There are places you just must explore yourselves. Imagine our ‘struggle’ to blog about the Whitepod Eco Luxury Hotel. After a warm welcome of the staff at the reception, we start with our walk of 20 minutes through the snow to arrive at the ‘pods’. The nature around us is overwhelming: forest, trails, slopes and fields are just what you dream of in the mountains.

When we finally arrive after this blissful trek, we notice that the pods are actually well-designed comfortable tents. They have immense views over the mountains, the valley and a bit of Geneva Lake and they sure are comfortable, all ecological, with great facilities and warm in the Winter. The fireplace already heated our igloo as we set foot inside. The tent has a double bed for us and on the top of the bathroom two mattresses for the girls. There’s no Wi-Fi in our pod, but that’s not what we are coming for. We all immediately realize: this is an incredible setting!

 On our way to the pod

On our way to the pod

As we are lucky to arrive with clear weather, the kids immediately take the afternoon for sledding the surrounding hills. There are lots of sledges and snowshoes to be used and afterwards we enjoy the main communal room, the Pod-house. It has some really nice pictures on the walls and is a great place to hang out, play games or watch a movie. We honour the bar system at teatime: you can have free coffee, tea and drinks for the kids. One day we are having some nice bites, the other day the staff prepared a chocolate fondue; a total treat. Below the house you will find a nice large sauna and shower area. But you can also choose to have a (family) massage in your own pod.

 Settling in, in our comfy pod

Settling in, in our comfy pod

Going for the main restaurant Les Ceniers is an adventure itself since it’s the same way down but now in complete darkness. We sure can use the survival backpack we got at arrival. Three headlights are found, just as snowshoes in case of harsh weather, some emergency food and an umbrella. Not knowing what to expect we decide to take it all. Half hour later we step out; yes, it takes a while to get the whole family ready to go in snow clothes. Three lights are switched on. Mum must stay close by not to get lost as she’s the only one without a headlamp; it’s really dark up here in the mountains. A positive side effect is that we pay more attention to the dozens of lovely lights down in the valley. Full of laughter we slide our way down and enjoy the restaurants‘ offering. It’s adjusted to the season with a good place to warm our snow clothes and a nice fireplace in the middle. The menu is fine, but don’t expect a lot of healthy choices for the children over here. Also for little children you might not always chose the hike to the restaurant, in that case “pod”service can be delivered by snow bike.

 View when it's not completely dark

View when it's not completely dark

Next day we find a note that due to weather conditions the slopes for skiing are closed. You could see the disappointment on the faces of our girls when they assume the husky sledding wouldn’t be able to do as well. Followed by cries of happiness when the staff tells us it will continue! It’s kind of hard to keep their attention during breakfast. Such a pity since this was a delight – a charming little restaurant with a rustic feel. We are welcomed with freshly baked breads and croissants, homemade jellies, farm fresh eggs and bacon, orange juice you squeeze yourself, fresh fruit salad, gourmet coffee, teas and hot chocolate, and an assortment of cheeses and meats.

Just as we finish our second or maybe third cup of cappuccino, they run out and find their way home to prepare for the ride. Luckily, we got enough time, for it’s kind of a climb to get to the starting point. There we meet them: 13 beautiful and exciting Huskies, waiting for their next ride. And there we go: right through the woods, down and up; we admire the dogs working together to get the job done. Even our youngest daughter, who’s not very fond of dogs in general, found her friend: an unforgettable ride.

 Teamwork in front of us

Teamwork in front of us

As for other activities: the domain has its own ski slopes (red and blue) which are exclusively open for its guests. You can rent snow-scoots, combining biking and snowboard. Or use the traditional sledge.

In both Winter and Summer, one can admire the Swiss Alps by paragliding. A certified pilot is attached to you. Hiking with dogs is possible in every season. Summer here, when you can hear the cow bells, should be just as good. Located at the foot of the Dents-du-Midi mountain range, there’s 25 km of hiking trails to discover. This includes a nice family hike; a guide and storyteller will lead you into the forest. An alternative is to challenge the mountain by bike. Check out dog-karting, or as we would love to experience: dog scooter, a kick scooter pulled along by a dog. From Friday till Sunday Shetland ponies are available for a ride (upon 5 years). As from 14 years you can go for horse riding. Two tennis fields are available. And badminton, table tennis, giant chess and various games for all ages are waiting for you at the Pod-house. With children it might also be great to take the train from Geneva for a stunning ride around the lake. And next year they will probably figure out even more activities to do.

WOW

# An amazing feeling right from the start: stunning views and nature, ecological and first-class camping.

# We thoroughly recommend this place for those looking for a bit of adventure and something completely different. And lots of other children to play with.

# When skiing is not possible, you don’t have to be bored: there’s a wide range of activities to do in and around the mountains. Don’t forget to spend time with the huskies one way or another.

This property can also be booked through www.i-escape.com/whitepod.