixie.
Watch the highlights video from my luxurious stay at The Lodge:
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