Wednesday, 4 February 2015
Snowlife - La Clusaz
Location: The French Alps, close to Annecy -Aravis Region
Good for: Great skiing with a picturesque village atmosphere
When to go: We went in January, which is a nice quite time, but I can't imagine that any time in ski season would be bad - plus as they are now opening the chalet we stayed in for summer rental, I think it would be a great choice for a summer break too.
Cost: the prices vary depending on the time of year but for 1 week (adult only week) of January skiing, fully catered, we payed 940 Euros, per person (including the private transfer). Flights are not included so you will have to check at the time of flying. Lift passes are an addition cost, although organised for you by the snow life team on our trip, and current prices are around 188 Euros per adult for 6 days and 136 Euros per junior for the main Manigo ski area.If you want experience a different area, the the Grand Bornand is a great range, easily accessed via free shuttle bus, you will have to pay extra for this ski pass, but it's worth it even for a day. Ski hire is also in addition if required and varies depending on ski level and equipment needed.
Flights / Travel: Flights come into Geneva and the private transfer is around an hour - so very easy to get to.
Time difference: A mere 1 hour ahead
Chalet Panoramic: We have been to a fair few ski resorts and chalets over the years, but this one really does top the charts. Located in the French Alps, 1 hour away from Geneva Airport and close to Annecy, the small and perfectly formed resort of La Clusaz is nestled in a truly spectacular region of skiing (Aravis region) - with a great range of slopes for all abilities and picture postcard scenery that leaves Austria wanting!
We had never heard of this gem, but were lucky enough to be invited along with some friends who have been returning to the same place, and chalet, time and time again and boy are we glad we joined them...
Hugging the side of the piste and overlooking the village below, is the gorgeous Chalet Panoramic. The minute we entered we were greeted by Simon and Lisa, were made to feel like old friends and instantly at home. The huge woody lounge, with glass on three sides - hence the chalet name, was both cosy and spacious and just invited you to relax into the super-comfy sofas, which I have to say, we did, a lot!
In the dining area, possibly the biggest dining table I have ever seen runs the full width giving you a great view, wherever you sit and makes sure that every meal is a social occasion.
And the rooms - well, where to start, our room was fabby! Cosy but not too small, with a very swish bathroom and walk in shower, luxury toiletries, bath robes (which are yours to take home!) and even a pouch of yummy chocolates hanging from a hook - the quickest way to my heart...
Now I have to be honest and say that we have always gone to smaller catered chalets, filling it with friends (unsociable? Moi?), so we were a little nervous of going to this chalet with a capacity of 30, although as we were going in a kid free week, there were only 20 guests. We needn't have worried though, we already knew four others going and the rest of the group, largely made up of returning guests were great fun and welcomed us with open arms. It felt like a chalet full of friends.
The team themselves were just awesome, friendly, fun and soooo helpful, they really did make our trip extra special. Dani and Andrew, Dave and Sharnelle and of course Simon and Lisa - all of them were exceptional in creating and serving the most delicious food (and plenty of it) and special mention for Dani, who's cakes are worth taking up skiing for!
What to expect: What, all of the above isn't enough? Well, for those of you who ski regularly, you know that there are some necessary evils: monotonous transfers, lift passes to get, ski equipment hire and not to mention the walk home after a hard days skiing! Well, forget all the above here - Private transfers are included (unless you are travelling at random-o'clock) the passes are waiting for you, equipment (if needed) is delivered to you, and you can ski back literally, 'to the door' I kid you not. It's all so easy - I almost feel guilty (almost!). You can rely on being pampered here.
Expect the most glorious skiing on your doorstep. We were lucky enough to have over a metre of snow during our stay, which meant we had great powder for three days of our trip. Expect Well groomed slopes, with little or no lift queues during the week (despite ranking No: 5 in France). Weekends are busier, but if you are used to the madness that is The Three Valleys or Val d'is, then this is a walk in the park.
You can also buy a ski pass for Le Grand Bornand, which is a short hop away by bus (free bus pass comes with the ski pass) at a cost of around 33 Euros, per adult, per day (less if you book it in advance with the main area pass). Grand Bornand is a good sized area with broad sweeping runs which are great for advanced and beginners alike and well worth a day of your time.
At the time of writing this review, a massive bonus is also that this resort is radically cheaper than we have experienced elsewhere in France, especially if you go to the smaller restaurants on the outer reaches of the piste area. Some food and drink prices were less than half of that currently charged in the three valleys for instance!
What to take / not to take to Chalet Panoramic:
• Remember suncream / block
• Handwarmers - useful if you suffer, especially on lifts exposed to the wind
• Slippers - outdoor shoes are not allowed indoors
• No need for towels and bathrobes - they are already there
• No need for hairdryers, they too are provided
• L'occitane toiletries are also provided, so no need to take shampoo, conditioner, shower gel or moisturiser.
• If you are 'of a certain age' I know I am, fear not, they have magnifying mirrors!
• Make sure you take your appetite - there is plenty of tasty food on offer
All in all, this place rocks! and we will go back, but sshhhh... don't tell too many people - we want it to stay just as it is.
You can find out more about La Clusaz, the resort, here >
To find out more about Chalet Panormic, you can check out their website here >