Catered Chalets – 3 Things to Avoid

When booking a catered chalet, here are 3 tips on things to avoid, to ensure you get the most from your holiday.

  1. Inexperienced Cooks – if you are a bit of a foodie, and look forward to meals on holiday, make sure you check out the credentials of the person or persons responsible for cooking. Most chalets require their staff to have at least taken a cookery course and some luxury chalets will even have experienced restaurant chefs. If food is important to you it is worth requesting a sample menu and wine list before you book, as a general rule you will get what you pay for, so if you want something more sophisticated that home cooking and vin de table it may be worth looking at luxury chalet options.
  2. Queuing For the Bathroom – Depending on the chalet you opt for you may be sharing with family and friends or fellow skiers you haven’t met before if you opt for a larger chalet. If you are the sort of person that really doesn’t fancy queuing for the shower in the morning, check the chalets en-suite facilities. It may sound obvious but details like this can improve your holiday.
  3. Poor Location – The one thing you want to avoid when it comes to location is being too far from the slopes, you don’t want to waste valuable skiing time travelling a long distance at the start and end of the day. In Chamonix and most ski resorts in Europe you will have 3 choices for the location of your chalet – on the slopes, in town and close to the lifts and out of town. If you’re on the slopes you can literally ski from your front door but if you don’t have your own transport you may be limited in the areas you can ski, the same applies if you have a chalet within walking distance of the ski lifts. If you find a chalet out of town, it will often give you better access to more ski areas BUT make sure you either have your own transport or the chalet has a ‘taxi’ service.

Tips For Choosing the Location of Catered Chalets

Depending on which resort you choose and who you book with, some catered chalets might be rather more conveniently located for you and your party than others. If you’ve never rented one before, here are a few things to look out for.

Out of centre locations

It’s probably fair to say that in many ski resorts, chalets are set a little outside of the town or village centre. The centre itself is usually occupied by shops, restaurants, hotels, hostels and sometimes holiday villages. There’s actually nothing wrong with this, and many visitors like to be a little away from any central après-ski mayhem that can, sometimes, be found in the centres of some of the rowdier ski resorts.

However, keep in mind that if you’re looking at catered chalets that are a fair distance outside of the centre, you’re not going to be as conveniently located for shops, restaurants, cafés, bars and perhaps other in-resort entertainment. Watch out also for access to out-of-centre accommodation. In heavy snow conditions, vehicular access to them might be a problem, which could be an issue for you when you’re arriving and departing. If you take a public ski transfer service that drops you in the centre, you might not relish a hike with your luggage or paying for additional transport.

Central locations

The pros and cons of catered chalets located centrally have been touched on directly and indirectly above. On the plus side, you should be guaranteed access to your accommodation and you’ll also be nicely placed for all that the resort has to offer by way of social amenities. If there’s a downside, it’s most likely to be related to noise during the day and at night from people on the streets and perhaps some vehicles. Those located close to a disco or music-themed pub could also be an issue, although most resorts in Europe will have fairly strong anti-noise rules that such clubs should, in theory, adhere to.

Where is your accommodation in reality?

Some less reputable accommodation providers might be a little bit economic with the truth in their advertisements and location descriptions. Watch out for the non-specific use of words and, if it’s unclear, seek further information before you make a booking.

Ultimately, there’s no substitute for getting the address and looking it up on one of the online mapping services. It’s also a good idea to look at a resort map online, usually published by the local tourist authority. You’ll be able to look the address up and see exactly how far you are from things like a significant road, shops, ski lifts, entertainment centres and so on.

It’s worth a little effort in advance to resolve this. Catered chalets that don’t deliver what you want by way of location are potentially going to impact the enjoyment of your holiday – so be sure what you’re booking and where, well in advance.