The changing face of Chamonix

18th February 2019, by Nicky Holford

The QC Terme Alpine Wellness spa is helping change the face of Chamonix

The QC Terme Alpine Wellness spa is helping change the face of Chamonix

Dominated by the glory of Mont Blanc, Chamonix’s reputation as the true capital of alpinism, attracting mountaineers and extreme skiers from all over the world, can at times appear intimidating.

True, its streets may well have a high percentage of skiers sporting the latest gear and parading around in harnesses rattling with karabiners. But it now seems to be courting a softer image which is getting the thumbs up from a new clientèle where clocking up couloirs could not be further from their list of achievements.

December saw the opening of La Folie Douce, the après ski place to be, with its unique formula of DJs, cabaret, live music and cocktails that have opened in many top French resorts. A multi-million euro renovation of the former Grand Palace of Savoy is now a flagship La Folie Douce hotel.

Another new development, for the equivalent cost of a few cocktails at La Folie Douce, could transport you to the infinity pool at the state-of-the art QC Terme spa, where you can float in blissful temperatures watching sunset over the mountain peaks and the Mer des Boissons.

The infinity pool at the QC Terme Alpine Wellness spa in Chamonix

The QC Terme Alpine Wellness spas are run by an Italian group that is revolutionising “wellness” tourism with its spectacularly innovative designs characterised by stunning architecture and gardens, with a menu of spa options that make a Jacuzzi seem as mundane as a burger.

So on an overcast and particularly damp day it seemed fitting to test out the brand new Chamonix Mont Blanc QC Wellness spa. Thanks to Ski Weekend and their on-demand transport and ability to park right by all lifts, we’d been able to ski the linked areas of Flégère (which gets a new gondola next season) and Brèvant in the morning and the Grands Montets in Argentière in the afternoon. Then it was time to be dropped off at the new spa.

It’s a beautifully designed building, made from natural wood oozing warmth from the light spilling out of enormous glass windows, the light diffusing with the steam coming off the multiple hot tubs and massive infinity pool.

Walk through the doors and your senses are immediately titillated from the scent of candles.

Armed with a towelling robe, towel and jelly flip flops, it’s off to the luxurious changing rooms and the labyrinth of sensations. Attention to detail is everywhere – shelves outside saunas, hot tubs and salt rooms for specs. Water and herbal teas are generously dispersed. And a huge cone-shaped log fire is constantly fed with logs. Everything is comfortable, stylish and warm.

I started with a scented sauna decorated with old wood skis inside. Next I picked the silent steam room and then a low heat sauna with a huge flat screen on the wall. Other relaxation rooms have huge great murals or photographs, all featuring Mont Blanc’s history and environment. I lay on a slab while a series of mini showers gently massaged my back and feet from above, stuck my feet alternatively in cold water laid with pebbles then in a personal bubbling hot footbath. I tried a Himalayan salt room, scrubbed myself with salt, lay in an isolation tank with underwater music and lights, succumbed to a cascading waterfall, which felt like being in a car wash – or how I imagine a car wash would feel.

There is an entire floor dedicated to relaxation rooms

I was tempted by the Face Gym. Here, large basket chairs are suspended from the ceiling facing a video showing how to massage face muscles. Next, I headed to the total bliss of the multi-level outdoor pools, a playground of bubbling stations where the press of a button activates deep penetrating jets or soft gurgling bubbles pinpointed to wherever you desire.

An entire floor is dedicated to relaxation rooms. There’s even one with multiple double waterbeds – where all the occupants seemed completely passed out.

Eventually I emerged floating on air, warm and replenished, relaxed and invigorated.

The whole experience is a winning formula.

€48 weekday rate
€54 at weekends

Includes towels and flip flops.

For more information and to book, visit

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