Apartment 8, La Ferme du Val Claret
March 2006, I spent two weeks riding in Tignes with a group of friends and family. The group was split between two apartments – this is a review of the accommodation that I and six others stayed in: La Ferme du Val Claret
The accommodation is listed as luxury so it’s fair to say that we were expecting something nice. We weren’t dissapointed. When we arrived in Tignes it was snowing heavily. Wind, cold, and the hassle of putting snow chains on – were all appeased when we entered the reception area. Warm, luxurious and on the ball staff – a good start!
The positives continued as we made our way from the reception up to the appartment. The whole building was finished nicely and the apartment was well presented. You know that feeling of excitement you get when you first arrive on holiday? Well we had it, and the apartment was showing good promise. It definitely had a luxury-feel.
At this point the only downside was parking the car. I don’t think there’s anywhere in Val Claret that you can park for free, for any length of time, and La Ferme du Val Claret was no different. It cost us around $100 to park the car for the two week stay. Ouch!
For me, one of the key ingredients to good group accommodation is living space. If you’re staying in a group of 7 you need space for everyone to relax and socialise. La Ferme du Val Claret scored highly in this respect with an well sized, open living space consisting of: two sofas each seating 3 people comfortably, but could stretch to 4, and a dining table seating 8, of which 5 chairs could be moved to connect more with the sofas.
There were 6 people in the other group and on a few occassions we accommodated a good portion of the total…
I believe the apartment is set up for between 6 and 8 people. I’m often scepticle of going anywhere near the top of the bracket in these situations – but I’m confident that apartment 8, La Ferme du Val Claret could sleep 8 comfortably and probably more.
Here’s what’s available:
- Bedroom 1: two single beds
- Bedroom 2: two single beds
- Bedroom 3: two single beds + mezzanine
- Bedroom mezzanine: large flat “landing” with enough room for 1 or 2, perhaps 3 people sleeping on the floor
- Living room: both sofas are set up as decent single beds
Of course if you don’t want people sleeping in the living room, or it’s not appropriate to have someone sleeping in the mezzanine area of bedroom 3 – then yes, there are only 6 official beds. However, if you’re a group of friends who don’t mind this type of thing, you can easily fit 8 or 9 people in with good areas to sleep.
One of the best things about this apartment was the available space. Each of the bedrooms had a decent wardrobe with space on top and space under the beds. There were coat hooks down stairs and in every bedroom. One bedroom had a large mezzanine. The landing area also had an accessible loft-mezzanine type-thing which I’m assuming was designed to keep clutter like luggage out of the way (we never needed it). The result was a lot of… space. And it gets better…
Wow! This was probably the most “luxury” aspect to the apartment: 6 to 8 people serviced by 3 bathrooms:
- Large down-stairs shower room
- Separate down-stairs toilet
- Main bathroom with toilet
- En suite bathroom with toilet
Power showers, heated towel rails, big mirrors and good sinks – sweet!
Equipment storage was equally good. The building had a big storage area on the ground floor which was heated with a tiled floor. And finally, a storage locker that could actually house all of the people’s equipment for which the corresponding apartment is designed to sleep. Who would have thought of that?
I’ve only been to Tignes twice so I can’t claim to be all-knowledgeable on this, but I think that Val Claret is the best place to stay. It’s got the best selection of shops, bars and restaurants and maybe the best positioning for the slopes. I’ve modified a resort map to show where things are in relation to the apartment.
Slope access was great. La Ferme du Val Claret was “down on the front” – literally 2 to 3 minutes from the lifts. The only negative thing, and it is slight, is that to get to the main shops/bars/restaurants area you need to go “up a level”. There’s this lift-thing that will take you up, or you can walk up the hill. Either way it’s no biggie.
I can’t remember the exact price for the two weeks (in March) that we stayed – but all of that information is on the web site. Exact amounts aside it was around $2200 – which between 7 people is approximately $315 each; $158 per week. I personally think that this is good value for money.
Let’s say for example you go for something really cheap, bed and breakfast at $8 or $10 per night. For a week that is still $70 or so. That’s fine; I’ve got nothing against budget snowboarding holidays – I’ve been on a couple myself. My point is this: if you want to spend a little more – I think this apartment represents a good upgrade. It’s a good apartment. I’ve certainly seen a lot of other accommodation for similar, or more, money than this apartment, that doesn’t make the grade.
I kinda find it hard to comment on price because it’s all relative: relative to what you think is important and relative to how much you want to spend. Hopefully this review will let you judge for yourself how good of a deal it is.
The Three Worst Things?
Having stayed in the apartment I new that this review was going to be full of positives – so to balance it out a little I took a quick poll of the most annoying things. Here they are:
- Only 2 keys. Designed for 8 people and only 2 keys. What’s that about? It’s OK though, I’ll leave the key in reception… I wouldn’t if I was you. We did that the first day. A couple of people went back to grab something to eat only to find that the reception area was closed. They couldn’t get the key. What’s more, the storage locker is opened with the same key: “I’m ready to go up” – “you’re gonna have to wait until I’m ready so we can lock the locker”. Oops.
- The beds. All of the beds were small single beds. I thought that they were comfortable enough but not everyone shared my opinion. It was also hard to push them together… well, pushing them together was easy but stopping them sliding apart was not! A little hook and catch would fix this!
- The lift. We were on the top floor, floor 6. There was only one lift servicing the top floor (two for all the other floors). This wasn’t a huge problem but on the morning of change over day – forget it.
I’ve got to start by saying that the website isn’t doing this place justice. I don’t know what they’re doing – but they’re certainly not selling it well. The website leaves too much to question, when in my opinion it’s a pretty sure bet.
Given the overall blend of the things above I would say that in my eleven or so weeks of holiday-boarding – this is the best accommodation I’ve stayed in. Yeah it doesn’t have a hot-tub. Yep it’s not super cheap. Sure, it doesn’t have the best living space and what? there isn’t a double bed?
Like I said – overall it’s my favourite.
Next week I’m going to talk about the dangers of skiing… and whether you should simply stick to snowboarding!