Where to stay
We didn’t book any accommodation before we left, but it’s wise to phone the day before to book if you want to be sure of a place. We missed out on a stay in the Bonatti hut because we didn’t book in advance, but we were more than happy with our second choice in Lavachey. Remember to take an up to date list with phone numbers with you so that you can phone ahead to the more popular huts or if you are arriving late. There are details in the guidebook, but it’s worth checking that they haven’t changed.
The Office de Haute et Moyenne Montagne (the Walking and Mountaineering Office) in Chamonix keeps a complete and up to date list of accommodation on the Tour of Mont Blanc.
This is the list of hotels and refuges we stayed at or have stayed at in the past. We’re not saying they’re the best, but we can tell you what they were like when we were there.
[zp src=”D03-les-Contamines.jpg” album=”tmb/2004″ width=”130″] We stayed at the Hotel Grizzli, but it appears to have closed down after a fire in 2009. There are other hotels in Les Contamines.
[zp src=”D03D-Refuge-du-Col-de-la-Croix-du-Bonhomme.jpg” album=”tmb/2004″ width=”130″ height=”86″]
Refuge de la Col du Croix du Bonhomme. Apart from the brilliant location, the guardian made this place special by friendly service that included phoning ahead to book refuges, hot showers, and even a trumpet serenade for another guest’s birthday. Telephone number : +33(0)4.79.07.05.28
Elisabetta Soldini refuge. The location is excellent, and though it makes sense to stay here (and we probably would next time around) it’s hard to recommend this place because of the regimented approach, the measly portions at dinner and breakfast, and the unbelievably cramped dorm. Telephone number: +39(0)165.844.080
Hotel Lavachey. An absolute find. It was great value, the rooms were good and the food was brilliant and plentiful, including fresh milk from the cow at breakfast. Telephone number: +39(0)165.869.723
[zp src=”D07D-Post-bus.jpg” album=”tmb/2004″ width=”130″]Hotel Edelweiss. We were probably spoilt rotten at Le Vachey, so this place had no chance of coming anywhere close. But the food was good, even though the hotel and the service was a little stuffy and old fashioned. Telephone number: +41(0)27.783.26.21
[zp src=”D08R-04-Lac-Champex.jpg” album=”tmb/2004″ width=”130″]Chalet du Club Alpin Suisse, Champex. We’ve stayed here several times in the past (though not when we did the Tour) and we love this place. It does excellent fondues, has a choice of dortoir or rooms and has a garden on the lakeside. Telephone number: +41(0)27.783.11.61
Relais D’Arpette. Perfect to make a head start if you’re heading for the Fenêtre D’Arpette, but though the relais is comfortable it is large and impersonal, in contrast to many other places on the TMB. There is also a campsite here. Telephone number: +41(0)27.783.12.21
Hotel de la Col Du Forclaz . A good place to stay, with good food and comfortable rooms. There is a dortoir, but the camping is best avoided unless you like sleeping in a car park. It can be busy with day-trippers, but when we were there only a small group and a few other TMBers were staying overnight. Telephone number: +41(0)27.722.26.88
[zp src=”D10R-04-La-Boerne.jpg” album=”tmb/2004″ width=”130″ height=”85″]Auberge de la Boerne. This is a series of buildings arranged around a courtyard that is a great place to wind down after a day’s walking. The food was good and it had a friendly atmosphere. Many of the rooms are in the converted barns and outbuildings – there is also a dorm in the main building. Telephone number: +33(0)4.50.54.05.14