Domaine Toit du Bond

The name’s Buckingham, Gavin Buckingham. It doesn’t quite have the same ring to it, does it? When was young I always fancied being the next James Bond, I gave up on the idea a few years ago. The life insurance premium was extortionate and my dear mum would have a heart attack every week. Being the caring son I am, a career matching people with the perfect accommodation for their ski holiday was much better suited to me than any other OddJob, or was it…..?

Back in December I was lucky enough to be invited out to Val d’Isere and Tignes where I stayed in three incredible ski chalets, I started off in Ski Lodge Mistral in Val d’Isere with its stunning views up the Manchet Valley and lovely homely feel. After this I headed to Tignes Les Brevieres where I was welcomed by the team at Chalet Quezac. The chalet is the ultimate party pad. The large hot tub and spacious open plan living area were perfect for having a dinner party. We were joined by the owner of the chalet, the champion Freeskier, Paris Dakar participant and World Rallycross racer Guerlain Chicherit. It was the perfect location to set me up for what was to come.

Chalet Quezac, Tignes

The next chalet is where I got the closest I will ever to get to fulfilling the dreams of my youth, being James Bond. The chalet in question was the Domaine Toit du Monde. So how you might ask did this make me feel like James Bond? Well, firstly we have the chalet. Domaine Toit du Monde is a combination of two chalets, Chalet Toit Du Monde and Chalet Himalaya. The two chalets form part of a larger building which is a converted monastery. The two chalets are very private within their own right. Each has its own facilities but there is a large wall between the chalets internally which can disappear (cue a magician and a big cloud of smoke) to create one chalet large enough to accommodate 16 secret agents. Once opened up, the chalet is vast. You have two large swimming pools, two saunas, two massage rooms, two smoking rooms, two lounges and guess how many inflatable outdoor igloos….no, just the one! The chalets are built in a Himalayan style, expect dark wood, large bright coloured cushions and quirky artwork – some items though look as though they had been shipped From Russia With Love.

There are a number of things which really make this chalet stand out. When James bond is nursing an injured leg from a skidoo accident, he needn’t worry about being out of his depth in the swimming pools. The two main swimming pools have hydraulic floors meaning that with the push of a Goldfinger, you can raise and lower the floors thus changing the depth. Once in the pool you can also try your luck swimming against the jet stream.

Swimming Pool, Domaine Toit Du Monde

Now what else does James Bond need in his chalet? Oh yes, a steam shower where he can be “nursed” better by a rather elegant looking woman. Domaine Toit Du Monde doesn’t just have one steam shower it has 8! Each room has its own private hammam which also doubles up as a bath and shower. The baths in these hammams are so large that technically by French law they are classified as swimming pools. That means that the chalet has a total of 10 swimming pools. Now if that isn’t Bondesque then I don’t know what is.

Now back to me experiencing the bond experience. Our first night in the Chalet was an elegant affair. We donned our finest dinner suits and ball gowns and met in one of the chalet’s living rooms where we were met by cryptic clues which would outline our meal ahead. I have included a copy of the menu below. The food was delicious and the accompanying wines perfectly complimented the delicious flavours on offer. I’m just pleased there wasn’t any Octopussy on the menu as that’s one dish that would have turned my stomach.

James Bond Menu, Domaine Toit Du Monde

Diamonds are forever, until they melt

During our evening meal we played a number of party games before topping up the Champagne and heading to the pool where we swam outside to admire the stars. The only thing that could have made this occasion any more special would have been to have shared it with my Miss Moneypenny. After all that is what James would have done. After drying off in the sauna we retired to the outdoor inflatable igloo, switched on the heater and wrapped ourselves up in the thick blankets.

The following day we were up early and swapped our finest dinner attire for salopettes and ski jackets. The polished black shoes and heals were thrown aside and replaced with chunky ski boots. It was time to hit the slopes. Val d’Isere has some of the best skiing in Europe. The resort is linked with Tignes to give you the impressive Espace Killy with 300km of piste. We were joined at the chalet by our guide for the day, the very professional but fun Stefan from Oxygene Ski. Oxygene also supplied us with our equipment for the day. I had a brand new pair of Dynastar skis which skied beautifully across the full mountain, try as I might I couldn’t find any rocket launchers attached to them though. They must have been there somewhere.

Domaine Toit Du Monde benfits from an incredible location. It is situated between the World Cup downhill ‘Coupe du Monde OK’ slope on one side and the popular green ‘Verte’ slope on the other. It is the only chalet in Val d’Isere which is ski-in, ski-out on a green run, enabling you to judge when best to avoid any “Q” in the morning. We walked the two minutes down to the Funicular which again felt very Bondesque as we made our way through the heart of the mountain.

The conditions at the top were fantastic. There was not a cloud in the sky and the slopes were very quiet with it being the start of the season. We skied a number of beautifully prepared slopes and it was one of the best ski days I have ever experienced until…I misjudged a jump, got too much pop off the lip, over rotated and after a brief Skyfall, landed flat on my face and ribs. Ouch. Undeterred I clipped back in, You Only Live Twice after all. I grabbed my poles and carried on skiing. After all, James Bond wouldn’t have let something like this beat him. Struggling for breath I made my way down to Tignes which is where the pain really started to kick in.

We stopped at one of Val d’Isere’s most famous apres bars and lunch spots, La Folie Douce for a few drinks and a spot of lunch. We were met by some of the non skiers in the group. This is where Domaine Toit Du Monde’s fantastic location comes in to play again. The chalet is just a 2 minute walk from the La Daille Gondola which takes you directly to La Folie Douce. It is the perfect location to finish your days skiing, enjoy the amazing party atmosphere of the Folie Douce and then take the safe gondola back to the chalet. It also means that as was the case with us, non skiers can join you easily for a spot of lunch on the mountain or enjoy the apres ski for themselves.

Bedroom including a Hammam, Domaine Toit Du Monde

Following lunch I was really struggling to breathe so after just two runs I decided it was time to call it a day and to head back to the chalet where I was offered a full body massage. Now normally I tell my girlfriend “my body is For Your Eyes Only”, but I could make an exception. 60 minutes of bliss later and without any pressure having been applied to my chest, every muscle in my body felt like jelly. I wobbled my way back up to my room and retired to my personal hammam/shower/bath/swimming pool thinking to myself that if this isn’t true chalet luxury then I don’t know what is.

We started off the evening by being served champagne and canapes in the inflatable igloo before being invited to the dining area where we were treated to a fantastic tasting and healthy Chinese Steamboat Fondue. The flavours were delicious and it was a very social meal again complemented by perfectly paired wines. After an exhausting day I retired to my room, brushed my Jaws, and smiled as I recalled a fantastic couple of days.

Dining Area, Domaine Toit Du Monde

The following morning Jack the Chalet manager, or “M” as I preferred to call him, gave me a lift into town in the Chalet’s own Mercedes G Wagon where I met with the Val d’Isere Tourist office to hear about the evolution of one of the most popular resorts in the Alps. They are constantly evolving and ensuring that they are offering what people want from their ski holidays. Earlier in the season Will wrote a blog on Why you should head to Val d’Isere this winter which featured a number of the changes that the resort have made. Andy wrote a blog on the 4 of the best restaurants in Val d’Isere. They are definitely worth a read and give a great insight into why Val d’Isere is why one of our top selling ski destinations.

I went into Val d’Isere to pick up some presents for my girlfriend in one of Val d’Isere’s many shops. She has told me before that Diamonds Are Forever but unfortunately the jewellers was shut and so she had to make do with a pair of fluffy, thick socks instead. I called “M” who returned to pick me up and took me back to the chalet. I was picked up 20 minutes later by one of the SnowDrone transfers to head back to Geneva as the trip was coming to an end. The transfer went very quickly as I logged onto the on board WiFi before switching on one of the on board iPads and watching Anchorman. This made the journey to Geneva airport go very quickly.

All in all I had a fantastic trip to Tignes and Val d’Isere. I was treated to some incredible food with great company and all whilst staying in some of the best chalets in the Val d’Isere and Tignes. My James Bond experience at Domaine Toit Du Monde was the perfect end to my trip and I can’t wait to go back.

Now, in case you are wondering, how were the ribs? Well, when I got back to the UK the injury became very painful. I was struggling to sleep so decided I’d best get them checked out. After an X-ray and consultation with Dr. No I had some bad news…I need to man up. Nothing but a bit of bruising. I would Die Another Day. With my pride in tatters and my head held low I finally admitted it to myself. Maybe the fact I gave up on becoming James Bond wasn’t quite such a bad decision after all…..I’m not going to be a 00 Agent but instead am more than happy to be a super ski agent instead.

Chalet Himalaya and Chalet Toit Du Monde still have availability for later this season and they are currently offering a special offer on all remaining dates of 10% off as well. The full Domaine Toit Du Monde is still available for the weeks of the 9th and 16th April 2017 also at a discounted rate. Check out the relevant webpages for the latest prices and availability. They are already taking bookings for next season as well and peak dates are already booking up fast so don’t delay and contact us today. You can call us on +44 1202 203 653 or send us an email.

It’s time to feel Onatopp of the world…….head to Domaine Toit du Monde to feel just that from both an altitude and service perspective.

How many Bond references did you spot in this blog?! Answers on a postcard please!…..


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Blue Skies Lifestyle Ltd, established in 2005, is an online luxury ski holiday agent that specialises in finding clients the perfect luxury ski chalet in France, Switzerland, Austria and Italy. We feature an extensive portfolio of luxury chalet accommodation and luxury ski hotels that are ideal for group and family luxury ski holidays.