The first thing you notice is the quiet–a sense of leaving the world behind as you step through the massive crimson doors into the pale, cool lobby. The next thing you notice is the inscription: curvy Tibetan writing, carved into the wooden moldings and furniture and repeating every four or five words, a mantra that plays in the background and feels soothing even if you don’t know what it means. Finally, you focus on the trims and touches–Chinese lacquer vases, leather-and-fur door ornaments, an ancient-looking bronze statue–that would feel right at home in a cabin in the Himalayas, if its owner had exquisite taste and the means to indulge it.
Le K2 Altitude, in Courchevel, surrounds its guests with tranquility–quite a neat trick in a French ski resort known around the world for exuberant mountain sports and an equally exuberant nightlife. Of course, all of that is available to the K2 Altitude’s guests, should they wish–the hotel sits directly next to the slopes for ski in/ski out access and is a short car ride away from the highest village. But the K2 Altitude seems built for a more contemplative, zen-like experience–a place to be, rather than simply to do. Or, as the K2’s owners express it, “a unique atmosphere, sensitive to our guests in all things.”
The K2 Altitude seems built for a more contemplative experience.
Discretion and flexibility are built into the K2 Altitude’s very structure. The hotel’s rooms and suites are organized into small, chalet-like buildings with private entrances–perfect for hosting a destination event, a friends’ reunion, or a multi-generational family. Each chalet has subterranean access to the main building, which houses an array of gathering spots with beautiful views of the mountains. The hotel’s 1856 Bar is a particularly comfortable place to end the day or begin the evening; the name comes from the year of the first survey of K2, the second-highest mountain in the world after Mount Everest.
Discovery is a recurring theme at the K2 Altitude, carried out in the hotel’s restaurants–from the Montgomerie, named for the British surveyor who named K2, to Altiplano, a pop-up with a menu highlighting Peruvian flavors and techniques. Guests seeking physical as well as spiritual renewal can take advantage of the Goji Spa, named for the Himalayan berry with life-sustaining properties, and the hotel’s soothing pools. And if a workout in the K2 Altitude’s fitness room seems somehow better and more productive than in other gyms, there is a reason for that: a “salt wall” made of bricks of Nepalese salt, which exudes healthful minerals into the air.