Oxford Mail reporter Harrison Jones spends a weekend partying at France's biggest new ski resort.

La Folie Douce looks unfinished to some. It is rowdy, regularly crowded, debauched – and fabulously good fun.

The (definitely finished) chic, industrial decor is all part of the venue’s modern vibe, which some think makes it the biggest thing to happen to Chamonix in years.

The French resort’s newest hotel appears to be going for a novel approach to ski and alpine accommodation; with more than a little inspiration from Folie Douce’s world-renowned apres bars. Once off the slopes, the hotel make it easy for guests to do everything on-site. They can take care of eating, relaxing, renting equipment, buying ski gear, entertainment and, of course, the party.

The Oxford Times:

Pictures: La Folie Douce Hotel

Chamonix – which hosts easy-access skiing terrain at Brevent, Flegere, Balme, Vallorcine, Grand Montets and The Houches - is pricey, but cut-price Folie dormitories are an option for outgoing guests, alongside the access (three star) and premium (four star) rooms.

The stylish venue only opened in late December and there are teething problems (the two-ingredient classic moules frites’ unexplained rice and no chips was, at least, 50 per cent perfect). But countless young, friendly staff wandering about in Folie Douce-emblazoned outfits are on hand to help.

ALSO READ: Flexiski trip to Wengen and Grindelwald

Likewise, the waiters, generally sporting specially-made hotel onesies, offer speedy and charming service in La Petite Cuisine, one of three in-house restaurants, where the half-board fare is served.

Breakfast there is an eclectic all-you-can-eat buffet and dinner a hearty, three course European affair, with daily specials and an impressively presented dessert board. The food is tasty and the portions generous.

The Oxford Times:

Cocktails at the stunning bar next door and the food at in-house Le Frutiere and Le Mayen have more pizzazz.

The Oxford Times:

Really, though, you’re coming here for the apres – and they certainly put on a show. The daily offering begins from late afternoon onwards, with the basement area — which also houses the locker room and high-quality ski and board rental shop — used for post-slopes entertainment. Music is pumping from the outdoor bar, which also features a takeaway pizzeria, but — thankfully for the scantily clad dancers — the live shows are inside.

Centred around a club-like bar and stage, singers, an extravagantly dressed guitarist, performers, a DJ and aerialists rotate as guests watch on and dance for hours.

The Oxford Times:

Upstairs, diners are often treated to an impromptu song or three over dinner, accompanied by more dancing and merriment, as the jigging, onesie-clad waiters supply the vin blanc and tartiflette.

Most of the frivolities stop before midnight, when guests retire to the hip break-out rooms or head out to the town centre for more hedonism.

The Oxford Times:

Punctuated by a river, stunning mountain views and upmarket shops and restaurants, Chamonix itself is gorgeous. A thriving community in its own right, it has far more going on than most ski towns and, it would seem, more advanced skiers.

The Oxford Times:

A wander through the picturesque streets is worthwhile and calming if the partying becomes too much for those ski-weary legs. But the hotel has that covered too - with treatments and yoga on offer in its very own spa (included in the price for premium room guests).

The complex features a small gym (presumably some think skiing isn’t enough to work off the cheese and pastries), a steam room, sauna and yoga classes. There is also an outdoor pool, which verges on being too refreshing but has glorious views, like the rest of the hotel.

The Oxford Times:

For a more extravagant experience, stroll 10 minutes down the road to Chamonix’s other new arrival: the QC Terme spa. It’s exceptional.

Run by ‘Italy’s most prestigious spa chain’, the centre boasts a heated outdoor infinity pool with yet more stunning scenery, several saunas, experience showers, jacuzzis and much more, with up to 30 different ‘wellness practices’.

The Oxford Times: Picture: QC TermePicture: QC Terme

It’s an ideal night away from the raucous Folie Douce (which translates to ‘sweet madness’), especially for parents who can put children in the hotel’s kid’s club.

The ‘ski-in ski-out’ tag is pushing it, and false if the nearby nursery slope lift isn’t working, but regardless of where you stay in Chamonix, you will have to bus-in and bus-out at some point to visit all of the terrain on offer.

The hotel put on daily buses, but if hangovers get in the way of timings then regular local buses are easy and within walking distance. Fortunately, none of the drivers bother to charge.

Set at the foot of the Brevent slopes, in the former Grand Savoy Palace – which has stood in Chamonix since 1904 – you get the sense that the hotel is already seen as the place to be for a party, especially on Wednesday nights and big occasions.

The Oxford Times: Aerialists are among the performersAerialists are among the performers

With the operation only likely to become slicker, a stay here makes for a novel, fun alternative to a chalet-based break, and you can come for Chamonix’s impressive mountaineering offer, too.

Enjoy the madness, it's sweet.


Hotel: Guests have the choice between premium, access and hostel rooms, starting at

€25 per night. Visit lafoliedoucehotels.com/fr.html

Lift passes: A 3 day Mont-Blanc Unlimited pass costs €189. That pass covers 10 ski areas and three excursion sites in the Mont-Blanc region including Courayeur in Italy (and a total of 1000km slopes). It also includes many other benefits and one free entry to the Wellness Centre QC Terme. Visit: montblancnaturalresort.com/en/nos-forfaits

Spa: Day entry to QC Terme (with no time limit) costs €48. Entry from 5.30pm for €43. Massages are available from €44. Online reservations are recommended. Visit qcterme.com/en/chamonix-mont-blanc/qc-terme-chamonix

Transfers: Mountain Drop Offs offer door-to-door transfers from Geneva Airport to your accommodation in the Chamonix Valley. A fleet of 30 mini-buses and a team of up to 50 employees provide shared transfers from 33.50€ per person. Private and VIP transfers are also available. Visit: mountaindropoffs.com/

Flights: British Airways are currently offering flights from London to Geneva from £30. Visit britishairways.com/en-gb/destinations/geneva/flights-to-geneva