Look up, look way up. We’ve never seen a wine cellar we didn’t like, but this one is a clear winner. No ducking under doorways, no tripping in the dark. Chalet Jejalp’s two-story glass wine atrium brings oenophilia out of the closet and into the light.
In the ultimate toast to good Gallic living, this glittering steeple of wine forms the focal point of this elegantly furnished, fully catered chalet located on the French side of Portes du Soleil. Designed by local architect Hervé Marullaz, Chalet Jejalp is a $6 million private chalet owned by a British family, keen skiers who use it several weeks a season. (The name Jejalp is an acronym of their initials.) It is available to rent the remaining weeks through the über-luxury ski operator, Concensio.
The exclusive use rental makes a ski week among friends and family a simple, decadent pleasure: The catered chalet comes fully staffed with chef, maid service, driver… and that is only the beginning.
Chalet Jejalp is situated moments from Morzine in Portes du Soleil, a fantastically vast ski region with views that extend from Lake Geneva to Mont Blanc and encompass both the Swiss and French Alps. After exploring its network of 12 ski areas and nearly 200 lifts, Chalet Jejalp guests are picked up by a chauffeur each day and shuttled to the chalet, which includes dedicated service from a house manager, host, chef, and housekeepers.
Chalet Jejalp boasts all the traditional features of its Savoyard neighbors: typical A-frame style building, stone facing, wood construction inside and out. Yet we mustn’t be fooled by its chocolate box wrapping. “To feel like you’re in a mountain chalet with a contemporary twist,” is how architect Hervé Marullaz characterizes his creation. “To be cozy and also to be surprised.”
Mission accomplished. Sleeping 10 adults and four children, at Chalet Jejalp, contemporary chic meshes with livable alpine luxe. Cowhide carpets, leather trunks, and cashmere throws are scattered throughout. Reclaimed pine wood walls juxtapose with oak flooring and béton. The chalet has several interesting spaces, including a roomy living area perched on its top floor, with double height ceilings and an open replace.
Afternoon tea is served by the fire in the living room; champagne and canapés are waiting in the private lounge; games are played in the bar and billiard rooms; films are screened in the cinema, furnished with marshmallow-deep sofas and sliding doors for privacy and soundproofing.
Two terraces and an outdoor fire pit over a view of Portes du Soleil’s alpenglow. Inside, the opulent master bedroom features a large ensuite with an egg-shaped tub and rain shower. The four-bed bunk room elevates kids to priority class. Chalet Jejalp’s spa area is light and open with floor-to-ceiling windows, a sunken whirlpool, and stepping stone access to a Finnish sauna.
Finally, it’s back to the chalet’s striking wine atrium housing vintage champagnes, reds, whites, and rosés, all lit by strings of baubled lights designed by British lighting king Tom Dixon. “It’s a way to bring a contemporary twist to a mountain chalet,” says Hervé Marullaz. “We worked with a glass specialist to let it be both a separation and link.”
As for service, at Chalet Jejalp every whim is met swiftly and discreetly, from dog chauffeuring, to fulfilling 2 a.m. requests for vodka, to transforming the entire space into a scene from Frozen for a children’s party. “Your house, your rules,” says Consensio Managing Director and Co-founder Ceri Tinley.
“At Chalet Jejalp, anything is possible as long as it’s legal.”