Three generations of the same family have been at the head of Hôtel de l’Arve with the same passion for hospitality and the same ambition: to update the hotel but stay true to the authentic setting and warm atmosphere which reigned over the original humble guesthouse.
The hotel’s story began in the early 20th century when a young Swiss wheelwright, Jean Knecht, moved to Chamonix with his uncle to make cartwheels. A nearby sawmill provided him with the wood he needed and his business soon flourished and he became part of the local community. In those days the valley’s residents and artisans would get together for a drink at the end of the day. The number of patrons grew day by day so young Jean decided to open a café…which soon became a favourite among locals.
He may have fallen in love with the region but Jean Knecht was also taken with one of the locals, a young woman from Les Houches. The couple got married and the newlyweds decided to turn the café into a guesthouse, La Pension de l’Arve, named after the nearby river. Success came fast. The guesthouse was always busy and got a good reputation which attracted celebrities such as the actor Maurice Baquet and famous mountaineer Gaston Rebuffat, a member of the French expedition to Annapurna in 1950.
During the 50s, Jean passed the business onto his sons Jean-Pierre and chef Charles who took over the reins. But times had changed. To rival the competition, they had to think big. It was their idea to turn this small guesthouse into a beautiful hotel in the heart of Chamonix: Hôtel de l’Arve.
This was just the beginning of big changes. When Jean-Pierre’s daughters, Isabelle and Béatrice, took over the hotel with their husbands, Joël and Bernard, they continued to update the hotel, standard, rooms and services.
Isabelle and Joël Didillon still own Hôtel de l’Arve and are still transforming the hotel. In 2011 they began building apartments to accommodate families. The couple have put Émilie Poirot in charge of managing the hotel with the same passion as the famous hotel dynasty that has been here for over a century.