By: ANETTA NOWOSIELSKA
At this Alpine sanctum of exquisite taste and excellent service, hotel guests are blown away by the French art of joie de vivre.
Some call it “hygge;” others “the cozy factor.” Many declare it “a vibe.” Les Fermes de Marie, a charm-oozing hotel located amidst the snow-capped peaks and pines of the enchanting village of Megeve in the French Alps, arouses all those attributes in spades. Faithful to its Savoyard core, the five-star property with 70 highly individual rooms and suites decorated in local flair, a restaurant dedicated to home-grown bounty, and a world-renowned spa, seamlessly weaves together tradition, comfort, and unparalleled hospitality. The sentiments it evokes are visceral as they define rustic allure and alpine luxury at its most authentic.
Hardly new, Les Fermes de Marie has stood the test of time as the local hotel par excellence despite the many waves of attraction and investments that have swept over the village over the decades. Once beloved by the Rothchild family, Megeve’s luster dimmed some over the years as other nearby ski stations successfully lured the monied set with chic chalets, sophisticated hotels, exciting nightlife, and designer boutiques. Enter Jocelyne and Jean-Louis Sibuet who set out to build an authentic and immersive hospitality experience based on their culture using centuries-old repurposed and reassembled barns from the surrounding pastures to create this lavish and expansive five-star retreat, a process that took five years to complete.
Decades of determination and vision that now extends to their daughter and son also involved in the business, sprouted a consortium of spas, restaurants, cosmetic brands, wine estate, and nine hotel properties, scattered across The Alpes, Provence, Azure Coast, and the French West Indies assert the Sibuet’s magic touch. “At the time the idea of lifestyle didn’t exist in France,” explains Madame Sibuet inevitably diminishing her accomplishment. “We succeeded in doing that here.”
At Les Fermes de Marie this French art of living translates into interiors that are Alpine-chic, with ample winter-cozy nooks and crannies to lounge by candlelight, games of chess or wooden Tic-Tac-Toe, book browsing throughout the property, and relaxing in front of the roaring fire cloaked by an authentic Savoyard spirit. Each meticulously restored room retains its original character, exuding warmth through exposed wooden beams, stone fireplaces, local decorative touches, and outdoor lounging areas with many looking out to the mountain peaks of Rochebrune and Mont D’Arbois that beckon guests to embrace the beauty of the area. No detail is overlooked, and no thought is spared to ensure a memorable experience. The in-room furniture is sourced locally and delights in its humble nature. The beauty products from the in-house brand Pure Altitude highlight unique plants and ingredients like edelweiss, a mountain plant that thrives in a difficult environment.
This being the epicenter of Savoyard gastronomy, rich in cheese and starchy vegetables, the menu at Le Restaurant Traditionnel anchoring the property’s culinary DNA shines the light on the best of local produce, such as fish from the mountain lakes and cheeses from the surrounding producers. Try the Reblochon from a local farmer paired with local bacon and pickled onions for the most satiating indulgence. At dinner, free range chicken with truffle, winter vegetables, and River pike-perch served with beurre blanc with fir buds and braised endives, is not to be missed. But then neither is one of the hotel’s signature dishes of macaroni with truffles, Saugest ham and Beaufort cream. The dessert is served buffet style in a gorgeous little nook off the main dining room with a myriad of options that are dizzying in variety and flavor.
The hotel also has one of the most complete and expansive altitude spas in the French Alps. The indoor swimming pool is complemented by a swimming lane reserved for adults, numerous saunas, hammams, whirlpool baths, and no less than 13 treatment cabins.
From private cooking classes with the chef, to sledding, snowshoe trekking, hang-gliding, and helicopter rides, Les Fermes de Marie concierge checks off all of the boxes for those who are seeking outdoor excitement. Those pursuing in-door comforts will delight in the attentiveness of the staff that is fast, courteous, and in tune with the needs of the guests.
With new chalets added to the growing number of properties owned and managed by Maisons & Hôtels Sibuet and a never-ending list of additions and improvements to the assets already under its belt, the Sibuet family has no intention of slowing down. “We have projects lined up for a few years,” Madame Sibuet explained. No doubt they will all be as captivating as the original.