Megeve is one of my all-time favourite places, we first visited this charming Alpine resort 10 years ago and as I celebrate my big 40 birthday this ski-season we thought we’d make it extra special and stay in one of the resort’s luxury hotels. The decision was an easy one; Les Fermes de Marie! A beautiful 5-star hotel, in the village of Megeve, which is also celebrating a milestone this year (30th anniversary) so it seemed like the perfect celebratory choice.
The management team kindly invited us to stay two nights at Les Fermes de Marie but it was so good we just had to stay for the duration of the trip. Read our review to discover more about our stay.
Les Fermes de Marie is part of the Maisons & Hôtels Sibuet portfolio. The group have beautiful properties, chalets and hotels located around the world with three hotels in Megeve (Les Fermes de Marie, Le Lodge Park and Hotel Mont-Blanc). All three hotels in Megeve are run under the expert supervision of Frédéric Pouydebat – his primary aim is to nurture a culture and guest experience that is unique to the portfolio and consistent across each property.
Les Fermes de Marie is the flagship Maisons & Hôtels Sibuet property set on a four-acre plot which is reflective of a small hamlet. Nine interlinked chalets form this five-star hotel which comprise of 70 guest rooms of which 13 are suites. The backstory is fascinating; when the first generation Sibuet family embarked upon their hotelier journey they dismantled the existing farms and used the original wood (they numbered each piece!) to create this beautiful and well established five-star hotel. The hotel’s construction and 30 years of wonderful stories are presented as a photography storyboard next to the wine cellar in the hotel for guests to view.
Its prime location means that all the local amenities within Megeve are within easy walking distance.
A pristine VW people carrier was our private transfer from the airport co-ordinated by Les Fermes de Marie. All ran smoothly.
We know the village of Megeve very well, however we’ve never visited Les Fermes de Marie before and we were both suitably impressed by how magical the drive way and the exterior of the building looked, especially lit up against the dark night sky and backdrop of the majestic Mont blanc mountain range. We sensed that more magic awaited up the stone steps and through the solid oak doors that formed the main entrance to the hotel. I was bursting with excitement at the prospect of exploring this hotel.
It was a relatively late check-in however the reception team were polite, friendly and made us most welcome with all the important info explained. The roaring fire, wooden architecture, low level ceilings, beautiful interiors and atmospheric lighting worked in perfect harmony to create a relaxed ambience.
We were shown to our room and our bags were brought up by one of the team.
Our room was located on the library wing and presented the same warmth and feeling of tranquillity exuded by the rest of the hotel. Approx. 32 sqm, the room with a lounge comprised of a small entrance with a WC and decent sized built in wardrobe – perfect for the wet ski gear. Through the next door, we were then presented with the bedroom area, a small lounge and balcony (with a lovely seating area) overlooking the courtyard, spa and outdoor hot tub. The bathroom was superb with his and her sinks, shower over bath and the amenities were the Sibuet own brand Pure Altitude.
A lovely welcome pack, along with some home-made macaroons and apples picked from ‘L’Epicerie des Fermes’ were laid out as a nice little touch to welcome us.
Solid wood with beautiful carvings and finishing, low ceilings, big lamps, heavy fabrics and ‘outdoorsy’ artwork gave a real country cosy feel to the room. TV, mini bar, alarm clock and plenty of power points comprised of the in-room facilities. There wasn’t a coffee machine, however this was not a problem as there were so many places to enjoy a coffee throughout the hotel it wasn’t necessary in the room. Or if guests did want to take a coffee break in their room then room service or one of the bars would happily oblige.
Food and Drink
There are three dining options within the hotel which offer different experiences, however all of which use locally sourced produce and dishes are prepared and served with the same exacting high quality standard.
Le Restaurant Traditionnel: This is located in the heart of the main chalet and although is relatively large the spaces between each table and the formation of the room meant that as a couple the dining experience still felt very intimate. Interestingly, though there were a few bigger families eating there too and the restaurant was perfectly set up to accommodate them. It really is ideal for any occasion.
Dinner: The menu here comprises of creative and refined dishes; think Lobster and organic broccoli, Duck foie gras, black truffle cream sauce, Alpine lake fish soup and on a Saturday night, the rotisserie is the star of the show with beef rib, chicken and game (when in season) cooked over the open flames. The open fire adds to that mountain ambience.
I opted for Lake char fish, smoked, served with black lemon cream, cucumber juice and dill followed by Bougnat pork belly matured for 30 days by Thomas Bessenet cooked slowly served with atriaux (this is a culinary specialty of French-speaking Switzerland and Savoy which comprises of mince pork, liver, parsley and spices) with cabbage and beluga lentils.
Simon opted for the Lobster served with organic broccoli and citron confit followed by one of the signature dishes; Les Fermes de Marie Coquillettes with truffle savings and Sauget ham (it was a bit like a very special macaroni cheese dish). Each dish was absolutely delicious, infact, I’d go as far as to say some of the best I’ve tasted and the menu perfectly reflected the ambience of the restaurant. Big thumbs up!! BUT wait – it gets better…….
I usually study a menu before I visit a restaurant but I hadn’t done so on this occasion and as such the dessert was a complete (and wonderful!) surprise to me. Instead of being presented with a menu the waiter simply asks if you’d like dessert and/or cheese. We both said yes to dessert but no thanks to cheese. We were then served a slate of petit fours, which looked beautiful and tasted just as good but I thought surely this couldn’t be THE dessert??! The waiter then brought us both a spoon and fork and asked us to follow him. WOW, WOW, WOW!! The dessert buffet was laid out and comprised of a fantastic array of sweet treats. I thought I had died and gone to dessert heaven.
There was so much choice and each dish was home-made and freshly prepared; crème brûlée, lemon meringue, chestnut cream pastry, raspberry tart, rum and chestnut meringue, fresh fruit – the list goes on! The same principle applied for cheese with a tall (approx. 6ft) three-tier rotating wooden stand present guests with a super selection of local cheeses.
We opted for the house wine, Domaine de Marie, which is the Maisons & Hôtels Sibuet own wine brand. I chose Rose and Simon chose Red. I’ve drank this wine before and it is one of my favourites.
Breakfast: Le Restaurant Traditionnel is also where breakfast is served. A buffet consisting of lots of grains, cereals, nuts, fruit, cold meats, breads, sweet breads, pastries, pancakes, freshly prepared to order eggs, omelettes and waffles, jams, honey, porridge are all available for guests to choose from. One of my favourite combos was the porridge served with prunes, soaked in cinnamon spice and orange sprinkled with chestnut flakes. I also loved the sweet praline bread which complimented the strong dark roasted coffee to kick-start the day. The perfect fuel for a day on the slopes!!
We also discovered just how fresh the eggs were, thanks to the resident hens Lydia, Sylvie and Sarah a for their golden yokes 😉
Le Restaurant Alpin: This is located on the lower ground floor and offers a truly authentic Alpine experience of the real Savoyard. Cheese fondue, raclette and pella are the favourites here and it is no surprise given that the restaurant was recently awarded the title of ‘Best Fondue in Megeve’ with Chef Thierry Guinot beating 15 other high quality catering professionals to receive the accolade. We didn’t dine in here but whenever I walked past it looked busy with a cosy and jovial atmosphere.
La Salle a Manger: This is an intimate dining experience which takes place on the mezzanine above Le Restaurant Traditionnel and was created as part of Les Fermes de Marie 30 years’ celebrations. Chef, Nicolas Sintes, has curated some of the restaurant’s best dishes to produce a gastronomical journey which showcases the 30 years of the gourmet house. Again, we didn’t dine here but there was a small wedding party enjoying this experience during our stay and it looked wonderful. I’d say this is ideal for a group of about 12 – 20 who want an extra special evening.
The Bar: The bar is such an inviting space, with deep sofas and arm chairs that give dwellers a big hug. Fur rugs, soft fabrics, low level ceilings and atmospheric lighting make this space a place guests cannot resist frequenting. After a day on the slopes enjoy pastries here or enjoy a range of drinks and bar nibbles if you want something stronger. The first round of drinks is served with roasted and salted cashews, cheese cookies and olives. This quickly became my happy place.
Nooks: There are plenty of other places, all of which boast the same feeling of comfortable and relaxed luxury; the library and lounge areas are little nooks of tranquillity – perfect for catching up with the latest news, doing a little bit of work or curling up with a book. The outdoor seating area with heaters and rugs was another one of my favourite spots, especially on an evening when the hotel was lit up. Truly magical.
The interiors of the hotel place great emphasis on tradition, quality and comfort whilst doing so in a highly-refined style. I was so impressed by the interiors which created shape this feeling of relaxed luxury that I asked which designers had influenced the style. I was informed that infact it is the work of Madame Jocelyne Sibuet – this made perfect sense as there was a real sense of soul and connection created by the level of attention to detail. There was a real ‘feeling of welcome to my home’.
The spa is the very first Spa Pure Altitude with the treatments all developed by Marie and her mother Jocelyne. There are 13 treatment cabins accessed from the central reception which uses a variety of wood, granite, wicker, stones and sheepskin to give guests a feeling of being ‘at one with nature’ I was kindly invited to experience the Rituel Pure Altitude which was a full body massage lasting 50 minutes. Like the reception area wood and stone interiors with relaxing music immediately put me at ease. I am not big into massages but when I say full body I do mean full – even my eyelids and ear lobes were massaged.
In addition to the treatment rooms the spa boasts an outdoor and indoor sauna and Jacuzzi, two swimming pools (one perfect for children and family fun and the other is a lap pool) Japanese soaking tubs, steam room, relaxation room, fully equipped Technogym fitness room and a hairdresser. The perfect place to relax and unwind.
Setting the Standards
To ensure consistency and offer guests the same exacting standards all spa team members undergo the same training – not just at Les Fermes de Marie but for all team members at every hotel within the Maisons & Hôtels Sibuet group. This principal applies to all job types, a friendly yet professional manner is the staff ethos.
Skiing / Snow Sports. There is a ski hire shop onsite for guests that don’t have their own equipment and the hotel is only a short walk (10 mins max) from the centre of Megeve and to the Rochebrune ski lift. However, for guests’ comfort and convenience the shuttle service takes guests to Hotel Mont-Blanc (another of the Maisons & Hôtels Sibuet hotels) which is the closest point, accessible by vehicles, to the ski lift. The shuttle service runs from 8am until 11pm at the request of guests (which in our experience was almost instantly available for the outward journey and only a short wait for the return journey). The set up for the return trip was a very easy and pleasant one; simply inform the reception team at Hotel Mont-Blanc that you’d like to call the shuttle and then help yourself to the hot tea, coffee, fresh cake and pastries whilst you wait. This is just another high quality touch that demonstrates the level of consideration that the Maisons & Hôtels Sibuet team give to their guests.
Kids Club – Hameau des Enfants
Although we enjoyed a romantic long weekend at Les Fermes de Marie, it is highly orientated towards a family friendly holiday too. The ‘kids’ concierge’ co-ordinates a variety of activities for children of all ages to enjoy. And they have even designed a dedicated children’s’ menu which is served in the children’s dining room by a special kiddies cook.
Concierge / Activities
I highly recommend that you pay the concierge a visit as she can arrange some exceptional experiences for guests. Such activities include; cooking classes, a nature hike with snow shoes to the Aper’ Igloo where you can enjoy drinks and a traditional Savoyard dining experience, snow mobiles, luges, helicopter rides, hot air balloons and a visit to the reindeer farm – to name a few!!
Happy 30th Birthday
To celebrate this landmark birthday, Les Fermes de Marie has created some unique experiences for their guests to enjoy. As previously noted La Salle a Manger dining experience is one of their celebrations and La Ferme de Bacré is another. This exclusive experience allows guests (only available to Les Fermes de Marie guests) to visit the Sibuets’ family farmhouse high up in the mountains and enjoy an extraordinary evening of fine cuisine in an exclusive setting.
Partnerships which reflect and share the brand ethos have also been developed and nurtured for this special 30th celebration. The 30 selected partnerships include the likes of Paul and Joe which has created a cute Mother and Child wool sweaters, limited edition sunglasses by Izipizi, bags and totes by Mumday Mornings and a special design collaboration with local Megeve designer and jeweller Phillippe Guilhem. Exciting times!
If you want the best room in the house ask for 821 – this is the top tower room which is bursting with character and stunning views. But be quick, given the level of service combined with the haven of tranquillity that IS Les Fermes de Marie it comes as no surprise that the majority of the guests at Les Fermes de Marie are regulars and many of whom have come to develop a love their ‘own’ room with special requests for their favourite being made at the time of booking.
Summer v Winter
Although the most popular time to visit Megeve (and Les Fermes de Marie) is in Winter the mini resort takes on a whole different façade during the warmer months with cycling, hiking, golf and many other outdoor activities coming into the forefront of visitors’ agendas. I’m yet to visit, in the summer (maybe next year!), however I have heard, from multiple reliable sources, that they all prefer the summer time here.
As I’m sure you have guessed, I liked Les Fermes de Marie. On second thoughts, no, I didn’t like it. I absolutely fell in love with it! It’s hard to describe, as my view of Les Fermes de Marie is less about words – I actually have feelings for it. Never before have I visited a hotel where I just couldn’t wait to finish whatever else I was doing and get back to just ‘be’ there. If I have to summarize in words the best I can do is ‘Les Fermes de Marie is a haven of pure tranquillity.’
I’ve been visiting Megeve for ten years now and I’ve said many times before it’s one of my all-time favourite places to visit. Now, Les Fermes de Marie is one of my all-time favourite places to visit. I will return.
Find Out More
Address: 163 Chemin de la Riante Colline, 74120 Megève, France
Phone: +33 4 50 93 03 10
Rates start from £230 per room per night on a B&B basis
Image Credits: L. Di Orio, MPM, T. Shu & DR