After having lived in Valais on and off for over two decades, it's hard to return to the area I love so much but no longer am attached to with a home. Finding a nice hotel that wasn't over the top expensive was a challenge. Until I landed on Chalet des Alpes.
I'm always skeptical of photos hotels provide on websites. But I know the views shown in the photos and the chalet's views were true to the photo.
Karen and Gary create a warm, welcoming home-on-the-road for visitors to this beautiful region. We arrived after a long flight from the States and rush hour drive from GVA airport. Karen greeted us and showed us our comfy, perfectly appointed room. The view was beautiful, as always, as the lights of Sion began to come on in the fading light. The bathrooms on the upper floor have skylights that allow natural light to flood the room. Quite nice to wake up to.
Breakfast is a perfect beginning for a day of hiking, biking, wine tasting or just relaxing. The weather was still unseasonably cold, so we had to eat inside, but there is a lovely balcony where you can sit and enjoy breakfast with an expansive down valley view to enjoy. You can still enjoy the view inside since the chalet - which was purpose built to be a B&B - is all glass on the west side of the living/dining room.
There is also a kettle in your room and tea and instant coffee so you can enjoy a cuppa on your own balcony (if you have one). Karen and Gary will provide wine glasses for you as well.
Have any questions for your day ahead? Gary, who is on duty for breakfast, has extensive knowledge of the area and they have ample reference material available in the living room.
Our five night stay at the Chalet ended early in the morning before breakfast as we had a long drive to Piemonte for lunch. So we had to leave before breakfast. No worries. Karen and Gary left croissants, butter, jelly and orange juice for us all wrapped up, with two little carry bags in our room the night before when we were out at dinner. It's these sorts of personal touches that make staying there so delightful.
Lens is a great village to explore. There are wonderful hikes just outside the door and excellent wineries, such as Nicolas Bagnoud, just down the road from Lens to Flanthey and beyond. I also suggest visiting Mabillard-Fuchs and Germanier. Enjoy dinner at Chateau de Villa for the best raclette you'll ever have and a mind-blowing choice of Valais' excellent wines to accompany your meal there. No time for eating there? Visit the Oenoteque at the Chateau. If you are unfamiliar with Valais wines and are a wine lover, it's time to familiarize yourself. Chalet des Alpes provides an excellent jumping off point for that.
Valais is a hiker's paradise in summer and fall. The Bisses of Valais provide ample choices for all levels. Try and hike the Bisse de Rho (but not if you have height issues) and Tsittoret. The latter takes you from Crans all the way up to the alpage below the Plaine Morte and the cascading waterfalls that bring melting snow down the valley to the Rhone River below.
And for the best pastries? Taillens, of course! I'm more partial to the one in Montana. Best place to pick up a sandwich for your hike, a pastry reward after a long day hiking or skiing and perhaps you'll be lucky enough to see Reto Taillens himself.
Valais has so much to offer and the best place to stay to enjoy the Canton's beauty and activities is Chalet des Alpes. Needless to say, you'll get better treatment and rooms as nice as any in the station and still have money in your pocket to spend on yourself!
By the way, the butcher in Lens sells the most delicious smoked beef carpaccio. That, with a little gruyere shavings and a bottle of Pinot Noir from nearby Nicolas Bagnoud are a perfect combination for a late afternoon apero.
WiFi note - the WiFi is very reliable (and free), but it is not a secured network.
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