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There is a higher chance of Elton John turning straight than you not salivating at the wonder of LeCrans Hotel & Spa. To be honest, I'd never heard of LeCrans Montana; two hours from Geneva. The Valais is a region of this beautiful country that is not particularly familiar to me. But after using my trusty friend Mr Google, I thought I should investigate to see how many of these spectacular images were photoshopped. It turns out none.
I'm generally not a 'boutique' hotel sort of chap. I like my big brands; Shangri-La, Four Seasons, One&Only, Ritz Carlton to name but a few. I like the familiarity and assurance that wherever in the world I am, I can be 90% certain the level of service and style of stay will be world-class. Boutique hotels just don't offer this. They use phrases like 'the bathroom has an unusual, metamorphic shape', which in plain English means 'you need to be Harry Houdini to sit on the loo in comfort'.
Upon arrival, the first sign that Harry Houdini was irrelevant is the view. Who cares if you need to hold your stomach in whilst showering, for fear of accidentally turning the water to scalding. Who cares if the bath has a TV. When in the 5* LeCrans, the only view you need is this:
A panorama awaits, with over forty peaks from the Matterhorn to Mont Blanc. This terrace is the perfect spot to have dinner, and my god does chef Pierre Crepaud know how to cook. The proud owner of a Michelin star and 17 GaultMillau points, it's hard to tell if one should concentrate on the food or the view - they are equally spectacular.
The unusual element about these mountain hotels is the ambience. The change between winter and summer is more dramatic than Russell Crowe in Gladiator. I am here in the summer, where if I want to break my neck, I could bike down the mountain. Or if I wished for leg cramps, I could hike up the mountain. I could even while away my hours hitting a ball from one hole to another, in what I am reliably informed is one of the most beautiful golf courses in the world. But instead, I choose to relax in the best way possible, the spa.
Slightly camp? Possibly. Expensive? Definitely. Worth it? Absolutely. It says on the website that 'the CINQ MONDES treatments and massages imbued with quality, authenticity and a sense of ceremony to restore the harmony of body and spirit'. What a load of horse poo. So ignoring the copyrighters who think any educated human will fall for this drivel, the only review I can give the spa is this - it's bloody fantastic. I had a facial and a massage; plus enjoyed the indoor and outdoor pools. All of which are superb. But all of which would be better in the winter, where the snow adds a picturesque beauty that summer lacks.
Apparently, this is a ski-in, ski-out resort. I have never been tempted to let gravity do its thing whilst I stand on a pair of plastic planks, so this means nothing to me. I also can't tell you how good the skiing actually is; apart from the fact that the peak seems high, the slope seems steep, and you can plunge towards the base of the mountain faster than you can say 'like a bat out of hell'.
With seven rooms, six suites and three apartments, this hotel is tiny. All the staff know your name, and all the staff try and achieve that magical X factor when it comes to service. For example, I arrived in a Tesla which they promptly parked in the underground garage, charged it fully, cleaned the car inside and out, stocked it with fresh chilled water and towels for my journey, and most impressively, as the outside temperature was 36 degrees, they had pre-cooled the car to 21 degrees for me. The charge for this service? Absolutely nothing. It's merely the standard of LeCrans.
As understated as this little act was, it meant that I drove away from the hotel wanting more. And for a guest, this is by far the biggest downfall of this little gem; once you have tasted the white truffle of LeCrans, you never want to go back to the mass-produced truffle oil from the supermarket. Because as predictably good the oil is, the rare white truffle will always, always be better.