‘I went to the Alps’ all-inclusive mega ski resort to see if it’s worth the hype’

By Staff


I recently visited one of the largest all-inclusive hotels in the Alps, Club Med Tignes – an enormous building slap-bang in the middle of one of Europe’s best known winter resorts

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Mirror reporter visits Luxury all-inclusive mega ski hotel

When plotting a ski trip, it’s not always easy to decide between going your own way with a self-catered place and all of the logistics of kit and passes that entails, or letting all-inclusive hotel staff take the strain.

I recently visited one of the largest all-inclusive hotels in the Alps, Club Med Tignes – an enormous building slap-bang in the middle of one of Europe’s best known winter resorts – to find out why the newly opened mega-ski complex has been receiving so much hype.

For families who love skiing, going all-inclusive can make for a tempting offer. A family of four planning a DIY break would easily look at price tags of at least £4,250 including meals, self-catered accommodation, ski lessons, boot hire, and ski passes – and that’s not including your return flights, transfers and any snacks or drinks bought on the pistes.

While Club Med isn’t always the cheapest option, everything is taken care of for you, with extra perks such as entertainment included in the price tag too.

The hotel

The first thing you notice about the hotel upon approach is its location. It sits squarely in the middle of the central point of the ski resort, metres from several ski lifts. In terms of access to the pistes, it is unrivalled. Even the least confident, least experienced skier will have no problem getting from the boot rooms to the lifts in one or two minutes.

As you walk into the hotel the dominant of several carpet themes spreads out in front of you across the foyer, which merges into the main bar and performance area. The hotel opened two years ago on the site of a sizeable car park yet has a touch of the 1970s in its colour scheme and exposed concrete, although not in an unpleasant way.

As a hotel for ski-mad families, Club Med Tignes is spot on. Lift passes that give you access to 300km of pistes across numerous peaks are bundled into the price, while ski rental is reasonable and provided in house. Each morning a red jacket clad army of ESF instructors congregate outside sizeable bootrooms with heated lockers to lead classes.

The skiing in Tignes remains excellent and suitable for all abilities, offering a great variety from the cartoon-character covered children’s slopes in the shadows of the hotel to wild, icy runs that’ll challenge the most competent skiers. The views from the top out across the highest peaks of the Alps all the way to Mont Blanc are spectacular; the sensation of sliding across a piece of ancient geology on top of the world, icy clouds whipping around you, hard to beat. Like other resorts, Tignes is busy in February and March, but I never waited longer than three minutes for a chair lift.

Basic ski hire is included in the price as is a warmed locker next to the equipment room which ensures your boots are toasty and dry for when you start in the morning. The whole set-up is designed to make getting from the room to the slopes as easy and hassle-free as possible, and it does so very successfully.

The resort is all about big energy, big smiles and joining in. As someone with a high embarrassment threshold, I found this side of the resort both hugely enjoyable and amusing. Complementary shots are lined up on the bottom of a ski at the beginning of each morning session while a white-trilby wearing MC insists hands are put in the air during the daily 11.30am outdoor snack break.

One of the best parts of the hotel is the swimming, sauna and steam room area, which is located in a large glass building with incredible views of the slopes. After a hard day’s skiing, hopping into the outdoor hot tub and letting the snow flakes whip around your face should definitely be experienced. Yoga sessions and spin work outs are among the extras laid on as part of the all inclusive price, while a deeply relaxing massage is a great way to shake off the day’s bumps and bruises, although this does cost extra.

The hotel has 1,046 beds in 430 rooms plus space for 388 staff – no mean feat 2,000m up a mountain. Undeniably the fun and enthusiasm are here in big measures.

After several days of cramming myself full of breakfasts, mid-morning snacks, lunches, 3pm treats, dinners and a little something post-supper to take me through to bed, I began to wonder if the hotel’s staff were trying purposefully to fatten me up. Like much else at Club Med, the food is excellent and provided in very generous proportions. Whether you’re a child who just wants to eat plain pasta and pizza, or a meat eater with a love of rare steak and veal, the army of chefs have you very well covered.

Kids’ entertainment

It is hard to imagine a place closer to heaven than Club Med if you’re seven. Throughout the week hoards of giddy mini après-skiers rushed around the garishly carpeted hotel’s halls and lobbies, joyously battling it out on the ping pong table or competing to see who could stick the most skewered-Haribo into the chocolate fountain.

For one week their bedtimes are pushed significantly later; dessert portions in the all-inclusive resort are unlimited; new friends are around every corner. The resort is an all-singing, all dancing spectacular of food, drink and entertainment that caters exceptionally well to children.

As part of a packed schedule of shows each evening, kids’ club leaders join with receptionists, lunch counter attendees, bartenders and others to lip-sync Ru Paul style to a medley of up-tempo Euro favourites for 45 minutes. One clearly besotted young girl sat in the front row through our Friday show, shaping her fingers into a heart each time her favourite club leader walked onto the stage.

A large portion of the frankly massive hotel is given over to the kids’ club where an army of relentlessly enthusiastic young staff members kit up the young skiers every morning. The week finishes off with a bang on Saturday when the younger tots dress up and take part in a ramshackle but adorable dance along to Taylor Swift. The slopes outside are lit up by a small firework display afterwards, offering a final, surprise flourish.

Adults’ entertainment

While my partner and I spent the week in Club Med child-free (our normal state), this is not common. A key selling point of the resort is kids are looked after, with free ski-school sessions free up time for older clubbers to gym, swim, steam and – for an additional fee – be massaged in the spa.

From my experience of skiing from a chalet, evenings are spent slumped on the sofa drinking, devoid of enough energy to explore after a hard day on the slope. Club Med has enough on to coax adult skiers out of this state and out of their rooms.

Half the drinks served at the bar are included in the price and are delicious and strong enough to induce me into a seven day pina colada binge. The renowned après ski bar Cocorico is 100m away from the hotel and has a live band performing several nights a week. If that doesn’t get you up onto the table, ski boots stomping, then the mad debauchery of La Folie Douce is a short lift and ski away.

Other Club Meds such as the one in Val D’Isere are adult only, presumably ridding adult skiers of the regular lift trips accompanied by squads of giggling French children or the presence of one sweet faced boy who slammed his open palm into the buffet’s tofu dish as I reached for it. Compacted soy product related issues aside, it would be a shame not to be around the unbridled joy and enthusiasm the young guests seemed to be feeling.

Slightly disappointingly the wellness centre closes at 7pm, leaving little post-bedtime entertainment beyond the bar and 10pm performance of Crazy Signs – a join-in dance event which differs Club to Club.

Book the holiday

Seven nights all-inclusive stay for a family of 4 (2x adults and 2x children under 10) at Club Med Tignes start from £8,342 including return flights from London and transfers. Without flights, seven nights all-inclusive stay for a family of 4 start from £5,422. You can find out more and book on clubmed.co.uk.

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