What a setting! You’re in the old part of the village of Val Ferret, three kilometres from Courmayeur, in sight of Mont Blanc, surrounded by gentle terraces, gardens, meadows and majestic views. The Auberge has a quietly elegant and exclusive feel yet is not in the least intimidating, thanks to the cheerful (and efficient) staff. Bedrooms are uncluttered, stylish and comfortable with mellow colours. Many have a third bed disguised as a sofa; nearly all have balconies and the views ranging from good to superb. A Tuscan influence is detectable in the décor; the owner is passionate about the region. Her impressive collection of images of the Valle d’Aosta, from old promotional posters to oil paintings, makes a fascinating display, while a reassembled wooden mountain house is a most unusual feature of the reception and sitting area. There’s a wellness centre, too, with a sauna and hydromassage. Come in any season: to fish for trout or play a round of golf, or to ski (right to the ski lift) or don crampons for a winter ascent.