What is the most romantic hotel in the world? If you ask me, I have no doubts: it is the Whitepod hotel in Switzerland, where white powdery snow and breathtaking peaks meet the cosy embrace of eco-luxury sleeping pods.
You may say that I am biased: the Whitepod hotel is indeed the place where my now husband surprised me with a marriage proposal (wasn’t he great? He really surpassed himself with this!) but I dare anyone not to fall in love with this place. Here is our Whitepod hotel review and what makes it so special.
I first heard of Whitepod in 2007: we read about in the Guardian, I believe, and it was described as an eco-friendly, luxury Alpine resort in the Swiss Alps.
We had intended to go on a winter holiday for a long time and this recommendation came at the right time: the eco-friendly element attracted Philip, the luxury one attracted me and so the decision was made. On a crisp February evening, we got off the train in Aigle, Switzerland, and our gateway at the Whitepod hotel began
What is the Whitepod hotel: fast facts
White Pod Location: The Whitepod hotel is in Switzerland, about 1.30h drive from Geneva airport and 45 minutes by car from Montreaux. If you are travelling by train, the closest stations are Aigle and Monthey, both well connected with Geneva: from there, you will need a car, but it possible to ask Whitepod for a pickup service from the station (which is what we did)
The resort faces the well-known ski resort of Vilallards and its facilities are the Chalet Les Cerniers at 1250 m (4100ft). The pods and the Pod-house are at 1400 m (4600ft).
Whitepod hotel layout The resort is made of a chalet and pods (geodesic constructions) dotting the landscapes. The pods are located about 20 minutes walk from the chalet and they are equipped with comfy beds, a stove and a complete bathroom, to hug you in a warm and cosy cocoon.
When we visited, we didn’t stay in a pod but had a room it the chalet but they look absolutely fabulous and I hear you can get room service and prepare for dinner while sipping wine in your little pod on the mountain!
On arrival, you receive a backpack, a map, a headlight, snowshoes and walking sticks to help you get to your pod: in the winter, your luggage will be carried for you to the pod as the deep snow can make that tricky. Overall, the walk is easy but make sure you dress appropriately (I got to the chalet in my city clothes – not the most intelligent of ideas!)
Activities available: many activities are available at the Whitepod hotel, some included in your stay and some that you can book and pay for separately. They include 25 km of signposted hiking trails, ping pong, tennis, outdoor games, private ski slopes, snowshoes, horse riding and more. For the always connected, WiFi is available at the Pod-house and the Chalet Les Cerniers. You can find all there is on offer on the official Whitepod Hotel website
Suitable for: romantic and family getaways
A STAY AT WHITEPOD CAN BE EASILY COMBINED WITH A VISIT TO GENEVA. HERE OUR TOP TIPS ON THINGS TO DO IN GENEVA WITH KIDS
Our stay: the Whitepod Hotel review
We got to the Aigle train station on a cool winter evening. We had flown into Geneva from Dublin and had asked the resort to collect us: with only two nights available, we didn’t intend to explore much beside the Whitepod hotel resort and this seemed the best option. It was a good choice: while not far, it was lovely not to have to drive in the dark and the lift came with a surprise: the last part of the journey was on a snow snowmobile!
In this occasion, we were staying in the chalet rather than the pod (I am not sure this is an option anymore, but it was at the time) and after settling into our room we went downstairs for dinner.
The chalet is lovely and exactly the kind of alpine welcome we were hoping for: wooden furniture, crackling open fire, a sofa with a cat enjoying the fireplace gentle heat and the smell of food filling the air.
To be in tune with our surroundings, we ordered cheese fondue (always delicious and a fun meal to have) but the menu has many options combining traditional mountain fare and international dishes such as curry and beef tagliata (they also have vegetarian options).
After dinner we had a glass of wine if front of the fire, practised our stumbling French with the kind and obliging staff and fellow guests and then went to our room, to gather the strength for the activity of the following day.
In the morning, the chalet had a different, more dynamic vibe. It was decked out with an amazing breakfast menu and filled with the chit chat of guests getting ready for the day.
My first attempt at snowshoeing
White pod offers many activities and we picked snowshoeing. Now, I don’t know it you ever tried snowshoeing, but it is a lot of fun! What you get with this activity are two contraptions that you put at your feet and that are wide enough to allow you to walk over snowy terrain without sinking too much.
I have only spent a little time on the snow and they were the perfect activity for me: while skis or snowboards require practice and involve speed, the snowshoes allow you to walk or hike and let you retain complete control over your movement. It only took us about a couple of minutes to get used to them and soon we were alone in the woods, surrounded by endless snow and a silence so deep it was almost unreal!
A word of warning: the snow shoes are not difficult to use and they don’t require any special level of fitness, but do pace yourself as walking in the snow is more tiring and your legs will feel the effort at the end of the day!
We had the perfect morning. The snowshoes allowed us to climb quite far up above the pods and the view was breathtaking: there was not another person in sight and while we knew that ski facilities were nearby, the wide sky and mighty rocks gave you the illusion of being alone in nature.
The adventure on the snow shoes left us exhilarated, tired and hungry, the perfect state for enjoying a glass of wine and then dinner at the chalet.
The day had been for me already special, but the evening had in store an even bigger surprise: while I was quietly reading my book, a little black box was presented to me. Thinking of a belated birthday present, I started saying he shouldn’t have, the holiday here was my present and all that, but Phil opened the box and let its content shut me up: a sparkling ring was shining its perfect light from its little oyster and the words ‘will you marry me’ filled the air and my heart. We have been together ever since and the proposal was as perfect as the years to come.
The White pod has a special place in my heart and with its stunning location, eco-friendly philosophy and luxury feel, I can’t think of a better place for celebrating the beginning of our life together. Next time, we’ll go with the kids!
Please note: this review is unsolicited and unbiased and we received no compensation for it. We do however want to thank the Whitepod hotel for providing the stunning pictures you see in this post (and for a truly memorable holiday!)