Val d’Isere, France Direct flights from London Gatwick with Germania Airlines (other airports available) 03331 4126
FIRST IMPRESSIONS: FLIGHTS & TRANSFER
We flew from London Gatwick to Grenoble with Germania Airlines, which took just 90 minutes – nice! And with a convenient midday departure – double nice!
Landing in Grenoble at around 14:00, we picked up our bags and made our way outside where we were met immediately by beaming Mark Warner representatives, who quickly pointed us towards our transfer coach, parked right outside the terminal alongside those for other resorts. As we set off, we had a short briefing from the rep on board with us, providing useful information on lessons, equipment hire etc., then it was ‘sit back and enjoy the views’ for a few hours. Val d’Isere is a three-hour coach ride from Grenoble, but they make one quick toilet break on the way.
TIP: Mark Warner gave us a handy heads-up if you’re travelling with kids (or in general). Pick up some snacks, and perhaps even a sandwich and drink after going through the gates in Gatwick, as there aren’t many options when you get to Grenoble if you’re hungry on arrival, and the stop en-route is at a service station where the choices are limited.
THE HOTEL’S LOCATION
The hotel is located bang in the middle of Val d’Isere, literally two minutes’ walk from the slopes and lifts, and there is a free shuttle bus stop right outside the main door. You also have one of Val’s top ski hire shops, Killy, right next door, and a pretty good creperie on-site too.
The hotel’s lounge and bar were lovely and cosy, with an open fire and a cupboard full of board games and books for you to borrow, which was good for us because during the first few days it snowed non-stop and we could barely set foot outside. I also made sure I had a few dips in the heated outdoor pool, which was sublime even during a blizzard!
The restaurant offers some truly stunning views over the village. With glass windows surrounding the room, you’ll be gazing over the Olympique and the village’s church – a view that never gets old, regardless of the time of day.
Breakfast is a delicious spread of freshly baked pastries and breads (arrive at 7.30 for warm goodies); a cooked breakfast buffet with a varied selection (from mushrooms, to hashbrowns, sausages, etc) to the usual porridge, cereal and fruit as well as plenty of juices and coffee/tea. You can also get made-to-order eggs, which is a nice touch. We are heartily every morning.
Our son had his lunch with the kids’ club after his ski lesson at around 12.30, and his food was a selection of children-friendly meals which certainly beat the sandwiches we were picking up!
The afternoon tea has a good selection of homemade soup, homemade cakes and biscuits, all very tasty and will definitely help keep you going until dinner.
Children can have high tea at 5pm, with a good selection of meals which you can pre-book with reception every morning.
The a-la-carte 3-course dinner was a real surprise, in a good way. We were expecting it to be decent, but it was really excellent actually. I’m on the picky side with food, and can honestly say that I loved every single course, every single day!
Our family room was located on the second floor and had a balcony overlooking the mountain to the back. The two interconnecting rooms consisted of a children’s room with two single beds, wall-to-wall wardrobes and a nice little desk overlooking the mountain. This room connected with another which had a comfy double bed, leading to a balcony and a recently renovated shower and wc. We found the room to be generously proportioned, with plenty of room for our ski boots and winter gear, plus the views in the morning were breathtaking.
It pains me to say this, but this was Charlie’s favourite bit! We couldn’t get him away from the ‘kids’ room’. It was the first thing he asked for when he woke up, and begged us to go back every evening. Every single staff member was so lovely with him, had endless amounts of patience and came up with so many different ways to entertain him – from a cocktail making class, to snow related crafts to creating their own board game. Admittedly we were there in term time so he had them pretty much all to himself!
The room is very spacious, and basically has everything a nursery does, with lots of toys, board games, crafts etc, as well as a TV with plenty of beanbags, which are perfect for lounging in the hotel’s evening cinema club.
The carers would pick Charlie up straight after breakfast and get him all kitted out for ski club (they have their own locker for kids’ skis and boots). They hand the children over to the instructors, and pick them up when their class is finished, returning to the hotel for lunch. Then it’s up to you if you want to take your kids to the slopes in the pm or (like mine for a few days!) whether they want to stay in the club to relax and play. We were so thankful to everyone – they really made a huge difference and my son loved them all and still speaks of them (hi Jess!).
If you haven’t had enough of us, we had the really fun experience of being part of Mark Warner’s Chalet Hotel Val d’Isere ‘s video below – see if you can spot us (or Charlie’s laughter right at the end!).
We will be sharing lots of details of our Mark Warner family ski holiday in Val d’Isere – keep an eye out for new posts!
nb: We were invited to stay at the Hotel Chalet Val d’Isere as part of Mark Warner’s ambassador’s programme, but as always all opinions are our own.