Villars, 110 kilometres east of Geneva, is on a sunny plateau at 1300 metres and is one of the best and easily accessible dual-season resorts in the Swiss Alps. It has Alpine charm, pretty villages and with just 1400 residents, is pretty much a well-kept secret. Villars’ 96 kilometres of ski runs appeal to families and its ski school is good for children.
Swiss local, Sofia de Meyer, has introduced a new form of accommodation to the area. Whitepods. It's not just another hotel. On a remote corner of the mountain near La Bretaye are five of the dome-shaped tents. They stand on raised wooden platforms, designed and built with the environment firmly in mind. The area has no cars, no buses and no hotels. Nothing but the majesty of the Alps, and breathtaking beauty.
Based on the Buckminster-Fuller geodesic design, the frame is made of 2.5cm galvanised steel enabling the pods to withstand loads of snow and fierce winds. Covers are 100 percent army duck cotton with a water sealant, flame retardant, UV and mildew protection. Luminescent walls allow passive solar heating. They measure five metres across and are 2.5 metres high. The clear bay window is 1.5 metres high and four metres wide.
Her concept took two years to become a reality and there are five pods in the Villars resort, grouped around a traditional chalet, all with uninterrupted views of the surrounding alps.
Each pod serves as a bedroom for single or double occupancy and is heated by a wood burning stove and the latest insulation technology makes them warm by day and night.
Huge windows provide panoramic views and soft lighting is provided by petrol lamps.
The pods are so white they blend perfectly with the winter landscape and arriving at them is half the fun. From Geneva Airport it’s an hour’s drive to the village of Villars. Then there’s a five-minute train ride before a twenty-minute hike through snow to the pods.
Oil lanterns guide you to the beautifully restored Taillevent chalet for a hearty dinner. It’s also where showers and toilets are located. The chalet was built in 1820 as a farmhouse and has the dining room, library, lounge with open fire and two bathrooms. A perfect haven after a long day on the slopes.
The south-west of Switzerland.
Whitepod packages, including accommodation, all food and beverages, ski pass, guided activities and transfers from Geneva airport start at around $570 per person a night. They operate from November to April.
Paragliding starts from $150 per person.
Flight Centre has return economy airfares to Geneva on sale until October 31, 2005 for travel between October 4 and December 4, 2005. Conditions apply.
To book call Flight Centre on 131 600
Please note that the prices listed are valid at the time of filming.
Ph: 41 079 744 6219