Les Rives d'Argentiere or 'Les Rives' as the business is known locally, comprises of 4 separate luxurious chalets with an outdoor heated swimming pool, 4 hot tubs, a cinema room, fitness and spa area and chill out zone. The buildings ooze charm and quality throughout, with smart design, spacious layouts and all the comforts of home and more.
Imagine staying in your own private chalet village with a large group of friends or family. The log fires are roaring, the kids are off playing in a separate play room, you can catch up on work (if you really want to) in the office suite, or enjoy a massage before dinner, a dip in the pool or soak in the hot tub. Or perhaps you're here with your extended family for a wedding; there's plenty of room to accommodate them all comfortably.
Keeping your experience as enjoyable as possible and managing all your needs at Les Rives, is General Manager Martin Bromley. We've managed to grab a few moments with him as the summer season winds down, and asked him to share a few insider tips with us about coming to Chamonix- What to see and do whilst you're here and (since he's a self-proclaimed foodie) some of his favourite places to dine out...
Hi Martin, tell us a little bit about your business, how it started out and how long you've been with the company?
Les Rives d'Argentiere is a newly built hamlet of 4 luxury chalets all connected in the heart of Argentiere. There used to be 4 little mazots on the land back in the day, which had been with the owner for a very long time. On retirement he embarked on the ambitious project to create and build what you see today. I joined the company after its 1st year of soft opening and we have continually added and enhanced the property ever since. This will be my 5th year working with Les Rives as the General Manager.
What makes Chamonix a special place to be for someone in your profession?
Personally I like that it is an all year round town and not just a ski resort. Everyday is different, with different people, lots of activities to do...
What are the best bits about your job?
Meeting interesting people from all over the world. We had a Saudi Arabian airforce pilot stay with us and he offered me a trip on his Apache Helicopter if I was ever in Saudi Arabia. I've had invites to India, China, South America and other places, because you really become part of a family once you spend 7 days together. Seeing guests super happy is something you don't get to experience much outside of the hospitality industry.
And the worst bits?
The hours! It's pretty brutal; I start at 7am at work and often carry on until midnight including weekends, which leaves very little time for a social or family life. However, with a good team it runs so much smoother and I'm just one part of the wheel that keeps the business moving.
What is in store for the future with your business, any exciting projects in the pipelines that you can share with us?
We haven't really stopped enhancing our physical product. For example last year we added the hammam to compliment the sauna, gym and the 4 hot tubs. We have very itchy fingers and like to continually add and enhance things for our guests. We do have another big project in mind, but it's top secret... sorry!
What are your professional goals for the future?
We want Les Rives to be the first venue people think of for corporate clients and large groups of 16+.
Do you remember your first trip to Chamonix?
Yes, I was working a few years in the Three Valleys and (thought I was a good skier) until I saw people abseiling down a couloir to go skiing, which is when I realised this place is in a different league. It all became cemented when my good friend Richard from Air Sports Chamonix, pulled up with 4 different types of skis and I had just one pair of very old piste skis. He did well to hide his inner smile, as I did too as I thought 'how ridiculous!' Now though, I have 6 pairs of skis and that collection is growing, and I use each set of skis each year. To get the best out of the skiing in Chamonix you need some very good skis for the conditions, especially as one day you could be skiing powder, then another touring and another just on piste.
If someone was coming here for the first time, what would you suggest they absolutely must do or see in resort?
You must do get a lesson from Evo 2 they are really great. Also do a helicopter trip, Pascale is just amazing, if you're lucky he will dance his helicopter around in some quite frankly anti-gravity defying moves. I'd also recommend you eat out, take a husky ride, and try parapenting.
Where would you send someone who was after that something 'something special' in Chamonix or Argentiere, to stay, eat or drink?
Stay is easy, with us of course! To eat hands down La Remise. Every bar is great, MBC I like to take "out of towners" to especially my Canadian friends, for obvious reasons. Elevation Bar, but it has lost some of it's rustic appeal now it's renovated. Now it seems the only traditional place left is the Savoy Bar, unfortunately that's up for sale... well you never know.
What's your favourite piste or off-piste area & top tip to go skiing?
It has to be the Pas du Chevre, VB [Valley Blanche] and the Col du Passion, you truly feel at one with the mountain, when you can't see any buildings, people or ski lifts.
Your personal favourite place for lunch or dinner?
Where will we find the best coffee or hot chocolate?
I like to keep it local so my friend Ines who runs the Tete a Thé in old town Argentiere.
Skiing or snowboarding? What's your preference & why?
I started skiing when i was small then "because the boots hurt" swapped to snowboarding and thought it was heaven. This was in the 90's and I still have my old faithful Sims Fader board but she only comes out for high days and holidays. With fat skis now that are everywhere I'm back to being a true skier. Thanks to Amanda at the Boot Room I have nice comfortable ski boots.
What has been your best ever day in Chamonix?
Skiing wise (I shouldn't say, but we got on one of the first lifts up the GM [Grands Montets]) and the power went out on the lift. No lift came up from the bottom, yet everything from the mid station up was running. It was a surreal moment in Chamonix to have a powder day when you're still skiing freshies at midday. We literally had the entire mountain to ourselves. It was truly magical.
What's your favourite thing to do in resort when not skiing?
What do you do in the summer?
When time and body allows I do love mountain biking, and trying to recapture some family time.
Which is your favourite shop in resort?
All the shops I can't afford!
Where are we most likely to find you for après-ski?!
You can hire Les Rives d'Argentiere chalets individually, although if you're in a larger group you can add on as many more as you need. There are 22 bedrooms which can be configured as doubles or twins and each of them are en-suite, sleeping up to 50 people.
Get in touch with Martin to arrange a group booking, an event, wedding or corporate stay.