The high mountain huts through out the alps are a mixture of alpine club and privately run huts. The hut network is seriously impressive, virtually every mountain and major route is served by a hut, some tiny bivouac shelters, and others more like mountain hotels.
All of the huts we use in the alps are of a similar standard, with catering, beds and plenty of food. The rooms have mattresses with blankets or duvets. Sometimes the bunks are arranged side by side in the more traditional huts, with perhaps four or more mattresses next to each other with another set on top. In a traditional hut like the Tete Rousse, you might have sixteen in a room, whilst in other huts they might have smaller rooms of four. Ear plugs are sometimes useful!
It’s generally warm in the rooms at night, so no need to bring sleeping bags to the huts, but most huts will want you to have a sleeping bag liner, cotton or silk. You can also hire these from the hut. Most huts below about 2600m have running water, and therefore sinks, toilets and showers (around 4€). Huts above that altitude often have to melt snow for water, so the facilities are more limited, and you’ll have to buy your water.
The huts provide some great food, and we normally book the huts on a half board basis, I.e. breakfast and dinner. Allergies and diets such as vegans etc are generally catered for, but it can be a bit bit and miss. All the huts have a bit of a bar, so buying a beer or glass of wine as a pre or post celebration is possible. They’ll do brunch/lunch and packed lunch for the mountain. The huts will fill your thermos with hot tea in the morning as well.
A lot of huts take card payments these days, but for little purchases cash is preferred. For a hut managed by an alpine club, you can get a little discount by having membership of an alpine club and a reciprocal rights card. The British Alpine club and the Austrian Alpine club both do these.
In some huts, often the Swiss ones, the extras such as water, drinks and snacks can really add up as they have to Helicopter all the supplies to the refuge. You will need to budget for that, and we can advise you at the start of the trip.