Born in the fifties and now with seventy resorts worldwide, Club Med pioneered the all-inclusive holiday experience. Their ski resorts are dotted about the French, Swiss and Italian Alps – there’s even one in Japan – and offer a winning formula of all-inclusive board in well-designed hotels, right on the mountainside.
With seemingly boundless energy and enthusiasm, each resort has a Chef de Village and team of G.O.’s who keep things running throughout the season – chefs and childcarers by day, acrobats and musicians come night when a feel-good entertainment program brings everyone together (if you haven’t experienced Club Med’s Crazy Signs dance, it really is something else!)
Day and night, all the food and drink you’ll need is covered in the overall cost – from breakfasts, lunches, dinners and snacks, to fruit juices, hot drinks, fizzy drinks, beer, wine and spirits. Lunch service is usually extended to let you make the most of the morning conditions on the mountain, and for dinner you can choose between big buffets and speciality restaurants that open on some evenings.
When you book for a week (and with certain short breaks), your ski pass is thrown in too. So are ski or snowboard lessons and mountain guiding for every level from complete beginner to off piste pro’. And if you’re not a keen skier or boarder, hiking, snowshoeing and sledding are among other activities you’re free to join in with. If you’re travelling with children, the family focussed resorts provide childcare and kids clubs for 4-10 year olds.
If you look at the cost of paying for these things separately, the savings can rival the cost of chalet and hotel holidays elsewhere – plus it saves a ton of hassle!
We love all-inclusive for families, and Club Med's best family resorts pull out all stops for children. Childcare and clubs are available for tiddlers aged 4 months to teens of 17, and you’ll also find facilities like baby feeding rooms, changing areas and events like teen spa sessions, film nights and discos. If you have infants in tow, ask us about welcome packages including baby beds, baby baths, buggies and bottle warmers etc.
Baby Club Med (for 4-23 month olds) and Petit Club Med (for 2-3 year olds) are usually charged on top of the main holiday package. Activities are tailored to your tot’s age, often including a mix of indoor play and fun outdoors in the fresh air. Experienced G.O.’s will look after them, feed them and put them down for a nap if need be, while you can enjoy the ski area or spa facilities knowing they’re in good hands.
Baby Club Med was available in Les Arcs Panorama, Grand Massif Samoens Morillon, Valmorel and Serre Chevalier last time we checked, and Petit Club Med in Serre Chevalier, Pragelato Via Lattea, Cervinia, Peisey Vallandry, Grand Massif Samoens Morillon, Les Arcs Panorama, Valmorel and La Plagne 2100.
The good news for parents of 4-17 year olds is that Mini Club Med and Junior Club Med tend to come as part of the overall package. Making sure youngsters make friends and enjoy the resort, the program mixes indoor and outdoor activities with ski and snowboard lessons to create fun-filled weeks.
Valmorel, La Plagne 2100, Les Arcs Panorama, Grand Massif Samoens Morillon, Aime La Plagne, Peisey Vallandry, Tignes Val Claret, Avoriaz, L’ Alpe d’Huez La Sarenne, Pragelato Via Lattea, Saint Moritz Roi Soleil and Serre Chevalier’s clubmed’s usually offer the Mini Club Med program.
All hotels have a buffet restaurant as the heart of the dining scene, where different stations serve different types of food. For breakfast, choose between the likes of toast, fresh bread, cereal, pastries, pancakes, eggs, bacon, yoghurt and fruit. Drinks include fruit juices and a selection of teas and coffees.
Lunchtimes are sometimes extended towards the end of the season to let you make the most of the morning snow conditions. Foods you’ll often find include pizza, spaghetti, burgers, baguettes and salad, with things like ice creams, pastries and fruit for afters. Fruit juice, wine and hot drinks are available as well as water.
When it comes to supper, dishes usually include pizza, pasta, stew, burgers, steak and fish. Each night has different ‘specials’, whether it’s game casserole, steak tartare or filled pasta. For pudding, favourites include chocolate fountains, ice creams and chocolate mousse. Waiters give you a choice of drinks, including red, white and rose wines.
Some hotels also have a separate speciality restaurant which you can book for one night during the week for table service and dishes like fondue. You’ll also find a few hotels with separate ‘altitude’ restaurants on the mountainside which saves you having to head back to the resort for lunchtime.
On top of the main meals served in restaurants, you’ll often find foods like grilled meats, salads and cheeses served out on the terrace around lunchtime, as well as crepes and sweet treats available when the lifts close.
Bars serve a range of alcoholic drinks including cocktails, spirits, beer and wine. There are also options you can pay more for, like whiskeys, champagne and certain cocktails. You can usually order teas, coffees and hot chocolates from the bar too, or head to a hot drinks station to make your own.
Packages fly from pretty much any UK airport, with free transfers whisking you to resort when you land at the other end. Transfers are also available from train stations when you book rail travel as part of a package. If you’re arranging your own transport, it’s possible to book transfers for an additional cost. Self-drivers will find parking areas (some covered) available in most resorts, which sometimes come with an extra charge.
The good thing about going all-inclusive on a last-minute booking is that there’s a lot less to think about – with Club Med, all you need to sort out separately is your ski carriage or hire: all food, drink, lift passes and ski lessons are included in the main price. While early bookings see the biggest discounts, prices have been known to drop for empty rooms as the departure date nears so keep your eyes peeled for a good late deal.
If you’re looking for a weekend or midweek break, ask us about our three or four night packages, which usually depart on Thursdays and Sundays on certain off peak weeks throughout the season. As you’d get with a full week booking, ski passes and lessons are still included in the overall cost as well as all food and drink. We love how going all-inclusive keeps things simple for mini-breaks, letting you spend as much time as possible enjoying the mountains.
All-inclusive packages differ from company to company, but with Club Med, the main thing left for you to arrange and pay for separately is equipment hire (ski/snowboard, boots, helmet etc). It’s worth having a look around to see if any of the nearby shops have any special offers on, or for convenience you can book equipment through the hotel.
Some drinks, like champagne, certain wines and VSOP spirits require an additional charge.
A la carte extras include spa treatments, activities like ice diving or speed riding and private ski and snowboard lessons.
Parents can also opt to pay extra for childcare for little ones aged 4 months to 3 years, introduction to snow courses for 3 year olds plus pyjama clubs and babysitting services.
Some resorts are more adult than family focused, where youngsters are welcome but don’t have the same services (like kids clubs and ski school for under 12’s) that you find in the best family resorts. Others are completely adult-only – perfect for couples, solo travelers and groups who prefer a more grownup environment.
Indoor ones, heated outdoor ones, and others that flow from indoors to out... Club Med’s swimming pools are among the best in town. You can swim inches from amazing spa facilities or surrounded by mammoth mountains in the open air (incredible when it’s snowing). If having a pool is an essential to your ski trip, check out the resorts below:
Méribel Le Chalet - Indoor/Outdoor pool
Valmorel - Indoor and outdoor pools
Val d’Isere - Indoor pool
Les Arcs Panorama – Indoor and outdoor pools
Grand Massif Samoens Morillon – Indoor/Outdoor pool
Meribel l’Antares - Indoor/Outdoor pool
Peisey-Vallandry - Indoor/Outdoor pool
Tignes Val Claret - Indoor pool
L’Alpe d’Huez La Sarenne - Indoor pool
Serre Chevalier - Indoor pool
Cervinia - Indoor pool
Pragelato Via Lattea - Indoor pool
Saint Moritz Roi Soleil - Indoor pool
Sahoro - Indoor pool
Nothing beats a hotel you can ski in and out of, and Club Med often nab the most convenient spots on the mountainside. In fact, there are only a handful of hotels that don’t have doorstep skiing, and they tend to be in the classic resorts that aren’t set up for proper ski in/out accommodation anyway (and even then, getting around’s still wonderfully easy).
As if it wasn’t enough to don your skis and go - popping back for hot chocolates, snacks and lunch with ease - the included ski lessons and guiding here mean you’ll be whooshing out of the hotel in the wake of an expert who knows the area inside out. It couldn’t be less hassle if it tried…
Find our favourite ski in / ski out Club Meds below:
All-inclusive resorts with doorstep skiing are a luxury in themselves, but certain hotels crank the lux level up a notch with fabulous on-site spas. Book all manner of massages, facials and other treatments and make use of facilities like hot tubs, heated outdoor pools and Turkish baths. To mix a spot of pampering with your time on the pistes, pick one of the spa resorts below:
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