Luxury, homely chalet in rural, quiet alpine village
Before Chalet Solneige, my standard ski holiday accommodation was, if I’m putting it nicely – ‘petite’. Pine-clad apartments using innovative space-saving methods such as corridor bunk beds, all-in-one living/bathroom/kitchen quarters, baths that double as beds (don’t ask) and toilets that require logistical planning to shut the door whilst you’re inside.
Chalet Solneige, situated a few winding mountain road bends beneath the small village of Vaujany in France is quite the opposite. Huge, spacious and stylish it’s beautifully unique as chalets go. Spectacular vaulted ceilings and chandeliers in the living/dining area add a dollop of glamour whilst the grand open fire keeps it homely and inviting – to think this used to be a cowshed! Plenty big enough for our party of 14 (and solely booked out for us), there are oodles of bedrooms, all of which are ensuite, have balconies and stunning views across the valley. Roomy doubles, a family room and a couple of self-catering apartments which can only be described as vast , complete with kitchen and lounge area.
With half-board, breakfast is a serve-yourself affair before heading out to the slopes. Replenish energy levels in the evening with après afternoon tea followed by 4 delicious courses including a selection of local cheeses. Alcohol is extra.
Hard-working owners Peter and Thérèse are charming, attentive and offer some lovely extras throughout your stay – including wine-tasting, in-house massage and pizza night.Their dog is adored by little ones.
In recovery for a back operation, I opted out of skiing (sniff) and took on the role of nanny entertaining a one-year old (mine) and a 9-month (a friend’s) with much help from his Granny.
A bus ride away from town, you do need to plan your days to fit in baby-friendly activities around nap and meal times as scheduled bus pick ups only pass the chalet a few times a day.
Catch the lunchtime bus, grab a day lift pass (€7) and a toboggan (free with ski hire) and catch the gondola up to meet the rest of your group for lunch in one of the slope-side restaurants. Or for white-out days there is a swimming pool with waterslide and spa. Not forgetting Chalet Solneige’s onsite outdoor jacuzzi – Peter will happily serve you bubbles whilst you stew!
High chairs, travel cots and baby monitor are available (although if you take your own the range does reach from the apartment all the way down to the dining room!). Thérèse is happy to cook for children but it’s worth sorting out a few meals for them yourself. There is a small supermarket in town but opening hours don’t always coincide with bus times. Siphon off a bit of food from breakfast or your own evening meal for the kiddies the next day and keep it in the fridge.
Taxis to Vaujany cost between €20-€30, although hitch-hiking short distances seems to be pretty common and the chalet owners often offer if they’re en route that day.
The chalet is stocked with games for older children and adults – including a fancy dress box – but not that much in way of toys for toddlers, so bring a few of your own. In keeping with its stylish interior, several see-through glass tables jazz up the living room, lovely looking but a wee bit hazardous for roaming toddlers…and unwitting adults alike! You just need to have your wits about you.
See my Baby Ski Holiday Packing List for a full list of what to pack.
In a nutshell…
Go here iIf you’re after a memorable chalet for a special occasion, are travelling with little ones, enjoy good food, a bit of luxury and relaxation after a hard day’s ski and don’t mind a short bus journey to the lifts.