Mountain Accommodation Guide

There are a number of factors to think about when booking an Alpine holiday. One of these is the mountain accommodation. If you have never stayed in an Alpine hut and want to know what to expect, then read on.

Hotel Accommodation

On an ‘Alpine Walks’ holiday, all the hotels that we use have been used by us every year for the past 5 years.

Each on is typical of the region and country, with an emphasis on being a historic part of the town or village in which they are based.

Many are family owned and run. We don’t use hotel chains, our hotel hosts have a vested interest in ensuring warm friendly hospitality and that your stay with them is enjoyable.

The film clip below gives you a flavour for the hotel we use in Chamonix Hotel Facilities.

Hotels are generally 2 or 3 star rated, this helps us offer a trip with a good amount of comfort without making the trip more expensive.

All the prices quoted on the website are based on shared twin room accommodation. All the rooms have a private bathroom.

The hotels we use have a restaurant (usually dinner and breakfast, unless on arrival/departure days). Most hotels can also prepare packed lunches for the following days trek. Your guide or your self guided notes will remind you of this option as you’ll need to order packed lunches usually by 6 pm on arrival at the hotel.

Single rooms

If you have a preference for a single room then please tell us when you book and we will arrange this for you. Pleased be advised that the hotels normally charge a supplement for this. We do not add anything to the cost of your trip other than the supplement the hotel quote.

Family rooms

Some hotels have family rooms. If you are a small private group or family, tell us if you’d prefer this option and we will try to arrange this with your booking.

Prefer something more luxurious?

If you’d prefer to have access to a Gym, Swimming Pool or Sauna during your overnight stays, then let us know. Some of the larger hotels can provide these amenities.

Alpine Mountain Huts

What is a Mountain hut?

In the European Alps Mountain huts are known as ‘Refuges’ in France, ‘Cabanes’ in Switzerland and ‘Rifugio’s’ in Italy. Most of the ones you will come across on ‘Alpine Walks’ are manned by a Guardian or team of Guardians. Guardians will occupy huts on a weekly basis, throughout the summer season, or might live there for the entire working season. Guardians do all the jobs that running a hotel would entail, from checking you in to cooking your evening meal, they are very busy hard working people.

What facilities do they provide?

Huts can sleep up to 70 people a night, generally in dormitory style accommodation, usually in bunk beds. There is usually a dinning room where you can also purchase alcoholic or other drinks, outside of meal times. Other facilities include toilets and showers. The showers are subject to water supply and quite often a good supply of sunlight to power the solar panel heaters for the showers. There is a drying room and a boot store where you can exchange your boots for hut slippers or crocs on arrival. You’ll usually find a good supply of books about the alps, sometimes some board games and usually a stove or fireplace to sit by.

Staying in a typical hut

On an ‘Alpine Walks’ holiday, we always book our clients in as ‘Half Board’. As a result you receive a generous 3 course evening meal, a bed in the dormitory (which nowadays has a duvet and pillow) and breakfast the following morning. Please note you do need to hire or bring your own sleeping sheet!

When you arrive at your hut and check in, you should tell the guardian if you would like a packed lunch for the following day – these are a good idea if you know you won’t be passing a hut at lunch time or would rather picnic away from crowds.

The image below shows the Refuge Mottet, on the Tour du Mont Blanc. Duncan took this picture on his very first Tour du Mont Blanc back in September 1998.

Mountain hut sleeping arrangements

‘Alpine Walks’ provides bespoke guided and self guided trips, so where possible, we like to offer our clients the option of more private and perhaps quieter rooms in huts, subject to availability. Some huts don’t have private rooms, others do but it depends if they are still free when you book.

Where private rooms are available, they are usually twin or quadruple rooms. Huts will only accept bookings for private rooms from parties travelling together in even numbered groups. You cannot reserve a two person room for single occupancy like you can at a hotel, even if you offer to pay for two spaces.

When booking with ‘Alpine Walks’, please tell us if you would like private or family rooms and we will endeavour to meet your requirements. Huts normally charge an additional 6-10 euro per person in a family room and 10-15 Euro per night per person for twin rooms.

Other things to consider when staying in a Mountain Hut

  • Ear plugs and eye masks – these may help you sleep better in a dormitory. Lights out/quiet time is generally after 9pm. Some people start moving around as early as 6am!
  • Mobile phones – don’t expect to get a signal or wifi access at a hut. Some huts only source of power is a generator. Power sockets generally don’t exist or are is short supply. You should not rely on getting access to such luxuries.
  • Sleeping sheets (like a sleeping bag to go between the mattress and duvet) – you can bring your own or hire one each night from the hut guardian (usually anything from 3-8 euro per night). If you are doing the whole tour in huts its probably more economical to purchase one in an outdoor shop in Chamonix. Cotton ones normally cost around 20 euro or you can pay double and splash out on a silk one.
  • Indoor footwear – huts usually provide ‘slippers’ or croc’s. Just be aware that if you arrive late you may not get a size that fits. Walking around in a hut in boots is forbidden, and it’s not recommended to just to wear socks – you are likely to slip on the wooden staircases!