First, the upsides; the Wi-Fi is indeed free and does indeed works in your room. The indoor pool is quite nice, and didn’t get busy whilst we were there. The spa tubs are clean but you only get a short time before you are turfed out for the next occupants. Don’t get excited about the fitness room, because you will be massively disappointed. But you’re there to ski, so that shouldn’t matter much!
Unless I’m paying a small fortune, I don’t have high expectations of Alpine ski hotels. The Monte Bianco lived up (or down) to them! The rooms we had were basic, the beds small and uncomfortable, no chairs, no mirrors, just no comfort touches at all. A lot like eighties hotel rooms in Eastern Europe I thought. Our bathroom was miniscule. We didn’t expect a tub, and there wasn’t one. Nor was there any soap or shower gel, or drinking water, or a hairdryer. Just some missing touches that matter a lot after a twelve hour drive or a day on the mountain. On the upside, the heater worked well and we had a small balcony overlooking the valley. There’s no safe in the room.
I assume everyone goes Half-Board. The evening buffet is truly uninspiring, but the produce is OK and there’s always plenty to eat. If you can live on bread and raclette, you’ll have a ball! There’s unlimited vin-de-table but no bar service in the restaurant. We took a carrier bag of beers in with us, and it didn’t raise any eye-brows. The dining experience is dreary, but the young staff is upbeat and try hard to make it pleasant. As you would expect from a family hotel , there are plenty of kids in the dining room. Luckily, most were French (they seem to train their kids to behave well in public) so it wasn’t too gruesome. The next day I saw several families on the mountain dragging tiny children strapped to sledges. That must be the punishment if you kick-off at dinner time!
There is a bar, and a friendly barman called Remy, who is the perfect candidate to practice your pub French on. They have draught Stella and Leffe (beware the Leffe) but not much in the way of wine. At the weekend, the bar was more like a family lounge or a strange mountainside McDonalds early on, but died around 10. Remy stays open until about 1130 most nights. Sadly the bar has none of the atmosphere you find in a real ski hotel. It’s more like a Mercure or an Ibis, so not a great place for a fun night in.
There was a lot of snow whilst we were there, so I’m going easy on the hotel for failing to clear the paths.
Location; The Telecabine to take you up (across) to the mountain is five minutes by car (lots of free parking) or fifteen by foot. You can buy all your passes at the Telecabine station, and even with a queue they move people fast. This ride takes about fifteen minutes, and takes you to the Le Bettex base of Evasions Mont Blanc. From here, you can switch gondolas (they’re literally side by side) and head up to the top. We found the ski-ing appropriate for all levels. A day pass for the whole Evasions MB complex is less than €40. Just make sure you allow an hour in the morning for getting up to the piste. Add ten minutes to stop at the Patisserie (a better alternative than the hotel breakfast) and the Tabac if you need to stock up on chocolate! They are 100m from the hotel.
Le Bettex is a great base. The Telecabine station also contains a great ski-hire location, with very friendly and helpful guys. There’s an excellent pub restaurant right next to it with a, and a snack bar for lunchtime. The ski school is also right there, and some of our party took private one-to-one lessons at about €78 for two hours. Also there’s almost no walking, because the runs all finish right in front of the Telecabine station. There are two nursery pistes by the Telecabine, one of which is quite challenging at speed, but a bit short.
St Gervais town is about fifteen minutes walk from the hotel. There are plenty of mid-range restaurants and a couple of pubs, as well as some convenience stores, a pizza takeaway (not bad) and several ATM’s. I wouldn’t describe it as an après-ski hot-spot though. St Gervais seems to be quite a family-oriented resort, and it’s cheaper because it’s further from the mountain, so it doesn’t seem to attract a racy crowd!
We got fed up and left for home two days early. The weather was getting tricky, one of us couldn’t ski so much, and there was simply nothing to do in the hotel other than lie on your bed or swim.
We chose this hotel because we wanted a half-board package but we were driving rather than flying, which limited our choices. On paper it looks too good to be true, with the pool and the spa and the free wi fi and what have you, and the website pictures, whilst not deceptive, definitely capture the very best angles and ignore a great deal.
This is a decent budget base for a family with small children (preferably French), but not the place for couples or groups of adults who want some life with their après-ski. If I had to describe it in a word, it would be Uncomfortable.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Mythical resort, situated between Megève and Chamonix. Mini but spacious and contemporary family suitespanoramic restaurant and terracesIndoor swimming-pool and relaxation area ... more less
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