Jean-François Mercier is Commercial Director of CGH Residences & Spas, which are high quality self-catering apartments in the French Alps. He took up skiing quite late – when he became a father – but has been taking his family to the mountains ever since.
“More and more families are discovering that self-catering is a great solution for a family ski holiday,” says Jean-Francois.
“The top things I appreciate in self-catered apartments are having kitchens with everything you might need, and being able to eat – and prepare snacks – whenever you like. We also like having our own space to relax once the kids are in bed, and being able to spread out, just like at home, in the evening and play games as a family.
“The fact that you can choose when and where to eat really appeals, whether that’s going out for traditional mountain dishes like tartiflette, introducing the children to fondue, or picking up a pizza and some local cheese and wine on the way back to the apartment after skiing.
“It’s wonderful having a swimming-pool in many of the four-star residences I’ve chosen here. It’s a great bonus in terms of keeping children entertained”.
We’ve selected some four-star comfortable ski apartments with well-equipped kitchens and have chosen reasons why each residence is family-friendly.
Kalinda in Tignes 1800
Why? The location of Kalinda in Tignes 1800 is perfect for families as everything is to hand, from the well-stocked mini-market, to a ski hire shop, a crèche, restaurants and a boulangerie. The residence also has a large baby pool with a slide that’s aimed at smaller children, giving them a dedicated space to enjoy splashing about and paddling. Justine from Mumsnet rated Kalinda five stars: “Comfortable, convenient apartment fantastically located for a family ski holiday”.
In the resort: Although Tignes 1800 is linked into the Tignes-Val d’Isere ski area by both lifts and pistes, it’s quieter than Tignes-le-Lac or Val Claret – it’s therefore not the best place for people wanting apres-ski.
Lodge Hemera in La Rosiere
Why? Families with young children will appreciate the fact that the residence works with families to arrange hire of buggies, car seats and baby carriers. The property is also in the main village centre of La Rosiere so only a short walk to the lifts and ESF meeting point – avoiding any whinging about walking in ski boots!
In the resort: La Rosiere is well known for being a family-friendly resort, and this season it has added to its facilities by opening the Petit Saint-Bernard Funcross. This new Saint-Bernard-themed 1km fun track features modules, gongs and tunnels, and the track promises fun for the young and old. The Funcross is located under the Plan du Repos chair-lift.
Le Ruitor in Sainte Foy
Why? Peak Retreats clients rated Sainte Foy among the top 10 resorts they would recommend to a friend. A shuttle bus service from outside the residence makes the lifts easy to access. Le Ruitor has an indoor heated swimming-pool and apartment layouts suit families well (for example, the three-bedroom apartment has a double bedroom and two bedrooms with twin beds).
In the resort: This is a laid-back resort where you won’t feel you need to rush to the lifts first thing every morning. The uncrowded tree-lined and easy green and blue pistes are child-friendly and great for building confidence – and there’s some excellent off-piste skiing here, too. The ESF runs everything from the Piou-Piou Club for children aged from three years (with a maximum six children per class), to courses for teenagers including an introduction to off-piste.
Les Chalets de Leana in Les Carroz
Why? Perfect for complete beginners and families, Les Chalets de Leana is located in the heart of the village and just a five-minute walk to the nursery slopes. The on-site spa is great for giving parents some downtime. The property also has an indoor swimming-pool. Keen skiers wanting to put some mileage under their belt will love the huge ski area that links with Flaine.
In the resort: Les Carroz has a Famille Plus Montagne classification for its superb facilities for children. The Bardelles nursery slopes in the village centre becomes a sledging and play slope this season.
Le Village de Lessy in Le Grand Bornand
Why? The Village de Lessy has a pool table, which is great for families with older children. There’s also an indoor pool, Jacuzzi, sauna, steam room and fitness room. The residence is well located close to the elevator that takes you to the slopes and Floria chair-lift (where there’s a ski school meeting point). Families with young children will appreciate the fact that the residence works with families to arrange hire of buggies, car seats and baby carriers.
In the resort: One of the prettiest resorts in the French Alps, Le Grand Bornand also has the coveted Famille Plus Montagne label, which means that it has met the highest standards required for a family ski holiday. Some of the resort’s best accommodation (including Le Village de Lessy) is in nearby Chinaillon, which is more convenient for the skiing.
Les Chalets de Laÿssia in Samoens
Why? Located in Samoens village centre, the Les Chalets de Layssia apartments are in an unrivalled location close to shops, restaurants and amenities and just 50m from the free shuttle bus to the Grand Massif gondola so really convenient for families. The indoor pool area has a separate children’s pool, which is great for those with little ones. There is also an on-site spa for parents who want to treat themselves.
In the resort: The fact that you have to ride the cable-car to reach the slopes might be a little off-putting for first-time families. But up at Samoens 1600 you’ll find one of the biggest nursery slope areas in the Haute Savoie. There’s an ice-skating rink down in the main village, too.
All the above properties offer the loan of cots, high chairs, changing mats and bottle warmer, which is perfect for those travelling with babies, while families with older children will appreciate being able to borrow board games from reception, as well as having free wifi (for one device). Fondue and raclette sets are also available from reception, so families can introduce their children to some child-friendly mountain food.