Dubbed as the Portes du Soleil’s first ever genuine James Bond pad, Chalet Joux Plane is a luxury alpine property built into its private mountain location. Offering a gigantic 600m2 living experience, with a 23-meter indoor-outdoor swimming pool running the length of one end of the chalet, Joux Plane was created to allow guests to truly be at one with the mountain. The building was created by the renowned alpine architect, Herve Marullaz, and combines contemporary architecture in an unconstrained way. From the large glass atrium that dissects the middle of the chalet; to the side of the chalet that is entirely glazed offering mountain views to every part of every living space; to the dining area that is a floating mezzanine with a concrete dining table to offset the wooden interior - Chalet Joux Plane is without question, breath-taking, from the moment you first arrive. But this creation is very much down to the open-minded attitude of its owner.
Yes, Chalet Joux Plane is our first mountain home. We’d holidayed in Morzine for years. We’d looked at properties from afar, we’d looked in estate agents windows, the usual things you do when you start to like a place. Gradually we became more serious about buying. We found a few pre-existing chalets we quite liked, but the sales fell through. Finally, an estate agent asked if we would be interested in buying some land and took us to a plot on the Joux Plane. The initial plot was well located but quite small. So I said in passing ‘get us the plot next door and we’ll be interested’. They went away and did just that.
The Joux Plane is a great location because it's close to Morzine town but still very quiet and it feels unspoiled, almost agricultural and authentic. On one side of the chalet all you can hear is the stream and the woods. It’s really peaceful. The road often forms part of the famous Tour de France route and is a very famous, champion-beating ascent. As a keen cyclist, this was appealing. The plot backs onto alpine woodland and a stream and you can essentially ski in from the Morzine side if you do a little bit of off-piste.
Build me a chalet I'd be excited to stay in
Architecturally it was all down to the expertise and vision of our architect, Herve Marullaz. We were quite open-minded. Our loose brief was that we wanted it to be modern and contemporary, but it should still feel like a nice place to stay - luxury and comfort but cool and modern. I supposed other than that we just asked ourselves what we would want if we were on holiday. Obviously we wanted to make sure it was rentable in winter and summer, and that it would be somewhere we would be excited to stay.
With this brief in mind, Herve looked at the land and his eyes lit up as he realised he was, to a point, being given free reign. And he just ran with it, because the big plot allowed for that. He came up with some incredible features, like the swimming pool, which extends the far end of the chalet and allows you to swim in and out of the chalet, and the glass atrium that dissects the middle of the chalet creating incredible light throughout. In short, he knew what, and how, to build on this space.
We did not want a chalet where you got home and just sat, mountain experience over. We wanted to keep the mountain experience - at all times. We had quite a big site, and we had quite a remote site, so we wanted to create a space where you could live inside and outside the chalet. As a result, there is a lot of glass - almost one entire side of the chalet is glazed; there is a lot of light and incredible views; there is, of course, the inside-outside swimming pool. But there are also various different terraced areas, some garden that backs onto the alpine woods, an outdoor hot tub, outside table tennis. The chalet is bounded by woods, which means it’s possible to have all this open terracing and outdoor activities of swimming, hot tubs and lounging, and really embrace the outdoor space in a way that still feels really private.
With regards to the swimming pool we were not initially sure how we would combine a pool with the land and the chalet, but Herve came back with the indoor-outdoor design. I have never seen anything like that before. The pool runs along one side of the chalet, enjoying incredible views down the valley. Either end of the swimming pool is outside, the main section inside, allowing you to swim from one side of the chalet to the other, or if you prefer, just swim indoors.