Part 2

Part Two: It’s the little things that make a chalet holiday so special

Five more things that can make your luxury chalet holiday truly unforgettable

In my last guest post, I explained how the fundamentals of a chalet holiday can shape your overall experience and colour the memories you carry away with you. In this concluding part, I will have a look at the smaller details and how they, too, can enhance your journey – making your enjoyment of your winter chalet holiday last not just a week, but a whole lifetime.

The Little Extras

When you book a chalet holiday, it’s great to have just one point of contact and recognising their voice each time you call can be very reassuring when there is so much to organise. If you’re the party leader, you can often end up handling a lot more than you first realised might be the case, whether it’s taking deposits, clearing balances, ordering ski hire and liftpasses, booking ski lessons, arranging airport transfers to and from Geneva – the list goes on.

The good news is that, to an independent chalet company, this is all everyday routine and they will guide you every step of the way. In many cases, the chalet company will act as an agent for all these ski extras, taking all the stress out of it for you. Before you know it, they’ve picked you up from the airport, had your skis delivered to the ski room, brought your liftpass to your chalet, shown you the way to the ski lessons meeting point, and sent you on your way with a few tips of where you’ll find the best skiing. All the extras, none of the stress.

Pre- and post-holiday service

Independent chalet companies are generally quite small, often family-run, and even where companies grow larger, the underlying ethos should remain that of a small, family business. If you choose to book a ski chalet holiday, as opposed to a hotel break for example, then you should expect quite a personalised service: you will be speaking to real people who remember your name instead of asking for your booking reference. This has many benefits when it comes to pre- and post-holiday service, as well as during your stay.

Small chalet companies rely heavily on guests who rebook, so upsetting a guest is not an option. So an independent chalet company is likely to go much further in helping you before you pay and after you leave than might be the case with a larger corporation. But this is not just hard-nosed business sense at work here. Generally, I find that ‘real’ people like to be nice to other ‘real’ people. And, spending a week with just one or two staff members, you are likely to build a positive connection with them.

Chalet Hosts

Chalet work is not well paid and yet it remains a highly competitive job market because of the perks that come with the job: free accommodation in-resort, free liftpass all season, and free time to ski all winter long. For most seasonaires, that’s reward enough. The job attracts young people with dynamic personalities and a lust for life. What this means for you is that, in most cases, you will be well looked after by an intelligent individual with a personality who speaks English to fluent or native standard. In turn, this provides the basis for a good rapport and, if you want to, you can enjoy some bon vivant and some good banter with your chalet host.

As you build up a rapport with your chalet host, they will gain satisfaction from seeing you enjoy your chalet holiday in a way which seldom happens in a large hotel with dozens of staff. Having someone who cares enough to help goes a long way if you lose your liftpass or your boots don’t fit.

The Staff Night Off

By mid-week, a good chalet host will have looked after you so well that their night off can become a thing to dread, but you should think of this as your big chance to experience the resort itself. Your host will help you to make arrangements for eating out, booking a table if necessary.

Independent catered chalets will often list their menus in advance so, to avoid eating the same thing twice, you can make a note of what to skip when ordering at the restaurant. Eating out is a good chance to indulge in some ski resort classics which might not be available at the chalet itself, such as a belt-busting fondue. For dessert, look out for the equally decadent cafe gourmand, a selection of mini-puddings served with a delicious hot coffee. After supper, take a stroll around the resort centre and take in the sights – in a big resort like Meribel there will be plenty of late-night action, while more traditional resorts like Chatel will look even more beautiful with the stars and the village lights setting off the snowscapes below.

Your Group

A holiday is only as good as the company you keep, and there is no better way to spend time with friends and family than in the comfort of a snow-draped ski chalet. Each morning, the group will be buzzing with excitement in anticipation of the day’s skiing. Each afternoon, over coffee and cakes, see how the group comes to life in exchanging stories and recollections of an unforgettable day on the slopes. Finally, at supper, fill your neighbour’s glass with the evening’s choicest wine and let tomorrow’s fondest memories unfold.

If yours is a smaller party, don’t be put off. Sharing your chalet with other groups is a great way to make new friends and share new experiences with others. Most modern chalets are large enough to offer privacy and seclusion when you want it but, gathering by the log fire each evening, you’ll be comfortable in any company.

This article was authored by on behalf of Delicious Mountain Luxury Chalets, Meribel.