About our catered ski chalets
Chalet holidays have improved beyond recognition since they first appeared. Even the simplest ski chalet in the French Alps nowadays is probably equivalent to a two-star hotel, and the smartest are more like the Burj Al Arab. We have chalets with gyms and lifts, saunas and hot tubs, breathtaking views and liveried Land Rovers. The food has evolved from a bowl of Beef Bourg knocked up by somebody's sister into a nightly dinner party with dishes as good as you could find in the best restaurant in Val d'Isère. See our Food and wine page for full details (and 50 mouth-watering photos!).
Yet chalet holidays remain extraordinarily good value. Whether you are paying £1950 for our top chalet at New Year or £390 for our most modest chalet in late April, there is no way you could organise your own rapid, seamless flights and transfers, comfortable accommodation, cooked breakfasts, fresh cakes and superb dinners with unlimited quantities of rather good wine for anything close. Val d'Isère's long season enables us to share our costs more thinly across the season and keep our prices surprisingly reasonable.
And even if value for money is not your main concern on your ski holiday, a chalet provides a comfortable home-from-home you can treat as your own, where you don't have to whisper over starched table cloths, and where the staff are charming and helpful without being intrusive. You have all of the advantages and none of the constraints of a good hotel, and all the freedom of self-catering without the chores.
Many people say they choose chalets because they love the atmosphere. Most of our chalets are taken over by single parties, so the atmosphere is whatever they want it to be. Some groups stagger home from the nightlife at dawn, others are in bed by ten and catch the first lift. But it is true that there is no other sort of holiday where you can do pretty much exactly what you like, so long as you take your ski boots off and don't disturb the neighbours. A long bath after skiing, a glass of wine and canapés around the log fire before dinner... And we always have one or two chalets split between individuals, couples and small parties, where good food, plentiful wine and civilised people with a shared interest (and whom you may never see again...) can't fail to create quite an ambience around the dinner table.
Our most expensive chalet is a
top-floor apartment, en-suite throughout, in a newly-refurbished
building on the nursery slopes. The least expensive is several top-floor
apartments with a bathroom for every three guests in a slightly older
building near the nursery slopes… The service, food and wine are the
same in all of our chalets. Only the degree of comfort and the location
Although there is no hotel in Val
d’Isère where you would be more comfortable or spoilt, YSE chalets are
not intended to feel like hotels. Instead of dozens of rooms, all
identical, you’ll find just a few, often quite varied. Instead of
faceless kitchen staff and nameless chambermaids, we have chefs and
chalet staff you’ll automatically be on first-name terms with, and glad
to meet up the mountain or in some smoky dive. This informality is one of the keys to
a successful chalet holiday. Eating and drinking well is another. If
you click on the other headings on this page you will read
about our food and wine, and the staff who prepare them.
We aim for restaurant-quality cooking
and hotel-standard cleaning, and we select, train and supervise our
staff accordingly. If this isn’t quite right for you, we offer all sorts
of cost-price options, from superior wine to daily linen changes, from
taxis to the slopes to champagne up the slopes, enabling us to tailor
your holiday to your requirements.
But none of this will make you happy
if you are a cantankerous old curmudgeon who never wanted to come in
the first place! Enjoying the company of friends or family is half the
point. YSE won’t subject you to the quizzes or pub crawls beloved of
some tour operators, but you still need to be vaguely sociable. Even in a
chalet for four there are three other people’s holidays to ruin, and a
chalet girl who’ll dine out on your grumpiness for twenty years!
We offer special discounts for those booking the whole of some of our larger chalets out of high season. On certain high season dates we accept children over five into these larger chalets even when not booked by one party and could split a chalet sleeping 10 or more. If not having children in your split chalet is a priority, you must tell us at the time of booking.
No YSE chalet is inconvenient for
skiing. Four of our chalets have a Land
Rover shuttle, while guests in most of the others can be on a lift
within minutes of leaving their door, and some step straight onto the
When you step back, of course, it is
more comfortable for everyone if you can leave the snow outside. We
recommend you bring some sort of indoor footwear so you can take your
Uggs off at the door.
Like any house, chalets can have the
occasional technical problem. There are few buildings in Val d’Isère,
new or old, which don’t need a plumber or electrician at least once
during the long winter. But YSE’s reps and repairmen never sleep (or if
they do, there’s a phone by the bed), so while we cannot promise you’ll
never need to call for help, we can guarantee that it will arrive
rapidly. This is a promise we can only make because the YS of YSE is available all winter.
We have stayed in most of our chalets,
and would not be offering them to you if we hadn’t enjoyed them ourselves. But please note that they are all different. Some are on the
slopes. Some are close to the action. Some are ideal for families. Some
suit people who stay in every evening. Some have close neighbours and
are not recommended for party animals. With twenty-one chalets to choose
from, we probably have one the right size and price for your group.
We have described them with tedious
accuracy, with the dimensions of every room. If you need still more
information, the team in our Sherborne office know the chalets inside
out. Please wade through the blurb, and ensure that your party all know
what you are booking. They’ll merrily leave all the work to you, then
blame you when they find you’ve booked a chalet they can’t ski back to
when they’ve forgotten their sunglasses…