Area Guide: Châtel, Les Portes du Soleil

This relatively small-sized farming village in the Portes du Soleil ski area has attracted huge amounts of international buyers this year.

We’ve heard lots of different reasons why Châtel has been the resort of choice this year. The recent investments in lift infrastructure have almost always been mentioned. But the best one was from a chalet buyer who said the moment at which he knew Châtel was the right resort for him, was when he came face to face with a long time inhabitant.

He was walking through the centre of the village during summer and as he past an old-style mountain chalet a cow poked its head walked through the centre of the village. For with Châtel, even though it is becoming a popular mountain resort, its true Savoyard character hasn’t been lost.

In fact it was the way in which Châtel was left behind by its neighbours that has today helped its cause. Morzine and Les Gets grew very quickly throughout the 90’s and early 2000’s, and whilst this means they now boast lots of family friendly infrastructure and accommodation, some argue their character has been lost along the way. By the time Châtel was being eyed up by international buyers the town had very strict rules in place over the construction designs of property.

This means that today Châtel stands tall. It’s a resort that is just 80 minutes from Geneva Airport, is part of the enormous 650km Portes du Soleil domain, boasts beautiful picturesque scenery and has recently received lots of infrastructure investment. Very few resorts can talk of such superlatives honestly and especially at a price per square metre of between €6,000 to €8,500.

As with most mountain villages, Châtel can be broken into different areas. The village centre with its ‘Super-Châtel’ telecabine is the busiest area and has lots of wonderful cafes and restaurants. There is a disco in Châtel, although if late-night après-ski is important, Châtel probably isn’t the right resort for you.

To the west you have the areas of Petit Châtel, which are largely residential and to the east you have Lac du Vonne. It is here where the recent ski lift was placed, linking the Linga ski area with the slopes at the top of the Super-Châtel telecabine. This new lift, which opened in early 2015, dramatically reduces the time it takes to reach Avoriaz and negates the use for a ski bus too.

The other main investment over the last year or so was the new aqua centre in the centre of the resort. Unlike most spas across the Alps, the entrance fees here are refreshingly low at under €9 per adult and €26 for a family for four.