Jane & Richard Check Out Flaine's New Hotel Terminal Neige Totem
Jane and Richard from our office headed out to France for a contracting event last week and decided to take advantage of the situation by going to visit a newly renovated hotel in Flaine and to ski for a day in the glorious sunshine too.
We arrived late on Sunday evening and felt immediately at ease in the hotel due to the laidback and friendly atmosphere in the open plan restaurant and bar area that takes up most of the 3rd floor of the hotel. We perched at some high tables and ate some delicious local food which magically appeared in front of us. Some other friends who stayed the next evening sang the praises of the evening buffet too - apparently there is something for everyone with the food having a street food theme and the breakfast we enjoyed was also excellent.
The hotel's marketing bumf describes the renovation as being "where New Mexico meets urban chic.” To us this sounded like the language of an imaginative marketing team; however, having visited, it is accurate. Imagine Aztec style wall hangings mixed in with exposed concrete walls and you will get the general idea. Add to that free 1980s style video arcade games, a great terrace that serves lunch and a historically important fireplace and you can't fail to appreciate the clever renovation of the hotel.
The bedrooms are larger than we imagined and we particularly liked the spacious cow hide covered wardrobes and the street art theme running throughout the hotel. If pushed to pick the best thing, it would be the exceptionally comfortable beds. The Hotel Le Totem belongs to a group that has several 5* hotels and it has been furnished with the same beds and bed linen that its sister hotels enjoy so we benefitted from a genuine 5* sleep. There are also some great suites or communicating bedrooms which would be ideal for a family. As there are no mini-bars in the rooms there are vending machines on each floor, reinforcing the urban theme.
The spa and fitness area is equally impressive, there is more equipment in the fitness room than in most ski hotel gyms. There are 2 lovely new large saunas and a fabulous outdoor balcony hot tub which are available for 10€ per entry for hotel guests. There are also some changing rooms with lockers where those who are checking out can shower after their last day on the slopes.
Many accommodations in Flaine boast about their ski access but the Hotel le Totem doesn't have to. Our rooms were on the 2nd floor and we simply had to walk across the corridor and through an electric door to and we were on the snow. The access to the skiing couldn't be improved.
We were in Flaine to see some the British School Girl races, which is an event that Erna Low sponsor and it was inspiring to see the young girls flying down the giant slalom and the parallel slalom courses. In its 57th year, the event is brilliantly organised and we were lucky enough to be able to ski/slide slip down the course which was my first encounter on an official race course - thankfully we weren't competing as the girls certainly had youth on their side.
We then decided to ski round the local area to assess the ease of the ski in/ski out of the Residence Les Terrasses d'Helios. On the ground floor of the residence, facing on to the snow there is a ski hire shop, restaurant and Spar supermarket. The ESF meeting point is also just outside the building so the location makes everything very easy. There is then a path to ski away from the residence which takes you to the bottom of the Gerats chair lift which is gentle and therefore perfect for beginners or nervous skiers. The green run back to the Helios has some lovely interactive stations to entertain the children as they make their way down this gentlest of beginners slopes.
On this visit, we spent less than 24 hours in Flaine but we saw the very best of what the resort has to offer and we think that the Hotel le Totem is a great addition to the resort's accommodation portfolio.