I recently returned from a long weekend staying at the Belambra Clubs l’Aiguille Rouge in Arc 2000. It is a great location, comfy, clean, and good value accommodation. In this review of Belambra Clubs family ski holiday in Les Arcs I will introduce the Belambra Clubs, talk about Les Arcs and the Paradiski area, and of course thel’Aiguille Rouge accommodation and how its ideal for families.
Before I get into details of the review a little about myself and this trip. I will be up front and say I was not skiing and not with my family, I can ski but on this trip I was snowboarding, and I do have a family that I normally take away skiing, but in this instance I was away with a friend. That being said I always look at everywhere I stay in relation to how suitable it would be for my kids.
Introduction to Belambra Clubs
The Belambra Clubs are the number one holiday club in France. They have over 50 clubs dotted around France and have accommodation in many of the major French ski resorts including Les Arcs, La Plagne, Val d’Isere, Tignes, Val Thorens, Les 2 Alpes, Alpe d’Huez, and many more.
If, like me, you have not heard of them the reason is probably two fold. Firstly, like their wine, the French like to keep the best for themselves, and secondly, until 2012 they were known as VVF Vacances. You may even have stayed at one of the Belambra Clubs properties and not realised as tour operators such as Crystal Ski, Neilson, Inghams, and Direct Ski all offer holidays to the Belambra Clubs from the UK.
The Belambra Clubs are built on a charter of confidence with 8 commitments to their guests to ensure your expectations are met and that ultimately you have a great stay. The commitments cover everything from the beauty of the locations to the quality of the food, and the responsible nature of their properties to the quality of service provided by the staff. One of the key commitments for myself is they create a children’s paradise which is part of the reason I feel a Belambra Clubs family ski holiday in Les Arcs would be very good.
Introduction to Paradiski area
The Paradiski area is a combination of La Plagne and Les Arcs ski areas providing 425km of piste making it the 2nd or 3rd largest ski domain, read our article about the biggest ski resorts in the world to find out why its not clear cut which is the largest. The pistes range from 3500m down to 1200, with 70% above 2000m which means guaranteed snow cover from December to April.
You can access La Plagne via the Vanoise Express in Peisey. Although we did not cross over on this trip I have spend a week in La Plagne before and its a great ski area although not as easy to get around at Les Arcs. Although I prefer Les Arcs, La Plagne is better for off pistes. It covers a much larger area with only slightly more pisted runs, this means it has more lift accessible off piste than Les Arcs and more powder to play in when it snows.
Family ski holiday in Les Arcs
With 200km of piste Les Arcs alone is big enough to keep most people entertained for a week. It is made up of 7 villages: Arc 1600, Arc 1800, Arc 1950, Arc 2000, Villroger, Vallandry and Peisey each of which have a different feel and offer different skiing challenges. It is an easy resort to get around, and with the exception of Villaroger you are never more than 2 lifts and a bit of skiing from any of the villages.
The diversity of the skiing is part of Les Arcs attraction. The wide open valley above Les Arcs 1950 and 2000 is great for beginners, whilst the challenging black runs down from the 3226m Aiguille Rouge, Les arcs highest point, are great for advanced skiers. On the other side of the mountain the there are fantastic wide open runs above Arc 1800 and 1600 that drop below the treeline but maintain their width. Then over to Vallandry the treeline gets higher and the runs a little narrower and steeper making them more challenging but also quieter.
If you are going on a Belambra Clubs family ski holiday in Les Arcs with beginners you will be pleased to know that is a lot of easy runs back into Arc 2000 for them to cut their teeth on. In fact throughout Les Arcs there are blues and from the top of most lifts, plus a red or black option that go back to the same lift. This makes it great for groups of mixed abilities and means you can easily session an area to get to know the runs. There is also outstanding ski schools particularly for the little ones.
For Advanced skiers and adventurous intermediates there is plenty of relatively safe off piste between the runs and through the trees. There is also serious backcountry skiing available, but you will need a guide and all the avalanche safety gear.
Review of Belambra Clubs l’Aiguille Rouge
Although the Belambra Clubs l’Aiguille Rouge is very family friendly, it is still a great place for non families to stay. At dinner time we were surprised by how many children there were staying in the hotel. We came to the conclusion that the facilities and activities provided kept children entertained and out of the way of adults.
There are kids clubs, in both English and French, for children aged 3 and over. It includes a range of activities to keep them busy for the day in a dedicated safe play area. If your children are in ski school they can be dropped off and collected from lessons relieving you of the waiting around and faffing. There is also children’s entertainment every afternoon that includes discos, party games, puppet shows, cinema and clown shows.
The rooms are comfy without being luxurious, roomy without being huge, and functional without being high tech. Basically they are perfect for people that will be spending most of the holiday out on the slopes, who will be using the room as somewhere to sleep and get changed rather than somewhere to spend your holiday. That may sound slightly negative but I see it as a positive, why pay for luxury and all the bells and whistles when comfy, clean and functional is more than adequate?
The bar and reception area are nicely done, were always tidy and had a friendly welcoming feel. In fact friendly and welcoming also describes the staff who were always smiling and always willing to help.
No review of Belambra Clubs family ski holiday in Les Arcs would be complete without talking about the food. You can choose to be half or full board, we were half board so had breakfast and the choice of either lunch or dinner, we chose dinner. The restaurant has a spectacular panoramic view across the mountains which adds a nice ambience to meal times.
I have stayed in quite a few catered hotels with buffet food and experienced a mixture of quality. However the food at Belambra Clubs l’Aiguille Rouge was some of the best large scale catering I have experienced. Each night there was a good range of freshly cooked meals catering for a wide range of tastes. Options included a range of salad and seafood starters, soup, french mains, fast food style mains, an international dish, grill, desserts, a cheese board and all you can drink wine.
Breakfasts were also good. Again it was a buffet but it included both a cooked option and a continental fare with a good range of pastries, fruits and cereals. I would personally have liked 1 or 2 more hot dishes, but then I am a sucker for a full English and I had no problem ‘filling the tank’ with the breakfast options provided.
Part of the appeal of the l’Aiguille Rouge is its location is ski in, ski out. It even has its own ‘magic carpet’ to get you up the last little bit of slope to take you straight to the bar. The area beside this is used as a beginner practice area, it is in view of the terrace outside the bar so you can watch the kids lap it while you enjoy a drink.
Review of Belambra Clubs family ski holiday in Les Arcs: Conclusion
Les Arcs and the Paradiski area is one of the best in France, if not the world so you certainly won’t go wrong paying it a visit. The skiing is varied and caters for all levels. Arcs 1950 and 2000 are more family or couples orientated, Arcs 1600 and 1800 a bit more party, apres and group orientated, and the villages of Vallandry and Peisey have more of an independent locals feel to them. So something for everyone and you won’t go wrong visiting any of them.
You also won’t go wrong staying at the l’Aiguille Rougewith Belambra Clubs as its a great location, well run hotel with great food. The staff are friendly, the rooms comfy and functional and the kids facilities are great for those with children aged 3 and over. To conclude this review of Belambra Clubs family ski holiday in Les Arcs, I would be more than happy to take my family there, which as any parent knows is the ultimate accolade!