At Hotel de L’Alpage, situated in the scenic Tateshina highlands of Nagano, guests can experience the sophisticated charms of France with all five senses. It’s a place intended for epicurean pleasure, where visitors can savor refined yet comforting dishes in a luxurious setting. Designed to evoke a French mansion and located on the site of a former noble residence, the hotel provides a perfect backdrop for partaking in rarefied elegance, soaking in the picturesque mountain scenery of Japan while enjoying food, wine, architecture and art from thousands of miles away.

A Fully French Experience  

Entering the hotel, one feels transported to a charming estate in France. It’s a purely French experience, from the art adorning the walls to the glistening antique chandeliers — all imported from Europe — to the refined architectural flourishes that reference 18th- and 19th-century France: a “winter garden” style solarium ceiling in the lobby, a sensuous and dark bar lined with shelves of art books and luxurious rooms outfitted in shades of rose, mint and pale blue.

At the hotel’s in-house restaurant, Le Jardin, visitors can fully immerse themselves in the culture of French cuisine; the menu consists of classic dishes, made with produce from both Nagano and France, served simply yet sophisticatedly in a lush, airy dining room with high ceilings. The restaurant has a concept of “fine dining to be enjoyed every day.” Rather than overwhelming with an overabundance of ostentatious dishes, dinners at Le Jardin are four courses, each of which is prepared with intense care, to be savored to the fullest and remembered forever.  

The hotel also boasts a vast wine cellar, with over 2,000 French wines, as well as an extensive list of rare French liqueurs that can be enjoyed before or after one’s meal in the sumptuous Bar Le Rêve. Adjoining the bar is a cigar room, where visitors can unwind after their modest feast with an imported cigar and a glass of cognac.

Beyond Fine Dining

In line with the philosophy of gastronomy, having a meal is not only about what one eats but also the atmosphere, the hospitality and the way in which one enjoys their food, late into the night. The table becomes a place for dazzling conversation, ensconced in beautiful surroundings and laden with an array of drinks that lighten the mood and complement each dish.

Since Hotel de L’Alpage only has 12 rooms, it feels uniquely homey and comfortable — like visiting the home of a French friend who happens to have perfect taste in food, wine and interior design — and the staff are incredibly attuned to each guest’s needs and preferences. Settling into one’s room after dinner brings the promise of a beautiful mountain view in the morning, not to mention breakfast served in a dining room bathed in sunlight.  

It’s a sublimely serene and relaxing experience, one that you’ll find yourself wanting to repeat; unsurprisingly, many visitors to the hotel are repeat guests, who’ve been enchanted by this unique window into the French lifestyle.  

To make a reservation, visit the Hotel de L’Alpage website.