Room - We were a party of three staying for a week at the end of March, and had a south facing room with a balcony, ensuit and three single beds. The room was basic, but satisfactory, which since we spent our time on the slopes or in the lounge area was not an issue. The ensuite had a toilet, sink, cupoboard, heated towel rail, and a bath/shower combination, which had plenty of room for our larger party member. Unlike previous chalet hotels, they do not have the blanket/sheet combination, and instead have duvets. There was a TV, but only french channels unfortunatly. The rooms were cleaned every day, apart from on Wednesday which is the staff day off. Friendly notes left tell you who cleaned your room, and often leave an interesting fact. Room was always cleaned well. There is a small safe in the room, although it could not fit a larger tablet in, and was not bolted down. Only issue was the heating; the first evening people complained of a slight chill, so the heating was turned up, and from then on, even with our rooms heating turned off, the room was very hot, and had to prop the door open.
Facilities - There is a large dinning room one side of the reception, and a spacious lounge area the other side, with a bar, sofas, pool table, and board games. The main reception is reached by climbing up external stairs onto the main balcony (which has chairs and tables if you want to sit outside). If you go around the stairs, you can enter the boot rooms on the ground floor. Always kept warm to dry boots, there are plenty of shelves for boots, and racks for skis and boards, however, the floor is often slgihtly damp, so would advise not walking around in socks. Oppsite the boot room is a toilet, and the health facilities, including a sauna. This is free to use, but the staff stated that since iit is not often in use during the day, they turn it off, and to just ask so that they can turn it on your you. The hotel does have an elevator for if you are tired, or moving luggage around. The hotel also has free wifi.
Staff - The staff were so friendly and lovely. The hotel manager was always around and helpful if you had issues. The barman was very pleasent, and willing to talk. All of the waiter/waitresses were young, but very competant. The ski rep was lovely, and willing to solve issues, recommend places to eat, organise ski hire and help organise outings.
Activities - We booked into the snowboard taster session (17:30 til 19:00 on Thursday for 17euros), and was advised by the ski rep that if we took our skis and boots to the hire shop recommended, they would swap them for boots and board for 5euros, and back again for another 5euros. Definently worth it for anyone who wants to try boarding but doesnt want to give up a skiing holiday. There were also two pub quizes organised in the lounge area by the barman, which were fun. One was picture based (logos of fast food outlets, cars, TV shows etc) and the other was themed general knowledge and riddle-type. No prizes, just pride at stake. There was a pub crawl organised, which we didn't take part, but sounded well organised, with a free drink or shot at each location. Organised by the ski rep, he seemed to have everything under control, when the next morning tales came of drunkeness, but he had herded everyone safely back to the hotel.
Food - amazing. Served between 07:30 and 09:30. With a range of continental breakfast options (cereals, yoghurts, pastries, cheese, cold meats, fruit salads, boiled eggs and toast) and changing hot options (often a variation of a cooked english breakfast, a vegetarian cooked, pancakes, and porridge), as well as a large selection of fruit juices, the food was good.
Afternoon tea was brilliant, between 16:30 and 17:30 (this may be different earlier in the season due to lift closing times changing with sunset) involved a selection of cake, biscuits, a soup, sliced french bread, and a savory option (cheese straws, mini pasties etc). Serve yourself tea, coffee and hot chocolate was availible, as was a choice of two different flavours of squash.
The evening meal was excellent. Starting at 19:30 in the lounge area for canapes and appertiffes, the staff were pleasent and helpful, passing around the different drinks and foods. Dinner is at 20:00, and the staff move you around different tables to meet other groups of people every night. You can request to sit, or not to sit, with certain people, and they seemed observant as to who got on well with each other, and repeatedly sat together certain combinations of people. The dinner itself was exquisit. Apparently the head chef had recently gone on maternity leave, and the position was taken up by the soux chef, but you could not tell. You have given the choice during breakfast between two starters (one vegetarian), three mains (one vegetarian, and often one fish), and two deserts, followed by a cheese board, tea and coffee and small chocolates. Every dish was excellant. No one left anything, or had any complaints. Once, a vegetarian complained that the vegetarian main option they weren't a fan of, and the chef offered to make a special alternative. Cannot stress how good the food is, but not for someone who is watching their weight.
Location - Bit further out of town, but was quiet because of this (although if the window is open you can hear noises). About 10 mins walk to centre, but there are the odd shop nearer. About five minutes walk from the recomended ski hire shop, Altitude. The best way to the slopes is actually to head in the opposite direction to the centre, heading right out of the chalet, towards a car park, crossing the car park you reach a slope, and about 50m downhill is a 2 man chair lift. It is less than a five minutes walk, even carrying equipment in ski boots. However, the run is a red, and although that stretch is more blue, it is not suitable for beginners, as it is not very wide. I you are a beginner, or just don't fancy it, heading left from the chalet, ten minutes to the slope (fifteen in all the gear), or after five minutes you reach the "yoghurt pot" lift - small pods which you stand in and carry you across the village above the houses, and take you to the slopes, or other stops across the village. Easier than walking, but quite slow, you have to use your lift pass to get on, and probably not for those scared of heights.
Alpe D'Huez - Good skiing, not as many runs as it seems as a there are a few green beginners slopes all next to each other which add to the total piste length (236km). Totals - 94 green runs, 82 blues, 88 reds and 40 blacks. Mostly reds and blues, with a few blacks, two good beginners areas, and a snow park. The lift pass also allows you to ski in Les 2 Alpes, though you need to catch a bus. The famous "Sarenne" black run from the top of Pic Blanc is good to say you have done - 16km of black, but not too hard - the top bit is steep, then the middle section alternates between black sections and shorter reddish sections, with the bottom several kilometers being virtually flat. It is fairly easy to ski from one side of the Grand Domaine to the other in a day if you are competant at skiing reds. Only issue, although it is not low (Alpe D'Huez is 1850m) it is south facing and gets a lot of sun - lovely weather, but often means slushier at lower levels in the afternoon.
Overall - good rooms, clean, friendly staff, excellent food, good location. Would definently come again.
- Also Known As:
- Hotel Les Cimes France/Rhone-Alpes