MTN/LAB 45°91'83"N 6°87'10"E
Le Cristal de Jade Chamonix
5-star apartments in the heart of Chamonix
The search for apartments in Chamonix has been a 20-year process. If you are part of a larger group, say 8 or more and on a skiing trip, then you have the luxury of choice. Catered and self-catered chalets are readily available in the valley and the bigger your budget the better you can be accommodated.
For a couple or smaller groups, if you want something 'luxury', for want of a better word, you just get more rooms/beds. This problem has been solved by some new (2016) apartments, 'Le Cristal de Jade', in the centre of Chamonix.
Offering 1,2,3 & 4 bedroom apartments with a chalet vibe, they are perfect for those who have outgrown the standard Chamonix holiday apartment. Situated next to the Aiguille du Midi cable car, some of the balcony views are not amazing but for a central location, it's as good as it gets.
The 5-star Cristal de Jade is owned by the MGM group who have developed a series of these managed apartments in the French Alps. The apartments offer a series of upgrades on your standard apartment, very much like a hotel. These include quality beds and bedding, towels, bathrobes and slippers, cleaning product kit for the kitchen, Pure altitude toiletries, Nespresso machine and a safe.
Unlike the apartments we had previously stayed in there was also outdoor furniture on the balcony. To top it off you get unlimited use of the Wellness centre which included a swimming pool, 2 hot tubs, a sauna and hammam and a fitness room with Technogym equipment.
Of course, the price reflects these upgrades but as we stayed in the last week of interseason (June) it compared well, if not better than the equivalent holiday rental or Airbnb. During high season you can, not unreasonably, expect to pay 5-star hotel prices.
During our stay, we took full advantage of the wellness centre. Our timing was often perfect, and from 4 to 5 pm we found nobody or only the odd person using the pool. Nobody in the hot tubs, sauna or hammam. We used the gym in the mornings and again it was often empty. During high season I imagine this is quite different unless you go when everyone is out skiing.
The 1-bed apartment we had was compact, as with all Alpine accommodation, although the bathroom was large and living space was fine. If it had been designed for 2, not 4 then the table could have been smaller and the sofa just a sofa, not a bed as well. Even at this level, the French insist on making every sofa a bed it seems. This is really the only fault we could find though. The beds and bedding were extremely comfortable, the shower, with double heads, was amazing, the kitchen was spotless and worked as you would hope and even cleaning and coffee capsules were supplied. The concierge was helpful and welcoming. As a final welcome touch, the 'Éditions Guérin' book on Chamonix in the room reminded us of books in the Park Plaza in London.
This is the first time we have found apartments in the French Alps we would unequivocally recommend for those looking for an upgrade and don't wish to stay in a hotel. We are already planning our next trip.
More information on the Cristal de Jade.