It is lunchtime in mid-January, and I have almost been impaled by a low-flying hang glider. The riders of said vehicle, both with skis strapped to their dangling feet, swoop over the diners at the mountaintop club and restaurant of La Folie Douce, who quickly whip out their phones to capture the surreal moment. After all, we're already at the top of a snow-covered mountain, drinking away rosé to numb the ache of our calves strapped into ski boots. We've already watched the live entertainment of scantily clad men and women retelling the story of Antony and Cleopatra. Why else go on a ski trip if not for a little bit of adventure? My adventure, this time, was a visit to the charming resort of Meribel in France...
Staying at Premium Residence L'Hévana
During my trip, I was lucky enough to check out the new brand residence of L'Hévana. Previously a car park, the newest Alpine property from Pierre & Vacances opened in December and boasts 99 rooms for ski lovers - from one-bedroom apartments to four-bedroom family-sized accommodation. Despite its size, it still manages to retain a charming intimacy which surely couldn't have been an easy task to achieve. Indeed, upon arrival, the reception has comfy sofas and a crackling fire, while bean bag chairs are stylishly situated around the area. It would feel like someone's large and stylish living room, were it not for the impressive addition of a vintage cable car dangling from the ceiling - giving the room an exciting edge - reminding you that yes, you are in the Alps and yes, this is going to be fun!
The residence has a fairytale feel
The gorgeous touches to L'Hevana give the residence an almost fairytale feel. Each room is adorned with pictures and stencils of winter animals; polar bears, stags and deer, while having cosy and comforting feel that you could very easily make the roomy apartment your home for the week. It is also so large and winding that it feels like you need to leave breadcrumbs in the hallways to find your way home again - but don't worry - the place is full of sign posts showing you the way, and you'll know it like the back of your hand in no time.
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The residence includes a beautiful spa
The apartment kitchenettes are decked out with everything you could need to make a big dinner after a long day of skiing, though of course the residency, situated right in the centre of town, is just a few minutes walk away from plenty of restaurants, from cheap and cheerful to fine dining.
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The apartments start from £1,242
The residence also offers a pool and gym for active residents, or the outdoor hot tub and spa for fans of sitting back and relaxing. With a sauna and steam room, along with a plethora of treatments on offer from facials to massages, you could very easily spend your week enjoying the facilities - if it wasn't for all of that pesky skiing. Speaking of, there is a ski hire store just a few steps away from L'Hevana's front door, and the ski room is easily accessed from outside or from your room, meaning that you'll be spending minimal time stomping along in those unyielding boots.
Seven nights’ accommodation at Premium Residence L'Hévana in Méribel, in a one bedroom apartment that sleeps up to four people starts from £1,242 / £311 pp (1,459€ / 365€ pp). For more information about Pierre & Vacances call 0870 0267 145 or visit www.pierreetvacances.co.uk
A pool and outdoor hot tub are among the facilities
Where to eat in Meribel
Igloo Lounge Bar
Igloo was the perfect little restaurant to chow down on some pizza, bugers or tapas, and if you're lucky you might be able to sit in the igloo-style dining area that the restaurant in named after - which was truly a unique experience!
Restaurant Le Cèp
This cosy restaurant was the perfect place to enjoy some seriously delicious dinner, with everything from fresh fish (shown to you while ordering, no less) and delicious pork on the menu.
Le Clos Bernard
Located in a quiet, snowy area reminiscent of Narnia, you'll find Restaurant Le Cèp (you can even travel there via horse and cart). The gorgeous restaurant is the perfect place to stop skiing for a bit of lunch, and we would absolutely recommend the incredible seafood platter, beautifully presented and loaded with oysters, shrimps and whelks.
How to travel to Meribel
Return flights to Lyon are available from London Heathrow with British Airways priced from £68 pp, while transfers can be arranged through Ski-Lifts. Prices for a private transfer from Lyon to Meribel from £43.84pp each way, based on eight people sharing, including all ski and travel luggage, and from £44.20pp each way, based on eight sharing, from Grenoble.