For a few years now the Whitepod – Eco-luxury hotel & Alpine Experience has been on my “bucket list” …Yes, I have a bucket list 😉 tucked away in my mind at least… When my friends clubbed together and offered me this for my 40th Birthday, in April last year, I was over the moon (and I knew they know me well). I have thus been following the whitepod’s Instagram feed since April last year- building up anticipation…and plotting our get away!
The Whitepod can be visited in winter or summer alike. In fact, I discovered as part of their eco-friendly policy to blend in with the environment the pods have different covers for the winter & summer…However for me there was no hesitation… there is something magical about the snow, it had to be done in the winter.
This was always intended as a romantic getaway – with three young children it’s good, no, essential to have some adult only time every now and again. Little moments, where we get to talk together! The logistics were carefully planned…Our brilliant, new, au pair, ferried the girls to and from their different after school activities and to their w/e destinations safely. Yes – when you have three young children it’s near on impossible to get them looked after by one person. Luckily, we have a great support network and one of my lovely friends, a mother from school had kindly offered to take my eldest and my super star in-laws were happy to look after the youngest two. TICK everyone was safe and happy 😊 We could escape for 24 hours with peace of mind.
Once at our destination…the tone was set. We were greeted in a delightful little mountain chalet by Rémy. Rémy carefully explained everything to us on his iPad, nestled on a cosy sofa with our welcome drink (On a side note the welcome drink was cold tea… really!! After 3 hours in a car, with the wind howling outside and minus temperatures a little ‘vin chaud’ may have been more appreciated. As they say…you can take the girl out of Yorkshire but you can’t take Yorkshire out of the girl 😉) Anyway, despite the cold tea…hubby & I were enchanted and refreshed and when Rémy took our bags to deliver them by a skidoo ‘’style quad to our pod and handed us headtorches and a little rucksack to make our way up to the pod…The magic started settling in.
The walk to access the chalets was just what we needed – as we stretched our legs, breathed in the fresh mountain air, and meandered up to our pod following the little lights through the fresh snow…I couldn’t help but smile. Yes, this was special and we were super lucky.
Our pod was everything we had hoped for (and believe me I have been looking forward to this for a while – expectations were high 😉) …Nestled in the middle of the 15 pods, overlooking the pod house with the Swiss flag perfectly positioned in our view…the interior was modern, Swiss Alpine style with a fire roaring in the corner. We had yet to see the stunning views as it was already night time, although, the twinkling lights of towns below and the vast darkness of Lac Leman suggested we were in for a treat. The pods are perfect for couples, groups and families. (Next time we’ll take our kids…it’s too special not to share and I know they would LOVE it).
Located at 1400m, each pod is 40m2 and carefully designed to incorporate a bathroom, a queen size double bed, bunk beds above the bathroom and enough space to sit and absorb the views/have breakfast/dinner for two (It wouldn’t be comfortable to have 4 people for a meal). The whitepod’s philosophy is centred around a deep respect for the environment and minimizing negative impacts on the environment. This is felt throughout from the choice of local products and suppliers (they have a partnership with Patagonia) , the encouragement to recycle/re-use towels etc., the use of local spring water, wood pellet heating systems through to the very design of the pod itself. They even have a rather random cup system outside the pod, which is meant to serve as a do not disturb sign (when the cup is turned upside town)…however with the wind it simply doesn’t work . However it entertained my hubby and myself when Rémy was explained the system to us in great detail as some kind of revolutionary new concept. (It’s the little things!!) Apparently, the energy required to heat and cool a dome is approximately 30 % less than a conventional building (you learn something new every day!).
As tempting as it was to collapse…my investigations had informed me there was a sauna at the “pod house” and both my hubby and I thought it would be nice to unwind in the sauna before our evening meal. It was just what we needed…
For the evening meal, there are a few different options from a traditional Swiss Alpine evening to an à la carte menu in the cute restaurant in the pod house…The pod house also has a great bar (on an honesty system) and a chill out area with bean bags and a TV. We didn’t want to leave the comfort of our pod and opted for the “pod service” – like room-service but even better 😉. We ordered a bottle of local Swiss, red wine (which was surprisingly good) and two delicious chicken dishes to be delivered directly to our pod. The timing was perfect and so was the food.
The next morning, we indulged in a “pod-service” breakfast too and had a full continental breakfast delivered so we could stay in our dressing gowns chill and take in the views. They even rustled up some scrambled eggs for us on special request. (We were making the most of this pure, unadulterated relaxation time). We had a leisurely breakfast whilst absorbing the sheer beauty of the location. We were extremely lucky – the weather was great with a sea of clouds not too far below us.
We had intended on skiing (the whitepod has it’s own private mini ski area with two drag lifts – free of charge for whitepoders) but due to high winds the reception had informed us the lifts would be closed and had kindly lent us some snowshoes to explore the local forests behind the pods. The whitepod organises a whole host of different activities from husky rides to parapenting, to massages…
After all this delicious food and relaxation – we had some energy to burn. The reception had equipped us with a plastic covered map of the local forests in our rucksack upon arrival – so off we went. We had a great walk through the forest on a gentle, accessible track until we hit a clearing dotted with Swiss chalets – we even bumped into a family doing the husky rides with their 3 children. (Which made me definitely want to come back with my girls – they would be in heaven doing that) The reception did tell us you got great views of Lac Leman from the clearing but we had a sea of clouds just below us blocking the lake – next time!
Once back we quickly showered (we’d requested a late check out to make the most of our time), packed our bags and headed back on our way home to pick up our little treasures. It was short but unbelievably sweet and it fully energised both my hubby and myself. 24 hours in Switzerland was just what the Dr. ordered. It has to be said the Swiss certainly know a thing or two about luxury. Thank you to my wonderful friends and family – there are some positive things about turning 40 after all! …We’ll be back but next time with our kids.
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: