Recently I was fortunate enough to sample the delights of the Club Med concept in one of their newest and smartest properties – a luxury hotel in Valmorel
A little known and fairly limited ski area I was unsure of what to expect, both from a ski holiday in Valmorel and also the hotel. Having never experienced the Club Med ‘concept’ before I was a little apprehensive but this anxiety melted away the moment our taxi pulled up to the hotel.
One thing you can say for a Club Med ski holidays is that their service is impeccable (if a little unexpected given my previous experience of French customer service). Three members of staff greeted our taxi with beaming smiles and directed us into the smart and stylishly furnished lobby area. Once checked in to our room, which was lovely; clean, well designed and spacious, we went to explore the pool and spa area and sorted our ski hire in the onsite ski room (all equally spotless, well designed and welcoming). Everything about a Club Med ski holiday is well thought out, high quality and above all convenient.
Having settled in we headed down to the bar area for a pre-dinner drink. There is a range of cocktails on offer as well as beer and wine – all included in your holiday price, so it would be silly not to indulge, a recurring theme for the holiday and one that may have led to some extreme holiday excess! Expect to come away from a Club Med holiday with your jeans a little tighter!
To accompany your unlimited drinks there is a snack buffet area allowing you to collect a sample of nibbles – this was one of my favourite parts of the evening; mini squares of pizza, cheese croquettes, a range of nuts, crackers and crisps, cold meats and olives, a veritable plethora of pre-dinner nibbles. This accompanied by the pleasant (if slightly cheesy) live music on stage set the scene for what was to be a fantastic week punctuated by great skiing, delicious buffet dinners, slightly too much wine and cocktails and a constant stream of overly enthusiastic, often bizarre but always entertaining, evening shows in the bar.
Following drinks we were to experience the main event … dinner. What I can only describe as the most impressive and varied buffet I have ever encountered was laid out. We were led through to one of the four dining rooms, each elegantly designed in the theme of the seasons, where a waiter ensured we had our preferred wine. Then the extraordinarily difficult task of browsing the buffet and deciding what, out of the overabundance of culinary delights laid out in front of us, we would choose. All of the dishes are expertly prepared and thoroughly delicious without exception; to start there was a choice of warm chicken gizzard salad, duck liver pate on brioche, steak tartare, roasted vegetable stack with grilled parmesan crisps, warm crayfish salad, fresh prawns, oysters and scallops as well as a fantastic salad bar and a huge area of freshly baked and interesting breads! This truly was the most impressive spread I have ever experienced.
Main courses were equally impressive, from perfectly cooked duck breast to boeuf bourguignon, tartiflette (and other mountain specialities), various pasta dishes, steak, grilled fish and a huge assortment of vegetable side dishes. Dessert was a mouth-watering selection of freshly prepared pastries and puddings all beautifully presented. To accompany this there was a selection of excellent ice creams and fresh fruit– there was even a chocolate fountain! And of course (being in France) an exceptional selection of delicious cheeses to round off the meal. I was unbelievably impressed by the choice and quality of the food on offer and dinner was certainly something to look forward after a day exploring the delightful, if slightly limited, ski area.
The Grand Domain of Valmorel is not huge, it extends over to St Francois and Longchamp with about 150km of pisted runs, all gentle, long and ‘cruisey’ – ideal for confidence boosting and great for families and beginners. There is also scope for some excellent off piste and although fairly low altitude we had excellent conditions and even great powder conditions – not bad for the second week in April!
All in all I could not fault Club Med. The food was excellent, the staff enthusiastic, helpful and friendly. The entertainment though not to everyone’s taste is great for families and dare I say it the dancing and singing becomes slightly infectious!
Although I did not take advantage of the lessons included in the package speaking to other guests they were extremely impressed with these and enjoyed the social aspect it brought to the holiday.
All of the children staying at the hotel (and there were plenty of them) seemed to be kept adequately amused and entertained by the various kids clubs on offer ensuring that there was never a surfeit of bored and irritating children running around. This really is a great family ski holiday destination.
I would thoroughly recommend Club Med for a family, beginners or anyone who is looking to enjoy a really convenient ski-in / ski-out holiday with a full programme of activities, in a smart environment with excellent levels of food and service. Overall a winner – if you don’t mind the cheesy entertainment and hordes of children.
If you are considering a Club Med holiday and need any help or advice please do not hesitate to contact us on 0207 801 1080 or send us an email. Club Med have a wide range of luxury ‘resorts’ across the Alps