From a historic 1771 farmhouse with original details to a minimalist Scandinavian-style chalet built in 2013, these are most lovingly designed (or restored) small hotels in Chamonix, Megeve, Lyon, and Morzine. See all of the best boutique hotels in the French Rhone-Alpes region.
French architect Sybille de Margerie gave Hotel Mont-Blanc a modern makeover, transforming the 1849 alpine building into a modern hotel. Now, the five-pearl chalet is the most luxurious hotel in Chamonix. Highlights include a stylish lounge bar, a restaurant serving local market cuisine, an upscale spa, and a heated year-round indoor-outdoor pool and hot tub. The 40 modern rooms have gorgeous mountain views and the hotel's location in the heart of town, near shopping and dining, is another major perk.
The vibe is cozy and secluded at the 71-room Les Fermes de Marie, a luxe and family-friendly Alpine hideaway. Stylishly worn leather sofas in the lobby are inviting, and the lighting is warm and low, making it a perfect spot for an apres-ski cocktail or mulled wine. Clean, spacious, country-chic rooms are exquisitely decorated, with exposed wood ceiling beams and glamorous bathrooms. The spa carries the same luxe rustic aesthetic, with plenty of wood and river rocks, and white birch tree trunks as wall treatments throughout. Even the kids' club is thoughtfully decorated, with polka dot mushroom tables, and a cozy vibe that would tempt some adults to a game of foosball. Les Fermes offers a great kids' programming (including cooking and ski lessons), facilities for ski storage, and fresh local cuisine and wine at its on-site restaurant.
Housed in a series of restored buildings from the 14th to 17th centuries, the luxury Cour Des Loges is a historic hotel with atmospheric interiors that mix Old World style with contemporary pieces. The centerpiece is a stunning courtyard with a glass ceiling. The 60 guest rooms, while a bit dark, have striking antique decor with paintings and beautiful woodwork. Some of the rooms are bi-level, so guests who are not comfortable with that should make sure to book single-floor rooms. Located in Lyon’s historic center, the hotel is within walking distance of attractions and surrounded by restaurants, plus it has two restaurants of its own, including the Michelin-starred Les Loges. There’s also an indoor pool, spa, and a well-regarded concierge staff.
Villa Florentine has grand, Italian-inspired decor. Housed in a former 18th-century convent, the 28-room hotel has a church-like lobby, with high ceiling, classically painted walls, and tall arched windows paired with luxurious Old World details like chandeliers and antiques. The property has been beautifully renovated with its historic character kept intact. Rooms are spacious with a luxe feel, though the furniture and wallpaper are showing signs of age. Its hillside location, though picturesque and offering beautiful views, also means that the hotel is reached via many steps, which can be an issue for some. The hillside hotel has stunning views over Lyon from its outdoor pool and Michelin-starred restaurant.
The 30-room upscale Grand Hotel des Alpes has warm and inviting rooms with solid oak details and gorgeous marble baths. The hotel, located right in the center of Chamonix town, blends classic elegance and country comforts, while the on-site spa with an indoor pool and sauna adds a dash of luxury. All of Chamonix’s boutiques and restaurants surround the hotel, though guests will need to avail free shuttles to reach the ski areas, or domaines.
Built in 2013, this modern hotel impresses with its impeccable Swedish-meets-retro design. The 102 rooms are equally minimalist, yet inviting, featuring driftwood-colored furniture, duvet-covered beds with gray wool blankets, and herringbone padded desk chairs, as well as amenities like flat-screen TVs, DVD players, safes, electric kettles with coffee or tea, and modern bathrooms with Nuxe products. The stylish on-site spa, sexy indoor pool, and comfortable bar and lounge combine to make this a standout hotel for guests who don’t mind a 10-minute walk to the center of town.
All aspects of this 11-room inn exude charm and history, while retaining plenty of style, from the stone and wood exteriors of the buildings (the oldest of which was built in 1771) to the lovingly restored interiors. The bar features an open-hearth fireplace and the cozy, individually decorated rooms impeccable rustic style and en-suite bathrooms with L’Occitane products. (The Mazot, a stand-alone garden cabin, is a particularly romantic retreat.) Handmade dinners and breakfasts are outstanding here and walks to the center of town take only 10 minutes.
Stylish surprises appear throughout the 156-room Mama Shelter Lyon, a mid-range hotel designed by Philippe Starck. The lobby features a black chalkboard ceiling and a long sled in lieu of a couch. A spider-like chandelier made of desk lamps hangs above a large wooden table with silver chairs and two iMacs. The rooms are quirky and playful, too with exposed concrete walls, 27-inch iMacs (in lieu of TVs), Batman desk lamps, free Wi-Fi, and free on-demand movies. Rooms also have air-conditioning, coffeemakers, and minibars. Mama Shelter's restaurant and bar are a real standout -- eclectic, busy, and fun. This area's not just for eating, though, with family games on the tables and a sound stage full of instruments for live music.
The upper-middle-range Hotel Carlton Lyon - MGallery Collection is housed in a building that dates from 1894. It's on Lyon's Presqu' Ile in the heart of the city, overlooking the Place de la Republique. Renovated in 2013, the hotel has retained beautiful historic details from the original building, such as stained-glass windows, intricate ceiling work, wrought-iron railings, and a cage-style elevator, which blend elegantly with its sophisticated modern style. The hotel has cozy bar, meeting rooms, and free Wi-Fi, but its spa -- which offers massages, a hammam, and a nail bar -- is the highlight. Its 80 rooms vary in size (some are small) and include flat-screen TVs, minibars, and coffee- and tea-making facilities.
The 56-room Le Morgane is an upscale boutique hotel that sits just outside the center of Chamonix ski town and combines modern design with Alpine-inspired touches. The on-site Le Bistrot restaurant has a Michelin star, and there’s an indoor pool and a small spa with treatments available. Rooms come with balconies, and some overlook Mont Blanc. The only downside is the lack of air-conditioning in rooms, which can be a problem in the summer, plus many rooms have small bathrooms. Also, the colorfully backlit pool might not suit all tastes and doesn't quite match the rest of the hotel's upscale look.
The 24-room mid-range Auberge Le Manoir is a charming chalet nestled in Chamonix, France’s famous Alps village. Guest rooms are cozy and rustic, with modern features and en-suite bathrooms, and are available in a variety of sizes. The property has a country craft vibe and the hotel’s bar is a particularly lovely place to relax after a day on the slopes. The center of town is a five-minute walk from the hotel, and there is an on-site sauna and spa for guest use, not to mention an excellent homemade breakfast buffet.
Mercure Lyon Centre Beaux Arts is housed in a beautiful white Beaux Arts building on a busy street corner in the historic center of Lyon. The mid-range hotel's 76 spotless guest rooms were fully renovated in 2014, and feature high ceilings and double French doors opening out to balconies with street views. The higher category rooms have notable extras like iPod docking stations and Nespresso machines. But there's not much in the way of features aside from electric bikes to borrow and a small bar.
The mid-range Hotel des Artistes is located in a chic neighborhood in central Lyon and is within a one-minute walk from the River Saone and Theatre des Celestins. Having undergone a refurbishment in 2015, its 45 guest rooms and public spaces are exceptionally well maintained, and elegantly decorated with colorful works of abstract art. Downsides include an extra charge for breakfast and street noise.