Piste Perfect > L’APOGÉE COURCHEVEL >>> An Oetker Hotel designed by INDIA MAHDAVI & JOSEPH DIRAND
There are so many reasons you need to know about L’Apogée in Courchevel. For me it was knowing that two of my favourite designers in the world, India Mahdavi and Joseph Dirand had collaborated to create the slickest destination in the resort. Forget Cheval Blanc (the LVMH hotel not far away), back in 2014, L’Apogée became the latest 5* hotel in the resort. Built on the site of a former ski jump, the views are of course fantastic.
Owned by the Oetker Collection (Le Bristol, Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc) this group has certainly earned it’s place in the brand of elite hospitality. Just to give you some stats on the hotel to put it into context. There are 170 staff to the 53 rooms, seems crazy on first thought, but then if you think a fully catered chalet sleeping 10 can have up to 15 staff in some cases it puts it into some sort of perspective I guess. Costing in the region of €100 million you would expect all the bells and whistles wouldn’t you. Well they’ve spent it wisely. Gone are the uber high tech gadgetry in the suites (electric curtains, so annoying and never fully close, don’t you agree? no?), the money has been spent on tonnes (literally 100 tonnes) of marble for the bathrooms, bespoke carpentry and craftsmanship, (unless you work in design it’s impossible to believe how much half of this stuff costs to make), but the design detailing is exceptional, and that’s what you get when you hire Mahdavi and Dirand. With 53 suites and rooms, and private chalet, a relaxed dining room (if you want fancy head over to Cheval Blanc), a beautiful spa including a Bania (the Russians must be happy) indoor pool, jacuzzi, and the fanciest ski in ski out facility. We’re talking a conveyer belt from the slope back to the hotel, what I would do for one of those where I stay in Verbier…
The hotel lobby above
To the design and it’s makers. One can be very opinionated when it comes to the design of hotels, (it’s not just about the service anymore) but this concept I totally understand the thought process. Even on a not so sunny day, your eyes are glaring at the brightest light all day, so what could be more soothing than to come back to a cosy darker space. This was Mahdavi’s design lead, a Lodge feel. The tartan carpets in the suites certainly give an obvious Scottish ambience, and a big tick against Mahdavi’s standard use of colour and pattern. I’m lucky, I’ve stayed in quite a few of Mahdavi’s hotels (this being in my top five, Miami was super cool too) and to me she just has it.
An experienced hotel designer, I first visited Mahdavi’s studio a couple of years ago for a design project, just above her 1st shop on rue las Cases, and it’s the most wonderful place. Bursting with prototypes and design books, architectural drawings and photographs. Mahdavi has a very distinctive style, highly lacquered furniture will always be placed with cut velvet upholstery, highly dappled marble (fiore di Bosco in this instance) will be used in her bathrooms with brushed brass and pale wood. Usually I note Aesop bath products, this time Bamford, how suitably on trend.
Only white blooms here at L’Apogée
It’s in the bedrooms that you’ll start to notice the details, that metal stamp in the headboard, it’s Mahdavi’s snowflake, but using upholstery tacks, a detail that she used in the all panelling at the Paradisio Cinema in Paris, you’ll notice the snowflake motif in the flooring around the hotel, and carved into the ceiling lighting.
Why share the steam room when you can have your own in your room…
Private dining, standard for a hotel such as L’Apogée, the hotel has it’s own separate (but connected chalet).
I first came across Joseph Dirand via the Hotel Habita Monterrey in Mexico. This man loves a good thick slab of marble. Google his name and you’ll come across picture after picture of monochrome interiors with killer furniture combinations. I’m curious to know why they collaborated on this hotel though. Both successful hotel designers, was it by request of the owner or financier? Maybe it’s a French thing, Couldn’t think of a better duo though. The curved armchairs in the suites above are reminiscent of his designs for a recent project in Beirut I recently read about. If I hadn’t have read that article I would have believed they were Mahdavi’s designs as she loves a good curve herself.
Mahdavi I just love. Her use of colour and pattern in all her projects from Claridges, Townhouse in Miami, Germain, Thoumieux and the Condesa DF all reference the surrounding city or location, she fascinates me. I google translated entire paragraphs of her French book to understand her thought process more, only to see there’s an English version in print now. I’m a bit of a super fan, I like to think of her as my David Hicks. He who inspired so many, it’s India who reassures me of my style.
So, in a resort where Lagerfeld designed the ski lifts (well emblazoned the ski bubbles into designer Chanel pods) and more Michelin star restaurants than quite frankly you’d need to visit in a week, Courchevel really is your status resort. In a village of maybe 2,000 residents there are 18 5* hotels alone, let alone all the privately catered designer chalets. It’s clear there has been such a shift in clientele over the years. Those self catered apartment blocks are being redeveloped into killer hotels shifting the average spend to dizzy heights. With the majority of bookings coming in from Russia, Courchevel is more than just a place to ski nowadays. There are other resorts in The Alps that boast better skiing, but when it comes to being seen by your fellow business contemporaries, the big money is ploughing into Courchevel.
Images courtesy of PCC & Oetker Collection