So you are thinking about going on holiday to Val Thorens, the highest resort in Europe. What do you need to know about choosing where to stay in the resort. Well firstly I guess you need to decide if you want to stay in a Val Thorens Hotel, a Val Thorens self catering apartment or a Val Thorens Chalet. I’m sure most of us know what is involved in staying in a Hotel or self catering apartment, but you may not be sure about chalet holidays. In our opinion if you want to meet other skiers chalets are perfect for this. They range from around 10 bedroom to as big as 30 bedroom buildings. All the guests would normally share the lounge and dinning rooms. Depending on what you have purchased you would have your own bedroom or share. Not all chalets have on-suite which could be an issue for some, worth checking out beforehand. If your party is quite large, say you and 11 of your closest friends want to go skiing, then chalets are perfect!
Val Thorens is very lucky, pretty much all the accommodation is ski in/ski out, if not then a very short walk to the slopes. Val Thorens resort is is built on the side of a mountain therefore there is quite a incline from the bottom to the top of the resort. Depending on what kind of holiday you are looking for it might sway you where in the resort you would like to stay.
Val Thorens – Bottom of resort
Lets start with the Bottom of the resort. This area has seen a lot of activity over the last few years with new hotels and apartments being built. Apart from the bars and restaurants in the Hotels there isn’t a lot of Apres ski entertainment in this section of the resort. However the bars in the Hotels are very nice but not a place where you would dance on the tables, if that it what you are looking for. There are a couple of supermarkets, a few shops and bars to keep you amused. It’s very easy to get to the slopes from here, some Temple apartments have a door from the lounge right onto the piste! The down side is it’s far far away from the main bars; it will take you 20mins walk uphill (Val Thorens is quite steep for a resort) to get to them, however only 10mins rolling down the hill after a nights session. Lots of universities use the apartments down here therefore it is very busy when they arrive (normally a Saturday).
Val Thorens – Middle of resort
So onto the Middle and the Centre of the resort (the French call resorts ‘stations’) which has the tourist office, bus station (gare routière) and most of the shops and restaurants. This is also where the sport centre is located as well as many other facilities. The office of ESF (ski school) is located just next to the tourist office as well as a lift pass office (Casse). One of the biggest (they say THE biggest) nightclubs in the Alps is located here but is located underground. If you are staying around this area you shouldn’t hear the music from the club however you might hear people leaving it at 2am. The buildings to look out for here are La Vanoise and l’Arcelle (the latter is above another club called Baramix). Lots of supermarkets and sports shops here to spend your money in. If you come to Val Thorens over Christmas and New Year this is a good place to watch the fireworks, incidentally they have fireworks many times in the season so keep looking in the skies! Just behind the main row of shops (in fact right behind the bank of Credit Agricole) is the bowling alley. Only a few years old and not only has bowling but also have some cracking live bands around 6pm.
Val Thorens – Top of resort
The Top. This is where most of the bars are located so you will need to be a little careful which apartment block to choose if you want somewhere quiet in the evening. The noisiest buildings are Les Neves and Glaciers which are directly above the bars. By staying north facing in these buildings it is a little quieter, but then you don’t get the fantastic views and the Sun. If you want some specific information on the buildings in the resort check out our ratings for each building in the apartment review page. Val Thorens also has a cinema which shows English films as well as French. Every Tuesday and Thursday a local market comes to town, it is located in the top part of the resort and well worth a visit, don’t worry it will be there after skiing.
Val Thorens – Les Balcons
And finally way up in the Clouds. Slightly separated from the Top end of the resort is the area call Les Balcons. A new’ish section of the resort which they have made very pretty by making it all out of local wood. There isn’t a lot up there though to be honest, a pub, shop, ski shop and a couple of restaurants. If you don’t mind the walk into town (should only take 8.5mins to the bars and 12mins to centre) then it’s not a bad place to stay.
Our tip is which ever option you are looking for may it be a Hotel room, a Chalet or a self catering apartment make sure you are facing south (down hill’ish). As well as the heat from the sun these are the best views!
Now you know more about the areas of Val Thorens you will probably want to know the costs. Well as you can imagine you could spend loads if you wanted to however Val Thorens is one of the cheapest resorts to stay in (at the moment). We have linked up with Interhome to provide you with some very competitive rates in our Holiday page. Also there we have links to recommend (not only by us but by you guys out there in cyber-space) tour operators who can also help.