Crystal – full name Crystal Ski Holidays (also known as Crystal Ski, Crystal Holidays, TUI Ski) – is one of the biggest ski suppliers in the UK.
Crystal Ski have everything from cheap ski chalets, budget apartments and no-frills hotels to luxury accommodation. They cover resorts all over the big European ski nations (France, Austria, Italy and Switzerland) as well as in a number of the smaller ones (Andorra, Bulgaria, Germany, Finland, Norway and Sweden). You can also find Crystal packages for Canada and the USA.
Most packages include your accommodation, plus flights from a choice of airports across England, Scotland and Northern Ireland (usually with TUI Airways - formerly Thomson Airways). Rail is another travel option, with trains departing from London St Pancras and Ashford. Your transfers between the airport / train station and where you are staying are included too. Crystal reps (usually wearing light turquoise jackets) are based in almost all resorts the operator covers. They’ll meet you at the airport on most holidays, then guide you to your transfer coach and assist you with collecting pre-booked ski passes, sorting out your ski hire and lessons and anything else you might need during your stay.
Hotels are the most popular accommodation offered by this tour operator, who have over 600 properties on their books. Crystal provide their own ratings for hotels, awarding 2 to 5 stars (including half-stars) depending on services and facilities. A 2-star property might be a simple pension offering a basic breakfast, while 5-star properties often have on-site spas, gyms and swimming pools as well as high class restaurants. Bear in mind that Crystal’s ratings can be different from the official ones – we can check these for you when you enquire.
Most of Crystal’s ski hotels are sold on a half-board basis covering breakfasts and evening meals throughout your stay. B&B is the second most popular board basis, followed by room-only, full board and all-inclusive. Some properties allow you to upgrade your meal plan and dine on-site or in a nearby restaurant for an extra fee.
Crystal provide their own childcare in some family hotels, which comes in the form of the Pepi Penguin Nursery (for tots aged 6 months to 4 years) and the Beanie Bear Club (for 4-8 year olds, which mixes childcare and ski lessons). Last time we checked, these hotels offered Crystal childcare:
Hotel Petit Prince, Alpe d’Huez
Chalet Les Cimes Blanches, Plagne 1800
Grand Hotel Paradiso, Passo Tonale
Grand Albergo, Claviere
After hotels, apartments are the second most popular Crystal accommodation (over 200 on last count, sleeping from 2-10). These come on a self-catered basis, equipped with kitchen facilities to help you prepare your own meals and freeing you from set meal plans if you want to eat out or play it by ear.
Crystal use their own rating system to award apartments 2-5 stars (including half-stars) depending on furnishings, size and facilities. A 2 or 2.5-star apartment may be more compact and less polished (perfect if you’re skiing on a shoestring), while a 4.5-5 star property could have access to a swimming pool and spa, be new or recently refurbed and offer more space and finer furnishings.
In some properties, you can upgrade to a B&B or half board meal plan, or arrange for bakery goods to be delivered.
Specific numbers change from season to season, but Crystal offer roughly 40-50 catered chalets sleeping from 6 to 40+ guests. The tour operator uses its own rating system to award its chalets 3-4 stars (including half-stars). A 4.5 or 5 star Crystal chalet might have spa facilities like its own hot tub or sauna. A 3-star option may be a chalet-apartment (aka apart-chalets) with access to shared facilities, or a simple lodge without many bells or whistles. Last time we checked, every chalet available through Crystal had the all-important Wi-Fi access.
Crystal chalet catering traditionally includes 3 meals served on 6 days, with the 7th being your chalet host’s day off. You’ll usually find a cooked option for breakfast, and when you return from the slopes, afternoon tea tends to come in the form of home baked cakes or cookies. For evening meals, chalet guests sit together for what’s generally a 3-4 course dinner with free-flowing boxed wine, then coffee for afters. Families can ask us about early supper sittings for children, which should be doable in most properties. If you have dietary requirements (e.g. vegetarian, vegan, dairy/gluten free), SNO can make sure your hosts are informed before you arrive. Crystal charge extra for some other dietary requirements so do ask us to check for you.
If you stay in a Crystal chalet over Christmas, you’ll usually find your chalet decorated festively. Mulled wine and mince pies may well make an appearance on Christmas Eve, with a slap-up Christmas dinner served on the 25th. For New Year’s Eve, most chalets host a gala dinner and pop open the bubbly for when it strikes midnight.
Crystal Ski’s ‘Finest’ collection is a selection of boutique lodges, 4 and 5-star hotels, superior chalets and luxury apartments. When you book one of these in a package, you usually qualify for more baggage allowance on your flights. Speak to our ski specialists about which properties belong to this group for a truly spectacular time on the slopes.
Crystal sometimes add special offers to their packages – deals on equipment hire and ski passes might include discounts, buy one get one half price, buy one get one free or freebies for children. You can see the best deals from Crystal and other operators here.
Look no further for packages from Crystal Ski – you can find everything available right here on SNO. Use this page to filter which holidays you want to see, whether that’s a certain country, resort, price range, star rating, or specific facilities. To compare Crystal packages with other suppliers (including other big operators like Inghams and Neilson), head to our main ski page and enter your requirements.
Because we work with all ski suppliers great and small, we’re able to give you completely unbiased advice and find the right holiday for your needs. Tell us what you’re looking for and we’ll get back to you with the best options – SNO problem!
A little history: after Crystal Holidays was founded by Peter Dyer in 1981, the company had various owners before Thomson Holidays took the helm in 1997, merging it with Thomson Ski. Thomson and First Choice joined hands in 2007 (adding First Choice Ski into the mix) under the TUI Travel Group. Ten years later, Thomson completely rebranded to TUI (which is why people sometimes refer to the company as TUI Ski).
Common miss-spellings include crystal, crytal, crstal, crysal, csytal or the version with an "o" which includes crystol and extra letters as in cyristal. Over 90% of searches for these words were looking for crystalski company or crystal skiing holidays.
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