• YSE La Maison du Rocher
YSE La Maison du Rocher


Catered chalet holidays have improved beyond recognition since they first appeared. We have ski chalets with gyms and lifts, saunas and hot tubs, breathtaking views and picture-windows, and our Chalet Hotel les Chardons, right in the centre of Val d’Isère. 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 mouth-watering photos!).

Yet catered chalet holidays remain extraordinarily good value. Whether you choose our top chalet at New Year or our most modest in late April, there is no way you could organise your own rapid, seamless transfers, comfortable accommodation, cooked breakfasts, fresh cakes and superb dinners with unlimited quantities of rather good wine for anything close to the prices we charge. Val d’Isère’s long season enables us to share our costs and keep our prices surprisingly reasonable.

If value for money is not your main concern, a catered 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 the advantages and none of the constraints of a good hotel, and all the freedom of self-catering without the chores.

We remain one of the only companies offering a proper chalet holiday with meals served by, and daily cleaning done by, our own YSE staff. (We do not offer “Contactless Catering”, where food is delivered for you to cook, and you do all the clearing up afterwards! That formula may suit some people, particularly if it is very inexpensive, but it is certainly not what we’d call a chalet holiday!)

To comply with French law, we have to give staff two full days off. We have taken on extra staff to allow for this (as well as any injuries or illness), and our guests will hardly notice the difference. We will provide six dinners – five up to our normal gastronomic restaurant standard, and one a traditional Savoyarde tartiflette* with salad and fruit – as well as five cooked breakfasts and two continental. The chalet’s communal areas and bedrooms will be cleaned on six days per week.

Many people choose chalets because they love the atmosphere. Most of our ski chalets are taken over by single parties, so the atmosphere is whatever you 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 holiday where you can do pretty much exactly what you like, as 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…

The service, food and wine are the same in all YSE ski chalets. Only the degree of comfort and the location vary.

Our most expensive chalets are Chalet Patou, right on Snow Square and quite possibly the best-located catered chalet in the world; Chalets Pic Noir, Perdrix, Ptarmigan, built four years ago, utterly luxurious apartments on the main street in the middle of the village, and Chalet d’Isère, built at the same time, one of the finest 16-bed chalets in the resort, with its indoor hot tub and sauna.

Individuals, couples and small parties generally stay at our Chalet Hotel les Chardons, where amazing food, plentiful wine and civilised people with a shared interest (and whom you may never see again…) can’t fail to create a great atmosphere.

Our least expensive is Chalet les Gnellets, a traditional chalet near the nursery slopes with a bathroom for every three guests but at least as much atmosphere, and still the indispensable boot warmers and wifi.

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 Optional Extras, from superior wine to daily linen changes, from taxis to the slopes to fresh flowers, 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!

On certain high season dates we accept children over five into the larger chalets even when not booked by one party. 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. Guests in most YSE chalets can be on a lift within minutes of leaving their door, and some step straight onto the snow. 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 Ugg boots 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 can’t promise you’ll never need to call for help, we can guarantee that it will arrive as quickly as is humanly possible. This is a promise we can only make because John Yates-Smith, 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. The grid on the What’s in your Chalet page gives more information on the chalets’ facilities.

We describe the chalets with tedious accuracy, each on its own page, down to 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…

*tartiflette – traditional Savoyarde casserole of potato, cheese, bacon and onion, or a vegetarian version without the bacon.

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