The Hyatt Centric La Rosière
We meet its creators, a visionary couple with the Alpine Riviera touch
Skiing in the legendary French Alps takes on a whole new dimension when you can slip across the border into neighbouring Italy whenever you feel like it, for a change of scenery, culture… or just for lunch. Cross-border skiing is liberating, even if you don’t actually venture too far. Either way you’ll still return with a sense of having had something of an adventure, and it’s on days like these that you’ll most appreciate the welcoming comforts and services which are the hallmarks of premium accommodation.
In Hannibal’s footsteps
Last season we chanced upon just such a cosy hideaway when we returned to La Rosière, which is lift-linked to La Thuile in Italy’s Aosta Valley. Snowfalls here are exceptional, the views across the Tarentaise Valley are breathtaking and legend has it that Hannibal’s army (along with 40 African elephants) passed this way to confront the forces of Rome, via the Petit Saint-Bernard pass just above the village.
Today just one elephant has returned to La Rosière. A sculptural hommage to his ancestors, he inhabits the large, panoramic sun deck of France’s very first Hyatt Centric. The stylish 4-star hotel is a striking feature of the final approach to Les Eucherts, once an old mountain community, but which in recent years has been transformed into a chic ski resort. Seen from the village only the topmost levels of the new hotel are visible, concealing the true scale of what is actually a substantial development.
An inspired partnership
From the very outset a ‘minimal visual impact’ approach was non-negotiable. In fact, it was the site’s sensational south-facing setting, just 100m from the Eucherts Express chairlift, which inspired Marielle and Nicholas Plummer to build the hotel, in partnership with the Hyatt Group. The Anglo-French couple share a lifelong passion for skiing and mountain walking, and brought a wealth of experience in handling major construction projects to La Rosière, having previously constructed chalets across the valley in Peisey-Vallandry and the Hotel des Deux Domaines in Belle Plagne. The partnership clearly works, Marielle having brought a significant hands-on approach to each stage of the design process, while Nicholas, who spent his former life in the world of banking, maintained a discrete but attentive overview of the financial aspects of the project.
A very special place
“This place is extraordinary…” says Marielle, as we take an unpressured tour of some of the 47 rooms and 22 suites. “Nick and I discovered that La Rosière’s sunshine figures are comparable to those of Saint-Tropez and Cannes on the Côte d’Azur, so we’ve come to think of it as ‘the Alpine Riviera’…”. Marielle worked closely with London-based interior designers LXA to achieve a harmonious marriage of clean, no-nonsense contemporary spaces with inspired decorative nods to local mountain culture. The results of their rigorous, uncompromising approach are impressive: finishes everywhere are impeccable, the levels of quality equipment comfortably surpass those of 4-star accommodation we’ve encountered elsewhere, and the warm colours balance the hypnotic, snowy magnificence which lies beyond the sunny balconies.
An invitation to relax and unwind
We were similarly impressed by the styling of the hotel’s 420m2 spa & wellbeing area, complete with Jacuzzis, sauna, hammam and, naturally, a large swimming pool. Add two bars (one a cosy club-style lounge exclusively for guests), two large restaurants, and a ski shop. With the obvious exception of the latter, all areas share those hypnotic mountain views. With that in mind, you might well be tempted to remain right where you are.
And a place to ski, in both France and in Italy
Step outside, however, and you’ll discover that the location is as close as it gets to being ski-in/ski-out without being beside the slopes. As for the skiing, La Rosière was already a superb family ski area and has recently broadened its appeal to more advanced skiers with the opening of new, steeper red pistes from Mont Valaisan (2800m), with equally quick access to off-piste descents into Italy. Like Marielle and Nicholas, we’ve come to love La Rosière.