Words by Maybelle Morgan
The second you arrive at Geneva airport, one thing is immediately apparent – and unavoidable. Snow. Sifted powder on the ground, fat wedges in the trees, foamy dollops on your clothing; and what’s even more arresting as a first-time skier, is the sheer volume of the stuff. Luckily, a sanctuary in the midst of all of it (and a scenic 90-minute minivan transfer away) is Rude Chalets’ Morzine offshoot, Rude Lodge - a chic budget hostel with a homely feel, right in the French Alps.
Simple and understated, the vibe is by no means luxurious, but that firmly isn’t the point of Rude. Rather than the usual grandiose chalet, the intention is to make you feel like you’re home after a long day on the piste. Don’t be put off by the dreaded words ‘shared dorm’ (3-bed, 4-bed or 6-bed), the 11 bedrooms are basic, but functional: unpretentious black metal-frame bunk beds, characterful artwork and modern showers – an entirely no-fuss procedure. If you’re not a dorm person, pay an extra £7 per person per night and upgrade to any of the six twin rooms.
The real sell is the enchanting history behind the place. Rude was previously the much loved Le Laury’s hotel, owned and run for 35 years by French Moulin Rouge dancer, Madame Laury, and French musician, Franck Wyler, before they decided to close it down in 2010. In bounded Alps chalet company, Rude Chalets (with 11 lodges across Morzine, Avioraz and Chamonix) to pick up the legacy of the place, transforming the 11 existing rooms into dorms, bunk and twin rooms. The Lodge prides itself on its laid-back atmosphere; the lobby/bar area is homely: simple wooden tables, leather sofas, with a robust wooden bar serving tasty nibbles (opt for the baked sweet potato wedges with Srirancha sauce) - this is generally where most of the guests head to upon arrival. And après-ski? Really not a concern. Perched on Rude’s doorstep, is a Le Laury’s original tack-tastic Eighties discotheque, Le Paradis, complete with a neon dancefloor. Ibiza resident DJs take to the decks all season (expect the likes of Jem Haynes, Retro Rentals, Kevin G and Friends and Andy Baxter).
Eating & Drinking: The multi-functional bar area/lobby is where drinks, breakfast, lunch and dinner take place. The real sell is the incredible breakfast - think bacon sandwiches with grilled sourdough, mango chutney and burnt onion relish.
Best room: Any of the twin rooms.
Best dish: The Banh mi – five spice crispy pork belly, kimchi, honey glaze, chilli, spring onion, coriander, hot baguette with Sriracha squeeze.
Design: Homely wooden snow haven.
What’s hot? The unbeatable price, and you have to understand that it’s not just the accommodation you’re paying for; it’s also the insider knowledge from the dedicated winter sports gurus that work at the chalet. Best ski spots? Check. Best après-ski? Check. Check. A direct tip: never order a pint, aka une bière. It’s all about a demi-bière (around a half-pint). The altitude is surprisingly incapacitating; let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
What’s not? £28pp only gets you a (mixed) dorm stay, which could get tiresome if your unfamiliar bunk buddies have a more enthusiastic view of après-ski than you, or you end up sharing with a stag party. So, gather a group of friends and make sure that you specify that you’d like to be the sole dorm occupants; or upgrade for more privacy.
Who stays: Seasoned snowboard enthusiasts, and the odd first-timer (guilty!)
Location & getting there: EasyJet, easyjet.co.uk, has return flights form London Stanstead to Geneva from £66.
A 90-minute transfer from Geneva airport (Rude Lodge organises complimentary to-and-from transfers), and then only 50 metres from the town hall. There is a bus about 5 minutes ski boot hobble away from Rude, providing free (and swift) transfers to Avioraz for that priceless piste terrain.
Number of rooms: 11.
Swimming pool: no.
Wifi: Yes, free throughout the hotel.
Type of hotel: Chic Hostel
Type of break: Winter sports getaway
Hotel Style: Modern basic
The Rude Lodge, 60 Route des Udrezants, 74110 Morzine, France, 0870 068 7030. rudechalets.com, prices start £28pp with a choice of twin, bunk, 4 bed or 6 bed dorm rooms, all ensuite.