Val d’Isère | An In-Depth Look
We asked Kiah, one of our Reservations Agents about her trips to Val d’Isère for the third part of our mini-series looking at the resort. Here is what she has to say about it.
Located in the legendary Tarentaise Valley in the French Alps is the Espace Killy ski area and the resorts of Tignes and Val D’Isere. This vast and snow-sure ski area is one of my favourites, as it offers high altitude skiing, stunning scenery and a lively après scene. Ski Total is very lucky to have a large presence in Val, offering a great range of chalets and Chalet Hotels throughout the resort, and with the arrival of our Platinum Chalet Hotel Le Savoie, we thought we would give you some inside information and tell you why you should come and visit.
I first stayed in Val d’Isere in December 2010 on a university trip and have been lucky enough to return a couple of times. My most recent trip was to Chalet Hotel Champs Avalins in late April and the snow conditions were still excellent despite it being late in the season.
The Chalet Hotel is a great option for people wanting to experience Val D’Isere on a budget, as it offers comfortable en-suite rooms and skiing virtually to the front door. It’s located in La Daille, which is more purpose built than neighbouring Le Fornet, Bellevarde and Solaise, but it does offer some of the best skiing access in the resort.
It has a high-speed gondola and chairlift leading up towards Tignes and a funicular, which gives direct access to the Rocher de Bellevarde and skiing in the centre of Val. This is all within a few hundred metres of the Champs Avalins and at the end of the day you can ski back on a green, a blue or a couple of fairly steep red runs. For those of us who like a drink or two (or more, we won’t judge) after hitting the slopes, you can find the world-famous Folie Douce mere metres from the top of the Télécabine gondola, pumping out tunes until 5pm daily.
Image: La Folie Douce | Table dancing is encouraged and if you’re unable to ski down then there is no shame in taking the lift.
No matter where you’re staying in Val D’Isere, the Folie is a place you have to ski to or visit at least once. It’s a spectacular sight to take in as you ski down towards it, the terrace is normally packed full of people in an array of colours, seamlessly bouncing and moving together with the music and full of infectious energy.
For those who prefer a quieter scene, there is also a bar and restaurant with a sun terrace at the bottom of the lifts or a small bar and welcoming afternoon tea back in the Chalet Hotel. If you need to get back to the centre then do not fear, the resort buses are fantastic; they run on a loop every 15 minutes until late and are free with your lift pass, so it’s easy to get around even if you’re staying at the top end of Le Fornet.
If La Daille doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, Le Fornet is the opposite end of the resort and offers more traditional accommodation. It is a quieter area, but it still benefits from the quick bus link into the centre and once again the skiing access is great. The cable car and lifts from here can take you up to 3100m and there is some great off-piste for advanced skiers. We have some really attractive chalets in Le Fornet and they vary in size so it suits couples and groups of keen skiers well.
Finally, we have the centre of Val D’Isere, the Solaise and Bellevarde areas, which they have managed to keep very conventional and striking with stone and wood clad chalets and hotels. There are fairy lights and decorations all along the main street so it is picturesque and lovely to walk through at night. This is where the Platinum Chalet Hotel Le Savoie is located on the main Avenue Olympique and it is less than 5 minutes walk from the ski school meeting point and main Solaise and Olympique lifts.
|CHALET HOTEL LE SAVOIE|
If you’re looking for luxury in Val then look no further, previously an independent 5 star hotel, the Le Savoie really has it all. The rooms and suites are so large and beautiful that they’ll be hard to leave, but if you can drag yourself away from your huge bed and satellite TV, there is also a beautiful spa area with a pool, whirlpool hot tubs and sauna and steam rooms. There is a residents bar and lounge area with fireplace and we provide our platinum dining 6 nights a week with a selection of wines, all served by the Le Savoie hosts. It benefits further from an in-house rental shop, making life simple for guests needing to hire equipment before hitting the slopes.
The best part is this is all within a stones throw of the bars, restaurants and shops and, deserving a special mention, next door is a fantastic little take away pizza parlour with friendly local owners. The nightlife and après are world famous here for good reason, I’d recommend Dick’s T bar and nightclub which is only 3 minutes away or, if you prefer something low key, there are some charming bars like Wine Not, or Pacific. The latter often has live music and sports.
Image: The Centre of Val d’Isère | Modern, yet classic; elegance in the mountains.
To summarise, Val D’Isere really does offer something for everyone and it isn’t hard to see why it is rated consistently as one of the best ski resorts worldwide. If you are an intermediate or advanced skier and you haven’t visited yet, then put it on your to do list right now! I would say that beginners may find Val a little tougher than some resorts, but there are a few free beginners lifts in La Daille and by the Solaise lift in the centre. For non-skiers there is a huge range of shops, restaurants, a cinema, numerous leisure facilities and activities like ice climbing or husky sledding, so it can cater to all ages and desires. For skiers and boarders, you only need to take a look at the resort maps and stats and you’ll know.
Well, what are you waiting for?
Words by Kiah Ovenden
To see the other parts in the mini-series, click on the following links.