As Alpine ski areas go, Thyon, part of the sprawling Four Valleys territory, feels more authentic and friendly than its more glamorous cousin, Verbier. Key to this charm is Les Collons, a village formerly of dairy farmers’ chalets, and, at the base of the pistes, the picture-perfect Hotel La Cambuse.
From the wood carvings at the entrance, to the wood cladding on the building, the wood panelling in all rooms, and the wood fire in the bar, Hotel La Cambuse has leaned wholeheartedly into its proximity to the forest, and the effect is one of warmth and comfort on a snowy day.
Couples wanting to combine great skiing with fantastic food will adore Hotel La Cambuse.
Hotel La Cambuse is not large – there are not even 10 rooms – so it has the warmth of a private home, where everything has been designed for the cosiness and relaxation of its occupants. Much thought has been put into fluffy textiles and soft lighting, and whilst the effect isn’t opulent, it reflects the sincere hospitality of La Cambuse, whether in the piles of pillows and blankets, the sustainable toiletries, or the beautiful views from every window (though that, I suppose, isn’t entirely something the hotel can take credit for!).
Each room is different in size, colour scheme, and orientation, with the smaller rooms on the first floor while the upper floor accommodates family suites, making the most of the roof space. Bathrooms are simple and spotless, filled with the essentials.
Food and Drink
The restaurant at Hotel La Cambuse occupies the majority of the ground floor. A sprawling stone and wood-lined room, it is divided into different areas: the restaurant, the bar, a private dining area, and a couple of couches and armchairs by the fireplace.
A huge terrace makes the most of the south-facing slope during the day, and Jerry, the owner, leads a team of young Swiss staff in providing friendly service. The bar serves unexpectedly great cocktails and the drinks list includes the local favourites: fendant, a local wine; and abricotine, the regional eau de vie.
Open for lunch and dinner, the restaurant serves the usual Alpine suspects: raclette, cheese fondue, and local meat and cheese platters are all present, complemented by the omnipresent burger for those who overindulged in dairy earlier in their stay. Portions are generous and the quality is impeccable.
However, Hotel La Cambuse adds to these perennials with some entirely delicious interlopers. Foie gras, escargots, and a few other French starter standards are joined by a delicious oeuf cocotte (sort of a miniature shakshuka in an individual cast-iron pot) and a sweet-savoury aubergine dish. Mains are classic brasserie fare done beautifully, with a view to satisfying those who have spent all their energy on the slopes. Children are not forgotten in the extensive menu, and the desserts are pressed upon guests enthusiastically.
For those staying the night, the breakfast buffet is ample and makes the most of the restaurant’s crowning feature, a full-length, veranda-style window along the entire south side of the building, offering views over the valley and soaking up the morning sun. It’s enough to distract you from your breakfast!
Hotel La Cambuse is a small property with basic facilities in the form of its bar, restaurant, and outdoor terrace, but if you want to use a sauna, have a massage, or go to Valais’ famous thermal baths, all of which are nearby, the hotel staff can arrange this for you.
Rates for a room at Hotel La Cambuse start at CHF 170 per night or CHF 250 including a four-course evening meal.
Immediately opposite Hotel La Cambuse is a drag lift taking skiers up into the heart of the Thyon sector of the 4 Valleys ski resort, though you can also take the ski bus up to Thyon 200, and this is conveniently included in the ski pass. A new, larger ski lift is expected to open in winter 2023/24 which will make the ascent even faster. A ski rental shop is located a five-minute walk from the hotel, with its sister establishment up at Thon 2000, on the pistes. If you fancy a break from skiing, Thyon’s snow-shoeing trail comes straight past the hotel. Snowshoeing is the ideal way to see the mountain landscapes and wildlife at close quarters, and there are trails through the forest as well as alongside the pistes.
In summertime, there’s a wide range of activities on offer in Thyon. Climbing, hiking, and mountaineering are always popular, as are swimming, horse riding and mountain biking. Should you fancy trying something a little different, there are facilities for archery and even axe throwing!
Hotel La Cambuse has hit on a heady cocktail of friendly, unpretentious service, fierce loyalty to its Swiss heritage, and home-from-home hospitality for weary skiers of all ages. And best of all: there’s even more to do in the summer.
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