Les Etincelles may be new, but – due to rapid expansion fuelled by an ambitious investment plan – it is already the largest luxury hospitality operator in the French Alps, with a collection of over 35 hotels, chalets and residences in high altitude, snow-sure resorts. Many of the properties are ski in-ski out, with all being less than 200 metres from the slopes.
Officially, Les Etincelles launched in September 2021, but its roots extend back to 2013 when one of the founding partners Guerlain Chicherit (who hails from Tignes and was four times the World Champion Freerider in the late 90s and 00s) built Chalet Quezac in Tignes Les Brévières. More chalets followed leading to the creation of Carte Blanche, a chalet management company.
Nicolas Chatillon joined forces with Guerlain in early 2018, helping to expand Carte Blanche, before the birth of Les Etincelles, an umbrella company overseeing the management of all the hotels, chalets and residences owned by Whitegold Hospitality, which is the investment and construction arm of the business.
Les Etincelles already incorporates 10 hotels, 15 chalets, 12 restaurants and 7 residences in three resorts: Tignes, Le Plagne and Val d’Isère. Some of the hotels, such as VoulezVous which launched in Tignes le Lac in December 2021 and Tetras Lodge which opened in Tignes Les Brévières in February 2022, are new builds, while others including Le Levanna in Tignes le Lac have already been extensively renovated and the rest are marked for refurbishment in the near future.
The imminent integration of Lodge & Spa Collection’s three luxury properties, which are located in Val Thorens, Arc 2000 and Alpe d’Huez, into the group will further expand Les Etincelles’ footprint in the French Alps. By the end of 2026, the group is aiming to operate 30 hotels, as well as 100 chalets (half of which they will own, half of which will be managed on behalf of other owners) and 20 residences. Les Etincelles currently has 25 projects of 100,000 m² on the go (all in high-altitude resorts, including – in addition to those already mentioned – La Rosière and Les Deux Alpes) that will be completed within the next five years.
Les Etincelles aims to have a property to suit every kind of luxury guest, whether travelling as a couple, with friends or family, in search of tranquillity or a lively atmosphere, and whether seeking a more traditional hotel, a contemporary build or one of the exquisite unique chalets, with each having their own striking, imaginative interiors that provide amazing levels of comfort, as well as a full concierge service.
Additionally, Nicolas Chatillon, CEO of Les Etincelles, says: “We have a vision to build sustainably, to renovate where we can, rather than to new-build and to make our buildings fit in to the environment, at high altitude and in snow-sure destinations. In the future, with spa and well-being a priority we may look to lake-side properties and mountain destinations with a great range of summer activities, but right now the snow-sure resorts are priority.”
While Guerlain Chicherit adds: “We want to create a ‘wow’ factor for all our guests, whether adults or children, when they enter our properties. We want them to have an exceptional experience with tailor-made services, so that they can enjoy a real holiday!”