A hidden hamlet in Valle d’Aosta
I try never to use the word “nestled” when writing but it is impossible to avoid when describing La Thuile, the tiny hamlet of a ski village nestled in Valle d’Aosta’s San Bernardo Pass. But when you look at the panorama – a sea of jagged white peaks – you’ll barely notice the low chalet rooftops that make up La Thuile (pronounced Lah Tweeel). And hidden in the panorama is boutique chalet Montana Lodge.
Boutique chalet Montana Lodge
Montana Lodge (formerly Nira Montana) is a five-star mountain retreat – 55 rooms of modern mountain romantic. Lean lines, natural light, soft woods and contemporary art, the entire vibe is first class Nordic hygge. As we were four (two adults, one teen, one 8 year old), the Grand Deluxe was cozy (next time, perhaps a Junior Suite) and had a lovely with a mountain view. But honestly all of the rooms have mountain views.
Apres Ski will find you at the Montana’s spa, minimalist modern oasis of indoor heated pool (with a floor to ceiling view of the mountains), saunas and private relax rooms Bistro Alpino is chef Giuseppe Falcone’s baby, modern rustic design, with a delicious menu of local sourced products in a creative interpretation of Valledaostano cuisine. Cooking here is hearty mountain, with a vegetarian menu.. Try local specialties like nettle soup; tartiflette made with potatoes, cheese and bacon; and fondue au chocolat.
Note to skiers: Montana Lodge is not a Ski In/Ski Out chalet, but you can easily walk to the lifts.
What to do if you don’t ski
Super skiers like my husband love La Thuile because it linked to France’s La Rosière, so you can ski in two countries in one morning. The Franco-italo Espace San Bernardo has 80 pistes in France and Italy, 88 lifts and one international pass. But what to do if you don’t ski?
Tiny Valle d’Aosta region is perfect for exploring. It’s Franco-Savoia history means its landscape is dotted with history, from its castles to museums like Courmayeur’s The Duke of Abruzzi Alpine Museum and Jovecan’s Center for Ancient Remedies. Region capital Aosta boasts Ancient Roman ruins from the 1st century BC, including Arco di Augusto, Porta Praetoria and the Roman theater, while Courmayeur has bragging rights to Monte Bianco, the highest peak in Europe, and the Skyway , yes, the Kingsmaan crazy rotating cable car connecting to Pointe Helbronner at nearly 11,000 feet.
How to get to La Thuile
While we enjoyed the seven-or-so-hour drive from Rome, it is a lot easier to fly (or train) into Torino, Milano or Geneva, and then rent a car for the two-hour ride to La Thuile. The drive is spectacular and snow tires are a must,