Ever since screen siren Brigitte Bardot was photographed on the slopes of Meribel back in the 1960's, this French ski resort has been firmly on the radar of the rich and famous. The Middletons, the Beckhams and Formula1 ace Michael Schumacher have all skied here, Harry Potter star Emma Watson owns a £1m chalet in the snow-capped resort, and this ski season alone Meribel has welcomed the likes of pop stars Natalie Imbruglia and Sophie Ellis-Bextor to its slopes.
Situated in the heart of the famous Three Valleys, Meribel is made up of several villages between 1,100m and 1,750m above sea level – and it boasts some of the best skiing in the world. But it's not just the picturesque setting, the crisp, fresh mountain air and the 600km of slopes that attract the A list. "Celebrities and royalty love it here," explains Annie Corcoran, MD of Avery Crest, who run a selection of exclusive, luxury chalets in the Alpine resort. "It's because it's really private."
There are very few hotels, meaning the majority of visitors stay in private chalets. "It's not like neighbouring Courchevel, which is glitz city!" laughs Annie. "You go there to see and to be seen, but Meribel is still a skiers resort and famous visitors can have a relaxing holiday here without being bothered. They just fly under the radar. "There is certainly privacy to be found in the numerous bars and restaurants. At Le Cepe, which opened this year, guests are seated in booths, while at La Maison, a charming bar which serves everything from hot chocolate to local wines and charcuterie, the quirky décor and small tables ensure you can discreetly enjoy an intimate drink away from the prying eyes of celeb spotters.Le Blanchot – the perfect restaurant to ski to for a spot of lunch after a hard morning of on-piste action – is no stranger to celebrity guests. As you're welcomed out of the cold by a roaring log fire and twinkling fairy lights, the first thing you notice is that the walls are adorned with photos of celebrity guests including, in pride of place, Sting. Of course, in Meribel, when it comes to accommodation, those with cash to splash are spoiled for choice. The beautiful Chalet du Vallon, which sleeps eight people, provides the sort of A-list luxury that will leave you feeling like a celebrity yourself.
Complete with sweeping views of the snowy mountains from its balconies, a steam room, massage and beauty therapists on hand, an entertainment room with SKY TV, wifi in all rooms and even heated boot warmers for your ski boots – not to mention the delicious food and drink laid on by the resident chef – the staff leave no stone unturned in the quest to provide you with the perfect holiday.They can help provide you with ski lessons or a ski instructor too, no matter what your ability, through the famous French Ski School (the ESF), and will even sort out your ski passes and ski wear hire in advance of your arrival. To book your dream holiday in Meribel, and for more information about the Chalet du Vallon, click here.