Voracious in his approach to business, renowned former Hedge Fund Manager-cum-Art Magnate, Christian Levett has yet again shown his prowess for investing with passion, resulting in the building of three hyper-luxury chalets in the equally opulent resort of Courchevel 1850.
Originally buying a Chalet purely for the enjoyment of his family, much alike his initial interests in Mougins – he founded the Mougins Museum of Classical Art in 2011 – the rare opportunity arose for the purchase of two old Chalets on the famed Bellcôte Slope. The prospect of “basically buying two properties on the Alps equivalent of the pinnacle of Cap Ferrat” was one Levett could not pass up. Indeed, with Courchevel being amongst the top 10 most expensive Real Estate areas in the world by sqm, 7 restaurants sharing over 11 Michelin stars between them (4 of which hold 2 each), and ‘high street’ shops such as Louis Vuitton, Prada, Valentino, and Hermés, the comparison is well founded.
The decision was a well-calculated one; “I could start watching a football game in Courchevel in any of the three Chalets on the sofa, and then take a helicopter to my house in Mougins to watch the end of the game. It’s pretty amazing. Monaco is even closer, it’s just under 1 hour by helicopter, so it’s great for a weekend trip.”
While spending time inside the Chalet rather than out may seem fairly strange, upon stepping foot in any of Levett’s “three jewels of the Three Valleys” – Chalets Edelweiss, Gentianes and Razzie – one can understand why. As a prolific art collector it is clear that for Levett it is more about being surrounded by beautiful things than purely investing for financial gain – “if you put your passion into the construction and the decoration and the art and things like that, guests notice the small differences and that’s what makes people happy and decide to return year on year.” Chalet Edelweiss is prime example.
Luxury has officially been redefined with this Chalet. Spanning 7 floors over 3000m2, with 8 double bedrooms sleeping 16, a nightclub that can host 200 guests, and underground parking accommodating up to 20 cars, Edelweiss is the largest private Chalet outside North America – even before linking it with neighbouring Chalet Gentianes and the adjoining underground passageway, creating a super-Chalet of over 4000m2! It is designed to seriously impress, and après-ski has never been more appealing.
Instructors, guides, equipment, helicopters, transfers, restaurants will all be arranged and after a tough day on the slopes guests can ski right up to the door of the Chalet and recover in the Spa, taking up one whole floor. After a Hammam, Sauna, and massage, an evening can be spent either in the state-of-the-art cinema or quaffing champagne in the bar or Jacuzzi. For those who enjoy the Alpine atmosphere sans snowy pursuits, Edelweiss seconds as a high-end art gallery, showcasing pieces from Levett’s own impressive private collection. Signed works from Miro, Lichtenstein and Damien Hirst line the walls. You’ll find Marc Quinns on the staircase and a Jason Martin in the corner. Winter scenes by early 17th century Dutch masters adorn the dining room and office, while original oils paintings by Abert Marquet and Maurice de Vlaminck decorate the master suite. “It’s quite nice to show off some of my own collection and I would hope it might encourage those guests who don’t already have collections to go out and start collections themselves, so displaying these works are not only there for enjoyment, but it might also be good for the art market, which I’m involved with” (Levett part owns Vigo Art Gallery in Mayfair, London.)
Everything is catered for. The two chefs can produce Michelin Star quality dining for up to 22 guests, while the dedicated Butlers cater for every whim. Should the 5-minute walk into the centre of Courchevel Village not appeal, guests can utilise the Chalet’s chauffeur and luxury mini bus. Upon arrival one of the best ski stores in the village bring their equipment to the Chalet to outfit guests for the week in the privacy of the onsite ski room. A week’s stay is certainly not pocket money, but the aim, as Levett says, is for it to feel like the expensive and exclusive experience that it is; and for good reason. The facilities are beyond superb, and among the most exclusive in the Three Valleys; “If you want the biggest and best private Chalet in Europe, you know where to go!”
While Chalet Edelweiss is clearly the jewel in the crown of Levett’s three Chalets, Gentianes and Razzie are just as impressive. Situated at the highest residential point in Courchevel, Chalet Razzie offers unarguably the best views in the region. Secure and discreet, the Chalet accommodates 10 guests in 5 beautifully contemporary bedrooms, all serviced by the on-site Butler. The south facing terrace is perfect for relaxing in the Alpine sun. Equally, Chalet Gentianes is the epitome of a wintery wonderland; bringing the beauty of the surrounding nature inside, the exposed beams, wooden interior, and large fireplace make this Chalet one of the most inviting and family friendly. Akin to the others, luxury abounds with the stunning interior swimming pool and Jacuzzi, massage room, hammam, and cinema.
Recent years has seen Alpine skiing blighted somewhat by unseasonably warm winters, and the proximity of Courchevel to the Riviera benefits also from its altitude in the Alps; “you’re always guaranteed snow. In fact it was snowing in Courchevel last weekend and up until May last season, so there’s always somewhere in the three valleys that you can ski even if you have a warm season, just like the past couple of years.” Not only is the area one of the highest resorts in the Alps, but along with Les Trois Vallées, it is the largest linked ski area in the world, allowing for snow enthusiasts of any skill level to enjoy, something Levett is very keen to promote.
If you’re looking for good quality snow in the lap of luxury therefore, it seems then that there is an obvious choice when it comes to booking your winter break this 2017/2018 season and prices can be extremely attractive given the large number of guests, outside of the main weeks of the season.