After our AMAZING trip to the Whitepod – Eco-luxury hotel & Alpine Experience this winter, I came back with ONE RESOLUTION – To take my kids there ASAP. Something sooooo special needs to be SHARED with my kids. It has to be said the Whitepod – Eco-Luxury hotel & Alpine Experience really is super and completely kid friendly…from the range of activities on offer (both winter & summer alike), to the well-equipped playroom in the pod house and the mezzanines in each pod… The place is magical and I knew my girls would LOVE it winter and/or summer (in fact now we’ve experienced the summer with them I have a sneaky feeling we’ll have to go back this winter and maybe initiate the youngest member of the CURT family who was left with the grandparents: -!!!).
Soooo…It was decided. What better moment to visit than one of the (numerous) bank holiday w/e’s in May/June time. The date was set and the “big” kids (& adults) were super excited. Trying to explain to my “big” girls (8 & 5) the actual concept was interesting…a huge eco-friendly tent, called a POD – a Whitepod, that changes colour to keep in harmony with its surroundings (they liked this idea although didn’t understand why it’s not called Greenpod in the summer 😉, nestled against the mountain, with beds & a mezzanine where we all sleep together (they loved this idea), with a wood burner and a bathroom too…Not sure the youngest fully understood…but she knew it was going to be an adventure and kept asking when we were going on our Swiss mountain adventure!
We set off from Annecy to arrive mid-afternoon just in time for afternoon tea. It’s all about the food in our household I’m afraid! (We’d missed this in the winter and decided Swiss afternoon tea needed to be tested 😉 To the girls delight, en route up the winding road to Les Giettes we were greeted by picture-box Swiss Alpine chalets (they really are perfectionists) with the Swiss flag proudly on display and nature/wildlife in every direction we looked – with horses, cows & calves, sheep at every turn…we even got blocked by a flock of sheep being herded from one field to another…The girls loved this!!!
Once at our destination…we were greeted in the little mountain chalet by a super friendly lady. Although she knew from her records that we had already visited, she knew it was the girls first visit. She patiently explained everything to them, which was great…they felt special and fully aware of everything without us having to reiterate the dangers of the woodburner, the importance of recycling etc. 😊 We were also equipped with our Patagonia rucksack…packed with umbrellas (yes it was forecast to rain) , binoculars, waterproof maps, head torches etc. Please note the Whitepod team do transport your bags up/and down for you by a quad in the summer too, so you can saunter up unencumbered.
The walk to the chalets was just as enchanting in summer as in the winter. As we arrived through the fields of wild flowers there was a light mist surrounding the pods and the pod house. The girls raced up ahead of us, squealing with joy as they saw the two ponies just below the pod house. I hadn’t revealed this bit of info to my “horse crazy” daughters and the in-house ponies Kora & Gin proved to be extremely popular. (My hubby & I wanted to rename them Gin & Tonic as they were a true tonic and provided a great source of entertainment…)
Afternoon tea was delicious…freshly squeezed apple juice, homemade crepes with a selection of handmade jams and their own honey, homemade apple and chocolate cake, fruit, dried fruits, hot chocolate, tea…We relaxed in the pod house whilst the girls went to see the ponies. All the produce is locally sourced and uses a “short-circuit retail”—food retail with few stages between producers and consumers.
The girls were much more interested in Kora & Gin…and there was a magical moment when a rainbow appeared …pointing our pod out below the ponies….Mother nature was in agreement with is…we had found our pot of gold 😉 We decided it was time to introduce the girls to our pod. Pod number 1 😊 They loved it and immediately climbed straight up to the mezzanine, with the numerous teddies they had insisted we brought to play! We all collapsed & relaxed…This time round we weren’t in a “deluxe pod” and the “normal” pods (still very luxurious and the same size) don’t have TV’s or WIFI. All I can say is I think that this is fabulous…No TV or wifi meant we could truly disconnect, relax, talk and connect as a family…I think it did us all good. (The podhouse has wifi too…so you can reconnect if needed/get withdrawl symptoms!! 😉)
For the evening meal, we had booked in at the restaurant “Les Cerniers”, a restaurant owned by the whitepods but open to the public too, located next to the welcome chalet a short 10-15-minute walk with little ones back down the mountain. The restaurant is very family friendly with great Swiss design – there was even a swiss flag on the plug in the sink. The weather was quite chilly and starting to rain and despite the fact it was June…we opted for a Swiss fondue (my eldest daughter’s favourite food at the moment) and one kid’s menu for my youngest. The kid’s menus are varied, good value for money and all the fish/meat sourced from Switzerland…Whilst we waited for dinner…the kids hunted for snails outside (!!), there is also a mini play area outside. Dinner was delicious and the kid’s menus even had some colouring in on the back to entertain the kids. After our fondues, the walk back up to the pods did us all good and the kids raced back to see…Yes you’ve got it…Kora & Gin! The mist had lifted and we were even treated to a view overlooking Lac Leman 🙂
We snuggled up in the huge bed, in front of the fire and started the night as “four-in-a-bed” listening as the rain started pitter-pattering on the pod. HEAVEN…A moment of pure happiness. (my only regret my youngest rascal wasn’t there). There is something special about listening to rain, in the mountains whilst you’re nice and warm tucked up in a bed, in front of a fire… My eldest daughter moved up to the mezzanine after 20 minutes or so…but our youngest decided to spend the full night snuggled up with us…
The next morning, we all awoke around 8ish to the sound of heavy rain…After gently awaking, showering etc. we headed over to the pod house for a leisurely breakfast (like the afternoon tea but even better…eggs, fresh fruit, pastries – you name it, they had it and yes it was all locally sourced and homemade). We had promised the girls pony rides but alas the rain continued to fall…After investigation with the staff it was decided it was too rainy to take the ponies out…However, they very kindly supplied us with a huge bag of apples to feed them with. The girls seemed indifferent to the fact it was raining and spent at least an hour following Kora & Gin around feeding them and talking to them! They then decided to play table tennis in the rain! The pod house has a fully equipped kids playroom with a huge black board, a TV, board games…you name it. The girls didn’t go there once …they much preferred playing outside in the rain…must be their Yorkshire roots 😉
The rain eased towards the end of the morning and we decided it would be fun to take the girls for a walk – sold to them as an “adventure” up and around the pods before heading back to France. After initial reluctance to leave Kora & Gin, we set off to explore the surrounding forests…trying to find deer, marmottes, squirrels, birds and such like. The girls were in heaven jumping every time they heard some rustling in the forests…and the views looking back over the pods was stunning. (I noticed that there are three new pods in construction too…or the foundations are anyway) Watch this space it looks like there will be a few more whitepods for this winter!
After our walk it was time to head back home…the girls wanted to stay and said it was the BEST place ever…It really is UNIQUE with an attention to detail that goes above and beyond. Now we’ve discover the white pods as a family in the summer…I think we’ll have to come back this winter!
For further details on the whitepod: http://www.whitepod.com/
Or if you want to torture yourself with their photos – check out their Instagram feed: