[TRAVEL] The Quieter Side of Courchevel

STORY BY
Debbie Gabriel

One of the world’s greatest resorts, home to more luxury chalets and hotels than any other, and part of Les 3 Valleés, the world’s biggest ski area, everything about Courchevel is pretty impressive.

It also has a reputation as one of the most expensive resorts in Europe (you could easily pay seven euros for a Coke, even before they pop some alcohol in with it), but with a bit of careful planning you can get all the advantages of this world-class resort and its spectacular ski and off-slope facilities for a fraction of the price those billionaires, hedge fund managers and oligarchs are paying.

To start with, Courchevel isn’t just one resort. The bit where all the money is focused is up at 1,850m, but as in most of the big French resorts there are also separate villages at 1,650m, 1,550m, 1,300m and even 1,100m. So, five Courchevels. To instantly cut your ski holiday cost in half (pretty much!) book into one of the four that isn’t Courchevel 1850.


Apart from saving money you may well find quicker, easier and less crowded access to the slopes than those who set off from 1850 each morning but, fortunately, an efficient inter-resort lift network means you can easily be whisked up to the off-slope facilities, shops and restaurants of 1850 whenever you like.

The next thing to do to save yourself from all those big euro bills for drinking and eating out, is to book into a chalet, so that’s all included in your booking cost and not a scary surprise on the slopes.

I booked into Ski World’s new Chalet Jacques in Courchevel 1550 last winter and, as I actually prefer smaller, quieter village bases for my ski holiday, 1550 suited me down to the ground. I’m not sure how long 1550 will stay quiet, though, as there were plenty of signs of development and expansion in this sought-after resort.

 

 

Chalet Jacques sleeps 10 and is part of Ski World’s “Signature collection”, which essentially means the crème-de-la-crème of service and great facilities – including a hot tub, steam room and sauna. Of course, all five rooms are en-suite and there’s free wi-fi. There was a great attention to detail in the chalet’s furnishings and the food was excellent. They seem to be getting it right, as it scored exclusively 5* reviews from happy customers after its first season last winter.

I found the chalet was in a good location close to the resort centre and opposite the ski bus stop, so it was easy to get into the heart of the Courchevel valley quickly and from there on to the full 600km of the vast 3 Valleés.

Off the slopes I also got the chance to visit Courchevel’s wonderful new Acquamotion swimming and spa facility, which was very, very relaxing – a great facility, open to all and suitable for everyone. The massage there was amazing; I could just do with another one now …

Read more at www.skiworld.co.uk.

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