French alpine skiing is among the best in the world and together with fine dining - for which the French need no introduction - their ski resorts offer a winning combination. If your pockets are deep, consider Courchevel 1850 with more Michelin-starred restaurants than any other ski resort. Chamonix is one of France's oldest resorts and hosted the first Winter Olympics in 1924. It's a large town with the fast flowing River Arve running through and the famous statue of Jacques Balmat pointing to Mont Blanc. Megeve has a lovely village feel and is perfectly placed for wandering around après ski, whereas Val Thorens, at 2,300m is the highest ski resort in Europe and ideal for hard-core skiing. Most hotels offer half board options.
Le K2, Courchevel 1850
©Le K2 Hotel Chalet interior
Named after the second highest mountain in the world, Le K2 is the resort's newest hotel. This ski in, ski out hotel will take your breath away with its modern Asian styling and fastidious attention to detail. Of special mention are the stunning self-contained five-bedroom chalets with private entrance, an open fireplace in the lounge and home cinema. There also is a swimming pool and private spa. A lift provides access to the ski room - if you can bear to leave - with a butler, housekeeper and chef on stand-by. A superb Kids Zone in the hotel will look after your little ones. And there is two-Michelin-star dining and a 1200-bottle wine cellar if you decide to eat out.
Les Airelles, Courchevel 1850
©Les Airelles Skating rink
Resembling the gingerbread cottage of your childhood reading, this delightful ski in, ski out hotel is exactly what an alpine chalet should look like: flagstone floors, wooden beams, tasteful antiques, smoking real wood fires and various nooks and crannies to tuck yourself away with the newspaper and a cup of coffee. In addition, there is supervised children's area, with tree house, magician and ice rink; a spa and an indoor and outdoor pool. With a two-Michelin-star restaurant for dinner, this hotel has one of the best lunchtime buffet spreads I have ever seen. Les Airelles is often fully booked with repeat visitors topping 80%. I'm not a bit surprised.
Le Chabichou, Courchevel 1850
©Chabichou Hotel Pool
Another ski in ski out hotel, Le Chabichou is family run with a cosy, friendly ambience. It has an attractive downstairs bar and lounge area with open fireplace. As well as a two-star-Michelin restaurant, the hotel has an excellent bistro with a popular three-course set lunch. The hotel has its own bakery and delicatessen with a delicious range of jams, pastries and prepared dishes. Le Chabichou also has a superb spa with a multi-sensory indoor pool set at three temperatures and an unusual salt cave.
Hotel Mont-Blanc, Chamonix
©Mont-Blanc Hotel Pool
The hotel is situated right in the middle of town, with traffic free streets and a wealth of restaurants, shops and bars on its doorstep. With a complimentary shuttle bus to the ski lift, the hotel offers great skiing as well as a range of après ski possibilities. The 100-year-old building underwent an extensive refurbishment in 2010, re-opening in late 2013. It now offers belle époque style with modern flourishes. There is no penny pinching here either: the Mont-Blanc offers free parking, complimentary Wi-Fi and a mini bar in each guestroom with soft drinks and snack. There is a large outdoor heated pool with Jacuzzi and sumptuous fine dining.
Les Fermes de Marie, Megeve
©Les Fermes de Marie Restaurant
Only minutes from this delightful ski town, with a free shuttle to the ski lifts, the hotel has an attractive downstairs salon with flagstone floors, lots of chunky blonde wood and crackling open fires. There is also a separate residents only lounge upstairs with chessboards and books for any idle moments. Guest rooms are reassuringly sumptuous. A feature of the hotel is its superb 17-treatment-room spa with two indoor pools and an outdoor Jacuzzi. There is a supervised children's concierge service available in the afternoons and an in-house cinema. Outside are large terraces for making the most of sunny weather.
Altapura, Val Thorens
©Altapura Hotel Hotel exterior
At 2,300m, this is the highest ski resort in Europe, and ski in, ski out Altapura is one of the best hotels. Unashamedly modern, the hotel has Scandinavian design credentials, with much use made of birch wood, stone and faux fur. It should appeal to serious skiers who like some lux in the mix. Not only does it have a ski shop and ski room but an Extreme Sports Concierge who can help with ice driving and toboggan runs. The hotel also has its own ice rink. With a small spa, indoor pool and three restaurants, a keen skier would lack for nothing here.
For more detailed information on these hotels, or other Swiss ski hotels, go to http://www.traveldelacreme.com