Those who follow me on Instagram will have seen that I spent a week with my family in the French Alps for our annual family skiing holiday. We visited Val Claret, one of the five villages in Tignes and had a truly awesome week, enjoyed by all three generations of my family (my parents came too!).
We had never been to Tignes before but heard very good things about the area. Tignes is made up of five villages of varying altitudes and offers some of the finest lift-accessed slopes in Europe – or anywhere else in the world. It shares its huge ski area with neighbouring Val d’Isère providing 300km of pistes for all abilities served by 78 lifts.
The views from the mountains are absolutely breathtaking and possible to experience even if you are not an advanced skier. There are many green and blue runs at the top of the mountains which meant we were able to get my mum up there and back down again even though she hadn’t skied for over 20 years! We found the pistes to be wide and gradual towards the top making them a real joy to ski down.
We booked our trip through Interactive Resorts and opted for a Mark Warner holiday package. A family orientated package was central to our search criteria as we have James who is eight years old, Riley six years old and Scarlett who has just turned two. We also had my parents to consider so wanted a resort that offered amenities and local attractions that were all walking distance from our accommodation.
Tignes soon became a search favourite of ours due to its position and offering. Val Claret is the highest village in Tignes (over 2100m) in a prime ski in ski out location with a wide selection of restaurants, local shops, attractions and beautiful scenery. The holiday package we chose included all flights, transfers and a catered chalet hotel. We stayed at Chalet Hotel L’Ecrin, a 52 room chalet hotel positioned a five/ten-minute walk (or one-minute bus ride) to the five main ski lifts.
What attracted us to this chalet hotel were the facilities and the childcare that was available. After spending a day on the slopes – and let’s face it, once you’ve got the children ready in the morning with all their ski gear (and then yourselves), taken them to ski-school, skied a full morning, picked the children up for lunch and then skied the rest of the day – you are pretty exhausted and in need of some quality downtime!! The hotel had an impressive swimming pool, sauna, jacuzzi and steam room, as well as a spa – which I will admit, I did use to spoil myself with a couple of treatments!
The childcare for Scarlett was fantastic! We signed her up for a full week of care and it cost £295. Childcare at the chalet hotel is available for children from 1 to 12 years. We varied how much she stayed at the crèche by balancing the amount of care with my parents as I was a little concerned at the prospect of leaving her for a week whilst we skied. That said, I need not have worried as the childcare staff were absolutely fantastic – so friendly, professional and welcomed Scarlett with arms wide open! They took her out in the mornings to play in the snow, interacted with her through role play, fed her a cooked lunch and even did some hand and foot painting with her. She really enjoyed her time in their company.
My boys didn’t use the childcare during the day as they attended morning ski school (9am-12pm) which we booked via our tour operator, Interactive Resorts. Each day, we met the boys after their lessons, went for lunch and then skied as a family in the afternoon. On one of the days we even managed a three-generation ski with my parents!
One of the added benefits of booking a family orientated hotel is that children aged 12 years and under are offered high tea between 5pm-6pm, meaning they can attend the evening “movie night” at the childcare whilst the adults enjoyed their evening dinner. Scarlett’s weekly childcare included the evening option but for the boys, we had to pay an additional amount. Evening childcare was charged at £60 per child per week and should be pre-booked.
The hotel was well located for us as a family as it was within walking distance to all areas that we could possibly want to visit whilst on our holiday. There is a lake between the two villages of Val Claret and Le Lac which in the winter months is frozen and can be walked across – there is even an option to take a ride in a Husky sled! During our stay, we ventured across the lake a few times to visit the iglu village and children’s playground, enjoy a morning coffee, see the Huskies and have some fun on the purpose-built sledge run. In Le Lac, there is also a leisure centre swimming pool with slides which we could access using our ski passes, although we had such a good time in the hotel pool we didn’t feel the need.
If I were to be uber critical, I would have prefered a genuine ski in ski out accommodation option but that generally comes at a premium. I really feel it’s all about striking a balance when selecting the right option for your skiing holiday. It ultimately comes back to the question; what are the most important factors for your stay? For us, it was childcare, an English speaking ski school, good hotel facilities (especially the pool!), accessibility to local amenities and great slopes for skiing!
One thing that provided some diversity for our trip and a lot of entertainment was visiting La Folie Douce on the slopes above Val d’Isère, to experience their “lunchtime floorshow”. On the highest live stage in the world, DJs, singers, dancers, and musicians all performed to après-ski (and mid-ski) enthusiasts. It was brilliant – we couldn’t pull my mum away….!!
As part of our catered holiday package, each day the hotel provided us with a morning breakfast, an afternoon tea with plenty of homemade cakes, soup, juices and assorted teas and a 3-course evening meal with wine. On Thursdays, dinner is not served in the hotel which allowed us to dine out at one of the local restaurants. We ate at Pépé 2000 and indulged ourselves with a boozy cheese fondue!
During the day we ate at various restaurants on the slopes and in the village but our favourite was Grizzly’s Bar in the village just 50 yards from the Tufs ski lift. The decor, ambience and food were excellent and we thoroughly enjoyed it there – we could have stayed all afternoon! They also made amazing hot chocolates..!
My view of this resort and region
In short, we had a fantastic time and enjoyed every minute of our stay! There was something for everyone with lots to do and see, for all ages and all skiing abilities. Our hotel was cosy, comfortable and oozed traditional charm, inside and out. The skiing was epic and the scenery was breathtaking. I would definitely recommend our holiday to anyone looking to book a family orientated skiing trip.
Excellent for families
Everything can be booked via one company
English run and English speaking
Staff were extremely helpful and went out of their way to ensure our holiday was a success
A great pool and lovely spa area
A fish, meat and vegetarian option was available each night for dinner
Ski passes can be conveniently organised by the hotel
Relaxed atmosphere in the hotel
Walking distance to restaurants, ski lifts and local amenities
Loads to do in the surrounding area
Fantastic skiing terrain
3-hour coach transfer from pretty much every airport
Hotel is not ski in ski out
No communal children’s play area within the hotel (there is only the pre-book childcare option)
The same selection of foods were offered each day at breakfast
The relaxed atmosphere in the hotel is great, but I missed not dressing up for dinner..!
So there you have it, our family skiing holiday! I hope you found this post interesting and perhaps even helpful.
This is not a sponsored post and our holiday was entirely funded by us with no preferential discounts. I just wanted to share my experiences with you in the hope that others might find this useful.
Thanks for reading, SJ x