After a well deserved one night’s rest in Montreux, we woke up to enjoy the fresh morning air and had a last view of Lake Geneva before we bade farewell to this quaint town and made our way to the wonderful eco resort – Whitepod Resort, Switzerland located in an area – Les Cerniers, a short 45 minutes drive away.
After a rather long and windy drive up the mountains to Whitepod, we finally reached it. We didn’t bear much expectations of snow, as the resident manager had already informed us prior to the trip that the snow was looking rather dismal and it seemed snow was rather late this time round around the whole of Europe. We were still hoping for a miracle though somehow.
First views of the Alps from the base camp of Whitepod.
We barely had time to check in properly before we had to rush for our cani-cross activity first. Due to the lack of snow, unfortunately my dream of skiing out from my pod, or doing dog sledding or tobogganing was tossed out immediately, and I had to settle for an activity which I wasn’t quite sure about.
Hiking guide with her German Shepherd guide and the huskies for Cani-cross.
Our new friends for the 1 hour activity.
Cani-cross is essentially hiking up with cute huskies leading us with a harness around our waist and strapped to them. A lady came with a few huskies and set us up quickly, each one to one dog. Yes, sounds like the hike should be a breeze, since the huskies are doing most of the work? Well, you are mistaken, this 1 hour fun exercise proved to be not such a good idea after all. The grounds were slushy and muddy from ice formed and not enough snow, and all of us fell a few times along the way, and in the end, Y and I opted to walk the remaining 30 mins without the husky strapped to us.
Walking up the sadly very green grounds of Whitepod.
Walking through the slushy muddy grounds with the huskies.
Enjoying the view during cani-cross.
Walking down the dry grounds is definitely much easier than going uphill.
After a rather tiring cani-cross walking for an hour, we had a quick lunch at their Les Cerniers restaurant, indulging in a hearty black truffle fondue and hot soup before heading to the reception to check in properly.
Reception with some cheery Christmas decorations.
We noticed the temperature indicated was 6 degrees celsius which is WARM for this time of the year, yes that explains the sad lack of snow.
Rather ‘warm’ for this time of the year at Whitepod. Our pod surroundings sadly doesn’t look anything like this picture.
Yann, the resident manager, whipped out an Ipad and orientated us with a detailed picture slideshow of Whitepod, its facilities as well as what’s available in the Pod, as there wasn’t going to be anyone bringing us directly to the Pod. I would have hoped for that given we were paying rates similar to a 6 star hotel. But to be fair, the explanation was pretty detailed and I liked the Ipad orientation.
Yann, one of the resident managers giving us an orientation of Whitepod.
Next, we were given one of these haversacks hanging on the wall, which comprised of essentials like anti-slip snow chains for our shoes, torchlight for our hikes up and down each day. And also ski poles – not to ski, but to aid us in balancing given the slippery icy slopes.
We were then off on our way up the same slope that we just came back from our cani-cross activity (AARGH!!) After a 20 minutes walk up, which seemed much longer than that, we finally got up to our glamp Pod – lucky no. 7, which was just above the Pod-house. Given this is the place we have to come to for breakfast and tea daily and houses the sauna plus massages, thank goodness we were near this. Plus importantly, the staff helped to carry our luggage up, otherwise I think we would have collapsed having to walk up the slope with all that load.
An exclusive 15 pods in Whitepod.
Whitepod only has 15 exclusive pods situated around the central Pod-house, and at around 1400m in altitude. Each pod is shaped almost like an igloo, and is rather spacious with the ability to sleep up to 4 people, as they have a mezzanine floor above the toilet where kids can sleep up there.
And no fear, the pods are well-insulated, each with their own wood-burning stove which explains the chimney like structure sticking out of every pod. And the staff loads up lots of wood logs daily in the log shelters near the pods, for us to help ourselves to, if we ever run out of wood. For those that worry about wi-fi, well the wi-fi is free but only available in the Pod-house, Les Cerniers chalet or if you don’t mind paying more to stay in one of the 2 newly fitted deluxe pods.
Log shelters provided near each pod for the fireplace.
Pitched on a wooden deck, which allows us residents to relax on our own ‘balcony’, they are constructed as such for ease of taking down and reassembled when needed, so that it has little impact on their environment. Interestingly, we understood that the tents are covered in green canvases in summer and white in winter to help them integrate effortlessly with the environment and landscape.
Our Pod – lucky No.7.
Taking some selfies in our own pod ‘balcony’.
Being a yogi bear, balancing on the cold ledge of my pod balcony.
There’s a red cup next to our tent no, which we invert down to denote that we are inside the tent, so that the staff won’t disturb us. We couldn’t wait to zip open the tent and see what awaited us in these cozy igloo like pods. I noted a his and hers crocs shoes which probably R and Y needs it more than me. Great for wearing around the pod compound rather than wearing those heavy winter shoes.
The pod was surprisingly spacious, with all the modern amenities of a hotel. I loved the cozy duvet like covering on the inner part of the tent, and the 2 duvets provided on the bed, so that none of us have to fight for the blanket in the middle of the cold winter night. I found it pretty comfortable and Y & I slept pretty well through the night, probably thanks to R waking up a few times to replenish the wood for the fire.
Go-Pro view of our pod from the toilet side.
The snuggy sheep lined chairs near the ‘window’ of the pod gives me a great anchor view of the pods below us and the beautiful skies in the great beyond.
The toilet was surprisingly big, with traditional wooden fittings. As it gets quite chilly, they also provided a electric heater to keep us nice and warm when we are bare naked coming out from the showers. Given how eco-conscious Whitepod is, their water source is piped directly from the mountain above, which means the water is fresh enough to drink direct.
They encourage us not to waste water here. Each Pod only has a hot water reserve of 150 litres per day, and thanks to their installation of water-saving shower heads, a 5 minutes eco shower in Whitepod only needs 60 litres of water as compared to the standard 100-150 litres.
Save water – toilet signage explains it all.
In the late afternoons, after we have ventured around the nearby town of Monthey and beyond, we would come by to the Pod-house to relax and chat with the duty staff, who are all really friendly and helpful. One thing we noticed is how everyone here from the GM to the ground staff are so lean and fit, and they joked that they have to, given how much they walk up and down from the base of the resort to the pods daily.
In the Podhouse, enjoying some drinks in the evening.
We had dinner at the Les Cerniers restaurant on our first night, but opted to stay out late enough to eat out on the 2nd night, so that we could avoid walking up and down to the restaurant, as we really dreaded the hike up and down. I think we got rather traumatised especially after R fell a few times walking down. So we kinda cheated on the last night by driving our car up to the nearest point near our pod, so that we could cut down the walking distance (shhsh, don’t tell anyone we did this!).
The resort was surprisingly running full capacity despite the rather dismal snow, I guess everyone was hoping like us to have seen a snow covered resort, so the breakfast hall gets really busy. The buffet breakfast is really quite simple and nothing to shout about, but what’s priceless was sitting out in the balcony of the pod-house having our freshly squeezed orange juice and croissant.
At 640 swiss francs a night to stay in one of these pods, it’s not exactly cheap, although I appreciate Whitepod’s gesture of giving us a discount after we gave feedback about the rather unenjoyable cani-cross activity. The biggest drawback about staying here was having to walk up the perilous icy slopes everyday for a good 20-30 mins (depending on how tired we were) up and down from our pod to the base of the resort.
Saying my goodbye to Whitepod.
Otherwise, it was quite a novel idea to stay in these cozy glam pods for 2 nights, and I would recommend it if you are adventurous and want a taste of glamping, plus enjoy the endless views here in this part of Switzerland. If you want to come to Whitepod Resort Switzerland and ‘RELAX’, then I would say please think again. It’s relaxing IN the pod, but not getting TO and FROM the pod, as I have mentioned before. Let’s put it this way, our muscles were well warmed up for our ski trip by the end of our 2 nights here.
Les Giettes, Les Cerniers, 1871 Monthey, Switzerland
Tel:+41 24 471 38 38