Le Delta Hotel Le Grand Bornand is the location for our latest visit to the French Alps. We often hear people wishing that biggest and best resorts of the French Alps were much closer to Geneva. This is surely a recurring dream for anyone making the tedious haul up busy roads to the big names of the Tarentaise – resorts like Meribel, Val D’Isere and La Plagne. If only there was top quality skiing to be had at resorts that were so much closer…
You will not be surprised of course that I am now going to reveal that dreams can indeed come true. Located in the heart of the Haute-Savoie between Annecy and Chamonix, around an hour from Geneva Airport, lies the Massif des Aravis, home to Le Grand Bornand and La Clusaz along with the lovely local Le Delta Hotel Le Grand Bornand.
These are the biggest resorts of the Aravis and although they are not linked, it is just a short drive between the two. Between them are almost fifty ski lifts and some 215 kilometres of varied and attractive slopes.
This is a scenic region that features much of its skiing either through pine forests or just above the tree line. The pistes are particularly pretty with a varied mix of open slopes, gladed cruisers and gentle terrain that will ideally most skiers. Even those seeking the steeps and deeps will find more than they expect in the way of tougher terrain and off piste routes. There is even an array of walking paths for those who choose not to ski.
Le Grand Bornand resort too is suitably picturesque, and here we get double value from two separate village centres. The heart of the main town is dominated by the attractive neo-gothic church either side of which runs a traditional style main street with plenty of small bars, restaurants and pretty shops with local produce and hand made crafts.
Meanwhile, just a few kilometres up the road is Chinaillon, a smaller satellite village, also linked directly in to the ski system, with the same mix of dining and shopping plus an adjacent ‘old road’ of historic wooden homes.
This is not a resort of swanky hotels, exclusive apartments or luxury chalets. Visitors come here to soak up the local style and atmosphere and enjoy the mountains – be it summer or winter. Cafes sit around the village squares and after perusing the shops a pleasing variety of restaurant styles allow dining from traditional Savoyard, through the inevitable Pizzas to perhaps fine cuisine.
The majority of buildings here are chalet style, scattered over the hills around the village centres. We selected Le Delta Hotel Le Grand Bornand– a modest size property with the appearance of a large chalet, just a five minute stroll from the church square. With only nineteen rooms it is cosy and modern alpine in style, with plenty of wood beams and local stone.
It is conservatively graded at 3 stars, and with the extended facilities of a larger hotel would inevitably be a little more. Even so the hotel punches over its weight in extra facilities. There is a small ski shop handily attached to the front lobby, a breakfast area where the excellent and nicely varied buffet is taken and a small lounge books and games and comfy sofas around a log fire.
The atmospherically lit bedrooms have wood panelled walls, very comfortable beds, solid locally made wooden furniture and a palette of blues, grey and cream for the floors, fabrics and accessories. Bathrooms are slick and modern with stone coloured tiles, wood and chrome.
I would be exaggerating to say that Le Delta Hotel Le Grand Bornand is ‘off the beaten track’ as this is a popular French resort with top rank facilities. The real charm lays in the feeling that we had stumbled across a little secret resort. It is friendly, traditional, relaxed and scenic – definitely a place that we will be back to before too long. Just don’t tell anyone else!
Le Grand Bornand https://en.legrandbornand.com
La Clusaz https://en.laclusaz.com/winter
Lake Annecy https://en.lac-annecy.com
CELLOPHANELAND* were guests of Le Delta Hotel and Annecy Mountains http://www.annecymountains.com