If you find yourself in Chamonix you are probably heading out on a trek or a mountain biking adventure, how exciting! There is no better place to start active adventures in the Alps than this charming mountain town and I was really quite surprised to find out just how much I liked this place. One major reason why I enjoyed Chamonix so much was definitely my accommodation. I had splurged a little bit more than usual and booked a four star hotel – and boy was I happy I did!
My first impressions of Hotel l’Heliopic were very positive; the hotel looks very nice on the outside and the reception/lobby area is huge. When I stepped in through the entrance doors on my left was a group of climbers plotting their route, a sporty couple heading out for a run and a group of ladies in their bathrobes heading to the spa. I guess Chamonix is no place to be lazy!
The check-in process was as smooth as they usually are and the staff was very polite and friendly. I was positively surprised to receive a drink voucher to the hotel bar – this was a perk on booking through the hotel’s Facebook page as I later learnt. After three flights and 1.5 hours in a bus I knew there was a glass of wine waiting for me when I wanted – I was in love with this hotel even before I entered my room.
At the time of booking I had put in a few special requests: higher floor, view to the mountains and a sofa bed as we were three people sharing a room. And voila, this is what awaited:
Perfect! The room was a little small for three but hotel rooms in Europe are typically quite a bit smaller than in North America. I loved the simple design and calm colours of the room, how pretty is that? There was a balcony with a view indeed and the sofa bed was made, which showed that my requests had been listened to.
Lobby & Bar
I think I might be in the minority here but I actually like spending time at the hotel. I’m not one of those travellers who’ll sleep anywhere because they only need a bed for 7 hours. No, I prefer to take it easy (especially after flying!) and relax a bit before heading out to explore. This was especially ideal for Chamonix, which is pretty small so there isn’t a ton of sightseeing to do.
L’Heliopic has very nice common areas for guests to use, which is particularly nice as the rooms aren’t really for hanging out with friends. The bar area is big and you can use the comfy couches without buying anything, they won’t give you the evil eye as it’s sort of part of the lobby area anyway.
The lobby itself has a really cool feature I haven’t seen before; a music listening station with some tea and coffee! You can sit down on the couch, use the headphones and choose your tunes while sip some tea and people watch. So much fun! There was also a play area with some complimentary snacks for kids.
Tips for your stay
Before making reservations check out their social media pages as they seem to offer discounts and offer a welcome drink when booking on their Facebook page. Definitely ask for a mountain view room with on a higher floor, so worth it! The good thing is, there are mountains almost anywhere you look so pretty much every room has a mountain view…How neat is that? While the pool area was never really busy when I was there I noticed it’s almost deserted early in the morning and around dinner time. So get a late lunch, enjoy the saunas and pools and head out for a late supper all nice and relaxed.
Pros & cons
+ Using the many pools and saunas is included in the room rate.
+ They will store your luggage and have a very large storage room for that purpose.
+ Quiet location right next to the chairlift to Aigulle du Midi.
– Breakfast not included in room rate
– Rooms a little small compared to North American hotels but standard for Europe
Rates per night
Around 155€ -160€ mid-week or 170€ – 210€ for a weekend (checked dates were for July and August 2015).
After a couple of nights here I set off on my trek around Mont Blanc. I was scheduled to return to Chamonix in a week after 180km of walking, and somewhere between communal showers and shared dorm rooms an image of the perfectly blue waters of the pool area at l’Heliopic got stuck in my mind. Before I knew it I was frantically typing on my phone using the spotty wifi at a mountain hut to change my hotel reservations and to secure my return to this beautiful hotel. And it truly was a pleasure to return!