There is a hotel with a breathtaking view of peaks of the mountain ‘Aiguille du Dru’ alongside Mont-Blanc of Alps and the glacier ‘Mer de Glace’ which resembles the mysteriously freezing sea between the peaks of the mountain. Built in 1880 for mountain climbers who came up to see Mer de Glace in its early years, this is still the place for the climbers and travelers from around the world to visit Chamonix-Mont-blanc. Let's go to the secret hotel 'Terminal Neige - Refuge du Montenvers' at 6725 feet above sea level.
You do not have to climb to get to Montenvers where the hotel is located. You can just take the small mountain train for 25 minutes from the station 'Mer de Glace Chemin de fer du Montenvers' in Chamonix-Mont-blanc. The magnificent mountains beyond the train windows and the ever smaller villages excite the traveler's mind.
Upon arriving at the hotel, it says "Grand Hotel du Montenvers" outside, but do not hesitate to enter. Actually, it is called 'Terminal Neige - Refuge du Montenvers'. The namesake comes from the hotel’s history of many exhausted mountain climbers who have stopped in.
When you enter the room, you can meet a slightly dark but warm space, contrasting to white but cold outside. You maybe did not expect this kind of a classy and stylish base camp in the mountains, which is also perfectly in harmony with the surrounding nature. This is to be a flawless cozy hideaway.
Let's take a moment to soak in the warm bathtub and look out the window for a while. It is also good to sit on the sofa next to the window, drink a cup of tea, read a book, or plan a trip for the next day.
This is the view out of the window! The snow-capped Alps in front of you and the stars pouring out into the darkness when night falls give you an unforgettable moment of this trip.
There is also separate shower in the bathroom, plus shower gel and shampoo from PURE ALTITUDE which has the natural purity of mountain plants and the strength of the active ingredients with a variety of over 70 mountain flowers and minerals. You will feel even better after a bath with the products thanks to the extracts of rare active ingredients.
The dinner is made up of appetizers, main dish and dessert in a typical French style . For appetizers, you have your choice of mountain salads and soups of the day. For main dish, there are dishes of alpine flavor like cheese fondue, Tartiflette , roast chicken and pot of the day, among others. Guests are voluntarily isolated for a night in heaven full of snow flora because mountain trains do not operate in the evening. For that reason, dinner and breakfast are always included when we reserve a room.
After a deep sleep between the snow and the clouds, the restaurant welcomes you with another spectacular panoramic view that is different from the evening. Order a warm drink such as coffee or hot chocolate and go straight to the breakfast buffet. Prepare a large plate of various breads, seasonal fruits, boiled eggs and cheese then enjoy the view spread out before your eyes. It will be the best breakfast of your life.
The names and the portraits of the world's top climbers, adventurers, famous artists and writers who have visited the hotel remain on the doors of 17 rooms from suites to the dormitory. Just as they left their legendary story, how about making a new story of your own at 'Terminal Neige - Refuge du Montenvers'? If you leave Montenvers only after a couple of hours of visiting ‘Mer de Glace’ without staying one night at the hotel, you will miss such a wonderful experience.
Words by Jieun Ahn
Photographs by Jieun Ahn, Jessy Cornu
Address : Impasse du Montenvers, 74400 Chamonix-Mont-Blanc
Transportation : By train from the station 'Mer de Glace Chemin de fer du Montenvers' in Chamonix-Mont-blanc