Stayed at the Chalet Le Lac Blanc 1, mid Feb 2013. Had great chalet hosts Spencer and Amber (with a bit of help from Harry) who looked after us brilliantly. The evening meals that were produced and served were excellent, great variety and some really tasty dishes. Always got a starter, sliced baguettes in a basket on the table, main course and a dessert, and wine, although I'd like to suggest a jug or two of squash or juice on the table for children, as other than wine it was just water. Breakfast consisted of cereals, yoghurt and something cooked, usually variations on a sausage, scrambled egg and half a tomato, but overall it did fill you up. You could order a packed lunch from the chalet staff for 5 euros, which was a good size baguette, snack bar, crisps and a piece of fruit if you wanted, which was a pretty good price.
We stayed in the attic rooms, and as many people say on here, the low beams are a bit of a nuisance, but you get used to them, although I still banged my head a few times, usually in the morning! The shared bathroom up there was small, as was the shower, but you could always have a nice hot shower, and towels were always nice and fresh. Our window was cracked (inner pane) which I think would cause some concern for parents of younger children, but we didn't find it an issue and it worked perfectly well.
I think the Welcome meeting could give more information, as we knew nothing about the ski instructors display and fireworks on the Wednesday evening until we had the noise and went out to look, and the inclusion of one of the small resort guide 'What's On' pamphlets in the Ski Pack would certainly be useful to guests.
Even though Neilson don't endorse many of the 'activities' in resort as they don't meet their Health & Safety requirements, it would still be nice to know about them!
I agree that the chalet lounge area is on the small side for 14 people, but we always managed to find room to sit and chill before dinner, without falling over each other.
Our biggest issue were the piste bashers thundering past at all hours of the night - unfortunately as this chalet is at the bottom of the gondola and base of piste runs, they tend to use it as a roundabout, a suggestion to turn off the reversing beeps in the middle of the night might be an idea!! The drivers do tend to drive in a typically french fashion, full throttle and loud as hell, so maybe the resort could introduce a 'slow and quiet' section which comes into force before they get to the accommodation areas, as this really was the one thing that 'spoilt' it. If it only happened once or twice at night it wouldn't be so bad, but it's usually pretty much hourly, and sometimes in convoy! I'm not sure if this is heard as badly in all the rooms, but it's particularly bad in the attic rooms which face the gondola.
Afternoon tea was already on the table and ready just after lunch, consisting of baguettes, jams, a cake, cookies, brownies etc., which were always delicious. Sometimes the milk had run out but we just found it for ourselves in the store cupboard and put it back in the fridge when finished with. There was a perculator for coffee, but I think it would be a great idea to have instant coffee too, as most people had tea and it seemed a waste of a full pot, and wasn't put on for the first few mornings until I asked for coffee instead of tea - need it to get me started in the morning!
The boot area was at the top of the stairs, and I agree that it's a bit cramped with two groups of 14 all trying to get booted up in the mornings, not that I ever saw more than about 8 or 9 people out there at once, but it's still a bit difficult. I did suggest that leaving a small mop out there in the evenings would be a good idea, as snow and ice from boots makes the tile floor very slippery and I hate standing in puddles in my socks - but from a health and safety point of view it apparently couldn't happen - just remember to take a small pair of solid sole slippers or slip- ons to put on your feet after taking your ski boots off.
The free wifi was great, but kept tripping out, so had to reset it on the machine, but no great hardship.
I think it needs to be impressed much more stringently on people that they must close the front door behind them when leaving the chalet, as this is the only thing that stops anyone getting in. There is an inner door at the top of the stairs, which could also do with having a keycode lock on it, as some visitors to the restaurant downstairs have found the main door open in the past, left their skis in the chalet guests racks and then gone into the restaurant!
As for Alpe D'Huez, it's a fantastic ski area for beginners and intermediates, not sure it's challenging enough for very experienced skiers on the runs, but there was plenty of off piste to try! The runs are lovely and wide, with many blacks actually being more like reds, and sometimes not much between the odd blue and red. We visited the ice grotto, and although ok, I wouldn't personally recommend it to anyone, as it only took 5 mins to look round and some of the ice exhibits looked like they needed a little bit of repair work.
Try going back down to the bottom of the lifts for lunch, a bit away from the piste, as prices for three people for a burger and fries and a drink will set you back a good 32 euros, some on piste restaurants charge 6 euros for a hot chocolate, whereas at the base of the slopes they hover around 3 euros - not sure what the prices were for lunch at the higher mountain restaurants, shudder to think!
Overall I think the chalet was great, yes some of the rooms are a bit small, the beams a bit low etc etc, but you're really only sleeping in the bedrooms, so no worries! Noise from pistebashers - with the on slope location this is inevitable I suppose, perhaps take earplugs just in case?!
Chalet hosts were brilliant, nothing was too much trouble, if you didn't like what was on the menu board for the evening meal you just had to mention it and they would sort out something else for you, no problem. Spencer and Amber were very friendly and keen to help promote efforts and discuss ideas for raising funds for the Neilson chosen charity. We thought it a good idea to give back our lift passes at the end of our stay, which could be handed in to the lift pass office and receive a 2 euro rebate for each, which could then be put into a fund for the charity. I think Spencer was trying to arrange for the lift pass office to open a Neilson account so it could be done directly, but if not just hand your pass back to the chalet hosts and they'll do it for you.
Thanks to Spencer and Amber and Carl for a lovely holiday!
- Also Known As:
- Chalet Le Lac Blanc 1 Hotel l`Alpe-d`Huez
- Neilson Chalet Le Lac Blanc 1 France/Rhone-Alpes