A perfect weekend affordable skiing in Flaine
More relevant, of course, is where you might stay in a resort where, over the years, as the appeal of Flaine's utilitarian-style architecture waned, its once-fashionable hotels were converted into sultry apartment blocks. Only Le Totem - an original Breuer building - remained until it, too, was finally abandoned in 2013. Fast forward three years and in steps the Sibuet family (famous for several exquisite hotels in France, not least Les Fermes de Marie in Megève) who, after a lightning-fast refurbishment, relaunched Le Totem as the first of their small Terminal Neige brand, which will roll out a handful of hotels in unconventional Alpine locations (Terminal Neige Refuge du Montenvers opened high above Chamonix a few months ago).
The brand is about youth and affordability, and Le Totem sets the benchmark. It is a no-frills experience - small bedrooms (though suites and the three-bedroom Loft are bigger), no turndown service, no water by the bed, no chocolate on the pillow, no shampoo or conditioner, a pay-as-you-go-spa - but it is fun and lively, colorful and creative. It is staffed by a young team and brimful of couples and families who convene in a large social space that is sitting room (with original Breuer fireplace at one end), bar and dining room combined. Exposed concrete pillars and walls, retro arcade games and fabrics and furnishings channeling mid-century vintage with a Navajo Indian vibe define the look and floor-to-ceiling glass windows capture an unblemished view of forest and snowy mountains.
HOUSE & GARDEN