The good people of Samoens, a charming little village tucked away in France’s alpine Savoie Mont Blanc region, have been doing daily life the same way for centuries, whether it be stonemasonry, cheese making or skiing. So when the local taxi driver is at a lost to find Villa Rose, the town’s new luxury boutique hotel, I’m not really surprised. New things clearly take a while to register here in Samoens.
Fortunately Villa Rose’s entrance is just a few metres from the village centre and after a “Desole monsieur” his sincere apologies, (followed by a Gallic shrug of course) , I gratefully fall into the welcoming arms of Salina waiting at the front steps of Villa Rose.
With just five guestrooms, 4 doubles and a two room suite, Villa Rose is perhaps what you would describe as the very epitome of boutique, but that ‘s where the comparison ends, for this is a boutique hotel with its very own personality style and character. From the black toilet paper in my bathroom and the hand painted roses on the hard wood floor of the salon, to the many splashes of rose throughout, (check out the antlers of the stags on the wall).
But wait, a shock; just to keep me on my toes, there’s not a rose to be seen in the dining room, just apple-green everywhere, including matching apparel from Chef Dan.
“What time would you like dinner tonight then” says Dan busily sharpening a rather large knife.
“err, don’t mind, Dan, how does 8pm sound?”
Best not to irritate a chef in the middle of blade sharpening.
Fleeing to the safety of Chambre Caviar my first floor room I see a landscape of black and white with silver leafed Louis XV furniture, a queen bed and, of course, the de rigueur velvety-rose item which in my case is a window seat. There’s a huge bathroom with his and her sinks, a walk in shower and separate tub (black of course) and off the bedroom, a small dressing room.
Each room has been themed differently, although each offers Italian linens, down duvets, Frette robes, tea and coffee and all the accoutrements of luxury living, plus of course, the added splash or two of the now familiar rose touches.
I already feel at home.
Back downstairs, through the salon, the sun lounge manages to grasp the last rays of Samoens’ afternoon winter sun, so I take the opportunity to sink into a velvet rose couch and watch evening draw in.
It is a little bit special to have your own chef create a gourmet dinner, but that’s what you get here, and thankfully, Dan’s knives are nowhere to be seen as I saunter in for dinner.
“I picked up some excellent wild boar in the local butcher” says Dan, “so I’ve made a a foie gras salad to start, slow cooked Boar stew and poached pear for dessert.”
Add to all this culinary magic some just baked local crusty bread and a glass or three of excellent Savoy red wine and I retire down to the salon fireside for a coffee a very happy man.
Morning dawns and the village has a fresh layer of overnight snow as I take a walk around Samoens after another culinary triumph at breakfast..Signs of its stonecutter guild history are all over the village, from the ancient church to the stone well in the village square. Over by the lake, a small group is skijoring, an activity where horses drag skiers across the snow, whilst up on the slopes above the village, there is some serious skiing going on. There’s a cable car giving direct access to the slopes, and up there, the familiar rounded peak of Mont Blanc stands patiently in the distance.
Back at Villa Rose after a few hours snow shoeing, afternoon tea is in session and I grab a cup and a piece of Dan’s cake and sit out on the patio of the first floor dining room and soak up the sun again.
I have just one more night here before getting a taxi for the hour’s drive to Geneva Airport and I have to admit, I’m a little sad to leave.
Make no mistake; Villa Rose is a real find. A bespoke haven of luxury tucked away in Samoens, an alpine village kept under wraps by those in the know. It is just a few miles from glamorous Chamonix and Val-d’isere, but a million miles away from the crowds and the hullabaloo.
Villa Rose may not be to everyone’s taste. But if you yearn for a winter or summer alpine experience where you can enjoy the mountains, stay in tranquil luxurious accommodation with a personal chef and the house team at your beck and call then you need to look no further.
And I’m pretty sure the local taxi knows where to go by now.
Tell me more about Villa Rose Boutique Hotel
Villa Rose offers a half board stay which includes
Gourmet breakfast & four course dinner with wines included
Tea and cake available in the afternoon
Price per room per night from €325 in summer rising to €495 in winter.
The Villa’s five guestrooms can be hired exclusively with full catering included from €1.350 per night in summer and €2,100 in winter.
Villa Rose Samoëns, 74 Place des Sept Monts, Samoëns, 74340, France
UK Airport car parking: I Love meet and greet offers valet parking at Gatwick, Stansted and Heathrow airports. Costs vary throughout the year with a week’s parking at Gatwick starting from £78. Book at www.ilovemeetandgreet.co.uk