As we drove through the windy Swiss mountain roads excitedly peering out through the car windows at the roadside meadows covered in a carpet of vibrant and colourful array of alpine flowers, I couldn’t help but already feel so tranquil, relaxed and excited, for we were about to arrive at The Lodge, one of the seven exclusive Virgin Limited Edition properties, which was to be our home away from home for two nights. Virgin Limited Edition is Sir Richard Branson’s award-winning collection of luxury retreats and hotels from around the world.
While this was my first taster of a Virgin Limited Edition property, Sir Richard Branson’s other company, Virgin Holidays, part of the Virgin group is very familiar and special to us as we got engaged whilst on a Virgin Holiday in Antigua and Barbuda!
The town of Verbier is renowned as a prestigious ski destination in the winter months, but in summer it transforms into a stunning summer resort basked in sunshine with breathtaking views of the Swiss Alps. There are lots of activities to do, such as hiking, paragliding, golf, mountain biking, rock climbing and outdoor yoga, making it a fabulous summer destination and a great alternative to a beach holiday.
The Lodge is an ultra-luxurious alpine chalet and the epitome of chalet chic, set high in the heart of the Swiss Alps overlooking the town of Verbier, which is just a ten to fifteen minute walk away, depending on your pace. It is also very close to the Medran lift station, where you can take a cable car ride. During the summer months the rooms at The Lodge can be booked on an individual per night basis, whereas an exclusive hire policy is in place during the popular ski months.
It has retained that traditional rustic charm that you associate with ski chalets on its exterior but comes with all the modern tasteful and contemporary touches you would expect from one of Virgin Limited Edition’s unique and exclusive properties, which are all located in such superb destinations around the world, including my home, Kenya.
Getting to The Lodge is really easy and it is just over a two hour scenic train journey from Geneva Airport with one change at Martigny where you board an adorable Swiss train to Le Chable. From Le Chable you can either take a taxi transfer to Verbier or the cable car, if the service is running. At present it only runs on the weekends during the summer months.
When we arrived, our check in in was probably one of the best check in experiences I have ever had where the staff ensured that the priority was us relaxing, making ourselves comfortable and handing us a chilled glass of champagne, before embarking on a tour of the property to acquaint ourselves with it.
The warmth and friendliness of the staff made us feel so welcome, even more so with all the personal touches that made the experience that much more extraordinary, starting with the fact that our room had our names on the door – the cutest welcome ever, as well as the menu for the day having the guests’ names on it!
In total The Lodge can sleep 18 adults and six children and has 9 bedrooms and a very fun “Bunk room” for the kids, where they can all have a sleepover. I loved the concept of going upstairs to our own bedroom at bed time, as it just added to that whole feeling of being in a massive loving home.
Our bedroom was located on the third floor, and was a large and very spacious room with a desk area, as you walk in, complete with coffee and tea making facilities, fresh fruit and a mix of plug adapters which came in very handy during our stay. I loved that literally every aspect, no matter how small, was considered so that guests can totally be at ease and unwind in the comfortable surroundings.
There is a huge luxuriant bed (for us it was split into two), a very comfortable lounge area with plush sofas and a massive bathroom with a separate standalone bath tub and a rain shower. It was the dreamiest room and we absolutely loved it! There was plenty of cupboard space which we unpacked all our belongings into so that we could really feel at home.
The room had really tasteful modern decor, where urban chic met traditional Alpine style, and was so cosy yet so spacious, and thoughtfully had a Dyson fan, as it can get really warm at night, full size Cowshed products in the bathroom, as well as a Toblerone at turn down service, which was such a lovely surprise to find when we got back to our room after dinner.
The wraparound rustic wooden balcony offered pretty and panoramic mountain views and was where we spent a lot of time admiring the scenery around us with a glass of fizz.
Things to do at The Lodge
The Lodge is literally the ultimate summer retreat and you are so spoilt for choice on where to relax in this beautiful chalet. Indoors there is an enormous open plan living room, with a dining area where meals are held in a family communal style. Magazines are dotted on top of the large coffee table, and relaxation is heavily encouraged while you are staying here.
There is a fully stocked bar with bar stools, where you can either perch yourself and ask one of the amazing staff to make you a cocktail (anything you like) or alternatively you can help yourself to anything from the bar. Food and drink is all included during your stay at The Lodge, including premium alcohol, which is so great.
As you go down the stairs to the lower ground level, you enter an epic party room, which has a self serve bar (yes), a pool table, a ping pong table, a massive semi-circle couch with a wall lined with fine wines behind it, and a cinema room with a large plasma screen TV, with lots of comfortable seating. This is so ideal if you are in a group and such a great way to relax and spend time together.
For those that are into fitness, there is a well equipped gym on site, however we didn’t manage to use this during our stay as we were instead being far too indulgent, but had my husband been with me I know he would have been thrilled.
There is a heated indoor pool adjacent to the party room, as well as an indoor jacuzzi, but as the weather was so glorious during our stay, we opted to spend more of our time outside, and you will soon see why.
During our stay we booked a full body massage after a day of hiking in the alps, and it was probably one of the best massages I have ever had. As myself and my guest, Sima, had wanted a massage at the same time (so that we could both make it in time for the canapés which were too good to miss), The Lodge kindly arranged for an external spa therapist to set up one Spa bed in our room, where I enjoyed my massage, while Sima had her massage in the Spa with the in house therapist.
Moving on upstairs to the outdoor area, this was my absolutely favourite part of The Lodge, with plenty of cosy outdoor seating, a table with chairs, sun loungers, a hammock, and an outdoor Jacuzzi, which was the most serene spot to enjoy the incredible views from, with a chilled glass of bubbles in hand of course!
You can see why I was shedding tears when it was time to leave The Lodge, as it was honestly the most wonderful mountain retreat I have experienced, and breathing in all that crisp fresh air and listening to the sounds of the birds chirping in the trees, there was quite frankly no where else I would have rather have been. I think this is now officially my favourite place in Switzerland!
Outdoor activities from The Lodge
After a delectable cooked breakfast, Sima and I were dropped by the in house car service at The Lodge, to a spot in the heart of the mountains, armed with a map and a packed lunch, where we spent a few hours walking the trails through the alps, taking in the gorgeous scenery before finding a spot to sit down and enjoy what was possibly the best sandwiches I have ever had, with freshly baked soft cookies, pringles and mini toblerones.
Hiking is just one of the array of summer activities you can do while staying at The Lodge. Some guests had opted to go Paragliding, while others had driven to visit the Mauvoisin arch dam or gone mountain biking. You can actually hire electric bikes which make going uphill so much easier.
There are also a handful of golf courses in Verbier offering unparalleled views of the snow capped peaks of the alps as a backdrop which are simply stunning.
Yoga in the mountains is also an option, and for those who adore their wine and cheese, there are a handful of vineyards close by as well as restaurants where you can enjoy the classic Swiss cheese fondue.
In the summer months Verbier also hosts a variety of music, sporting, food and cultural events, and so an ideal time to visit.
Gastronomy at The Lodge
With Michelin trained chefs under the helm of Head Chef Adam Bateman in charge of the daily tailored menus, we knew we were in for a real treat when it came to the food at The Lodge. Dinner menus are shared with you each morning so that you are able to request any changes, according to preferences or dietary requirements. The food is made with locally sourced ingredients and the menu is diverse and exciting.
In the morning you can also pick your sandwiches if you are going out for the day, and Sima and I had opted for fillings of mozzarella, tomato, rocket and pesto mayonnaise (which is a game changer) with ours. These are given to you in a cooler bag along with pringles, toblerones, water, fruit and cookies. There are also ample bottles of water and snacks in the entrance hallway of The Lodge which you can help yourself to at any time.
Our first culinary experience started off on the outdoor terrace, where all the guests catch up on their day, while enjoying drinks and canapés, before settling down indoors to a family style four course dinner. This was such a fantastic preview of what was to come for the entirety of our stay.
The menu thoughtfully catered well for both vegetarians and non-vegetarians, and I had a Cucumber with Avocado Puree, Toasted Panko & Shiso Benito Dressing for starters, an Assiette of Mangalitza Pork with Summer Peaches, Cabbage & Lardo, Pakchoi, Smoked Mash & Cider Jus for my mains, and a Biskelia Mousse with Cherries and Chocolate Crumble for dessert. It was all beautifully presented and it was very much a fine dining experience but in an informal homely setting, which I absolutely adored.
There was a cheese board to share at the end of our meal with local artisan cheeses served with breads, chutney and which was absolutely to die for. I love cheese and so this was a real treat! By the end of the first night we were friends with everyone staying at The Lodge and very much looked forward to dining again with everyone the next day.
We had two breakfasts at The Lodge during our stay – one downstairs with the other guests, and one in the privacy of our room on our balcony, complete with champagne. The Lodge team are always happy to accommodate any request!
The breakfast spread downstairs includes cold meats, cheese, cereals, fresh juices and smoothies and you are also able to order a hot cooked breakfast from a menu. On both days I had Eggs Benedict and it was sublime.
Our dinner on our last evening was once again a fantastic gourmet experience and for starters I had the dreamiest Velouté of Cauliflower with Almonds, Garden Curry Leaf & Basil, followed by a Roast Rack of Lamb with Peas & Fevs, Lamb Fat Caramelized Potatoes, Confit Shallot & Lamb Jus, and for dessert a scrumptious Manjari Delice, Spiced Orange, Yogurt Sorbet & Oatcrumb.
Every Afternoon there were Afternoon Tea treats laid out too, highlights being Toblerone Brownies! When it came to the culinary experience, The Lodge was a massive 11/10 and we were so grateful to be able to experience all the wonderful dishes made by the chefs with such precision and skill and to try all the seasonal Swiss produce which really packed a flavour punch to all our marvellous dishes.
The Resident Dog
An extra bonus of staying at The Lodge is you get to get lots of cuddles with Raffi, the resident dog, who is just so delightful. As an animal lover I was super excited when I found out that there was a dog there, and you can request to take him out on walks with you, or simply have a hug when he is wandering around the chalet.
I had the most incredible stay at The Lodge, and it was my very first taster of a Virgin Limited Edition property and it definitely won’t be my last, as it was such a fantastic experience that totally blew my expectations from the service, the food to the property itself.
If you are looking for a luxurious alpine retreat in the summer months with some awe-inspiring panoramic views, staying at The Lodge Verbier is my top recommendation. You will be welcomed into this fabulous chalet with so much warmth and be so well looked after that leaving will be heart breaking, just as it was for me. I left feeling so refreshed, recharged and very well fed, full of memories, having made new friends and a new found fondness for Verbier. So next time you are holiday planning why not swap that beach break for a delightful mountain retreat instead!
For bookings please call T: 0800 716 919 (UK toll free). Alternatively e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
To find out more about The Lodge visit their website: http://www.virginlimitededition.com/en/the-lodge
Have you stayed at any of the Virgin Limited Edition properties? I would love to know in the comments xx