Ski accommodation in Are, Sweden is significantly more spacious than you’ll find in most Alpine resorts. And as any experienced skier knows, space is the one luxury that really matters when you’ve got a suitcase full of ski clobber to unpack. However, this isn’t a bargain basement resort, unless you can pick up a late-booking discount from tour operator Neilson – which runs a busy ski holiday programme here.
Just be wary of each property’s location when deciding where to stay. Different accommodation bases are sprinkled along a 15km stretch of road by Are’s lake. You don’t want to end up in the village of Duved – a bus or taxi ride from the town centre – if eating out or apres-ski is a high priority.
Here are the main sectors of the resort, and the best ski accommodation in each. Virtually all accommodation can be booked through a central office at Skistar.
The centre of Are By is for nightowls and gastronomes
Are By is the hub – a compact, old-fashioned resort town surrounded by modern suburbs. The main square is very pretty: characterised by low rise, clapperboard restaurants, hotels and shops. There are candles in the windows, and lights strung through the trees, and you can’t help but be drawn there in the evening – if only for a wander.
For the full effect, stay in the Hotel Diplomat, which is just off the main square, and a short walk from the old mountain railway – the only ski lift from the centre of town (note – this is not a good departure point for beginners). Chic and character, the hotel receives high praise: “One of the best hotels I have ever stayed in – well fitted, friendly, sociable, and handy for all of the town; restaurant stunningly good,” enthused a reporter.
If you’re with children, then the Holiday Club Are is the place to stay. One of Sweden’s biggest hotels, it’s home to four restaurants, in-house childcare, a spa with six types of sauna, bowling, a golf simulator, and a 2300-sq-metre waterpark with 67m waterslide. It’s at the railway station, which is home to the central supermarket, as well as a small shopping precinct. It’s a 10 minute amble from the town square, and 150m from the bus stop for the bus to ski school at Rodkullen.
The VM8 lift: a great spot for keen skiers and clubbers
On the western edge of town, the VM8 chair is Are’s best lift, whisking skiers up to the top of its fastest pistes, and serving its best night-skiing. Everyone who wants to ski hard and can do without the services of a hotel should consider staying here, in the spacious, inexpensive Brunkulla apartments. The bars and restaurants are an easy 15 minute walk, there’s a great bakery on-site if you can’t bothered to cook breakfast and a nightclub too – Bygget.
Ski-in, ski-out hotels on the edge of town
Two ski-in, ski-out hotels are worth considering, but they’re a bit of a hike from the centre of town if you want to go out at night – the Tott Hotel, at the bottom of the Tottliften, and at the Fjallgarden, built in 1910 at the top of the old mountain railway. The Tott has a nice indoor pool and spa and is a good departure point for the easy-skiing slopes of Are Bjornen. The Fjallgarden has oodles of old-world charm and is a key apres-ski venue.
Five-star luxury – and reasonable prices – in Are Bjornen
At the far, eastern end of the ski area, a bus or taxi ride from the centre of town, is Are Bjornen, home to Copperhill Mountain Lodge – a swanky design hotel with five stars and a new spa. It’s a place for those who want to really get away from it all. You’re unlikely to be popping in and out of town very often, given the drive. But there’s no denying the comfort, or the reasonable prices – in low-season weeks double rooms can be had for the same price as a very ordinary three-star hotel in the French Alps.