16 October 2007: Guardian Online piece picks out Chalet Merlo.

Top 10 alternative ski bases

Swap big mainstream resorts for a stylish, more individual skiing holiday lower down the mountain. Chris Madigan picks 10 of the best valley-based places to stay.

Purpose-built, high-altitude ski resorts can feel too much like holiday camps in places where there shouldn't be any. There are alternatives lower down the mountain...

Section on Chalet Merlo in the piece:

Chalet Merlo, Sainte Foy, France

With its insistence on ski-to-the-door convenience, the Tarentaise valley in France has become synonymous with purpose-built mega-resorts. But all have small villages dotted around the mountain below, with wood and stone chalets, rustic restaurants and views uninterrupted by 10-storey apartment blocks.

With the new Chalet Merlo in Le Miroir we are seriously pushing the boat out. Based in one of the hamlets that make up Sainte Foy, below Tignes and Val d'Isère it's bookable as a whole, sleeping 12, and deftly combines the bucolic and the luxurious. Think exposed beams and rough-hewn woodwork vying with names like Ralph Lauren and Kelly Hoppen; a 4x4 at your beck and call; plus gourmet cooking, sauna, gym, 50" plasma and broadband.