Having stayed at Club Med Valmorel last season, and thoroughly enjoyed it, we were keen to try the 'new' club med in Italy and given the transfer time from the airport was under 2 hours this made it much more appealing than returning to France.
Overall we had a good holiday though the majority of that was down to the friends we holidayed with and the excellent skiing. The resort wasn't bad but it certainly wasn't great. Had this been our first Club Med experience I would probably not go Club Med again however while I wouldn't return to the Pragelato Club Med (though I would happily ski the Via Lattea again) we will give Club Med another go based on our trip last year. A lot of the issues this Club Med have are a result of teething problems but some bits are due to the layout which will not change, even when the teething problems are resolved.
This is not a new resort. It was originally built for the 2006 winter Olympics and has changed hands a number of times since then and is now leased to Club Med. Unfortunately because the resort was not purpose built for Club Med, nothing is of a size to fit within the Club Med model. Don't get me wrong the two story chalets offer plenty of space, BUT they are tired and our kitchen cabinets had so many bangs and knocks in them it looked as though someone had taken a 9 iron to them! When I say kitchen I mean the area with the fridge where we could keep our water cool that took up a large part of the bottom of the chalet. Nothing else in the kitchen area actually works as club med isn't self catering so the oven and cupboards are merely decoration! There is a downstairs loo with a shower and upstairs two rooms with one bath-less bathroom. A little note about the showers, if you're not a hobbit they will be far too low for you as the shower hose will not stay up. There is no grip to it so it falls straight down to its lowest point. This was the case in both our bathrooms and those of our friends who were also staying at the resort. Also, only one of three lights worked in our children's bedroom and despite us reporting both the light and shower issues they were never addressed. In all the chalets something from the resort's previous incarnation has been ripped off the walls and the space left behind hasn't been painted over. Granted this is hardly a major issue but is surely something easily dealt with.
On the upside there is plenty of storage for suitcases and ski kit so you're not tripping over them during your stay and although we were located quite a distance from the main hub it wasn't ever really an issue. There are lockers near the lounge etc where you can keep your coats and a change of shoes etc should you need to. From here you can access the ski room, the main lounge, reception and two of the restaurants.
We had read reviews before we travelled so we weren't expecting much in the way of food variety but we rationalised that it would be fine and it was. As with any buffet the variety can be tiresome but generally the food was good though I would say I was disappointed in the quality of the pre cooked pasta and the pizzas but that's probably as I had expected a higher standard from a resort in Italy than I would any other Club Med. We didn't find La Trattoria any better in terms of variety etc but the staff were certainly very amenable. We didn't try La Tana so I can't comment on that. I celebrated my birthday while we were away and the restaurant arranged a surprise cake for me which was a lovely touch.
The bottles of wine in the restaurants were very good, especially the red but avoid wine by the glass at the bar as it was beyond grim. That said, who needs wine when you can drink prosecco which was very good and I should know, I drank enough of it! Sadly finding someone to get a bottle of wine from sometimes proved difficult and the majority of the soda machines were hit and miss as to whether they worked.
Unfortunately there just isn't enough seating in the dining areas for all the guests attending Club Med. It would have been fine when operating as a partial self catering location when the restaurants wouldn't have been at full capacity but with 700 guests needing feeding the 4 separate (small) areas are simple inadequate. It also doesn't help when groups reserve tables for 24 but don't show up to use them until gone 9!
On the Friday night there was a two sitting gala dinner. It was no different to any other dinner but rather than sitting down to eat when you wanted/could get a table you had to choose and book a 7pm or 8.45 sitting. The only problem with this is that unless you approached the people standing at a desk outside the lounge you had no idea that you needed to pre-book your space. I was idly looking at the wine menu on the table which is how I came to know about it but I pointed out they would need to physically do more than just stand there to get people to realise they needed to do something. The lady on the desk was rather put out by my comments and stropily informed me she would be going around every table at dinner to make sure all the guests knew. She didn't and on the Friday night there was more than one family without a table for dinner. On the same evening the 7 o'clock sitting clashed completely with the 7.15 fireworks. I may be alone here but I would assume that a 7 o'clock sitting would be more suited to younger children who, presumably, don't like fireworks!
We ate at all three of the mountain restaurants and while we preferred the one in Claviere the other two were fine.
The lounge area, like the dining area, has not being specifically built for club med and is therefore far too small to accommodate all the guests when running at full capacity (as we were last week and, according to some of the GOs, as they will be for the next four weeks). There is no real stage area to speak of which is why the evening entertainment, certainly for children, is limited and what area they do have is far too small for some events such as the children's ski medal ceremonies. Perhaps they should consider, as other Club Med resorts do, having the ceremony outside where it would be less cramped.
Regarding the children's evening entertainment, the GOs have made a token effort to put on a couple of shows but the lack of rehearsal was evident. Thankfully the 4 and 6 year olds didn't seem to notice but for the onlooking parents it was cringeworthy. Having seen amazing shows and the effort that went into rehearsals at other Club Med resorts the GOs need to make more of an effort in this area.
GOs and staff in general
The GOs in the clubs were good with the kids though not so great at remembering names but all in all were very friendly and seemed to enjoy their jobs. There are four British members of staff at Pragelato and they were keen to engage with the British guests and to get honest feedback. Whenever they were approached by us with any issues they were swift to act which was greatly appreciated.
My husband took the children to the swimming pool one day (after buying the obligatory swimming caps) and came back with less than positive comments. The pool itself was cold and the changing rooms the size of a postage stamp making changing with a family difficult and crowded. I decided to give it a miss!
Our kids seemed to have an ok time while there however drop off for the club was nothing short of chaotic. Almost 200 children being dropped off within the same half hour, requiring bibs from one desk and signing in with one of two GOs at another. Needless to say despite arriving at the allotted 8.30 drop off time we nearly missed our first skiing lesson half an hour later and made sure we were there well before 8.30 on the subsequent days.
The system is rather archaic in that the photos are printed out each day in small thumbnails rather than easily accessible, and in large scale, on an interactive TV screen which is what was available in our resort last year. While we were so impressed with the set up in Valmorel we actually booked one of their photographers to come out and take family pictures of us, here we found the photography to be more of a token gesture and eventually gave up trawling through the books to find the one or two photos they'd taken of our kids.
The hotel is ski in - lift out. I didn't have a problem with this and loved the blue run back to hotel through the woods though the wait before getting into the lift in the morning could take up to half an hour. The Vialattea ski area has a lot to offer and we loved it though our friend, a relative novice, said there wasn't as much for beginners and the run back to the hotel was a little too steep for her. It could also be icy towards the end of the day.
The lessons themselves were good, we had a first year instructor and his lack of experience showed so he was more of a guide than an instructor but we did manage to ski the entire ski area with him. Every group had at least one English speaking instructor so there were no language issues here.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Located in Italy's Piedmont region at an altitude of 1,600 metres, in a beautifully preserved natural site, this new Club Med Resort with its charming chalets promises a warm and friendly welcome and a genuine Italian Dolce Vita atmosphere.In the heart of Europe's second largest ski domain - Vialattea - this prestigious resort hosted the ski jumping and cross country skiing events at the Turin Winter Olympics in 2006.20 Clusters of chalets around the Resort centre give pride of place to premium family accommodation.Remy Camoin has reinterpreted the traditional cosy chalet ambience in an upbeat, contemporary style.An ideal holiday choice for families, with children's club facilities for babies through to teens, so that parents can make the most of the Italian art de vivre. The cable car that runs from the foot of the ski room takes you in just 4 minutes to the ski slopes of Vialattea with 400 kms (250 miles) of ski runs. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
- TripAdvisor is proud to partner with TripOnline SA and Club Med so you can book your Club Med Pragelato Vialattea reservations with confidence. We help millions of travellers each month to find the perfect hotel for both holiday and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.