Whitepod Luxury Eco-hotel, Switzerland
Will Ross, August 29, 2017
Tucked away in the south-west corner of Switzerland is Whitepod, a luxury eco-camp high that’s been standing in the Valais region of the Swiss Alps since 2004. Perched at 1400m above sea level, the camp is within striking distance of the Evian mountains, Villars ski resort and an abundance of local trails including a 700m private ski slope. As another classic example of what happens when an eco-concept meets architectural ingenuity, Whitepod takes adventure travel to new levels of comfort.
Whitepod is made up of a collection of fifteen eco-pods that blend futuristic and innovative design with the cozy comforts of your traditional chalet, ingredients that make for a surreal alpine experience. The pods are architecturally homologous to your standard igloo, the structural difference being that these pods will withstand winds up to 190 miles per hour thanks to a strong steel frame and durable canvas sheaths – the envy of any Eskimo. Equipped with a thick duvet, wash basin, oil lamp and a wood burning stove, the eco-pods present a romantic version of adventure accommodation.
Three styles of pods are available for booking. The “Cosy” style includes a king-size bed and an extra bed on a mezzanine, while a “Family” version can fit a second bed on the mezzanine. “Deluxe” is the premium offering, offering the same furnishings as the Cosy option but with extra services including breakfast delivered in the morning, a Nespresso machine, WiFi and the option of having a massage in your pod. Essentially the Deluxe option works really well if you’re snowed-in throughout your stay and really want to make the most of your accommodation.
It’s worth noting that the Whitepod complex itself guarantees at least some alpine excursion since the pods are dispersed liberally above the main “Pod-house” reception. You’ll be well prepared though, receive a backpack with a map, headlamp and walking sticks on check-in to ensure safe navigation of the hillside during your stay. Still, make sure to bring sturdy shoes and mountain-ready clothing – that way your alpine weekend is practically unavoidable.
Shared facilities include a sauna, treatment room and Les Cerniers Restaurant. The restaurant cooks up traditional cuisines with daily specials so expect mountain dishes during the winter and spit-roasted feasts in the summer. The restaurant is also where you’ll take breakfast in the morning.
As for winter activities: 700m of private groomed piste in on your doorstep, surrounded by 25km of woodland trails which you can trample by foot or on snowshoes. Skis, ski boots, snowshoes and walking sticks are provided by Whitepod at no extra cost.
In the summer the Dents du Midi mountain range is well worth exploring and if you’re feeling up for a challenge, look to hop over the French / Swiss border to Morzine which lies to the west of Whitepod. If you’re able to bring bikes, head lakeside towards Geneva and skirt the southern shore for some Evian refreshment. Nearby Verbier hosts the Trail Verbier Saint-Bernard ultra trail race in July – worth looking into timing a trip for this.
Beyond this comfort and adventure, Whitepod’s ecological efforts are notable. Wood-pellet stoves heat the pods, while water comes from a local spring. Local wine, meats, and produce are sourced as far as possible, and organic waste is separated from inorganic waste. The final feather in the cap of this alternative, eco-chic resort is the interchangeability of the pod’s exterior itself – white in the winter, and camo green in the summer.
Getting to Whitepod
Swiss Trains run a service every hour to nearby Aigle from Geneva, taking roughly 80 minutes. From Aigle, catch the AOMC (bus) to Monthey, then the Postal bus to Cerniers. The bus stop is 500m from Chalet des Cerniers, Whitepod’s Home-pod reception. Drive time from Geneva International Airport is 90 minutes total.