“Magical winter and summer eco-camp in remotest Switzerland, with stunning views, ample activities and a real back-to-nature vibe”
In the winter, activities range from gentle snow-shoe walking to husky sledding, while in summer people come to hike in the meadows, mountain bike or spot wild flowers. Year-round, you’ll be drawn to Restaurant Les Cerniers, where tasty fondues and delicious local produce are served alongside a roaring fire. Each pod is surprisingly spacious, at 38sqm, and there are Family Pods, too. You get a variety of luxuries inside, from a toasty wood-burning stove to a fully equipped shower room. It’s not quite 4-star but it certainly qualifies as glamping, Swiss-style.
- Gorgeous, homey pods (the Deluxes have nice extras, too). Falling asleep in the warm glow of our wood-burner was heavenly
- Vast views stretch in front of every pod, across the Rhone Valley to Villars, Leysin and even Lake Geneva; at night you get a magical combination of twinkling stars and the lights of Monthey in the valley
- Impeccable eco credentials and private slopes (suited to beginner and intermediate levels) make for a unique ski holiday
- A wonderfully romantic back-to-nature hideaway with a sauna, spa treatments and great food - outdoorsy couples will fall head over heels!
- And it's suited to families, too: there are mezzanine sleeping areas, and kids will love the ample, safe outdoor space
- The snowmobiles used for carrying logs and luggage can be noisy, and the pods are quite close together, so you are aware if your neighbours are in - but that’s camping
- Walking around the camp is icy and perilous in winter - you need really good, grippy shoes (or you can use the snowshoes that are supplied)
- In winter, it’s perfect for a short break or long weekend - no more, as there’s not very much to do. There's heaps on offer in the summer though
- It's a 15-minute walk from reception to the camp, and you'll have to carry your luggage during summer as the snowmobiles are not available
- It’s not cheap and the total cost is charged upon confirmation of booking - see Rates
Best time to go
Our top tips
- Boutique Tented Camp
- Restaurant and bar
- All ages welcome
- Open all year
- Pet Friendly
- Disabled Access
- Beach Nearby
- Off-street Parking
- Restaurants Nearby
- Air Conditioning
- Guest Lounge
- Concierge Service
- Snowshoes/ski equipment
Each pod is made of a robust steel frame clad in white canvas, which is layered with green camouflage in summer, meaning it has minimal visual impact on the landscape. They are also covered in 3 layers of PVC to minimise heat loss; this, combined with the romantic wood-burners, means they’re genuinely toasty in winter. Inside, expect chairs covered in cosy sheepskin rugs, and deerskins on the floor. The furniture is unique to each pod and is mostly sourced from local flea markets and artisans. We had lovely antique wooden armchairs, and rough-hewn tree stumps for bedside tables.
The pods are all furnished with organic luxury bedding, and armchairs and desks located in front of the huge ‘window’. You also get a mezzanine sleeping level, accessed via a ladder, and panoramic wooden decks for sitting out on when it’s not too chilly. Each has a bathroom positioned behind the bed, complete with shower (on an eco-timer, of course), sink, loo, eco toiletries and even a hairdryer.
Family Pods have extra space for kids while Deluxe Pods have extra luxuries: satellite TVs, Nespresso coffee machines, minibars and free WiFi.
Crocs are supplied for walking around in (sanitised for each new guest) and a backpack of kit is handed to you on arrival, which comes thoughtfully stuffed with a map, a pair of binoculars and a head torch (crucial for walking around outside in the dark). The pods also have walkie-talkies for contacting reception - no in-room landlines or wall-mounted TVs here.
- Cots Available
- Extra beds
- Walkie-talkie, head torch and binoculars
Whitepod has a superb restaurant on top of the reception area, 15 minutes down the hill from the camp. It is called Restaurant Les Cerniers, after the immediate area surrounding Whitepod, and it serves utterly delicious traditional lunch and dinner options such as cheese fondue and Valais cold cuts, as well as an excellent à la carte menu. During our stay we dined on a wonderfully cheesy endive tarte tatin with Roquefort, followed by possibly the best slow-cooked belly pork we’ve ever sampled, then coffee with a cute selection of mini desserts including pistachio mousse and truffles. Quite delicious. Not surprisingly, it is run commercially so non-Whitepod locals can book a table, too.
The restaurant policy is true to the Whitepod philosophy. It uses local wine and seasonal produce; local suppliers are used first and other European suppliers only if necessary. The restaurant is open daily in July and August, and Sunday to Thursday for the rest of the year; there are more eateries within a 10-minute drive.
The restaurant can also do vegetarian options and even offers ‘pod service’ (their version of room service), delivering salads and cold cuts via snowmobile.
Breakfast is served in the Pod House in the middle of the camp and consists of a buffet-style selection of fresh pastries, creamy yoghurts, fruit, local cold cuts and cheeses, plus a small number of hot options. Guests staying in the Deluxe Pods get breakfast brought to their room each day. The Pod House also has an informal bar and games area, and serves a complimentary afternoon tea of hot drinks and pastries daily.
- Afternoon tea
- Children meals
- Room service
- Vegetarian menu
- Go for an exclusive ski on Whitepod’s 2 private slopes, set beside the camp and accessed by drag lifts - great for beginners and intermediate levels (free ski equipment and lessons available for an additional charge)
- If you fancy more ambitious, extensive skiing, head to Champery in the mighty Portes du Soleil ski area (just half an hour away) - but most people come to Whitepod to escape the crowded pistes
- Clip on your snowshoes (which are provided in your pod), grab your walking poles, and head off into the snowy wilderness. Hire a guide if you feel you can’t navigate your way or would like on-the-hoof lessons in the local flora and fauna
- Try husky sledding in the pretty woods around the camp or, if you're feeling adventurous, have a go at cani-cross. This is basically snowshoeing while being pulled along by a dog (attached via a harness). Great fun
- Go paragliding - take a tandem flight with an expert, lasting 20-40 minutes (depending on the weather), and see Whitepod and its beautiful surroundings from the air
- If you’ve never tried cross-country skiing, this is the perfect spot. There are some lovely, unchallenging trails near the camp, and it’s the best way to enjoy the scenery while burning heaps of calories
- Snowscooting is a cross between biking and snowboarding; Whitepod has 6 for you to try
- Go hiking. There are 25km of sign-posted trails in and around the camp, incorporating stunning high-mountain terrain with knock-out views
- Hire a mountain bike and cycle down some of the nearby slopes, as fast or as slow as you wish
- If you fancy a fun excursion along the mountain trails, try dog karting. This is like dog sledding but on wheels, and you have the choice of either driving the kart yourself or simply being a passenger
- Attend a wild-plant cooking class. Go foraging with a local wildlife expert then learn how to cook up the ingredients into something super-fresh, healthy and delicious
- Whitepod has open-air badminton and pétanque (sort of like French bowls, with metal balls), and who can resist a game of ping-pong? There's even a giant outdoor chess set
Activities on site or nearby include:
- Cooking classes
- Hot air ballooning
- Mountain biking
- Plantlife / flora
- Private guided tours
i-escape's Best for Kids Awards 2014
Winner: Best For Adventure
This eco camp is perfect for a memorable family holiday - the setting is spectacular and there is heaps to do both in summer and winter. Children under 12 can stay for free in the pods; they are just charged for breakfast. There are sledges, board games in the Pod House, and a cinema room which shows films and web TV when the weather is bad. Note only one rollaway bed or cot is permitted to be added to a pod.
Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)
Family friendly accommodation:
The Pods are all the same size but the Family Pods can take two additional children. Kids sleep on cute, totally secure, cordoned-off mezzanine platforms on top of the pod bathrooms. Whitepod recommends they should be at least 8 years old to sleep there. Baby cots can be supplied free of charge for little ones, and those between 3 and 7 years are best sleeping in with their parents.
- Packed lunches can be provided on request
- High chair available on request
- Play area provided at the restaurant
Kids Activities on site:
- Cani-hike - hike mountain trails attached to a sledge dog by a harness - kids under 14 are attached in pairs, or with an adult, to the dog
- Dog karting - a team of 4-6 dogs is attached to a summer kart which can take a family of 3 along the trails
- Open-air badminton
- Giant chess set
- Table tennis
- Cinema projection room
- Board games
Kids Activities nearby:
- Skiing (Whitepod has 7km of red & blue ski slopes and 2 ski lifts exclusively for guests)
- Cross-country skiing
- Hiking along 25km of signposted trails
- Learn to navigate and orient yourselves on the mountain in winter
- Lakeside walks
- Mountain biking
- Thermal baths
- Nature reserves
Families Should Know:
Access to the pods is on foot; in winter the thick snow means strollers or prams are more a hindrance than a help. The Pods are heated by wood-burning stoves and the guests are responsible for adding fuel.
- Airport: 90 minutes
- Hospital: 20 minutes
- Shops: 15 minutes