There’s a myth that chalet holidays are really expensive. Champagne receptions, hot tubs, canapés, four-course meals cooked by an in-house chef and delicious wine on top, plus a personal driver to take you to the ski slopes everyday.
It sounds like the kind of holiday you’d have to remortgage your house for, right? Well, not necessarily.
Alikats Mountain Holidays have three chalets in Morzine at the heart of the French Alps.
You'll get all the special treatments you'd expect from a luxury chalet holiday – for under £500 per person for a week’s stay. It sounds pretty ideal, no?
Al and Kat Judge are the masterminds behind the cleverly named Alikats. The British pair met in 2006 at a fancy dress party in Stoke Newington, London.
They soon both realised they wanted to set up a chalet company in the Alps. After working as chalet hosts for a season, they started Alikats in 2010.
Now, with two young children in tow, they went from running one chalet to three in a single season. However, they’ve kept their trademark cosy vibe to the chalets which are all decked with log fires, hot tubs, comfy sofas and vin chaud on tap.
We stayed in the gorgeous Chalet de L’Ange in Montriond, just outside Morzine.
The chalet has a modern alpine feel to it. The building is split over multiple levels with high ceilings, a sunken hot tub and huge windows on both sides. The result is spectacular views up towards Ardent and over towards Morzine and Nyon’s snowy mountain peak.
It’s just a five-minute drive to the centre of Morzine. There’s also an on-call driver every day to take you to and from the slopes. It’s just a ten-minute drive to the bottom of Ardent, which whisks you up to the heart of Avoriaz.
However, it’s the attention to detail that sets Alikats' chalets apart from the rest.
From the hipflask of homemade toffee vodka and eco-friendly beauty products to the little fact file that accompanies wine at dinner, you can tell Al and Kat go the extra mile to make their chalets feel personal and inviting.
If there’s one thing that really stood out about staying with Alikats is the food. In fact, it’s one of the main reasons I would come back again.
Everything is made from scratch with the menus designed by head chef Kat herself. With three chalets to run, it’s a mammoth task – but Kat wants to keep the food standards as high as possible. She still cooks all the sauces, stocks and ice creams herself at home.
From succulent roasted sea bream with red pepper vinaigrette to the amazing aubergine, red onion and goat’s cheese baklava, we were totally blown away by the standard of the food.
Whether you're dairy-free, vegan or have an obscure allergy like myself, the chefs will never leave you feeling like everyone else has a better dish than you
Every meal was filling, but didn’t leave you feeling like you’d just eaten Christmas Dinner every night, which can happen on chalet holidays.
Alikats go the extra mile in catering for people with special food requirements. Whether it’s dairy-free, vegan or you have an obscure allergy like myself, the chefs will never leave you feeling like everyone else has a better dish than you.
For example, one evening we had the most delicious Boca Negra for dessert. It’s a spicy chocolate cake with a gooey centre, topped with white chocolate bourbon cream and raspberry puree.
Our chef Ruta prepared a dairy-free chocolate mousse for one guest. It was apparently so delicious the couple asked for the recipe afterwards as they’d never tasted such a good dairy-free mousse.
Our final evening was a meat-free menu that even my steak-loving boyfriend agreed was a really delicious meal. There’s a good reason they just won Best Food at the Morzine Source Awards For Excellence.
Morzine has started to build a name for itself as a Little Britain. In the past decade, the popularity of this small French rural village has sky rocketed among British skiers and snowboarders. Why?
Well, it’s really easy to get to from the UK. Flying from the UK to Geneva takes just over an hour and it’s the same time again to drive from the airport to Morzine.
From Morzine, you have access to the whole of the Portes du Soleil, a whopping 13 resorts, stretching over 400 square miles from Mont Blanc to Lake Geneva. If you wanted to visit them all, you could.
Alikats’ chalets are located between the cable car for Avoriaz and Morzine Les Gets. They've even got a mad selection of retro onesie that are yours to borrow for the day - if you like.
For those stepping on snow for the first time, the Morzine-Les Gets side offers easy cruisy blue runs to get the feel for skiing or snowboarding. Avoriaz - its higher, steeper sister resort - has everything a well-seasoned snow lover could ask for.
The great thing about the Portes du Soleil is there is something for everyone. Easy wide runs for families, accessible off-piste for pow hunters, world-class parks for Jenny Jones wannabes and great mountain restaurants if you just fancy a long boozy lunch with a great view.
When the crowds appear during peak season, you can hop over to Chatel, a smaller resort of the other side of the Linderets bowl, and cruise down the Happy Valley for some awesome off-piste.
We would recommend making a stop at Chez BaBeth for lunch. The interior is decorated like a crazy Santa’s Grotto all year round, alongside numerous pictures of BaBeth’s face. Madame BaBeth still runs the restaurant herself, so treat yourself to a tartiflette here. It’s an experience you won’t forget in hurry.
WHAT ELSE IS THERE TO DO?
Alikats can also organise a ski lessons and guiding for you from Reach Your Peak. Whether you want a beginners lesson or hiking up the gnarly Tête de Bostan, Hervé is your man.
Sometimes you want something more than just skiing. Sarah from Mountain Rehab came to give us a post-ski stretch session in the chalet, followed by a deep tissue massage from Carla and a dip in the hot tub. What more could you ask for?
In the summer months, Morzine is known for its mountain biking and hiking, plus you can go white water rafting, stand up paddleboarding, canyoning and much more.
So if you're a food obsessed, onesie-loving snowboarder (like myself), then Alikats is basically your idea of a perfect holiday.
Even if you're not, I guarantee there will be something that'll make you want to come back to an Alikats chalet - whether it's the fabulous food or the personal touches that make their chalets feel like home. For under £500 per person for six nights, who could say no?
Prices start from £422 per person for a seven night stay in Chalet de l’Ange (based on two sharing).
This includes six days fully catered Alikats service (champagne and canapés on arrival, full English breakfast spread, afternoon tea, four-course evening dinner with good quality unlimited wine) and private minibus lifts to and from the slopes.
Visit alikats.eu or call +33 (0) 678104092 for more information