Accommodation Options on the TOUR DU MONT BLANC
There are several different types of accommodation. In the higher mountain areas, you can stay in Refuges or Mountain Huts. Some huts contain private rooms while almost all contain doirtoirs or dorm rooms. Additionally, there are gites and auberges that vary in comfort, some can provide quite nice private rooms with ensuite facilities, while others are more similar to the mountain huts. Lastly, it's possible to stay in hotels for many sections of the trek, especially when the track creeps it's way down into the valleys of Les Houches, Les Contamines, Courmayeur and Champex. located at lower elevation when compared to the mountain huts.
What are my food options?
There is a wide variety of food options on the TMB. If you are staying at refuges or auberges, many hikers opt for the half-board (or Demi-Pension) option which includes dinner when you arrive in the evening and breakfast the next day. It's possible to purchase boxed lunches as well, however the quality of the lunches does not meet the standard of the dinners, which is usually a 3 course affair. Instead, hikers pack up chocolate, trail mix and other snacks to eat during the day. Alternatively, it's possible to stop in for lunch at some of the refuges or at restaurants in the valleys you pass by.
What are the Refuges (France), Rifugios (Italy) or Mountain Huts (the English equivalent) like?
Almost all Mountain Huts feature dortoirs or dormitories. The size and quality of dorms differ greatly, even within the same hut. For example, in Rifugio Elisabetta, which is located 5 hours outside of Courmayeur, there are large dorms that fit up to 20 people. The beds are pressed close together and the sleeping arrangements can be very cramped. However, they also offer 4 to 7 person dorms with bunk beds. The beds are much farther apart and the level of noise is considerably less. The smaller rooms will cost about €10 more than the large dormitories - a small price to pay. Furthermore, their are some private rooms in the huts, however these tend to go quickly. Inquiring early is the best way to snag one of these coveted rooms.
When you arrive at the huts, most will require that you take off your boots. If it's been raining, put some newspaper inside your footwear to help soak up the moisture. After unpacking, you will probably want a shower. Almost all huts now have hot water, although a select few will make you pay for it. Dinner is actually the highlight of a stay in the mountain huts and much better than you would expect. Although Elisabetta is quite loud, the food there is some of the best of the tour. Expect hearty cheese, potato and meat dishes that will boost your energy for the next days hike.
Map of Accommodation on Tour Du Mont Blanc