Monday, 4 April 2016

Skiing in Tignes with Mark Warner Holidays // Travel

I left the Espace Killy back in May 2009 with my then boyfriend, we had just worked our season in Val d’Isere taking in the mountains everyday.  Now it was time to return with my was boyfriend, now husband to see it all from the holidaymakers side. I have been back the mountains a few times in the last month but Nick hasn’t, and since he is the more snow savy out the two of us (lived in Val d’isere, Chamonix, and Courchevel) he was well overdue for a re-visit.
We debated on whether we should head to Val d’Isere again but instead thought we’d go to Tignes in the area of Val Claret. We looked at numerous options on how we wanted to plan our trip, i.e. do we do the snow train, do we drive or do we do a package holiday? But after my auntie had such a great time in Val d’Isere with Mark Warner we decided we’d go for the active holiday specialist.

We flew into Grenoble from Gatwick with Monarch airlines – which also flies in from Birmingham too. We then had a transfer to Tignes, which takes around 3 hours and I must admit is my least favourite part of reaching some ski resorts. However if prepared you can somehow enjoy the journey slowly climbing up the mountain through snow, it somehow looks surreal and like you've entered a scene from the Tales of Narnia.

Hotel //
For this trip we were staying at L’Ecrin Chalet Hotel with Mark Warner holidays, I’d obviously heard of the company but never stayed with them. All I knew is in they were a highly commended company that offered active holidays. The hotel was well laid out with the décor providing good first impressions. It had a small bar with a lounge area, a dining room, then fitness and swimming pool/spa facilities as well. The swimming pool had a main swimming area but different sections of Jacuzzis that targeted different parts of your body - ideal after a hard day on the slopes. 
The room was easy to reach by lift and was a good but cosy size for two. For a week with lots of layers there was a lack of storage space, so maybe a chest of drawers would of made it perfect. You had a fridge too which was nice and handy. The best was a decent size and  comfy.

Dining //
With Mark Warner holidays you get breakfast, afternoon tea and dinner. Each meal was delicious! A wide range to chose from including a breakfast special everyday and three options for each dinner course. Obviously I had to test each afternoon tea cake… each got a big thumbs up.
One thing I will say is that if you are in a couple be prepared to mingle with other guests. Mark Warmer like to place couples on a couple table to utilise space. Each night we sat with a different group – I was a little hesitant of the idea to start with, as just sometimes you want your own space rather than making small talk. However by the end we’d made good friends with a couple of a similar age. I did spot some guests were in twos sat on their own so I’m not sure if they had paid extra for their own table or not.

Skiing //
The main reason you’re probably reading this. What are the mountains in Tignes like? Firstly the Espace Killy is one of the best places I’ve ever skied. I may seem slightly biased as I lived here but I assure you there is good merit behind that statement. You have such a vast amount to chose from but more importantly all abilities have a wide selection to choice from. You can ski down to Tignes, Val d’Isere, Le Lac, Les Brevieres and there are buses that link up too, so if you’ve skied to Le Lac and really had enough you can get the bus back to Val Claret. There are plenty of wide runs and easy areas to get your confidence back (as we all know the first few days you spending finding your ski legs again!)
This was my first proper dedicated ski session since I tore my ACL in Val d’Isere in 2009. It was so good to hit up the Grande Pre and all of the greens for a warm up before heading up for ski down from the glacier. You could really do pretty much anything you wanted with most areas providing a green run option down.

Après Ski //
Tignes was actually a lot quieter than I expected, but perhaps that is simply the fact I was about 23 when I was here last! However in La Lac at Loop bar was a good spot for youngeons, with a clear client being the seasonaire. IF they go somewhere then you know its good as they have many to chose from over a vast amount of time. We really liked the Marmot Pub to satisfy our Après needs – it had live music too which was a big bonus. Obviously you can ski easily over to The famous Folie Douce for dancing on the tables if you want to, then ski down to Val d’Isere from there or get the lift back up to ski back down to Tignes. Either way I’d say this is a must if you are visiting the area.

Pros and Cons //
Let’s start with the cons before the pros so we can end on a high, but first I need to reiterate nothing was particularly wrong at all I’m just not picking through the finer details.
I left this as a suggestion actually on our feedback form. The hotel could really do with a big notice board of departure times. Only when my husband and I were having afternoon tea did we discover a rogue piece of paper with our departure times. If he hadn’t spotted it –we would have had to ask but it should of been more visible. That slight error resulted in a 40 minute delay on departure as two guests hadn’t seen the sign, although saying that you would just ask if you hadn’t anything right?!
Better wifi would be great even though it was free, it kept dropping off resulting for you to re log back in. It may actually be a pro for some people to have a bit of a break!
As mentioned the staff hosted a welcome meeting on the evening of our arrival. They went through the main people and introduced themselves. I was pleased we had a good indication to who did what before we started. However, even though staff were always friendly and smiled, nobody came around to chat to you or see how your day was. Whether that is because this more of a hotel experience than an actual chalet I’m not sure, but small touches like at breakfast asking if we knew where we wanted to ski to or what were our plans. Had we of asked for help I’m sure someone would of assisted.

So the pros – apart from the above, I can’t fault it. I was concerned as Mark Warner is renowned for being family friendly and I just wanted a relaxing break, so unruly children running about wouldn’t have been my ideal setting. Thankfully all children were happy, well behaved little angels! They were looked after by the dedicated in house childcare team and had their afternoon tea at 5pm every day. It made me realise how much of a blessing a Mark Warner holiday can be for a family! Something I will certainly keep in mind when I have children.

Other major pros for me was the fact we were so close to town, 2 minutes and you were in on the action and all the great shops. The bus stop to the slopes and to Le Lac was just outside the boot room entrance. 

At dinner not only did we get 3 different options per course per night, we also had 6 wine options every night! The welcome meeting was awesome getting to know the staff and also indulge in champagne and canapés... the hotel even put the rugby on for guests. 

If you want to find out more about Mark Warner holidays have a look at the links below, and if you want to see what we got up to then check out our VLOG.  For now that is my snow trips for the year done, but we did notice in the bedrooms Beach Holidays with Mark Warner – perhaps that’ll be the next adventure! Until then… happy travels.  


  1. I loved this post. Mr C & I are always wondering whether to go skiing or not! I've always seen Mark Warner as a family travel operator too so it's good to know that they cater for couples too. It sounds like you get a lot included & the afternoon tea is such a cute idea!
    Bee |


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