Located high up in Les Arc 1800, Pierre & Vacances Premium Résidence Les Alpages de Chantel with its discreet charm blends naturally into the landscape of the forests and snow-capped peaks of the Paradiski region. From Bourg-Saint-Maurice you climb and climb, past Arc 1600, up to Arc 1800 and then via some rather steep snow covered paths we found Pierre & Vacances Premium Résidence Les Alpages de Chantel, gleaming out into the night like a welcoming beacon in the snowstorm that was raging through the French Alps. We parked our Lexus outside and headed into reception where we were warmly welcomed, swiftly checked in and given our keys to our apartment. Once all geared up with keys and a fob for the underground garage, we re-parked the Lexus and unloaded our luggage. In the underground garage there is a handy passage to the building and access to a lift so you can get to your apartment with ease direct from the garage, perfect for unloading and reloading without being covered in fresh snow!We made our way to our apartment, a very spacious Superior Chantel large apartment that can fit 8 people across 3 bedrooms. Our cosy apartment, where wood is the material of choice for the interior, was warm, welcoming and resembled an alpine chalet in design. The apartment included a kitchenette which is open plan to the living and dining room area, then off the main space were 3 bedrooms, one master with ensuite, then a twin and a bunk bed room plus a family bathroom with bath and separate WC. There were also two balconies off the main living area so one could take in the surrounding mountains. The apartment was all made up including linens and towels for all bedrooms, so we were spoilt for choice as to which room to choose. The kitchen was rather well equipped with a coffee machine, dishwasher, fridge/freezer and a microwave oven, you also got a little cleaning welcome pack with dish cloths and soap, this was a lovely touch so you did not have to be prepared in advance in terms of buying such items. We unpacked our luggage and food supplies then made our way to the Ski Room to unpack our skis and boots. Located on the same floor as our apartment the Ski Room has a locker for each apartment where you can store your skis and boots, only downside is that there are no boot heaters so no toasty dry boots after a day on the slopes. Once all unpacked we changed into our loungewear and prepped our dinner.Now I have been used to hotels on most of our BBB ski trips, so this self catered option was new to me. At first I was not sure if I was going to like it, what with having to cook a meal everyday when we came back from skiing, would it still feel like a “holiday”? BUT I have to say there are some huge benefits of such an option! Firstly, we were prepared after reading some reviews as to the local supermarkets in Les Arc and bought all our groceries down in Bourg-Saint-Maurice so we had a lot more choice (we also bought a lot of wonderful French wine and cider to complement our meal plan). Secondly, cooking your own meals is a lot more cost effective than eating out, especially if you were a family or large group, what with the apartment being able to take 8. Thirdly, you really feel like you are “living” in the Alps, not just visiting; coming home after a day on the slopes, getting into your Jim Jams then creating a tasty evening meal. We would put on some tunes, prepare the food together, then I would cook while Eisbar sorted the table and matched the wine. We created everything from Entrecote steak to Baked Camembert in our apartment so it never felt like we were “missing out” by not dining out every night. Lastly, and hopefully this will not be a factor for much longer, if you are scared about “socialising” just yet what with the pandemic, the self catered apartment option means you can limit your contact with others a lot more.After our first night’s sleep in our apartment we woke to the most gorgeous view from our window. The view over the valley, dominated by Mont Blanc, was breathtaking. Peace reigned supreme as pinks and oranges blurred into the emerging blue sky. Gagging to get on the slopes for the very first day of the season in Les Arc we simply put on our skis and got out to experience the joys of this winter sport. The residence has direct access to the Les Arc area and its slopes so there is more than enough to keep you busy for a week or so with everything from tree runs to high altitude runs with panoramic views.
After a hard day’s skiing the Premium Résidence Les Alpages de Chantel building offers a fitness studio and Deep Nature® spa for winding down. To get to the spa and pool you had to go outside our apartment block to the main building where reception is located, then down some stairs. In the spa you will find a sauna, steam room, relaxation area and a pool. I was very lucky enough to experience a massage on our last night at the Premium Résidence Les Alpages de Chantel. In a small room off the spa reception I was oiled up and massaged very expertly, despite the language barrier (my French is rusty to say the least), the therapist knew exactly what I needed and smoothed out all the knots in my shoulders and back. I slept well that night!Built to a very high standard with Savoyard charm, the Premium Résidence Les Alpages de Chantel offers comfortable and clean accommodation. It has wonderful facilities, panoramic views of the valley and Mont Blanc and skiing to the door. It is located close to Arc 1800 (the Dahu lift runs till late to access the main part of 1800) where there are lots of options for Apres, lunch and dinner, other activities, shops and medical facilities. I personally quite liked that the Premium Résidence Les Alpages de Chantel was located close but not directly in 1800 which meant it was slightly quieter and again added to the charm and feeling of “living” in the French Alps. We were certainly sad to leave after really feeling very “at home” in our apartment, I could see now why so many people chose this option over a hotel. Maybe you do not get the same level of flair or luxury but what you do get is a home away from home in the mountains where you can relax, kick back and just be yourself.
For more information about Pierre & Vacances call 0870 0267 145 or visit www.pierreetvacances.com.
Seven nights’ accommodation at the Premium residence Les Alpages de Chantel in Arc 1800, in a standard one-bedroom apartment that sleeps up to three, is priced from £701 during the 2021/22 ski season. Flights and transfers extra.