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Hotel Alta Peyra Hotel 4 star
Easyexperts
Saint-Véran, France -
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Amy Adejokun Section editor

Perched at the 6693-foot acme of the Queyras Regional Park, the four-star Alta Peyra hotel has established itself as one of the region's premier resorts since its opening in 2012. The only luxury hotel in Saint-Véran, a small settlement in France's Hautes-Alpes region, it boasts 59 spacious rooms, three restaurants and multiple well-being and sports facilities - consolidated by its proximity to the slopes. The jewel in the verdant crown of the 150,000-acre basin, Saint-Véran is one of the highest communes in Europe, proffering long sun-drenched seasons and space to breathe - as well as oodles of rustic charm.


This review was written for Easyvoyage by Sophie Musgrave.

Clear your head, stretch your legs and buckle on your skis - Alta Peyra does mountain resort with tasteful verve.

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    • Hotel Alta Peyra

      Alta Peyra   -   © Alta Peyra

    • Hotel Alta Peyra

      Alta Peyra   -   © Alta Peyra

       
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    Location 6.0 /10

    Whether you opt for plane or train, you'll have to spend some time on the road. From the airports of Marseille and Nice - both reachable direct from Paris - it's a three- to four-and-a-half hour drive, respectively, to Alta Peyra (it's worth planning ahead to avoid the inevitable winter road closures). If you prefer to keep your feet nearer the ground, however, the comfortable night train from Paris' Gare de Lyon to Montdauphin - located 23 miles from Saint-Véran - is worth a shot, as is the TGV which also offers a direct route from Paris to Valence, from where it takes just over four hours to get to Alta Peyra. For private air travellers, there is a helipad a convenient 30-minute drive from the hotel (the Queyras Park itself is a no-fly zone).

    Accommodation 9.20 /10

    Aside from its labyrinthine network of lifts and corridors - when we visited, even our concierge had trouble finding our room - Alta Peyra's 52 rooms are difficult to fault. With five standard accommodation options (queen-sized beds and smaller surfaces distinguish the classic and superior from the larger deluxe rooms and the suites, both of which are equipped with kings), it is also possible to rent a private chalet to accommodate larger groups and families.


    As for the décor, comfort is key and every effort is made to make this feel like home away from home. An outside-in-inside-out leitmotif begins in the dimly-lit corridors, where heavy carpets and bedroom furniture feature. The rooms themselves heavily reference the Queyras' natural environment, albeit with a modern, refined twist: the rustic tones and textures of larch are fused with the modish furniture of Danish brand PH Collection and flat-screen televisions offer guests 32 international channels. The classic rooms and suites - some of which are duplexes - home in on the coniferous forests of the region, with taupe conical lampshades and timber coffee tables backlit by the autumnal aubergines and burnt oranges of the upholstery. The superior and deluxe rooms exude a more contemporary feel, through the grey tones of their Nordic-print settees and flat screen televisions.


    Floor lamps outnumber overhead spotlights, making the space feel infinitely more intimate. For the better half of the day, the upper rooms, particularly those with unobstructed mountain views, are doused in sunlight. Most rooms, with the exception of the classics, include a furnished outdoor space (either a balcony or terrace). (It's worth noting that a couple of the smaller ground floor rooms are, rather undesirably, overlooked by the hotel library. Naturally, these are available for the lowest rates.)


    The spacious, Italian-style bathrooms are equipped with everything you'd expect of a high-quality hotel: slate surfaces, twin basins, a tub and separate shower, as well as Nuxe toiletries. Otherwise, the clue is in the detail: wifi access is free and simple to use and room cleans include a weather update for the days to come.

    Overview 9.20 /10

    For Claude Berthy, October 2012 marked the realisation of a very personal project. Having fallen head over heels for Saint-Véran on a previous visit, the former CEO (of Sup de Co and Leclerc in southeast France) used the frames of the two highest fustes in the village (now La Mijoune and La Renardière) as a departure point for what was to become the luxury resort.


    Alta Peyra is a marriage of personal and provincial influences: its name (Alta Peyra translates literally as 'high stone' in local patois) was chosen by Berthy's wife and children. Inside and out, its design echoes the rustic, natural elements which envelop the hotel. Its 52 rooms - of which seven are suites - offer a luxury take on the home environment and are designed to accommodate both the energetic (Saint-Véran has made a name for itself as a low-key skiing destination) and the city-weary.


    The chef-d'oeuvre of Paris-based architect Régis Dallier - though credit where due to Director Stephan Torres, formerly of Saint Tropez' Hotel Benkiraï - Alta Peyra's 52 rooms are spread across four interconnected chalets: Les Fustes, La Vieille Maison, La Mijoune and La Renardière. A fifth, L'Alta Tempo, houses the Nuxe Spa, as well as a gym and heated swimming pool (part of which is open-air) with an integrated jacuzzi, adjacent sauna and hammam. Two of the hotel's three restaurants are also located here.


    A family-friendly establishment, Alta Peyra caters for couples desiring a tranquil retreat and for families, there being sufficient facilities to keep the kids entertained: a temporary exhibition space lies in the basement and is open to guests, while a 'mini-club' accommodates younger patrons.

    Food and drink 9.70 /10

    With two bars and three restaurants divided between two buildings, you're never too far away from your next meal - provided you manage to find your table. There is a concerted difference in ambiance between the lunch-terrace La Dardaya, the "traditional" L'Alberade and the gastronomical offerings of Le Roc Alto, though all three are united by faultless, subtly attentive service and menus sourced from the creative juices of talented chef Alexandre Lechêne.


    The dynamic La Dardaya is a good place to start. Located in the hotel's tallest building, La Renardière, the restaurant's lounge-like layout (sofas for chairs, seating in a round) comfortably lends itself to all things après, mountain views included. Open from midday to 3pm, it is the hotel's undisputed social hub, where early-bird skiers can warm their cockles in front of a hearth or glug a glass or two from the stocks of the adjacent wine bar (open from midday until 9pm). Take conversation outside to the heated terrace or spacious sundeck, which lies adjacent to the pistes and offers stretching panorama's of the mountains. A hearty, reasonably-priced menu invites guests and locals alike to sample a Mediterranean-inspired menu of generous club sandwiches, salads and triple-cheese tartiflettes.


    Whether holidaymaker or local, those with enough room for dinner (crepes, waffles and mulled wine are offered downstairs from 3-5pm), tend to choose the retiring environment of L'Alberade to the fireside banquet hall of Le Roc Alto. (That said, we advise that you sample Lechêne's exquisite tasting menu at least once.) When it isn't offering its daily array of breakfast options, L'Alberade is the place to come for winter-warming staples. Though its geometric furnishings and pale greys are a great deal more flattering in the morning light, its food is difficult to fault.


    We recommend the 'Menu Spécialités Montagne': a crowd-pleasing sharing platter offering the choice between locally-produced raclette or mushroom-infused fondue, both served with a mixed fruit and nut salad, a charcuterie platter and a dessert (the chocolate fondant, served with a smooth vanilla ice cream, is sinfully scrumptious). And at 36 euros per person, portions are generous (we waived the starter).

    Spa 9.7 /10

    Alta Peyra has a unique selling point in the form of a small-but-perfectly-formed Nuxe spa, marketed as a space where guests can hibernate after a day in the great outdoors. Keeping in theme with the rest of the hotel, the spa mimics the natural environment of the Queyras; a blanket of fake foliage camouflages a wall in the reception, while organic elements pervade the décor of the individual cabins and the treatments themselves (the 'Alta Peyra Massage' incorporates heated pine wooden balls).


    Three treatment rooms, one of which is a twin, lie adjacent to a balneotherapy cabin, where guests can enjoy a thermal bath underneath an LED starry night sky. On the menu: skin treatments, bath therapies and ten unisex massages (also available combined in one of the spa's seven 'Escapade' packages, each of which lasts over three hours long). Instant beauty treatments, including depilation, are also offered.


    We tried the Kashmir; a 45-minute full-body massage inspired by Indian techniques - though the Enya soundtrack suggested otherwise. Incorporating the Nuxe brand's bestselling huile prodigieuse multi-purpose oil and a complementing honey-infused lotion, we left feeling revived and smelling rather good.


    Prices start at £45 for a 25-minute body massage, with rates reflecting the quality of service. Before treatment, guests must complete a health questionnaire and are treated to a refreshing herbal tea before leaving. Crucially, the masseuses are attentive without being overbearing - there's no hairdresser small-talk and movements are made with such hushed agility that, at times, it is easy to forget they are there.

    To know

    Boasting an unprecedented 300 days of sunlight and listed as one of the Most Beautiful Villages in France, the commune is also home to the largest ski resort in the Queyras - an expedient asset considering its proximity to the land of the Dolomites, Italy.

    Prodigious Ducasse-trained chef, on-site ski shop and integrated sports facilities notwithstanding, the hotel boasts a Nuxe Spa, which offers a wide variety of hydromassages, facial treatments and full-body packages.

    Equipment

    • Shuttle bus
    • Car park
    • Handicap access
    • Restaurant
    • Internet access
    • Air conditioning
    • Spa

      hammam, sauna, spa, massage, wellness

    • Swimming pool
    • Sports equipment

      aqua gym, fitness, gym, mountain bike, sports, kayak

    • Animals allowed
    • Whirlpool bath

    advantage

    • Staff/service
    • World-class cuisine
    • Integrated Nuxe spa and pool facilities
    • Family-friendly environment
    • Décor of rooms

    disadvantages

    • A confusing site plan includes multiple lifts
    • Accessibility/Distance from nearest city

    Traveller Reviews

    • Overall Score nc/10