Location: Le Grand Joux (5*), Essert-Romand, French Alps
Date: 27/06/15 for 2 nights
Ellis is forever searching the internet for cheap getaways but many have disclaimers: must travel between so and so dates, does not include flights or hotel is an hour away from the city. Not to knock these, but I definitely feel that the majority of the time, they’re okay at best. In May 2015 I received the standard text “check your email”. So I open up my mail and I see a link for a Groupon deal. It read “2 night stay at Chalet Le Grand Joux for £199”. Intrigued, I did my research, looked at the chalet on TripAdvisor and read the reviews. Outstanding.
What first drew me in was the setting the chalet was stood in. Situated in the Alps, and Mont Blanc in the background, it seemed so fresh and vibrant in colour. The deal was a summer stay and with it being in the Alps, it is typically a ski resort so this is “out of season” hence the deal. The reviews I read were the icing on the cake. I went on to read more about the deal. “Includes afternoon tea, cocktail upon arrival, one spa treatment voucher per person and transfers to and from Geneva airport”.
Couple of swipes later, I’m on skyscanner searching the best deals (see skyscanner post for more details) and low and behold, the flights work out around £50 return per person! Out of season worked in our favour after all!
Upon arrival at Geneva airport, we were met by a member of staff from Le Grand Joux who had a jeep waiting for us. Once another jet setting couple arrived from Edinburgh, we were ready to make the journey over the border from Switzerland to the French Alps. The journey was under an hour and pretty soon it became rural and idyllic.
Into the national park we drove. Steep hills and luscious pine trees surrounded us. The chalet was set on the side of a valley. It’s actually more like a log cabin. I remember thinking “it’s so… green!” The only noise we could hear were cow bells in the distance and faint chatter from within the chalet. The external of the chalet was decked out and included sun loungers, a hot tub/jacuzzi and an external wooden sauna.
We both walked inside, in awe of what we have just seen. The interior of the communal area was first class. There was a lot of timber inside, wooden flooring, large beams, that sort of thing. We were greeted with a 5* service. The lovely host showed us to our room and then offered us some afternoon tea. But first, let me talk about the room….
Heading back downstairs we were greeted by the chef. He laid on a selection of small sandwiches, cakes, savoury snacks and a selection of drinks. The food was insane. A bit fancy and not something we’d usually go for, but still unbelievable. After sparking a conversation with him, he goes on to tell me he’s travels to the local market everyday to buy fresh produce. Different meats, vegetables and spices. He will literally cater the evening meal to you. If you say you’d like duck a l’orange he would buy a duck. If you were after a vegetarian soup, he would ask what vegetables do you prefer. Extremely accommodating, we’ve never had service quite like it. Truly 5 star.
Things to do whilst staying at Le Grand Joux in the summer:
The first “activity” we did after we settled in was to go for a long uphill walk. We’re not exactly a couple who love to go bike riding or exerting too much energy, but when you’re in the alps and fresh air hits your lungs and the sunshine hitting your skin, you’ve got to get outside and check out some views. We headed up towards Chapelle de Graydon and just followed the beaten path for about an hour afterwards. After an hour or so of being attacked by insects and the sun beating down on us, we decided we’d gone far enough. The snowy peak of Mont Blanc was in the background and we just stared in awe at the skyline we had in front of us.
2.Eat ice cream
This is a given. We found a small refuge area on the way back down from our “hike” and treated ourselves. I put my French to the test, hoorah!
Not something we took part in, however there was an option to go into a nearby town and hire a mountain bike out for a few hours. It’s a highly popular activity to partake in whilst the mountains are free from snow.
As part of our deal, we were given a €25 voucher each to receive spa treatments. We opted for a “deep relaxation treatment for two” for €150 so with the discount, it came to €100. This treatment is probably why we were reluctant to score the trip a 10/10. It included a back and shoulder massage and a flotation relaxation device. The machine in which you are submerged in as part of the treatment to simulate floating on water failed to work on a number of occasions for myself and my girlfriend and kind of ruined the spa treatment as a whole. Nevertheless, we quickly went back outside to the decking area and into the wooden outdoor sauna to relax further. Heaven.
5.Relax in the jacuzzi and lounge area
Because we had amazing weather during our stay, we opted to make full use of the jacuzzi and lounging area outside of the chalet. It was perfect, literally made our trip so relaxing and peaceful. Although it was only a 2 night stay, we felt fully refreshed upon leaving.
6.Take a trip to Morzine
Both evenings, we had arranged with staff at the chalet to take us and another couple who had received the same deal as us into a nearby ski town called Morzine for a small fee. Well worth it. This lively town, even though out of season, had plenty to offer. Imagine a sort of bustling Christmas market, except it’s open all year and you don’t necessarily need winter clothes or have any icicle lights on display. There’s plenty of restaurant options, we opted for steak one night and burgers in a micro brewery the next. Couldn’t fault it! A few bars were open if you wanted a livelyish atmosphere but nothing too hustle and bustle which was perfect for us. Do remember, this is a predominantly ski area.
Overall, in our opinion, the break was well worth the money. £100 per night for a truly luxurious 5* stay in a beautifully set cabin? You can’t beat it. And flights to Geneva in the summer were also incredibly cheap. We loved it that much, we even tried to stay for an extra night. We were told £100 for another night stay in the same room which we would have paid in a heart beat but due to work commitments, we reluctantly had to turn it down.
Kudos to Karen and the team at Le Grand Joux, a truly remarkable stay. Highly recommend this chalet to anyone wanting a relaxing weekend away with a glorious backdrop.
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