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Romantic Christmas Family Friendly Resort

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Good evening all, hope we are all well.

Please can someone recommend a family friendly, romantic resort that will double up as a honeymoon location for Christmas. Must have lots to do apart from skiing, and activities for an 18 month old. What about Val D’Isere? Open to suggestions.
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Lech
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Zermatt.

Nothing else comes close, for those criteria.
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Wengen
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Gstaad & stay at the palace.
or
Finland - Levi Ski Resort, Lapland for the anklebiter. Take a hut with a glass roof & hope to see the northern lights.
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X2 for Zermatt. No question.
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Ricklovesthepowder wrote:
Good evening all, hope we are all well.

Please can someone recommend a family friendly, romantic resort that will double up as a honeymoon location for Christmas. Must have lots to do apart from skiing, and activities for an 18 month old. What about Val D’Isere? Open to suggestions.


Wow..your life has moved on. Congratulations. Val disere would be fab i think
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@Ricklovesthepowder,
Congrats, I'd agree with Lech, personally, not cheap and need to book well in advance though.
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holidayloverxx wrote:
Ricklovesthepowder wrote:
Good evening all, hope we are all well.

Please can someone recommend a family friendly, romantic resort that will double up as a honeymoon location for Christmas. Must have lots to do apart from skiing, and activities for an 18 month old. What about Val D’Isere? Open to suggestions.


Wow..your life has moved on. Congratulations. Val disere would be fab i think


It sure has! Madeye-Smiley
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Quite a few suggestions for Zermatt, Lech and Val. Having never been to Austria, I’ve done some research and it crops us a few times that the accommodation isn’t up to say French standards. Is this true? Always wanted to go to Zermatt and Val. Is there plenty of stuff to do for my partner and baby. Swimming, nice town etc?
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@Ricklovesthepowder,

if your going pre-xmas, then maybe somwhere with a xmas market? in austria you might find a krampus run, etc. depending on your dates.

Have a look at St Johan in Tyrol - not far from Kitzbuhel for a day trip as well
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Ricklovesthepowder wrote:
Quite a few suggestions for Zermatt, Lech and Val. Having never been to Austria, I’ve done some research and it crops us a few times that the accommodation isn’t up to say French standards. Is this true? Always wanted to go to Zermatt and Val. Is there plenty of stuff to do for my partner and baby. Swimming, nice town etc?

My own experience is that Austrian accommodation is on average markedly superior to French, though generalisations are obviously dangerous.
Val D'Isere has an excellent pool and sports complex though it would not be my first choice as a nice town compared with Zermatt and Lech. I suspect in both the latter you would be looking for hotels with pools rather than a pool for the town. In all three places if your other half was wanting to be in the town during the day the town would get a distinct lack of Sun in December as they are in the valley, Zermatt probably being the worst.
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@Ricklovesthepowder, you could always look at Arc1950 - Christmas is magical (we spend a lot of money on it!) accommodation is top notch without being uber expensive, family friendly is its key USP and the skiing is, well, Les Arcs.

With regards to 'everything else' - there's a lot of snowshowing, dog sledding available, the Bourg town is a short bus and funi away, you can get to the mountrain restaurants by foot, there's bowling and a varitey of activitis in 2000 as well. There's a creche and sledging for the 18mo, as well as nannies available. Personally, I think it ticks all your boxes ( but then I would...)
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Zermatt
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@Ricklovesthepowder, Lech
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Arctic Roll wrote:
@Ricklovesthepowder, you could always look at Arc1950 - Christmas is magical (we spend a lot of money on it!) accommodation is top notch without being uber expensive, family friendly is its key USP and the skiing is, well, Les Arcs.

With regards to 'everything else' - there's a lot of snowshowing, dog sledding available, the Bourg town is a short bus and funi away, you can get to the mountrain restaurants by foot, there's bowling and a varitey of activitis in 2000 as well. There's a creche and sledging for the 18mo, as well as nannies available. Personally, I think it ticks all your boxes ( but then I would...)



Having spent a Xmas overlooking Arc1950 from 2000 (just a short pedestrian lift between the 2) I will also say 1950 looks magical after dark at Xmas, lots of pretty lights etc make it 'disneyesque'. It (as with 2000) certainly has more of the facilities required for a 'family' holiday as opposed to a dedicated 'ski' holiday than most purpose built resorts. Plus its high enough for there to be a real chance of snow all round the village at Xmas time.
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I think Selva would be perfect for you, proper town with lots of good high quality hotels. I’ve only been to Val D’Isere once and while the skiing was great the prices for food and drink were shockingly expensive. Lech scores high for the skiing and the romantic village but I don’t think there’s a huge amount of non-skiing activity there.
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@Ricklovesthepowder, I haven't offered any opinions on this yet, since I find the concept of "romantic" far too hard to nail down.

Zermat centainly has the view of the Matterhorn but in my opinion the resort is far to inconvenient especially with the need to uses the milk floats to get around. Our then 4 year old son found the crush as people pilled onto them bad and I imagine a toddler would find it even worse.

As to things to do other than skiing then I think Tignes has the most: A good indoor climbing wall, swimming pool, sports centre; ice climbing; walking across the lake; scuba diving under it; snow mobiles etc.

The Dolomite resorts offer magnificent scenery and towns like Wolkenstein and St Ulrich are pretty enougth towns but IMHO don't offer many other activities other than skiing during the winter.

As @CaravanSkier, says Arc 1950 offers you Disney Land in the snow, but it is actually pretty good, though I'm not sure the dog sledding is there anymore. It would be my reccomendation
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Don't want to dampen the spirits of this venture but maybe a dose of realism is what is called for...

An 18 month old isn't going to make for a romantic trip IME. And certainly won't appreciate much/many of the activities being mentioned.

Unless the idea is for the 18 month to be in a crèche/nursery most of the time?
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It's all about the snow.
Snow at resort level has been rare at Christmas over recent years.
Th problem with high altitude resorts, is that they often lack ambience - so it's tough one.....
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Quote:

Snow at resort level has been rare at Christmas over recent years.

We have had it the last 20+ years in Les Arcs
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The Taj I Mah hotel in Arc 2000 would be a nice luxury option and you can take the five min gondola down to Arc 1950 for the Christmas celebrations there. I would personally go for something like that as even in a bad snow year you will get a white Christmas. Arc 1950 itself as suggested by Artic Roll about would also be good if you would rather be in an apartment.
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I would go with either Lech or Zermatt. Outside of bleak high altitude places Lech is as snow sure as anywhere, more so than Val d'Isere. Not sure what sort of accommodation you are after or what standard but there is little "budget" accommodation in Lech much of it is 4 or 5 star (too much in my opinion but that is a different story). I would have thought Lech has generally a better standard of accommodation than Val d'Isere (though that is extremely subjective and it is many years since I was in Val). Zermatt is not very snow sure at resort level but has the highest skiing in Europe though the glacier areas can be very bleak in poor weather. It has lots of high end accommodation too. Neither is ideal for not skiing though plenty of pleasant valley walks, wellness centres etc. Both are picture perfect Christmas spots, something that is not really true of Val d'Isere (though most places can look lovely with a covering of snow).

It might be worth looking at some of the other Swiss places Murren or Wengen could be ideal though the snow record is not brilliant. St Moritz has a wonderful location, lots of non skiing stuff though not cheap even by Swiss standards. Dont know much about Verbier but maybe one of the smaller villages?
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Zermatt is the only station in Europe that ticks all the Xmas boxes of skiing, height, snow, scenery, romance, nitetime apres, daytime stuff, family.

St Moritz = does not have the Toblerone mountain.
Lech = less spectacular.
Courchevel 1850 = less spectacular.
Wengen = too small.
Verbier = too hardcore.
Gstaad = too low.
Andermatt = too dull.
Austria = too low.
Cortina = too low.
Dolomites = too low.
Val d'Isere = less pretty.
Megeve = too low.
Chamonix = too low.

Aspen, US, and Banff, Canada, are good alternatives across the pond.
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Quote:

An 18 month old isn't going to make for a romantic trip IME

Mmm. Exactly what I thought. Almost a contradiction in terms. What is the plan for the toddler? At this stage a 12 month old, I guess - difficult to plan, for example, for what kind of sleeper he/she is going to be.
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Oberlech as an area of Lech is sunny and particularly suitable in it's setting for doing some skiing and getting back to base quickly.
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Thanks for the input everyone.

With regards to romantic and having a child with us, she’s never once been a issue and is really good. Romantic means lovely walks, nice town, great views, nice food etc.

Accommodation I’ve only ever stayed in a catered chalet and would probably
Stick to this as we like the idea of being able to relax and not worry about cooking etc. I’ve been to Les Arcs before and live the area. I’ll take a look at the recommendations
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@Ricklovesthepowder, In your position I would be looking at what facilities are actually under the same roof as you are staying in. By 18 months my kids really loved being in a swimming pool and always slept very well afterwards! So a catered chalet in an apartment block with a pool might suit? My report from Xmas (though not with a small child) is here https://snowheads.com/ski-forum/viewtopic.php?p=2435740&highlight=arc+2000#2435740 Though we self catered, there were clearly operators using some of the large apartments as chalets, plus the Company that I booked with also offer catering options.

There are pools with some of the 1950 blocks I believe as well as a spa we did not get time to visit, if that might suit.

I also understand its possible in 1950 to get between the blocks without going outside, (useful if conditions are foul) through the underground car parks. I checked it out when I was looking where to stay because we had an elderly relative with us so some of the considerations are the same as having a baby/small child. Because I needed so many bedrooms in the same apartment Arc 1950 did not work for us but otherwise I would have happily booked there.

This was our Xmas the year before in La Rosiere. Which gives you more information on my criteria https://snowheads.com/ski-forum/viewtopic.php?p=2185279&highlight=rosiere#2185279 Both reports are a few years back now though.

We have spent many Xmas`s skiing over the years, especially when our children were school age and education had to be considered. A couple of things I`d say consider for a relaxed holiday with some ski/snowboard activities and a little one; its easier to deal with every, and pretty much any crisis with small children in snow than it is in mud. And ease of access from ski slopes to accommodation really matters!

Hope it works out well for you.
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@Ricklovesthepowder, something to consider is that many catered chalets won’t accept children in a shared chalet. Obvious exceptions are the likes of Esprit but not sure being in a chalet with lots of other families, is quite what you’re looking for (or very romantic....)
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@Ricklovesthepowder,
I can hand on heart recommend Chilly Powder in Prodains (in between Morzine and Avoriaz).
* disclaimer I did used to work for them.
Its a very short transfer from Geneva (which will be important with an 18 month old).
Nick the General Manager is a great bloke and would take very good care of you and all arrangements.
They employ their own nannies and their creche with mostly British nannies is in the main Chalet.
Lovely snowy walks nearby, ski to the back door, hot tub and own spa yurt thing with log burner and masseuse going on in the back garden.
Good luck with all your planning, If you have a wedding and a little one to sort out I can honestly vouch for Chilly Powder taking the stress out of the travel plans and childcare with a personal service.
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@247snowman wrote:
@Ricklovesthepowder,
I can hand on heart recommend Chilly Powder in Prodains (in between Morzine and Avoriaz).
* disclaimer I did used to work for them.
Its a very short transfer from Geneva (which will be important with an 18 month old).
Nick the General Manager is a great bloke and would take very good care of you and all arrangements.
They employ their own nannies and their creche with mostly British nannies is in the main Chalet.
Lovely snowy walks nearby, ski to the back door, hot tub and own spa yurt thing with log burner and masseuse going on in the back garden.
Good luck with all your planning, If you have a wedding and a little one to sort out I can honestly vouch for Chilly Powder taking the stress out of the travel plans and childcare with a personal service.


Thank you. Having skied the PDS 6 times I’m aware of Chilly Powder and have looked at them before. I shall take a look, my only reservation would be altitude at that time of year.
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I'd second Wengen and Zermatt from the options that have already been suggested. I'd also throw Saas Fee into the mix as an option that hasn't.
Not sure how the young one would cope with the high altitude though?
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When we got married, my husband planned the honeymoon. We went to Zermatt. He told me later he had been swithering between Zermatt and Val d’Isere. Val is a great resort, fantastic skiing, but I am SO glad he chose Zermatt for our honeymoon. Unfortunately we got hooked and have been going there ever since. Hence I’m still working rather than being a lady of leisure but I couldn’t recommend it more for what you are looking for. You’ll have a wonderful time.
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What exactly are you planning ski wise - skiing together with your daughter at a nanny, or splitting you time on the slopes solo, or you go off and ski and meet up occasionally with them. I think that matters to the question as to what you really need and how far from base you can stray. And it might make staying in say a smaller Austrian resort in a good kinderhotel with its own pool & wellness etc a good choice i.e. you sacrifice some of the epicness of the skiing for proximity and kid friendliness. And I don't know many Austrian villages that won't have a decent cafe or 2.
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Ricklovesthepowder wrote:
@247snowman wrote:
@Ricklovesthepowder,
I can hand on heart recommend Chilly Powder in Prodains (in between Morzine and Avoriaz).
* disclaimer I did used to work for them.
Its a very short transfer from Geneva (which will be important with an 18 month old).
Nick the General Manager is a great bloke and would take very good care of you and all arrangements.
They employ their own nannies and their creche with mostly British nannies is in the main Chalet.
Lovely snowy walks nearby, ski to the back door, hot tub and own spa yurt thing with log burner and masseuse going on in the back garden.
Good luck with all your planning, If you have a wedding and a little one to sort out I can honestly vouch for Chilly Powder taking the stress out of the travel plans and childcare with a personal service.


Thank you. Having skied the PDS 6 times I’m aware of Chilly Powder and have looked at them before. I shall take a look, my only reservation would be altitude at that time of year.


Much as I love Morzine, its not somewhere I`d choose for Xmas ever again. If there has not been a lot of snow its a nightmare place. You pretty much have to go up to Avoriaz along with everyone else meaning its extremely crowded. When we were last there that early in the season, Xmas 2014 even my husband chose not to ski some of the time. It was so bad that when snow was forecast for the New Year week we chose to stay and managed to book a last minute place in La Tania. That did however mean we got caught in the snowmeggedon!

That reminds me though, Courchevel 1850 might be worth a look if you don`t mind the expense. Its a beautifully groomed resort at all times and is very pretty with the Xmas lights. People watching there is fun, there is some (expensive) shopping, nice restaurants, horse drawn sleighs, ice skating although that probably would not work with a little one. There may be other things, I assume there are from the number of folk always there and not on skis lol.
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@Ricklovesthepowder,

Totally understand your reservation about Morzine slopes at Xmas.

However Prodains and another option around that area with an 18 month in tow could be 'Family Ski' at Ardent.

Both Prodains and Ardent are North Facing and are direct access to Avoriaz slopes so what snow that has fallen is well protected.... Plus Avoriaz and Pre La Joux/Linga area of Chatel mostly Norh Facing too.

Id be very confident that Ardent and Prodains will be ski to the Chalet or a 100m from the Chalet Xmas week.

Ive always found Xmas week on the Avoriaz/Chatel slopes area very quiet. New Year is a different story and can be mobbed.
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Dave of the Marmottes wrote:
What exactly are you planning ski wise - skiing together with your daughter at a nanny, or splitting you time on the slopes solo, or you go off and ski and meet up occasionally with them. I think that matters to the question as to what you really need and how far from base you can stray. And it might make staying in say a smaller Austrian resort in a good kinderhotel with its own pool & wellness etc a good choice i.e. you sacrifice some of the epicness of the skiing for proximity and kid friendliness. And I don't know many Austrian villages that won't have a decent cafe or 2.


Very good point and something I forgot to mention. My partner doesn’t ski, so somewhere close to the slopes with a pool/spa is a must really. I’ll ski for a morning and then spend the afternoon doing family
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Ricklovesthepowder wrote:


Very good point and something I forgot to mention. My partner doesn’t ski, so somewhere close to the slopes with a pool/spa is a must really. I’ll ski for a morning and then spend the afternoon doing family
Things


OK, so actually the accommodation you book will be key, the resort/town a secondary consideration. I have had the same criteria a number of times but remove small child from the scenario for the last 2-3 decades, though as a grandparent these days its going to be a consideration potentially in years to come.

As some one with small children I wanted spa/pool easily accessed, as me older with health issues I wanted spa/pool easily accessed, ie under the same roof. With small children I wanted easy access accommodation to slopes, latterly with an elderly (aunt) non-skier as part of the group the need was the same.

Think first and foremost what you want/need under the same roof, look for the accommodation location relative to the slopes, look for height/snow likelihood in that resort over Xmas ('cos everything looks prettier) and what else there is to do in the immediate proximity. Its a really tough search criteria, good luck.
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If there is some prospect of your partner becoming a skier, is there any mileage in booking her a couple of private lessons? An investment in your future holidays....
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