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
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.
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.
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.
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.