Photo: Méribel – © Sylvain Aymoz – Méribel Tourisme
Méribel is one of France’s most well-known ski resorts, popular with skiers and snowboarders worldwide. Located in the world’s largest ski area, the Les Trois Vallées (the 3 Valleys), Méribel has a lot to offer its visitors. Méribel attracts many people for many reasons, it is known as a family ski resort, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get a taste of luxury and a unique experience.
Méribel has an abundance of high-end accommodation, bars and restaurants to enjoy during your stay. In this post, we will go into all the details so you know what to expect and what you can do in this beautiful ski resort.
THE RESORT AND MOUNTAINS
The 3 Valleys ski area gives skiers 600km of slopes to play on, and is all accessible via the 3 Valleys lift pass. The main benefit of this lift pass, is that you can not only jump on any lift in Méribel, but use the lifts on Courchevel, and Val Thorens. There are various options for lift passes to suit your group. For example, you can buy a family pass, a beginner pass a group pass or even one for couples. Choosing the right lift pass for you and your trip will save you money.
Méribel is made up of several separate villages. Many of Méribel’s visitors love its tasteful architecture which is a refreshing change from some of France’s more purpose built high rise style resorts. This is due to Méribel’s charming wooden chalets scattered around the picturesque landscape.
The three main villages of Méribel offer visitors various benefits:
If you want easy access to all the action, Méribel Centre is an excellent place to stay. Staying here means you are very close to the bars, slopes, ski schools and nightlife.
When it comes to accommodation, you will find a mixture of traditional chalets along with some high-end ones. The close proximity to the La Chaudanne ski lift, ski school meeting point and pistes make staying in Méribel Centre exceptionally convenient.
Just a 10-minute walk from the centre is the traditional hamlet of Morel, which has a range of traditional and contemporary chalets. Morel is very close to Altitude 1600, which has its own ski lift, bars and restaurants.
Above Altitude 1600, you will find Le Plateau and Le Rond Point. These hamlets have large apartment buildings and hotels placed very close to the ski slopes, shops and restaurants. Located at the top of Méribel Centre is the more exclusive Le Belvédère. Here you will find some very high-end chalets and hotels.
Keep ascending the mountain, and you will come across the Altiport. This is a tranquil wooded area, with some self-catered properties and a hotel. If you stay here, you can enjoy the Altiport’s local shops and restaurant while having easy access to its nursery slopes.
As a side note, you can book scenic flights from the Altiport. This is an excellent way of taking in the stunning scenery of either Meribel valley or the 3 Valleys. If you have time during your trip, this is a must-do activity.
Another great thing to do when visiting Méribel is getting first tracks with breakfast. This is something you can do every Thursday, which is a fantastic experience. You get the views as the sun comes up. But the best part is that you get the first tracks the groomed runs or, if you are lucky, in the powder if it snowed the night before.
Méribel Mottaret sits between 1700m and 1800m. This is part of Méribel was purpose-built in the 1970s in the chalet-style architecture, but the accommodation is based around large apartment blocks and hotels.
Méribel Mottaret is mostly car-free, and most accommodation options are ski-in ski-out. You can enjoy a good selection of bars and restaurants, but the nightlife and aprés isn’t as lively as Méribel. Mottaret has an excellent lift system and is great for quick access to the higher altitude skiing at the top of the valley and in Val Thorens.
Located at 1400m, Méribel Village is a charming ski resort just a five-minute drive from Méribel. It has its own chairlift and village centre with shops, bars and restaurants.
The chalets and apartments in Méribel Village are generally of a very high standard. Many of its visitors love its tranquil village atmosphere. Its single high-speed chairlift links Méribel Village to the Altiport ski area, but you can get back to the village via an easy blue run.
When it comes to choosing a resort within the 3 Valleys, Méribel hits the sweet spot, as it is right in the centre of the ski area. This makes it much easier to explore the area using the lift system. If you have time during your trip, it may be worth visiting Les Allues. Sitting at 1100m, here you can experience an authentic Savoyard village atmosphere. Make sure you visit early in the season, as it usually closes as the snow melts towards the end of winter.
Méribel Centre – La Chaudanne is where you will find most of the bars, restaurants & shops
Méribel is well known for its fantastic luxury accommodation. It comprises of high-end hotels and many luxury chalets all over the resort. Here are our favourite places to stay in this wonderful French ski resort.
Le Kaila is a beautiful five-star hotel located in Meribel Centre and has direct access to the ski slopes. Guests of this hotel enjoy a fantastic hotel bar and Michelin-starred restaurant. The restaurant serves local Savoyard dishes crafted with seasonal ingredients.
The decor in the rooms is a blend of contemporary decor and traditional chalet style. Each room has a minibar, free Wi-Fi and flat-screen TV.
You can start your day with an impressive buffet breakfast to fuel your day on the mountain. But, when you get back to the hotel, you can take full advantage of the spa. Here you can rejuvenate with a massage, jump on an aqua bike or experience many other treatments.
Le Kaila is very popular with its guests, especially couples, due to its fantastic service, amenities and location.
The Hôtel Alpen Ruitor is located in the centre of Méribel-Mottaret. Here you can get a real Méribel experience. Each ensuite room is decorated in a traditional chalet-style and offer stunning views of the Méribel valley and over the surrounding ski slopes.
The spa area is a great place to relax after a day of skiing, thanks to its sauna, hammam, hot tub, sensory shower and massage treatments designed especially for skiers.
The fantastic hotel bar has a south-facing terrace, allowing you to enjoy aprés drinks in the sun. In the restaurant, you can enjoy grilled specialities and local cuisine. But each morning, you can start your day with a hot breakfast made in front of you from local ingredients.
The best four-star hotel in Meribel Centre has to be Hotel La Chaudanne. It is located just 50 m from the ski slopes and provides its guests with an indoor swimming pool and a hammam.
The hotel’s rooms are all en suite with high-end chalet-style decor and have flat-screen TVs with satellite channels.
Each morning guests are treated to a fabulous buffet breakfast in the restaurant, or you can order it up to your room.
The hotel has its own restaurant, a high-class brasserie, and an excellent bar to enjoy during the evenings.
The best self-catered apartments in Meribel are found in Residence l’Hevana. These 5-star apartments are located in Méribel Centre and have an authentic charm enhanced by the contemporary décor. Even though this accommodation is self-catered, you can enjoy a top-of-the-range service during your stay.
After a long day exploring the 3 Valleys, you can unwind in the Deep Nature Spa, indoor pool, an outdoor hot tub, hammam or sauna. Or talk about the day’s exploits in the Residence bar.
The Residence l’Hevana is close enough to the slopes to reach them by foot via the footbridge linking the resort centre and the Tourist Office. You can also opt to jump on the shuttle service that leaves every 20 minutes. To make life very convenient, you can hire your ski and snowboard equipment from the Skiset shop located within the residence.
The 5***** ski-in ski-out hotel Le Kaila has the best location in the heart of Méribel centre and close to the lifts
APRÉS AND NIGHTLIFE
It is no secret that Méribel is a fantastic destination for aprés ski lovers and night owls. There are plenty of options for everyone, ranging from sipping a quiet beer or an all-out party night.
For live music during aprés, La Rond Point is a firm favourite with holidaymakers and resort workers alike.
This lively bar is located directly on the main Doron Piste leading down to La Chaudanne. It has a huge outdoor terrace with fantastic piste views, which is great for sipping drinks in the afternoon sun.
The “Ronnie” has a stage for outdoor live après entertainment, as well as a snack shack that serves hot food on the terrace until 16:00. This venue is very popular, so make sure you get there early to secure a table before the music starts.
Close to the Biche and Mauduit pistes, you will find the infamous Folie Douce. This place is like a nightclub on the piste during the day; it is an experience everyone should have when visiting Méribel. It is located at the mid-station of the Saulire cable car, just follow the sound of the music.
You can book a table so you can get a great view of the après-ski fun that starts at 15:00. You can expect a fantastic crew of artists, acrobat dancers, singers and musicians.
Another great après venue for live music is Lodge du Village. You can easily get to it via a short bus ride from Meribel centre. Here you will be entertained by some of the best bands in the Alps while taking in spectacular alpine views from the balcony.
On quieter days, when there is no live music, this venue is a warm and cosy place to hang out in a great atmosphere.
Sometimes you just want to have a drink in a decent bar, for some relaxed drinks in the evening. This is where Barometer comes in, as it doesn’t offer live music or aprés entertainment. But, it does offer an extensive wine list and a more relaxed experience than some of the other bars in Méribel.
For late-night drinks, you may want to head to La Tavern as an alternative to Barometer. This is an old French pub with more secluded areas for a chat, but it also has live music on certain nights. La Tavern is open until 1 am during winter.
For something a little more lively, you should check out Le Pub. Le Pub is not far from the post office and is a large venue ideal for late-night fun. It features a dance floor, stage and a pool table area. Le Pub is open until 02:30 every night and is popular with people wanting to extend their night out with great live music.
La Folie Douce in Méribel provides great shows, entertainment and a lively atmosphere
EATING ON THE MOUNTAIN
When you are skiing the slopes of Méribel, you will need to fuel yourself up for your day. Luckily, there is little chance of you going hungry, thanks to the abundance of mountain restaurants.
The Adray Telebar is a firm favourite lunchtime stop off on the mountain. Here you can dine on the south-facing terrace or enjoy gourmet delights from the Brasserie, such as daily special, meat from the grill, local specialities, and its famous cutlet. You can also choose from the restaurant’s selection of snacks or book a table for the evening to sample Savoyard delicacies.
A visit to Méribel is not complete without eating at Le Rok at least once. You can access this restaurant from Méribel-Mottaret by the Pas du Lac gondola, which is ideal for non-skiers. Le Rok’s view is only rivalled by its atmosphere, thanks to its fun and friendly staff. Relaxing in one of the deckchairs on the terrace while taking in the view is a fantastic experience, as is the food.
Le Clos Bernard is located near the slopes but hidden away on the edge of a forest. You can enjoy a fantastic lunch in their traditional dining room, of traditional Savoyard cuisine. Expect meat and cheese platters, foie gras, salads, pasta, tartiflette, croziflette, fondue and raclette. But the highlight for many is the selection of local meats grilled on wood fire; choose from beef, lamb, pork sausages or chicken and choose your sides and sauce.
Great food & breathtaking views from the terrace at Le Rok restaurant in Méribel
EATING IN THE RESORT
Méribel itself has a wide range of fantastic restaurants where visitors can enjoy wonderful lunches and dinners. You will find something that will suit your budget and your taste very easily. At lunchtimes, most restaurants will offer a ‘Plat du Jour’ (dish of the day), usually made from locally-sourced meat, potatoes and a salad or seasonal vegetables.
Being in the French Alps, you can enjoy local food in many restaurants, but one of our favourites is La Kouisena, which situated in L’Eterlou Hotel, close to the Chaudanne piste area. This is an excellent place for traditional cuisine, fondue, raclette and pierrade. But, the best fondue restaurant in Méribel has to be La Fromagerie.
La Grange offers a large menu with enough offerings to please everyone. The south-facing terrace is an excellent spot for lunch while taking in the beautiful surrounding scenery and the fabulous food.
Beefbar in the Hotel Le Coucou is a unique dining experience allowing you to try food that you wouldn’t usually be served in other restaurants. You can expect rare meats such as Black Angus from Argentina and the USA, Australian Wagyu and Japanese Kobe beef.
Méribel provides plenty of dining options from traditional French cuisine to fine dining experiences
Meribel does cater to non-skiers and skiers that fancy a day off the mountain, with some alternative activities.
Those that are not skiing or snowboarding can enjoy the fantastic facilities at the Meribel Olympic Sports Centre. Here you will find a very nice swimming pool, ten-pin bowling, ice-skating and a climbing wall. These are all great for families and for people wanting to sample some of the other things Méribel has to offer.
Twice a week, Méribel market offers a range of stalls displaying a selection of cheeses, cured meats and confectionery. This is perfect for self-catered guests that want to cook with local produce.
There is a cinema which plays VO films (Version Original), so you don’t need to worry about the language barrier. There are also many high-end clothes and gift shops to flex your credit card in.
But, here are some more non-skiing related activities you might want to check out during your visit to Méribel.
Méribel and Mottaret have lots of scenic walks around them. Mottaret has a nature reserve where skiers are not allowed, but shoe shoers are. Snowshoeing is a great way to see the mountains in a way that you may not have previously. Spot wildlife as you walk through the forests on an organised snowshoeing trip with a guide.
Combine horseriding with skiing by being towed around by a horse while you are on skis. You need a basic ski level for this unique winter activity, but once you have had your introduction, you can enjoy the picturesque route through the forest.
Take charge of your own traditional Alpine sledge and team of dogs as they take you through Meribel-Village’s forest. This is a thrilling activity that should be at the top of everyone’s list when visiting Méribel.
Popular with thrill-seekers and petrol heads, snowmobiling is great fun. You can either ride your machine solo or with a passenger and swap halfway through the tour if you wish. If you are more experienced or want a more challenging route, you can opt to go on a safari-style course.
Hot Air Ballooning
A more tranquil way of seeing the alpine views from the sky is in a hot air balloon. Wrap up warm and take in the vistas as you gently float over the peaks. You can make the flight extra special with an airborne champagne breakfast. Flights go every morning, weather permitting, and each flight lasts 1–1.5 hours.
There are plenty of winter activities such as tobogganing, snow shoeing, scenic flights, fat bike, horse riding…
Why Book your Ski Holiday to Méribel
The beautiful ski resort of Méribel has everything you want from a high-end French ski resort. There are lovely accommodation options, world-class ski slopes, a well-connected lift system, superb dining options, and a massive range of unique activities. With all this on hand, you will be sure to have the best time in Méribel possible.