Got back yesterday (30/03/2014) from a week at L'Ours Brun with extended family. 6 children, 1 baby, 6 adults (2 OAP non-skiers). Our Host was Abigail (Abbie) and could not fault her. Although young and this was her first season, she was calm and controlled throughout our stay. No hint of inexperience at all. We were all thoroughly impressed with her.
Only thing I could say is: there was too much food for us to eat, and we didn't do enough justice to the lovely cakes that Abbie made everyday. We also noticed that she ended up throwing food away that we didn't eat. Might be best to mention it to the hosts to SAVE any food that you think you might be able to eat later. (E.g. sausages/bacon uneaten from breakfast time saved to eat with bread at lunchtime!) Not really sure if they're allowed to do it - but surely better than being thrown in the bin.,..
The rooms are small, but we didn't spend any time in them except sleeping - so perfectly adequate, Single wardrobe with 4 shelves, hanging space inside and another large shelf above that that I dumped several pieces of hand luggage on. Had to hoist the suitcases on top of the wardrobe itself after unpacking, as no viable space elsewhere to store them - but no big deal. Plenty of space in the wardrobe for a week's stay for 2 people.
We spent most of our time when not skiing sitting around reading, playing on tablets and chatting. We never turned the TV on once, although if anyone was an avid TV fan - they might find it a little small. You need to get usernames/passwords for the available WiFi from your Rep.
The Internet speed via Wifi is pretty poor. (No good for online gaming, if you're into that!). However general web surfing shouldn't be a problem. We had about 15 devices connected at once and there wasn't much (if any) grumbling.
If you have beginners in your group. DON'T be pressured into buying Lift Passes for everyone from day one. My wife and kids didn't really need lift passes until Day 3-4. They spent those in the Nursery area, and running down the "free" carpetlift runs around Arcs 2000.
I believe the Lanchettes lift in 2000 is free, and takes you to Black,Red,Blue runs. The St. Jacques lift is free on Saturday/Sunday and takes you to Blues I think (my wife was most at home on the runs that took her to). You can buy a separate pass for the St. Jacques I think.
My advice: check with Instructors for anyone taking lessons, so you can be assured to buy the right pass at the right time. Our rep. would have had us buy passes for EVERYONE on the way to the resort from the airport and this would have been a waste of money.
Those of us without equipment booked in advance through "Intersport" and found their service fantastic. My wife had to change her boots to a slightly different size later (being an over pronator), but the rest of us had no problems: and would recommend their friendly professional service. Would use them without hesitation.
The ski shop in Chalet de L'Ours itself seemed to have less equipment variety when we popped in. Not sure what their rental side is like though. I'd prefer the walk to Intersport rather than the shop "on the doorstep" because of that. Their online price was also cheaper - once you included everything you wanted (helmets).
If you need to shop for food oddments e.g. for lunch: don't use the shops in Arcs 2000. They are over-priced. Go to the Spar in Arcs1950 (quick, free trip down the Cabriolet Gondola from Arcs2000).
We only ate out a couple of times. Once at the Savoy in Arcs2000 - which was friendly; but seemed pricey and some of us commented on it being "pretentious" (although I personally didn't notice). Other time we tried Chez Eux, which we really liked and seemed good food and reasonably priced. Some of our party went back there.
We intended to try Los Chicanos and Kilimanjaro, as these sounded good "on paper". I believe these were checked on TripAdvisor with horrendous reviews - so we didn't go. I recall something about Los Chicanos as being rated "the worst mexican restaurant on the planet".... So.. worth checking.
We accessed the Swimming Pool over in Chalet Altitude via the underground car park. (There will be a sheet of paper in the Chalet giving the current "access code" for the lock.) It has a communal changing room, although there are a couple of showers/toilet with a lockable door that you can use to dry/change in privacy where required.
None of us tried the sauna. There are 3 "lounger" style chairs and 3 regular chairs for spectators.
It feels a bit of a "trek" to/from the Chalet to the slopes if you are "new" to skiing and need to go up the lift instead of the small "button" drag lift. Not so bad if there is snow and you can ski down the road to the lift instead of walking.
During this last week Snow was fantastic. Big snowfalls happening when we arrived, and persisting the next 2 days. Then brightened up and was VERY sunny. Weather forecasts said even more Snow was due - but it never arrived. Consequently, the slopes were getting icy towards the end of the week, and turning to slush on the lower slopes. We spent Friday/Saturday as high up as possible and were not disappointed. If we were JUST arriving, we would be somewhat concerned about the snow and slope quality. :-o
Our group was mixed ability and we found runs that were enjoyable for all - either for individuals or everyone going together (including the beginners from mid-week onwards).
I missed partaking of the Aiguille Rouge run (apparently the 3rd longest ski-run in the world). It runs for around 8 km all the way down: changing from Black to Red. Apparently the "black" part isn't too challenging - for anyone concerned. Those of our group that did it did so at the end of the week when snow quality was deteriorating and said it was "nice". The "Black" rated part at the top seemed to have derived from the "narrowness" of the slope more than anything else.
Can't think of anything else much to say...
We travelled to Les Arcs from Geneva and didn't find the journey too gruelling. They used to do a "stop" on the way at a horrible truck-stop with very expensive food/drinks apparently. My sister says she once spent £50 on a round of sandwiches for the kids - and they looked "dodgy" too! This time we didn't make any stops at all on either leg of the journey.
If you don't like heights too... don't look out of the window of the coach as you climb further into the mountains. it's a loooong way down, and the edge of the roads don't always have strong looking barriers!!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Chalet L'Ours Brun, in this excellent residence, which offers the finest chalet apartments anywhere in Arc 2000 is furnished and fitted in a high quality, comfortable style. The chalet has satellite TV and a fireplaceAll Total guests have free use of the indoor swimming-pool in the adjacent Altitude Residence.Access to the slopes could not be simpler, with the pistes and nearest ski-lift just 250m from the residence's front door, for swift and easy access to and from the slopes. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Chalets l`Ours Brun Hotel Les Arcs