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Family accom that isn't just 4 beds in a room?

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Hi all! I successfully survived my first ever ski trip to Val Thorens this year (yipppeee) and as many of you pointed out, i'd either be thankful for the opportunity but never want to do a trip again.... OR I would love it and so begins the drain on finances for the forevermore.

Well, thats happened Very Happy Had an absolute ball and cant wait to do it all again.

Thinking of a trip next year with my other half and his children, i'm not entirely comfortable with the idea of having just a single room with a double bed and a set of bunks which most hotels seem to categorise as a "family" room. I'd be much happier with connecting rooms, or a 1/2 bedroom suite type room where the kids have their space and we have ours. Especially since we'll have to curtail our evenings to link with bedtimes, it would be nice to have someplace I can shut the door to their room and we can relax! They'll be 11 and 8 when we go in Feb.

Does anyone have recommendations of hotels/resorts that have this sort of accommodation? I'm not precious about where in Europe it is at this point - I just want some privacy Laughing Laughing Laughing
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
There are so many options. I would first have a look at where you want to be (though I appreciated you have said anywhere!) rather than the accommodation as you will find the right accommodation everywhere. It sounds like an apartment rental would suit you as you have a lounge to chill out in after the kids have gone to bed. You can eat out or cook in and gives great flexibility for families IMO.

(I would not be happy sharing a room with damn kids either!)
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Kinderhotels...great family places in Austria, Germany and Italy.
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I guess my preference would be France or Austria - thats purely based on my sister loving Austria and I loved VT this year. Other half seems to have a soft spot for Bulgaria, given all the unease over the eastern side of europe I'm not so sure ( appreciate there is are a couple of full countries between Ukraine and Bulgaria but still makes me nervous given its proximity to Serbia)
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It will depend on your budget but if you rent an apartment, you have the choice of a studio (all in the same room as you describe), a 1 bed (sofa bed for you and 1 bedroom for the kids or vice versa) or a 2 bed (self explanatory). If you are going on a budget this is the best solution because family rooms (particularly larger ones as you would want) are very expensive in hotels. We had one in a hotel in meribel (L'eterlou - lovely hotel BTW, the pool is amazing) which was good as the kids room was seperate to the main bedroom but it was a lot more expensive than a self catered apartment.
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If you would consider an apartment rather than a hotel vrbo.com (the old homeaway site) has a good filter where you can define the min number of bedrooms specifically you want.

The other sites seem to struggle with such a feature useful as it is.

Booking.com can filter on number of rooms but doesn’t mean bedrooms for apartments. But if its a hotel appearing you’d think it would be bedrooms but seems to include bathrooms so maybe increase it by one. So try that for hotels to get an overview.

Otherwise if going to hotel sites direct I guess you’ll need to look at “suite” room typed which usually have multiple rooms.
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@Ciorsdah, It could be worse. We don't mind sharing a room. In fact on climbing trips we share a room with perhaps a dozen other people, mainly strangers.

But

My wife a son who was about 18 at the time booked a trip to Austria while I was working overseas. They booked a twin room. However, when they got to the hotel they discovered the infamous "Austrian twin bed", which is actually a double bed with two quilts. My son was relegated to the floor.

As @Legend., suggests book a 2 or 3 room apartment.
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We have just stayed at the Christiana in Les Gets. Family room has 1 room with a double then a door to a childrens bunk bed room. Recommend the hotel, especially the ski in ski out x
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I wouldn't try and pinpoint a resort for this. They will all have options ranging from a studio (for 4), to 3 bedroom apartments.

It's highly likely that the accommodation block you stayed in had bigger apartments, you just need to thoroughly read the description of the apartments on offer. ie what the sleeping set up is.

Something described as a 'family room' probably sounds ideal to somebody who is new to ski accommodation (particularly in France), but if it's actually a studio for 4, or bunk beds in the hallway, it will be undesirable for many.
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most resorts have apartments to book, with a range of bedrooms sizes. A lot are self-catered but some are in complexes with half board options. Les Balcons in Val Thorens are apartments that can either be self catered or you can have breakfast and/or dinner in the restaurant. I much prefer apartments, particularly with children as you more space, a living room to chill out in and having a kitchen is really handy for drinks, snacks, breakfast - even if you do go half board
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I sympathise - I've been booking accommodation in Ireland for a trip with a friend and even the sites which pretend to let you specify that you want two rooms seem to make you wade through pages and pages of places with only one bedroom.

An apartment sounds much the best bet to me, as suggested above. Much more room, all the privacy you want, you can spend as much, or as little, on eating as you wish.

But if you are keen on a hotel, why not just book two double rooms, next door to each other?
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johnE wrote:
@Ciorsdah, It could be worse. We don't mind sharing a room. In fact on climbing trips we share a room with perhaps a dozen other people, mainly strangers.

But

My wife a son who was about 18 at the time booked a trip to Austria while I was working overseas. They booked a twin room. However, when they got to the hotel they discovered the infamous "Austrian twin bed", which is actually a double bed with two quilts. My son was relegated to the floor.



An Austrian twin is 2 single mattresses in a (usually large) double bed frame, not a double bed, with 2 quilts. easy to sleep top to toe if its an issue
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I’d recommend Hotel Alparena in La Rosiere which is right on the slope in a family oriented resort. The accommodation can either be booked on a self catering basis or half board hotel. Even the smallest apartments are a good size. We had one bed apartment plus alcove with teenagers and they had sturdy bunks and their own bathroom. Our room had an ensuite bathroom with a jacuzzi bath. It has a very nice pool and spa and luxury ski room. We self catered but skied back to the slope side restaurant for lunch and they did things like pizzas as well as more traditional french food. We booked it through peak Retreats who I’d recommend particularly if you can do self drive. They have lots of other accommodation particularly high end apartments in residences with pools. Le Napoleon residence in Montgenevre is another of our favourite places.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Ps having just reread your post you would probably be better off with a two bed apartment in Hotel Alparena as I can’t remember if there is a door to shut off the bunk alcove in the evenings. As our kids were older they went to bed at the same time as us.
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Another vote for Peak Retreats - and if you are in doubt, their people are very helpful on the phone.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
As has been mentioned, both vrbo and airbnb are great sites to get a gauge on what's available in your shortlist of potential resorts - you can filter on number of bedrooms in both. Worth trying to look at a range of these sites, as not everyone posts their accom on every site, and the pricing will be slightly different. It pays to do your research early - the better, larger apartments at the best value prices will obviously get snapped up first.

We always have an apartment these days, with a double room for us, and a twin room for the kids, and a nice lounge\dining area - it really does feel like a home from home.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
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As a few have suggested an apartment is probably going to work best for you - though you'll need to do some detective work to ensure you're getting what you think you're getting and not some estate agent weasle words.

I've just come back from a great week in a lovelly apartment in Avoriaz with some friends and their two children. That meant 5 people and 3 bedrooms were required (we didn't want to do the 'sofa bed in livingroom' thing) and while most listings for 5ppl/3 bedrooms on Vrbo gave you just that there were a few owners playing a little fast and loose with their listings. I don't know about you but 2x double bedrooms plus 2 bunk beds tucked into the side of the hallway between bedrooms/toilet and living room, with no door between the living room and hallway is NOT 3 bedrooms.

If the listing doesn't include a floorplan you can usually piece things together from the photos. If you seem to be missing a room from the photos you can either ask, or just drop them in the "No" pile.


Oh, and always check if bedding is included or not. Sometimes it is, sometimes it isn't but can be added for an extra charge, but it seems to be a very French thing to bring your own. Not too bad if you're driving, bit more of an issue if you're flying.

pam w wrote:
An apartment sounds much the best bet to me...But if you are keen on a hotel, why not just book two double rooms, next door to each other?


Or the other option would be 2 rooms in a catered chalet. Given the children's ages you're not going to have a chunk of time each evening after they are in bed and before you're ready to turn in and either an apartment or chalet gives you somewhere other than sat on your bed to spend it, one on your own having to sort yourself out for food, the other shared with other guests after having been fed.
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Ciorsdah wrote:


Thinking of a trip next year with my other half and his children, i'm not entirely comfortable with the idea of having just a single room with a double bed and a set of bunks which most hotels seem to categorise as a "family" room. I'd be much happier with connecting rooms, or a 1/2 bedroom suite type room where the kids have their space and we have ours. Especially since we'll have to curtail our evenings to link with bedtimes, it would be nice to have someplace I can shut the door to their room and we can relax! They'll be 11 and 8 when we go in Feb.

Does anyone have recommendations of hotels/resorts that have this sort of accommodation? I'm not precious about where in Europe it is at this point - I just want some privacy Laughing Laughing Laughing


Most of Austria...

I've personally stayed at http://www.hotel-traube.com/index.php/hotel and whist not apparent from website (so suggest an email enquiry), they have family suites which are 2 rooms, one Austrian double, one proper separate twin beds and one bathroom, all off an internal small entrance hall, priced at 1.5* a double room, so cheaper than 2 doubles and better for young kids.

pretty sure other hotels I looked at had similar arrangements. They are popular though, I think one year we ended up with 2 regular doubles as the family suites had gone.
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Mjit wrote:
As a few have suggested an apartment is probably going to work best for you - though you'll need to do some detective work to ensure you're getting what you think you're getting and not some estate agent weasle words.

If the listing doesn't include a floorplan you can usually piece things together from the photos. If you seem to be missing a room from the photos you can either ask, or just drop them in the "No" pile.

Oh, and always check if bedding is included or not. Sometimes it is, sometimes it isn't but can be added for an extra charge, but it seems to be a very French thing to bring your own. Not too bad if you're driving, bit more of an issue if you're flying.


Yes this is great advice - you definitely have to play detective! Be naturally suspicious of anything major that is listed in the apartment, but you can't see in the photo's - with bedrooms always being the prime example. And look at the photo's carefully. it's not unusual to see the same bedroom photographed twice, with different decorations and bedding, making it appear like a different bedroom.

Also work out what's important to you - and check it fits that criteria. Location is important to us, for example. so working out where the apartment is located is key - don't always trust the maps they use on the site. And with a couple of young teenagers, wifi signal is also key for us - and if I'm not confident in it, I'll rent hippowifi (or the like) and take it with me.
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@Ciorsdah,
Look at chalets or apartments.
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First thing is to try and identify the country and resort to make life easier. Normally I rent an apartment from the owner but this takes a good few weeks of research online - tourist info website usually helps/Google searches and looking on that country's typical rental websites. I found many an 'agency' rental with its own website and booked directly (way cheaper).

I can only give you my experience from France. Usually do research via Abritel.fr and it has led to being able to contact the owner direct (sometimes but not all the time). This year I booked with Abritel.fr for peace of mind - had to cancel 4 weeks before and push back my dates - got my money back without issue.

Like what's been said, you need to look carefully at what's being advertised. A 3 bed could mean 1 bedroom, hallway bunkbeds and a double sofa bed in the lounge. At the same time, a 1 bed can have a double bed and bunk bed in the same bedroom (discounted by many because it's a 1 bedroom but acceptable to most for sleeping purposes). You just need due diligence with reading carefully and looking at the pics. And ask questions!
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@Kettonskimum1971, In France in particular it is unusual to see the number of bedrooms (chambre) mentioned. It is more common to see the number of rooms (pièces). I have been told that to constitue a room there must be a window to the outside otherwise it is a coin or a couloir.

All rentals should include a floor plan and the size.
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After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
@johnE, Hi - on Abritel.fr there is a filter for number of bedrooms - so I use this (but with a pinch of salt!). That's very interesting about the window constitution as my April booking is a 1 bed appt for 6 people (there are 4 of us) but it's very clear that there is one double bedroom and a separate bunk bedded room (off the dining room with a sliding door) from the images.

I agree on floor plans but this tends to be a minority when I'm looking.
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Though it's really not as hard as Handy Turnip, Kettonskimum1971, and I seem to have made it sound!

For me it's all part of the holiday excitment build-up. Looking at the photos to see the rooms, trying to work out the layout of the apartment, if there's a full-sized or just counter-top oven, working out from the view where the building is on Google Maps, then trying to guess exactly where it is based on the balcony fencing/where that signpost or neighbouring chimney is in one of the pictures. It gives me something to do on endless, pointless conference calls at work! Smile
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@Mjit, Ha ha - you are so right!
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The CGH Residences facilities (only in France) are a great self catered format for families. Simple, clean apartments and usually with a pool / sauna facilties. The kids tend to love the pool the adults perhaps might make more use of the sauna.

https://www.cgh-residences.co.uk/en

If only someone would start doing something similar in Italy (where accommodation seems to be stuckin the 1980's!).
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Mjit wrote:
Though it's really not as hard as Handy Turnip, Kettonskimum1971, and I seem to have made it sound!

For me it's all part of the holiday excitment build-up. Looking at the photos to see the rooms, trying to work out the layout of the apartment, if there's a full-sized or just counter-top oven, working out from the view where the building is on Google Maps, then trying to guess exactly where it is based on the balcony fencing/where that signpost or neighbouring chimney is in one of the pictures. It gives me something to do on endless, pointless conference calls at work! Smile


Laughing Laughing Laughing love this, so true! I'm the same - I like to use google maps to work out if the balcony is south-facing, and then imagine myself sitting there having a cold beer in the sun after a great day's skiing! I also like to use google maps to work out where the ski-in/out entrance is too..
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Handy Turnip wrote:
Mjit wrote:
Though it's really not as hard as Handy Turnip, Kettonskimum1971, and I seem to have made it sound!

For me it's all part of the holiday excitment build-up. Looking at the photos to see the rooms, trying to work out the layout of the apartment, if there's a full-sized or just counter-top oven, working out from the view where the building is on Google Maps, then trying to guess exactly where it is based on the balcony fencing/where that signpost or neighbouring chimney is in one of the pictures. It gives me something to do on endless, pointless conference calls at work! Smile


Laughing Laughing Laughing love this, so true! I'm the same - I like to use google maps to work out if the balcony is south-facing, and then imagine myself sitting there having a cold beer in the sun after a great day's skiing! I also like to use google maps to work out where the ski-in/out entrance is too..


For me it's working out where the nearest patisserie is Very Happy
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As always, some super helpful replies Smile Thank you all so much!

I think we have narrowed down resorts so now its time to find the options there - I totally hear you all about apartments but I just dont know if i can be bothered cooking/cleaning up after everyone (as thats what I do 24/7 when not on holiday) so the convenience of a half board hotel is very appealing to me - the climbing over each other and lack of privacy in a single hotel room though really isnt Laughing Laughing Laughing Maybe I can train the children in 12 months to cook?
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With the money you save by having an apartment, get one with a cleaning option you can purchase (then no cleaning up after everyone - apart from the same sort of stuff you'd have to do in a hotel room). Also you can have a few meals out so you're not cooking every night.

I love the amount of extra space you get with an apartment and would hate to be cooped up. Usually get a dishwasher and washing machine included which is so handy. And I hardly really spend much time cooking on an evening. There's nicer food you can work with that you don't get here so easily. My evening ski cooking tends to resemble Keith Floyds!
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 Poster: A snowHead
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Another vote for Peak Retreats - not used them personally but done a lot of browsing during covid.

Loads of choices on there with many levels of flexibility regarding number of rooms , layout etc.

For the record - we have stayed in La Rosiere in the Lodge Hemera. a CGH apartment block of which there are now hundreds across the French alps so all very similar.
We had a two bed + lounge (sleeps 4 to 6 ) and was quite adequate for 2 adults + 2 kids.

We actually booked via Crystal (who obviously include flights and transfers).
So maybe browse PR (which involves you getting to resort yourself) and then check Crystal too to see if package is better or worse.
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I don't understand why people equate renting their own, much more spacious, accommodation with having to cook all the time. There are restaurants..... and it's fun choosing where to go each evening.

As @Kettonskimum1971 says, you can pay someone else to clean at the end, and although you do have to clear up after any breakfasts, drinks and snacks in the apartment, even if you mostly eat out, there are dishwashers. And if your family are so idle and useless that you have to "cook and clean up after them 24/7" for the rest of the year.......... rolling eyes

France has rented accommodation of all standards. You can rent a small, cheap, apartment, do it all yourself and save a bomb compared to staying in a hotel. Or, of course, you can rent one with your own swimming pool and cinema, your own private chef who will cook exactly what you want, and your own driver to take you back and forth to the slopes, to whistle up a masseur after a hard day's skiing. And never lift so much as a feather duster all week.
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And don't forget the Alpine trend towards Apart'hotels - either conversions of existing hotels/apartment blocks or new builds where the building has a ground floor with café, bar and restaurant plus basement pool, sauna, gym etc. but the accommodation is conventional apartments. The idea being that you don't even have to leave the building to go out for a drink, meal or exercise. You pay slightly over the odds for the apartment but get all the facilities of a hotel, but you're not paying hotel suite prices.

The other Alpine trend, expanded by the pandemic, is for external catering for chalets and apartments. We've got at least two in our village, on top of the existing restaurants, where you just fill out your order online one day and get the meals delivered the next. Yes, you'll have to het them up and clean the plates, but it's turning out that a lof of people, even if they can afford it, prefer not to be sharing their apartment/chalet with live-in staff.

View your apartment as a hotel suite with kitchen and lounge but without the astronomical cost of a suite. If you're in an Apart'hotel then there's almost no difference, other than no room service. If it's an apartment block, then you'll have to go out for meals, or you can order online for delivery.


Last edited by Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see? on Thu 24-02-22 11:48; edited 1 time in total
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Ciorsdah wrote:
...I just dont know if i can be bothered cooking/cleaning up after everyone (as thats what I do 24/7 when not on holiday) so the convenience of a half board hotel is very appealing to me


For France at least it sounds like a shared, catered chalet might be the best for for you. You should be able to specify 2 twin rooms rather than a quad when you book, get the added semi-private living space, have someone to cook and clean for you, and also have other adults for you to talk to and maybe ski with/often other children to distract yours and maybe reduce the sibling fighting a bit.
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@Ciorsdah

As you haven't given an idea of budget and are still interested in hotels. I'd have a look at one of the Club Med Hotels. They do family accommodation which guarantees an adjoining room for the kids. They have a kids club (most kids seem to love that) and it's fully inclusive (lift pass, Ski school, full board (Plus tea and snacks), drinks etc ...) - Which is why initially the prices look horrendous!
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@Ciorsdah, I'm shocked that you spend every minute of everyday cooking and cleaning. And that your other half cannot cook.

Cooking in a ski apartment need not be antisoical, take a lot of time or be much of a chore. The trick is to go for simple meals and all cook together. In most ski apppartments the kitchen area is part of the living room. Often I sit at the kitchen table preparing the meal where others do things like peel potatoes, prepare vegtables, present me with gin and tonic etc. One favorite meal of mine is is to use the slow cooker; fill it with stewing steak, onions, mushrooms a bottle of wine, some herbs and seasoning and switch on. Add some greens and potatoes when you get back and your mother's brother is called Robert. TBH it's not much of an ordeal.

If you look carefully most resorts also have a "meals on wheels" company who will bring a ready cooked meal directly to your door.
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You can get away with minimal cooking -- just do takeout, delivery or hit up a Picard in France on the way in, if you're driving.

The benefits of an apartment over a hotel with children are immense. If you are socked in/rained in, you can just hang out in the apartment. You can have a lie-in and a leisurely breakfast if you want. Plus you have much more space and often a washer, if not a w/d

We have swung for a big apartment, don't care if it costs an extra 200-400 euros. When I'm on vacation I don't want to sleep on a folding bed; I don't want my kids to have to sleep in the hall. So we each get our own br, or at least own bed in a real room.
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A fridge at hand, full of your own favourite drinks and snacks, at supermarket prices!
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We had a great holiday in 2020 at Ski Olympic’s apartment attached to their Chalet La Foret in Vallandry. I think half board was an option but we did more or less what others have suggested. Driving down helped because we stocked up in a supermarket before driving up the hill, topping up in the week from the Sherpa.
The flexibility is definitely a plus.
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johnE wrote:
@Ciorsdah, I'm shocked that you spend every minute of everyday cooking and cleaning. And that your other half cannot cook.

Cooking in a ski apartment need not be antisoical, take a lot of time or be much of a chore. The trick is to go for simple meals and all cook together. In most ski apppartments the kitchen area is part of the living room. Often I sit at the kitchen table preparing the meal where others do things like peel potatoes, prepare vegtables, present me with gin and tonic etc. One favorite meal of mine is is to use the slow cooker; fill it with stewing steak, onions, mushrooms a bottle of wine, some herbs and seasoning and switch on. Add some greens and potatoes when you get back and your mother's brother is called Robert. TBH it's not much of an ordeal.

If you look carefully most resorts also have a "meals on wheels" company who will bring a ready cooked meal directly to your door.


Yes, agree with this - I do the majority of cooking on our family holidays (as I do at home), and love it. The meals are really simple (big family spag bol!), and I'll have a glass of wine or cold beer in by hand at all time. And you can always pick up hot food from the hot counter at the supermarkets.

So we cook at home a couple of times, grab some food from the hot food counter a couple of times, and then eat out out a couple of times.

Having the living space (a home from home!) that you get from an apartment is so important. On a friends trip, we had hotel room and it's not quite the same.
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