With customer service ‘par excellence’ and our unique philosophy of ‘Freedom to Choose’ we offer outstanding skiing experiences in some of the finest and best located private luxury chalets available in Meribel and Courchevel.
We understand that each party is highly individual and will want different things from their stay. By offering our guests various different catering choices; an all-inclusive ‘Tout Compris’ option, a tailor-made ‘A la carte’ service (staffed but with your choice of food paid at cost) and ‘Ultimate a La Carte’ a non-staffed, self-catered option ensures everyone gets holiday they desire.
Chris and Lucie Learoyd established Alp Leisure Ltd in ’97 after spending seasons ski guiding, cheffing and running an exclusive private chalet. Drawing experience from their professional backgrounds and worldwide travel experiences, and working on the principle of what they would consider THE perfect holiday, they created a new concept offering ‘Freedom to Choose’ in some of the most wonderful homes in the French Alps.
Before we settled in the mountains, we lived and worked in London. Lucie was senior beauty therapist in the most exclusive beauty clinic in Mayfair London, dealing with the highest echelons of society from rock stars to royalty and Chris was in the marketing world working for one of the worlds leading medical diagnostic firms. Understanding, appreciating and providing for clients who knew exactly what they wanted would stand us in good stead for our future.
After taking a year long sabatical break to travel the world, experiencing and learning about different cultures and the challenges they faced, we then decided to explore the world of seasonal employment. We had spent some time in Queenstown in New Zealand and it gave us the "scent of snow". Our first winter was in Meribel working as chalet chef and ski companion and we fell in love. The mountains, the snow, the skiing and most importantly the love of seeing guests go home having had the most incredible experience. Being part of that truly hit a chord and we were lucky enough to meet all sorts of people form all walks of life all looking to get the best out of life and their most important week of their year. We loved it so much the next year we were back for good!
The summer of '97 was our first experience of working in Private Chalets. Chalet Perkeene was where we took the step into the luxury end of the market where we provided the full service at the next level. Fine cuisine, concierge, chauffeuring, property management, butler service, massage, house keeping, we did it all. So well in fact that we were not only invited to run the chalet the following winter we were given the opportunity to promote the summer in Meribel at Chalet Perkeene as part of our new business, namely Alp Leisure Ltd
Alp Leisure Ltd was incorporated in Nov 1997 primarily with a view to promote the amazing opportunities Meribel offers in the summer. The golf, rafting, canyoning, mountain biking and hiking along with such events as the Tour de France and World Cup Ski jumping combined with stunning weather and glorious scenery captivated us. First though we cultivated our experience in the industry looking after our amazing Chalet Perkeene guests and this was when we created the concept of 'Freedom to Choose.' We would contact guests the week before they came on holiday and establish their wants and desires from a cuisine point of view and based on that provide exactly that. Our guests paid for the shopping so they got exactly what they wanted without it costing a fortune, unless of course they requested fois gras, lobster and filet every day! but if that's what our guests wanted... It went so well the owners of Perkeene offered us the opportunity of renting their chalet year round!
By 1999 our reputation had grown and further requests to run Private Chalets in the exclusive area of Route des Chalets, considered to be the Mayfair of Meribel, were pouring in. By adding neighbouring Chalet Tomkins, plus Chalet Perkeene meant we had the challenge of running multiple chalets. Recruitment, training and management of staff became crucial and with some amazing people working with us we expanded further in 2000 taking on one of the finest chalets in Meribel, Bartavelles. Our Chalet portfolio was not the only thing that was expanding. Jonty our youngest also arrived at the end of 2000 and life in the French Alps became, before we knew it, the place we would call home.
From our first days at Perkeene we had always helped out in the development of these amazing properties. Installation of saunas, games rooms and minor building projects then lead to overseeing further larger projects such as the complete renovation, extension and refurbishment of Chalet Bartavelles. Tomkins was then rebuilt from scratch and Chalet Sapiniere was brought into the Alp Leisure fold and was extended and re-furbished. Acting as the eyes and ears on the ground and ensuring things moved in the direction the owners had stipulated became a highly desired service we were delighted to offer. Further chalets and projects meant liaising with architects, planning offices, foremen, interior designers, suppliers and tradesmen. We became so adept we found our own farmhouse and barn and re-developed into two properties, one which we now call home, the second a multi-owned property where the 4 share owners all have their weeks to ski and enjoy the summer bounty.
Following our personal move to the Courchevel Valley we were lucky enough to find that our experience in property management and chalet operations showed opportunities and at Chalet Aster in Courchevel 1650 we were involved from development to opening to guests. From interiors to operational design we worked hand in hand with the owner to find the perfect blend of luxury, interior design and features including luxury spa, cinema games room and bar. Our Courchevel portfolio developed with a stunning apartment on the Bellecote piste in 1850 and chalets in Le Praz with swimming pools, squash courts and all the features you would expect in a chalet in exclusive Courchevel.
Due to the lack of high end, reasonably priced transport services, and with a view to finding efficiencies in this area, we set up First Class Transport which initially provided airport transfers to the French Alpine ski resorts and in-resort services for Alp Leisure Ltd and other similar tour operators in top class Mercedes Vianos and VW Caravelles and Multivans. This later extended to providing similar services on the Cote d'Azur including Alp Leisure Villas and private charter boats as well as clients such as Formula 1 teams during the Monaco Grand Prix and during events such as the Cannes Film Festival.
In 2009 we expanded our idea of 'Freedom to Choose' and applied it to Villa Holidays on the Cote d'Azur making the most of our amazing staff and ran villas in Grimaud, La Garde Freinet and Cavalière. Events included hosting Thames TV X-Factor which featured Tinie Temper being the guest judge arriving by chopper to our helipad
Having purchased, rebuilt and refurbished our old farmhouse between 2001 and 2004 we found ourselves integrated in the local environment. Our to boys Jonty and Louis went to the local schools, joined the Club des Sports de Courchevel and learnt to ski (fast), to play ice hockey and find their passion, ski jumping. Being two minutes from the biggest ski jumping facility in France and passing it every morning on the way to school/work the boys had made their ski jumping plans early on. They both started skiing when they could first walk and ski jumping followed soon after. They both jumped the 60metre by the time they were six and that was only the start. Jonty was lucky enough to be selected for the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeong Chang and competed for France. Louis is hot on his tails and plans to do the same! Following the local french education system has been fantastic for them being bi-lingual as well as ensconcing us into the local community and all the 'joie de vivre' that entails.
With 25 years of experience of running our business and living in Meribel and Courchevel we found that more and more, our clients would come to us for advice and looking for recommendations about where, how and when to make the best of the mountains for their skiing holidays. This naturally developed into us providing a "finder" service to help clients find exactly what they want with an independent view and so our portfolio now includes properties that are run by private owners and a variety of small well-established companies. We also found that providing a very personalised concierge service meant that all the boxes were ticked and our clients could enjoy every aspect of their holiday exactly as specified.
For a variety of both personal and business reasons we decided to have a complete review of things in 2016 and following some soul searching, decided to refocus our core skills and experience and downsize Alp Leisure Ltd. We took the decision to sell First Class Transport and to focus on the winter market, so we stepped back from summer villas and rationalised our chalet portfolio with a medium term plan to develop the 'chalet finder' side of our business. Using our many years of experience of the luxury skiing market, we can use this for the benefit of clients whatever their requirements, not just for our current chalet portfolio. We now operate and run just a couple of chalets in Meribel and Courchevel and continue to develop a portfolio offering a wide range of properties and services that will fulfil all of our clients requirements and expectations.
With the challenges of Covid and Brexit the future is uncertain for the "new world order" so we have re-examined the market, guarantees and service our clients are looking for and have introduced a full Covid money safe policy so Alp Leisure guests can book with confidence. Brexit has meant there are uncertainties regarding the employment of staff so we have adjusted our business model to allow for this and introduced "Ultimate A La Carte", where clients can rent a chalet without service and then add any/all services they require and we will concierge. If the current Covid pandemic is a concern for clients then the interaction with personnel can be limited and with a variety of new services springing up in the market place, any/all requirements can be catered for and arranged offering the ultimate in "Freedom to Choose".