Les Chardons is a sweet little family hotel in one of the best positions in Val d’Isère, and we are running it as a YSE chalet.
It is ten seconds’ walk from the church, at the very heart of Val d’Isere’s quaint and quiet old village, and mere metres from the snow square, nursery slopes, drag lifts, ski schools, ski shops, bus stops and all the shops. Guests here spend more time skiing, eating and drinking and less time travelling around than anyone else in Val d’Isère.
If you wonder why you’ve never noticed Les Chardons, it is next to the Hôtel Les Cinq Frères (which you’ve probably never noticed either) on that little lane which leads from the Tourist Office roundabout to the church. Very few people and even fewer vehicles use this road, and it really is astonishingly silent. Even the church clock doesn’t chime at night.
Inside, the chalet is much more comfortable than one might imagine from its slightly plain exterior. This must be true as we get so many repeat bookings!
The dining room is charming. Our top chef Murray leads a team in the professional kitchen, which aims not just to match the food in our smaller chalets, but surpass it; while Christina, the other half of this impressive husband and wife duo, runs the rest of the chalet with the same professional eye for detail.
We do not run a bar, but guests keep their own drinks in a fridge in the large sitting room, and we can buy drinks in for you if you tell us in advance what you’d like. It’s all at supermarket prices and there is no cheaper or more convenient way in the Alps to develop cirrhosis.
And there’s the snug, a second sitting area with full HD Sky+ for those of you who don’t want to miss the Test Match/News/America’s Next Top Model or whatever.
There’s a ski/snowboard locker and a room containing nothing but boot-warmers and glove-warmers. If you are accustomed to the pleasure of slipping your feet into warm, dry boots, wait until you put on warm, dry gloves!
The bedrooms aren’t huge, but they’re comfortable, with modern bathrooms, good lighting and handmade curtains. Some have balconies, and all the rooms’ views range from good to fabulous. If views don’t do it for you, eight bedrooms (2, 3, 4, 5, 14, 15, 16 and 17) also have little flat-screen TVs with British Freeview.
Ten rooms have en-suite showers and loos (actually, some of them are baths, but those wonderfully short baths only an Oompaloompa could stretch out in, so most people treat them as showers).
Six more bedrooms are in sweet, almost fully en-suite pairs, each room having its own shower-room and basin, but with a single loo for both rooms on the landing between them. To some people it is very important to have their wc in their bathroom. Others however, particularly of the long-suffering wife variety, are quite glad not to! Anyway, for having to share a loo we give the four guests in each of these ‘suites’ quite a generous discount.
And there are eleven single rooms, with no supplement. You may need to read that again. As well as having space for 32 guests in pairs or couples, Les Chardons has eleven rooms for people travelling alone, who are normally faced with the choice of sharing with a stranger or paying to keep the other bed empty.
In fact, the eleven single rooms comprise six twin and five double rooms, but we are treating them as singles because they don’t have the same facilities as the other rooms. Five have showers and basins, five have bidets and basins and one has just a basin. There are three communal showers and three wcs on the landings. The question is whether you’d rather have a loo and share your bedroom, or get your own room but share a loo!
Better still, during school holidays or when a single group books the whole chalet, a second person can stay in these single rooms half-price. We can’t promise this extra person a flight, but with a saving of up to £700 he/she probably won’t mind booking a seat on easyJet or Jet2!
Chalet Les Chardons is unique in Val d’Isère: a large chalet for keen skiers who are also keen foodies, and it sells out very quickly.