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Reviewed 23 February 2013

A February Half Term self catered ski holiday.

We stayed for a week with 2 adults and three teenagers, on a self drive self catered basis. We were very disappointed as the reality contrasted with the web site expectation was very different, and whilst we had a warm clean apartment, it was a long way short of the description.
Namely:
Free Wifi – In reality, in the foyer of reception only, with 5 twin sofas, no tables, guests sitting on the floor with their lap tops in the evenings, and a maximum of 20 (slow) connections to service 400 to 500 guests.
Swimming pool and Sauna – poorly maintained, no hot showers working and a charge of €10 per person per visit, €50 for a family to have a swim, or enjoy the facility per day...
Free Shuttle Bus to lift station – That trebles/quadruples the “standing spaces” and packs you in like cattle for the ½ mile run to the Gondola.
Apartment Sleeps 6 – and if you are unlucky enough to get a 3rd floor one has very limited space due to the eaves of the roof, not mentioned at all in the web site. The first bunk bedroom is in fact the entrance hallway to the apartment, so the two girl teenagers had no privacy and very limited storage space as they had the entrance door at one end of the bed, and the door into the open plan lounge at the other.
The one bedroom had only 1 meter of depth that was at head height, with the heads of the beds tucked into the eaves, and therefore no cupboard or hanging space at all. The final bed is a Z bed sofa, and as this is in the open plan area, lacks any privacy, and has no storage space again. The design is poor, Not even one coat hook for a jacket, and rooms with limited space and no privacy
Value for money ? Well at 1,200 it was not expensive, but we had friends staying self catered ski-in ski-out in Mottaret for 300 Euros less for 5 people and in the same week – Half term week, so we can't say it was a bargain, and therefore live with shortcomings.
Management Attitude – Appalling, the manager is never available (always in a meeting) did not call back when left with a phone number, and was politely emailed with some of our concerns, which whilst reception did acknowledge receiving the email, was never responded to.

Overall we felt cheated and treated impersonally, with no regard to our concerns. They had our money and that was that .... very disappointing.

  • Stayed: February 2013, travelled with family
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5  Thank simon j
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 February 2012

This review is also posted on the Cela, Orelle link, although this is the correct name for the apartment complex

Don't let some of the other reviews deter you. This complex is now being run by a new management company. This complex is a French apartment complex - don't expect huge American style accommodation but, for the french Alps, is reasonably sized. There isn't much to do in Orelle itself- having a car adds some flexibility, such as going out to eat in the evenings, heading for a supermarket, or trying other nearby ski resorts such as Valloire, Valfrejus, Les Sybelles and Corbier (among others). The village does have a ski hire shop which itself is well priced and service was good.

The complex has a shuttle bus running every 15 minutes to take you to the nearby gondola that takes 15 mins to get to the skiing. Another 10 mins and you are at 3200m looking into Val Thorens. The skiing was absolutely fantastic in Feb 2012 and it's worth getting the Val Thorens / Les Menuires ski pass.

The complex has a small grocery store which has all the basics. It isn't cheap, but then where is in the french Alps these days. It also has a bar, restaurant, swimming pool and spa, and a laundry room. Currently, the swimming pool isn't available for kids (except between 10am -12 noon) which isn't very handy, but I understand the new management is looking to change this going forward. Staff on reception and in the bar/restaurant were friendly and helpful, but it does make sense to try to book a table in advance and the restaurant doesn't upon until 7.30pm (again typical of many french restaurants).

The rooms aren't huge but are in good condition (the complex was built in 2007), are very warm and have decent amenities. We were able to cook most days but doesn't have a conventional oven but does have a hob, microwave/grill, fridge, dishwasher, toaster, kettle and coffee machine. Plenty of hot water and storage space.

Overall, this is a good, reasonably lost cost way to enjoy the vast expanses of Val Thorens and the Three Valleys. If you're after lots of nightlife, then don;t go here. but if you ski hard all day, like a meal, a beer and then your sleep, then this is a good option for you.

  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled with family
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7  Thank leeandjo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 February 2012

It was with some trepidation we booked our half term ski trip to Le Hameau des Eaux d'Orelle as the previous reviewers hadn't exactly heaped praise on the place.

However.....I'm very pleased (and relieved) to report that our fears were unfounded and that we had a great time! The apartments are under new management, and it appears that the new team must read Trip Advisor as many of the issues we were expecting to encounter had been addressed. We've stayed in apartments in several French resorts in the past and these were by far the cleanest and best furnished we've encountered. However - as always - only those used to caravan holidays would use the word 'spacious'. They do, however, have a tv and an ipod dock, the kitchen is well equipped with a dishwasher (although no conventional oven - there's a microwave/grill/oven combi thing), and a toaster and kettle were also provided. Towels and linen also included in the apartment price (not always the case in our experience). The on-site restaurant looked very swish and had a take-away menu, and we bought bread, milk, croissants, etc from the small epicerie on site. We didn't use the spa, which although looked very nice through the window has the usual daft French rule about men having to wear budgie-smuggler speedo trunks.

Orelle itself is very small - it's almost as if the village has still to realise the potential of the new lift and so apart from the ski hire shop, one bar, and the ESF office there's very little to see or do. No doubt as more visitors arrive this will change.

The ski-ing? Access was very easy - there's a free shuttle bus that runs every 10-15 minutes from the apartments to the lift in Orelle (it's only a 2-3 minute journey), and then about 15 minutes in the Orelle gondola up to the first of the slopes. The Orelle side of the Val Thorens area was quiet (we had to keep reminding ourselves it was February half term) and the slopes were fantastic - wide, confidence boosting reds and blues with great off-piste possibilities. It's easy to ski down into Val Thorens itself, which was a little busier but even then there were no long lift queues or crowded pistes. Very very good.

The downsides? It's not a place to stay if you want great nightlife, and if bad weather forces the Orelle lift to close there's no easy alternative to get into the 3 Valley area. However, if you have a car (which I'd recommend) then you have several other resorts within a 30 minute drive, which we intend to explore next time we visit.

All in all we really enjoyed our trip - 3 Valleys ski-ing can be very expensive for those of us who can only ski during school holidays, and this was a brilliant way to access the area without spending a fortune.

Room Tip: Blocks 1 & 2 are nearest to Reception, the bar, the restaurant and the spa and have underground parking.
  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled with family
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4  Thank Melanie G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 February 2012

Just back from a short break at Le Hameau des Eaux d’Orelle. We flew to Geneva and hired a car – motorway all the way to within 5km of resort, so it’s a really easy journey. Chambery’s even nearer – little more than an hour.

Access to the Trois Vallees is by the Orelle gondola – less than 5 minutes by the free navette, which runs all day. You can be skiing down into the centre of Val Thorens in half an hour, and on to Les Menuires and Meribel - Courcheval is even do-able if you plan your lifts well.

The residence is now managed by Alpvision; it is much cheaper than in the main resorts, and the quality is pretty good – French apartments are never massive, but our 3 person apartment could easily sleep 4, and there’s a bar, restaurant and shop on site – plus a great pool/spa. Note, however, that at present, children under 16 are only allowed in the pool during the morning, which is not ideal for families.

The resort staff are all very helpful, and the local ski hire and ski school are very friendly.

If you do have a car, you also have the option to visit a dozen other really good ski areas in the Maurienne valley – we had a couple of great days at Les Sybelles and Valloire/Valmeinier – both only 30 minutes drive from Orelle. Top tip – get the Ski Maurienne sans Frontieres pass and you can ski a different resort every day (including Orelle/Val Thorens) for 8 days for under £150!

Even without a car, this is a great way to ski the Trois Vallees on a budget and avoid the queues – so, if skiing some of the best resorts in France is more important than extensive night life, we'd recommend it.

We'd certainly go back.

  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled with family
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5  Thank John B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 December 2011

It is important to give some balance. This resort is in close proximity to the telecabin that can take you up to the 3 Valleys - Val Thorens etc. The property is quite new and looks good from the exterior. The undercover car parking is good. The hotel staff were helpful and have a great attitude. The bedding, sheets and appliances were all fine and in good working order.

We had several negative experiences -
the property is quite poorly designed for thermal insulation. It is cold and the management run the heating on full, all the time to compensate: what a waste of electricity.
as another person's feedback already comments - there are still doors missing from the corridors. How hard can it be to put doors back on their hinges?
some of the automatic lighting isn't working - either the detector or the light bulb. Walking around in the dark in a strange place isn't fun and it definitely isn't safe. How hard can it be for an architect or decent designer to check and provide adequate lighting?
considering this resort is designed for the French alps the architecture is poor and the insulation is cheap / ineffective. Several of the doors were ill-fitting and drafty. The weather seal at the front door didn't keep the cold air out.
I don't feel confident using electric power points that 'move' when you unplug a cord from them. I think they should be well enough attached to the wall that they remain fixed. The workmanship and finish of the apartments isn't great.
my wife used the spa. At the end of her sessions after her shower she was informed that the SPA doesn't supply towels. What kind of spa is this?? Imagine having to walk back to your room wet, cold some 500m in winter. Not much fun!
we stayed in two different rooms as a result of a fault with the hot water. Again, the staff are good but the maintenance and building quality is very inadequate. If it takes 2-3 minutes before the hot water turns from cold to hot, that is incredibly wasteful. Who enjoys standing in the shower running cold water for 2-3 minutes before you can start? It means that the Hot Water boiler is located too far from the unit and the insulation on the pipes is totally useless.
The management policy seems cheap: supplying one garbage bag liner for a one week stay? How much extra would it cost to supply 7 plastic garbage bags? Why is there no separate bin for recycling? The management request us to separate our garbage and carry it up to 500m to the recycling bins - yet they can't even provide separate bins in each apartment.
the bathroom bench and kitchen bench have been built on the cheap using 'chipboard' or compressed wood particle fibre-board. Anyone with a modicum of common sense or experience in building knows that particle board and WATER just don't mix. It is entirely the wrong material. Consequently the bathroom and kitchen benches are deteriorating very quickly. It's a shame that such a beautiful looking resort in a nice location is spoilt by short-cuts in the building/fit-out and maintainability.
our experience of Swiss and Japanese resorts is that they are MUCH cleaner. Hameau Des Eaux D'Orelle is not very clean. It's not filthy but it isn't as clean as you'd expect.
The resort boasts WIFI access: what a joke. It's only in the lobby (and bar/restaraunt), and only when it's open at the odd hours of 9 - 12:30 and 15:00 to about 19:30. If you're out skiing that effectively means there is no WIFI. To make it worse the WIFI access is ridiculously convoluted. Who wants to spend 4 or 5 minutes figuring what DHCP stands for? Having to laboriously enter meaningless codes and endless strings of numbers like - IP Address 192.168.02.02 ... or if that doesn't work 192.168.02.01 ?? Followed by Subnet Mask 255.245.245.0, Followed by Router 192.168.02.02 (or was it 01?) followed by DNS 192.168.02.02. Why not a password like Starbucks. This is pathetic.
even the signage to find our first apartment is hopeless. I defy you to find apartment 06-315 in the dark the first time you arrive. Hauling 2 or 3 heavy bags up and down flights of stairs as you vainly search for a room in appartement bloc #6, when it's entrance is cleverly concealed using the stairs to appartement bloc #7.
And if you don't fancy carting all your gear up and down the icy slippery paths in winter, and then up the stairs to your apartment, make sure you're in blocks 1, 2 or 3. They are the only blocks with a lift. (And that lift runs from the car park which is about the only piece of good design in the whole building).
It is frustrating to see management having unfriendly, stupid rules. There is a pool - no child under 16 can use the pool under any circumstances. Really? Why? because it is in the SPA. And the Spa is for adults. Useless.
There is a table tennis table: can we use it. YES! but only during office hours. So, if you ski all day, when do you play table tennis? Useless.

I don't think we'll be going back in a hurry.

Let's be positive: if you're not concerned about a really clean room, you're not too bothered about cold drafts and excessive heating, if you're not worried about carting heavy ski clothes and a week's supply of food up several flights of stairs, if you can wait 3 minutes for the water to run hot, etc etc ... It's a nice looking property and quite close to the telecabin. But do check carefully when the Orelle gondola starts running because it's about 150km to Val Thorens if it's early in the season and they having started the telecabin!

Room Tip: Blocks 1-3 have lifts right from the car park. Block #1 is closest to reception and is probably the best choice.
  • Stayed: December 2011, travelled with family
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4  Thank Simon T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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