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“Great holiday,fab staff but just beware of room confugurations”

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Hotel Ducs de Savoie
Ranked #25 of 39 Hotels in Val d'Isere
Reviewed 7 April 2014

We have just returned from ValD'Isere and the staff were great and holiday a success. However I do feel very strongly that sales team do not describe rooms options fairly. When we made our booking by telephone , we could not get two twin rooms on same floor and as we were travelling with children we did not feel comfortable with this. So alternatively we were offered a 4 bed room, the charge would be the same but extra supplement for balcony. In reality it was the exact same size of one of the two bed rooms yet you get half the space, wardrobe,shelves, hooks, bathroom etc Meanwhile Esprit get to sell your other room again!!!
Adult meals were good , afternoon tea bit variable....
Children supper was poor quality although the childcare etc is great.
If your children are over 5 they will feel a bit like they're in a nursery shame they cannot eat with you til 12yrs!.

Room Tip: go for high floor at back, check the floorspace of rooms don't get mis sold!
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  • Stayed: March 2014, travelled with family
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2  Thank RSIT
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 6 March 2014

This was my first ski holiday in 11 years and very different from those I had enjoyed previously. My previous trips had mostly been "boys’ holidays" and while this one was also a “boys’ holiday” it was one with a difference; just me and my 6 year old son as my wife doesn’t ski .
After a lot of research I selected Esprit due to the childcare available. I wanted the reassurance of knowing childcare was there if I needed it and I liked the sound of the childcare offerings. The final factor that swayed my decision was that Esprit offer a very limited number of rooms in a few resorts where they don’t charge an under occupancy supplement for solo parents. In the Ducs du Savoie this is limited to room 107 and 110 as I now know they are the least desirable in the hotel. More on that later.

Our trip started very well. On arrival at Edinburgh Airport at 6:00 am for our 8:10 am departure there was no queue at check-in and we very quickly had our boarding passes and went through security to get breakfast. At around 7:45 they commenced boarding and we made our way to the BA Embraer 190 that Esprit charter to operate the flights to Chambery. The aircraft normally operate Edinburgh to London City and are very comfortable with masses of legroom. Not your normal ‘knees around your ears’ charter flight. We travelled in what was the East Lothian schools half-term but the week before most of the rest of the schools half-term therefore the flight was completely full. It did resemble a crèche as there were lots of young and fractious kids suffering from a combination of excitement and an early morning rise.

We left on time and made good progress towards Chambery. For those unfamiliar with Chambery it is a small regional airport at the end of a valley and lake. The benefit of using it is that for a lot of the Esprit resorts it cuts at least an hour from journey time compared to Geneva. The downside is that is geographic location makes it susceptible to weather that can (a) lead to it being closed and flights diverted to Lyon or Grenoble or (b) make for a VERY interesting approach and/or landing. We experienced the latter. I am a good flyer and have flown many times over the years but this flight will go down as one of the most spectacular and bumpy I have experienced. The views as you turn down the valley are stunning. For a lot of the approach you are below the mountains and hills around you. As it was very windy on the day we arrived the plane lurched and bounced for about 10 minutes. It didn’t bother me or my son but there were a lot of screams and shouts from other passengers. The final 2 minutes over the lake were fine and we landed without an issue. If you are a nervous flyer I would not recommend flying to Chambery.

Chambery airport was a zoo when we arrived. We seemed to be the last of the morning charter flights to arrive and there was a queue for passport control that is bizarrely located in a tent outside the building. The queue moved reasonably quickly and we wait for our bags. The two baggage belts were in use for other flights but after around 10 minutes the Edinburgh bags began coming off. As Chambery is so small there are no luggage trolleys and this gave me a problem as I had two large Dakine bags and a ski bag in addition to hand luggage. Thankfully one of the Esprit staff took one of my bags and we were quickly on the coach. We had been due to take passengers who were arriving from Birmingham but as that flight was delayed we left almost immedialtley.
The journey to Val d’Isere was uneventful. The traffic light and despite the snowy conditions from Bourg we were at the hotel less than 2 hours after leaving Chambery. On arrival the staff from Esprit came out to the coach and whisked our bags away and even took them right up to the room before we even set foot in the hotel.

As others have said the hotel is down a lane behind the Savoie hotel. It isn’t the most appealing building to look at but being up the lane away from the main road means it is quite.
The room was exactly as I had expected from the descriptions on Trip Advisor. A bit tired and sparse but nonetheless functional. I had a quick check of the separate toilet and bathroom and both were immaculately clean. The carpet in the room was a bit threadbare and stained and really needs replacing and was probably the worse bit of the room. The beds seemed to be comfortable and relatively new. There were 2 single beds and another single ‘cabin’ style bed above the wardrobe and shelves.

I opened the wardrobe and it was immediately clear that the cleaner had not opened the door. If they had they would have noticed the remnants of a pair of earphones, sweetie papers and a child’s sports bra! I went down to reception and they were hugely apologetic and immediately dispatched two “Hotel Assistants” (as they are known) with a vacuum cleaner up to our room. The room was quickly hovered and profuse apologies were given. I was happy with this as the issue was dealt with quickly.

As promised earlier, more about the rooms. Due to the solo parent deal I had the only two rooms available to us were 107 and 110. On booking the sales adviser gave us 107 as it was bigger than 110. However, as I was soon to discover 107 is directly above the kitchen and while the noise wasn’t extreme, it was audible enough to mean I seldom got to sleep until after around 11:15 pm as that is when the banging and crashing from below ended. It started again at around 6:00 am as the staff began preparing breakfast. 110 would not have been much better as is above the bar. I would imagine the same issue would be experienced by 108/109 that forms a Family Suite.

The plus points of the room are that they are spacious, the beds are comfy (as comfy as a single bed can every be), there was plenty of hot water (a bit too hot at times) and the water pressure was excellent so the batch filled quickly. There were plenty of sockets for plugging in chargers and other electrical equipment. There was also a TV that received BBC stations although the signal was sometimes poor. Since we stayed the BBC channels have moved to a different satellite that is focused on the UK so the channels may no longer be available in France.

As my son is under 12 he wasn’t allowed to eat with me and had to take the kids high tea. The choice is fairly limited and I would say is more “kiddie comfort food” than highly nutritious. However, after a long day skiing it is probably exactly what kids want.
Esprit operate “Chalet Dining” for adults and unless you specifically request to be sat at the same table with the same people all week they will move you around. As a solo parent this worked well for me and I enjoyed meeting other people. The evening meal service starts with canapés and cocktail in the bar and then they ask you to sit in the dining room at 8:00 pm. You make your dinner selections at breakfast and there was normally a choice of two starters, three mains and two puddings. Biscuits and cheese are offered at the end. There is unlimited wine with the meal. My personal view is that the food was good. I am a very fussy eater but always found something that suited me and that I enjoyed. The hotel staff were brilliant; very friendly and helpful. They were all young, British, gap year kids who still seemed to have bags of enthusiasm.
As most kids were at ski school and needed to be ready to go at 8:30, breakfast started at 7:00. There was a good choice of continental and a very good choice of hot items. Sausages and bacon were as we get in the UK and they even had black pudding on some days! It would have been possible to stuff yourself at breakfast and avoid the need to spend a fortune on lunch on the mountain.
My son has only been skiing for a year and after reading the description in the Esprit brochure I elected to book him in to the “Sprites Intermediates” class. On the first day I decided to go with him to the class to ensure that he was happy and that he was in the right group. Contrary to what some have said, it is only some of the tots who are taken in the minibus to the slopes. The other kids are walked, in ski boots, the 10-15 minute walk to the meeting point. Their skis are taken in the minibus but I think a couple of kids found it hard going. I walked it and had to carry my skis and was glad when I got there. The “Snow Rangers” get the kids fired up as they walk and have then singing. Anyone who has been on a Eurocamp type holiday will be familiar with the songs!
Esprit classes are run by EVO2 and are exclusive to Esprit with a maximum of 8 kids. There were 7 in my sons’ class. As the weather was poor on Day 1 they were restricted the nursery slopes and the Village chairlift and Poma. I hung around for a while to watch and was pleased to see that the kids were all roughly of the same standard and my son fitted in well. Another benefit of the Esprit classes is that each group is accompanied by an Esprit Snow Ranger. On more than one occasions the Snow Ranger intervened in sibling squabbles that were resulting in a bit of pushing and barging that could have led to someone getting injured. She was also able to feedback to the children’s parents.

I had booked my son in to supervised lunch followed by Snow Club. My expectation was that he would be too tired to ski all day and would welcome the opportunity to have some play in the afternoon. How wrong I was. He never used Snow Club once (£220 wasted) and insisted on skiing with me every afternoon. I didn’t have an issue with that as he has progressed so well that he did not hinder or hold me back in anyway. The boys were on holiday and we were going to ski together!

Esprit offer two evening childcare options; Cocoa Club from 7:30 pm to 10:00 pm and a listening service for the same period. Initially I tried to get my son to go to bed and get some sleep but he was having none of it. Understandably, he didn’t want left in the room on his own so he went to Cocoa Club. He quite enjoyed it but after a few days he had made a couple of friends and a very kind offer from the boys mum for my son to go in their room and watch DVDs instead of going to Cocoa Club was very welcome. On the first night, Rory the floor monitor was asked to go in at 9:00 pm and turn off the DVD. The boys all crashed out soon after and I then carried my son down to our room after dinner. This was then the pattern for the remaining nights. It worked for us all and made us all happy.
In summary, I cannot fault the staff (hotel and childcare) or the food. The hotel is a bit shabby but it is fine. I would give 5 starts for the staff and food but have only given 4 due to the hotel itself. I think that what Esprit do is brilliant. It seemed to work for all the families I met and as a solo parent, it worked very well for me.

I have already booked with Esprit again for next year although due to the lack of a Sprites Advanced course in Val d’Isere we are going to Belle Plagne instead. That is supposedly their flagship hotel so it will be interesting to see the difference.

Room Tip: Avoid the first floor especially 107, 108, 109, 110 as these are above the kitchen and bar and can b...
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  • Stayed: February 2014, travelled with family
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1  Thank DiscoGaza
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Hotelplan, Guest Relations Manager at Hotel Ducs de Savoie, responded to this reviewResponded 12 March 2014

Dear DiscoGaza,
We are delighted that you enjoyed a different kind of "boys" trip this year and we really appreciate the very thorough and complimentary review, thank you.
We look forward to welcoming you to the Hotel des Deux Domaines next year and are confident you will both love it!

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Reviewed 13 February 2014

Let's face it, you're on Esprit because your children are under 12 !
The Esprit team deliver the service you expect and more, both of ours are having a great holiday and we are free to look round Val and ski Espace Killy.
The service is exceptional in all quarters and yes we will be back with Esprit next year but it will be a different resort. The bar area is tiny, the boot room could be referred to as a cupboard. Thankfully quiet this week.

The lifts are a 10 min walk with ski' sunless you're under 12 when the staff drive them over. Buy a ski strap to carry your skis over.


Thank you Esprit - once again you've been great - could only give 4 * as the hotel itself is not the greatest

If you're coming on the week 16th February wax up your ski's, the reason I'm writing this is it it dumping powder at the moment

  • Stayed: February 2014, travelled with family
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Thank hearditall
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 February 2014

Just back from a great ski holiday with Espirit in val d'Isere. Hotel rooms were a great size with plenty of storage and space. Staff were excellent, food was good and just a short walk from the ski bus stop. And as usual the children were very well looked after. Only downside was the downstairs communal bar area was very small and not big enough for the size of the hotel or the amount of guests that there were. Espirit do not provide a ski class for my 10 year old daughter, but we just booked her into the ESF competition class, where she was the only one in the class (Big Bonus) and the child care staff were more than happy to pick her up after her class,(the spirit classes finished at 11.30 my daughter finished at 12.30) so we could carry on with our skiing. Would definitely come back to this hotel. And espirit is so good at ski holidays for families.

  • Stayed: January 2014, travelled with family
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1  Thank IslandgirlEdinburgh
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Hotelplan, Guest Relations Manager at Hotel Ducs de Savoie, responded to this reviewResponded 12 March 2014

Dear IslandgirlEdinburgh,
Many thanks for your review; we are so pleased you all had another great holiday with us and that you appreciated our staff's service. We look forward to seeing you again next season.

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Reviewed 13 January 2014

Stayed here and with Espirit for the first time last week with my 10 year old.
For us two the only things we want from a ski holiday are:-
- Good skiing
- Minimal hassle getting to and from the slopes
- Quiet room with a good bath, and room to hang up and dry our gear
- Plenty of reasonable food.

Against these criteria, the Ducs de Savoie has plus's and minus's.

The hotel is at the back of another hotel, and is not that flash either from the outside or inside. However it is perfectly functional. The rooms are a good size, even with the heating off they were perfectly warm (having generally been roasted alive at other hotels).
Ski locker in the basement was a good size with chairs to sit on and boot rack with warm air drying.
Its compact, best to think of it as a large English B&B in a converted house rather than a Holiday Inn, but the Espirit staff are very good. There is a lot of them, and they were very welcoming, helpful and enthusiastic, virtually faultless.Everything is set up for families with children either who are sub 8 years old, or have never skied before.
We didn't really fit what Espirit offer. My son was too old for 5 O'clock high tea with Ok ish children's food, and being a black run skier there was no lesson package that suited him. Probably a Total Ski holiday would have suited us better.
Adult Food was Ok, some "interesting" dishes both in taste and execution. Think Master Chef meets College catering course. However none of it killed us, and there was unlimited free wine with the meals.
It is more like a 10min walk in skiboots to the snow, and then it is a walk to the lifts. We used to catch the free bus opposite the hotel, go 2 stops and be delivered 10 yards from the snow, and then ski down to any of the lifts. Generally we would ski down to Dialle at the end of the day and catch the free bus home.
The skiing was fantastic all week, perfect weather and Espace Killy is a great ski area. Maybe if we had been stuck in the hotel all week because of bad weather then the physical limitations of the hotel would have been more apparent, but overall we thoroughly enjoyed it.

  • Stayed: January 2014, travelled with family
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1  Thank SlowDad
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 January 2014

Location is all important for skiing holidays, and for most being close to the slopes is paramount. But at Val D'Isere being close to a stop for the free bus shuttle is key as this excellent service can take you to any of the 4 entry points to the lift system, and back again at the end of the day. So in this regard this hotel is great as it is a short walk to a stop in either direction (and the main bus station). Also being in the town main street means that in the late afternoon and evening you are close to bars restaurants shops and any of the numerous town events, when in fact most ski in ski out places are not. It is actually at the back of the quality hotel Le Savoie rather like an annexe but this makes it quiet at night when the crowd go from bar to club and the snow clearers are at work on the main street. There is no view though only of other apartments.
The hotel is advertised for young families and that is what it is geared to 100%. Can't comment on this as we didn't bring ours! Rooms are basic but OK, food was excellent, but it is the staff that make this place so good. They really do go out of their way to help and make your stay a good experience. Full marks to them

Room Tip: Some rooms have a balcony (above second) although there is no real view
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  • Stayed: January 2014, travelled with family
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Thank Guy C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 December 2013

Just had a fab week in Val d'isere and all of the esprit team were fantastic. Our two children were extremely happy and the skiing was marvellous. The bedrooms were fine, lots of hot water and storage. The downstairs however was disappointing and we are quite easy to please. The bar is tiny for the number of guests and is without windows with cheap brown sofas. The dinning room was a squash too! The general decoration was a bit depressing. I do not often review a hotel in a negative light but in comparison to the Esprit hotel in Meribel, it is not good. We happily booked this hotel thinking we could often pop out for drinks when the babysitters were there, but was asked not to go out on the first night there for insurance reasons. This is a bit confusing as everyone went out on the chef's night off! Hey ho!

  • Stayed: December 2013, travelled with family
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1  Thank Etta B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Hotelplan, Guest Relations Manager at Hotel Ducs de Savoie, responded to this reviewResponded 17 January 2014

Dear Etta B, We are delighted that you and your family enjoyed your week at the Ducs de Savoie and thank you for the kind comments about our staff. We are sorry that the chalet hotel was not entirely to your taste and yes, it's an older property than the one in Meribel. We do however reflect this in the price difference between the two! To clear up your insurance point, it is only on the general staff day off that the child carers will 'babysit' (what we call baby-listening) whilst you go out of the hotel for a meal and/or drink - the service on the other nights is child-patrol which allows you to have a child-free meal in the hotel restaurant or drink in the hotel bar and where we will come get you if your child is restless - this is not 'babysitting' as such. Hope that's clear for the future. The GR Team.

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Additional Information about Hotel Ducs de Savoie

Address: avenue Olympique, 73150 Val d'Isere, France
Region: France > Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes > Savoie > Val d'Isere
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Spa Suites
Hotel Style:
#2 Best Value Hotel in Val d'Isere
#8 Spa Hotel in Val d'Isere
Price Range: £64 - £128 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 31
Also Known As:
Hotel Ducs De Savoie France

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