Baqueira-Beret is a spread-out resort in the Val d’Aran region that centres around the hub of Baqueira at 1500m. It’s a purpose-built resort that’s not particularly attractive, although the newer additions are much more pleasing on the eye. Nearby are ancient villages such as Arties and Vielha, where you’ll find some good restaurants and bars. However, you will need transport to get from here to the slopes. Beret and Bonaigua are both part of the ski area, and where some of the mountain restaurants are located.
Although you can’t ski at this level, the colourful little wah-wah road train operates continually backwards and forwards to the slopes. Hotel Montarto is located near the train stop and has rooms of all sizes including six quadruple rooms which are ideal for families. It boasts three restaurants, a swimming-pool and in-house children’s entertainment. Reporters rate its breakfast as “the best in the Pyrenees”. Conveniently set next door is the famous La Borda Lobato. For something really good value there’s Chalet-hotel Salana in Baqueira 1500. It’s a no-frills British-run place where regulars tend to return year after year. Like the other properties in Baqueira 1500, it’s located close to the free wah-wah train that takes you to the ski area.
Staying close to the slopes
Hotel Tuc Blanc is conveniently set at the foot of the slopes and has a swimming-pool and disco. AC Baqueira is a Marriott hotel set near the shops and 50 metres from the cable-car. It has 102 cutting-edge bedrooms, a spa and fitness centre, and a restaurant specialising in creative cuisine.
A newer accommodation centre is Val de Ruda, set at 1500m but connected into the ski area by gondola. There are three smart hotels here which have direct access onto a rather sombre-looking indoor shopping arcade. Hotel-Spa Val de Ruda has 35 homely rooms, a restaurant specialising in Mediterranean dishes and offering gluten-free food, and a spa with a wide choice of treatments. Five-star Val de Neu has modern rooms with a restaurant, miniclub and spa. Four-star Hotel Himalaia, the latter attractively decorated in natural colours with fur rugs. There’s also a spa, in-house mini club and bar-cafe.
Further uphill at 1700m is the Tanau area with yet more accommodation, including the delightful Rafaelhoteles La Pleta with its bell tower and Aranese design of slate and stone. It has a swimming-pool, a candle-lit spa, and a shuttle bus service to the lift (“a truly outstanding modern hotel with a fine spa and the best gastronomic cuisine in the resort”). It houses three eateries including a sushi restaurant. In the same area is Melia Royal Tanau Boutique Hotel is a small hotel with a chair-lift that transports skiers to the slopes. It has a restaurant and spa. Chalet Eira is 40m from the chair-lift, and contains just 12 bedrooms of which four are duplexes.
Arties is a charming little village with cobblestone streets, set on the main road 7km from Baqueira. You can stay here in the 14th-century Casa Arties, which has an interior featuring modern mixed with traditional mountain design in all the bedrooms. Hotel Casa Irene has a good restaurant serving local specialities. Its bedrooms are spacious and decorated in keeping with the hotel’s rustic setting. Further still (13km away) is the lovely old town of Vielha which has a pedestrianised centre and the biggest selection of tapas bars. You can stay here at Parador de Vielha where the rooms have lovely views of the mountains, and the circular-shaped glass restaurant serves regional cuisine such as olla aranesa (a local stew), wild boar and pescajus (pancakes) with cream.
For more information see our feature Are You Bold Enough to Try Baqueira?