On The Road

This French Wellness Resort Is the Closest You’ll Ever Get to a Fairy Tale

Hikari Yokoyama’s trip to Chalet Rosière is honestly a dream.

By: Emily Ramshaw

Okay, so we knew that Hikari Yokoyama lived the good life. The London-based creative consultant and artistic director (she was part of the group that founded Paddle 8) is someone who jets between her home in London and art fairs around the globe wearing designer clothes with stuff she’s found at flea markets (while we follow along via her Instagram feed). But then she told us she was visiting France’s first *wellbeing chalet*, Chalet Rosière, which was just started by friends of hers because they were over the city grind (same). The pictures and stories she sent back to us from her trip are a little surreal, if only because they’re like a new-age Slim Aarons photo come to life. Someone’s gotta do this kind of thing, right?

Click through to live the fairy tale, including yoga accompanied by live piano and a ~dreamy~ experience with cacao.


“Feeling a bit out of whack in an overworked state of mid-winter blues, I decided to go on an adventure to Chalet Rosière for a ski-and-yoga detox retreat. Chalet Rosière is nestled near La Rosière Ski Resort in France, very close to Switzerland and Italy. I was invited by Philip and Alex Volkers, who had the ingenious idea to start the first well-being chalet. We met on a summer holiday in Italy through a mutual friend; I had a broken leg at the time, and they brought me gin and tonics and kept me in good spirits with giggles and a shared nostalgia of mildly pagan puppet movies like Dark Crystal and Labyrinth. They shared with me their nascent dreams of Chalet Rosière, and I was bewitched!”

“My favourite kind of travel is when you go to a foreign landscape and manage to find a spirit guide who is genuinely passionate and knowledgeable about that particular place. Philip, a photographer, and Alex, a former model, social media marketing whiz, and law-school graduate, were fed up with the grind of London city life and decided to make a go of mountain life where Philip’s family have been going for decades. Through their own experience of shifting from the city paradigm to the alpine, it’s clear that at its essence, Chalet Rosière is a place to connect to the nature in a setting with abundantly ravaging wilderness all around.”

“These mountains inevitably invoke a majestic drama—the crisp blue skies and the sharp peaks cloaked in a mantle of pure white snow. On this trip I had the dual pleasures of adrenaline pumping through my blood as I skied over a mountain into Italy for lunch, and the tranquil glow that comes from walking quietly in the forest looking for birds.”

“Caroline Breteau on an off-piste adventure. Hopefully, if I keep my skiing up, I’ll join before too long.”

“After early-morning yoga, a day of skiing in the sunshine, and lunch on the mountain, we headed back to the chalet to absorb the benefits of the good life—nonstop mugs of herbal tea, water infused with mint, cucumber, and lemon, and stacks of good books by the fire.”

“As the sun set, we settled into restorative yoga sessions that perfectly reset those slalom-weary muscles, led by the exuberant Kelly Brooks. Ned Scott from The Egg played ethereal progressions on a Bluthner piano made in the late 1800s, a musical instrument that Philip Glass himself composed upon. My sports bra is by Sapopa and my leggings are by Monreal London.”

“My sunglasses are by Tom Ford; jacket and trousers by Moncler; and mittens by Canada Goose.”

“The chalet is at the very end of a rural lane, on the far side of a small 17th-century village with a one-room church and a mountain horse that sticks its head out its door to say hello every time you drive in. The chalet itself opens out right onto the wilderness. In the time that it takes to do a long echoing yodel into the valley walking alongside a dry stone wall, you soon pass the woodsman's cabin into a forest reminiscent of Narnia. If you listen carefully, you can almost hear the runners of the White Witch’s sleigh coasting through the snow.”

“In the field next to the chalet, Philip has built a tepee on a platform. It’s perfect for fireside meditations or a heartwarming cacao ceremony. Raw cacao was used as a ceremonial medicine as far back as 1900 BC by the Olmec people and then became a ritualistic medicine for the Aztec and Mayan people later. Cacao is chock-full of theobromine, which increases your blood flow by upping your heartbeat and dilating your blood vessels, but is no stronger than a cup of coffee. As I sipped a thick, warm substance not so different from a hot chocolate, I wondered what the effects would be. I sank into a blissful guided meditation (admittedly, I fell asleep for a moment and snored), but then awoke to a feeling of melting contentment.”

“Gluten-free vegan pancakes, coffee with homemade almond milk, and sunglasses by Cutler & Gross. The resident chef of the villa, Elly Polhill, formerly of 26 Grains in London, cooked up wildly creative vegan feasts. She also cooks meat and fish and loves the challenge of working with game. Anyone with food particularities will not be disappointed here. I am allergic to gluten, and I had no sense of missing out on anything edible. As a meat eater, I would say that this is the ideal opportunity to be a herbivore for a week—the meals are filling but never weigh you down, all the better for gliding on the snow!”

“These are a few of my favourite things: shearling-lined boots by Jimmy Choo, sunglasses by The Row x Oliver Peoples, necklace by Dior, gloves from Mouki Mou.”

“It’s hard to imagine a more perfect place to have a little adventure whilst reconnecting to nature. Both Alex and Philip have considered every detail and the offerings are sincere—they genuinely want to share what they have learned from leaving the city behind for a more mindful, peaceful way of being. Replete with every luxury of the traditional five-star boutique hotel, coming to Chalet Rosière feels like coming home, if home could be a non-stop orchestration of embodied bliss.”

Photos: Courtesy of Philip Volkers and Caroline Breteau

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