Ski resorts are a little like major European football clubs: a handful of storied names, steeped in wealth and glamour, existing in a state of perpetual rivalry for preeminence while bickering about whose history is the starriest. For Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Juventus substitute Courchevel, St. Moritz, Val d’Isère.

Megève is another of the big boys – and like several football clubs, it was created by some very rich people as a direct rival to a preexisting superpower. Like most of Europe’s elite, the Rothschild family tended to holiday at the Swiss resort of St Moritz. However the Great War caused considerable friction between the Rothschilds and St Moritz’s numerous German clientele; Baroness Noémie de Rothschild decided to find an alternative winter destination.

She found the Alpine village of Megève. The family built a chalet there, and opened a hotel in 1921. More hotels soon followed, transforming the village into France’s first purpose-built ski resort: dedicated to providing its visitors with a premium experience both on and off the slopes. By the 1950s, Megève hadn’t quite knocked St Moritz off its perch but it had certainly earned a place alongside its rival as a preeminent destination for the rich and famous.

Modern Megève hasn’t changed much over the past hundred years. Why would it? The village still looks like the illustration on a box of expensive chocolates. The slopes are still as pure and pristine as a bride’s wedding dress. The combined stars of all the hotels could still form a small galaxy. Mont Blanc remains Mont Blanc. So it was, so it is, so may it always be.

Yet while the luxury of Megève hotels remains constant, their number and identity can fluctuate. Old stalwarts shut their doors, new arrivals throw them open. One of the most vaunted of the new wave is the Four Seasons Megève, which opened in 2017 in collaboration with the Rothschilds – the Megève equivalent of building an Athenian temple in collaboration with Pericles.

Four Seasons Megève
Four Seasons Megève

The Four Seasons is a simply glorious hotel. The rooms and suites resemble chalets, the corridors feel like art galleries so numerous are the paintings on their walls. Some of those paintings come from the private collection of Baroness Ariane de Rothschild herself so keep your grubby little fingers off. Think of the amenity, the Four Seasons probably has it. There’s the largest spa in the region, equipped with an indoor / outdoor heated swimming pool because of course.

There’s also a games room. Not games as in billiards: games as in Mario Kart, played on a massive arcade machine equipped with a driver's seat and steering wheel and actual pedals that you gun to the floor while chasing Bowser et al around the Rainbow Road.

(Or you can play MotoGP and sit on a plastic motorbike but that one’s incredibly hard and all the racers look the same so you can’t really nurture a rivalry – unlike when that little shit Yoshi throws a banana at you.) I play as Luigi, adding an intriguing psychological element when battling my older brother Mario, the more celebrated, the more beloved, the favoured son – you know what, that’s enough about the games room.

Four Seasons Megève

After a hard day on the track, I mean the slopes, a nourishing meal is a must. Here the Four Seasons really comes into its own. Its most celebrated resident is La Dame de Pic – Le 1920, the Michelin-starred restaurant from the great Anne-Sophie Pic. (There’s a London outpost at Ten Trinity Square’s Four Seasons.) But don’t sleep on at Kaito, serving Asian cuisine infused with a local touch. Reblochon tempura, anyone? (It works.)

Of course, aside from the food, the comforts, the opportunity to throw down in Mushroom Kingdom, you’re also here for the skiing. Literally standing on the slopes, the Four Seasons is a ski in, ski out hotel: meaning there’s no need to catch a shuttle into town. Don your skis, take a short button lift and tootle down to the gondola – an ideal little run to wake you up in the morning. You’ll be on the pistes fifteen minutes after your morning dump. Getting off the mountain is even easier: glide off the final descent and onto the hotel’s porch. Glorious.

For those truly keen to get their Alpine on, the Four Seasons also offers Les Chalets du Mont d'Arbois – aka three luxury chalets roughly ten minutes’ drive from the main hotel. All three chalets combine modern amenities with rustic charm, the hospitality equivalent of dating a woodsman who knows how to code.

Four Seasons Megève
Four Seasons Megève

Restaurant La Table de Noémie is an absolute delight, proper French cuisine that will send you staggering back to the room with a stupid great smile on your face. Spit-roasted young cockerel with wild mushrooms? Mère, puis-je! If you fancy stretching your legs, take a short stroll to La Trattoria de la Taverne which serves hearty Italian food in a huge log cabin so homily you’ll want to move there.

Craving the high life? May we introduce you to The Idéal Suite: situated halfway up the mountain at an altitude of 1850m. Accessible only by cable car, guests will enjoy complete seclusion and the type of panoramic views generally associated with a helicopter. Don’t worry, there’ll be staff on-site, including an in-house butler to prepare your skis and create a personalised itinerary. Merci, Jeeves.

The skiing, of course, is superb: picture-perfect pistes that offer thrills and charm in equal measure. Alight from the chairlift and gawp at Mont Blanc in all its magnificence, the Platonic ideal of a mountain, an absolute monster in white. Inhale air so clear and fresh it might have been created just for you.

Take in the valley and the slopes and the town way, way down below. Allow yourself a brief shiver of anticipation, anticipation that has thrilled the souls of skiers here for more than a hundred years. Whisper a prayer of silent thanks to Baroness Noémie.

And off you go into the boundless white yonder.

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For more information, see Four Seasons Megève

Inspiring Travel offers a 7-night holiday to Four Seasons Megeve from £6,589 per person based on two adults sharing a Superior Room, including flights on easyJet from London Gatwick, luggage, reserved seats and transfers. Valid for travel between 12 - 19 January 2024. Book by 2 January 2024. Subject to availability. / 01244 729748.