Parent and Child Trip to Villars, Switzerland
Our Managing Director, Jane and her daughter Emily recently headed off to the Swiss resort of Villars on a parent and child trip, to find out what this pretty village has to offer for families.
I was amazed to receive an invitation from the Lake Geneva region to go on a 3 day trip to Villars over half term so I immediately accepted as I knew it would be a fabulous opportunity. Emily and I set off for London’s Heathrow really early for the 7am flight to Geneva with Swiss, she had been so excited that she kept waking herself up in the night worried that she might sleep through and it made me smile as I think we have all had that feeling at some point.
On arrival at Geneva we headed down to the train station and caught a train to Aigle. We had all got changed on the train in to our ski gear as we knew we were heading up to the Glacier 3000m in Les Diablerets for lunch, after which we went down on a chair lift to start an exciting trip on what can only be described as a cross between a piste basher and a tank. This was when we realised just how cold it was with the howling wind reducing the air temperature well below the -10 degrees the thermometer told us it was. Our cat tracks crossed the fresh snow and brought us to the edge of a cliff and an amazing panoramic view. Then it was our turn to cross the highest peak to peak suspension bridge in the world which was absolutely stunning and blinking freezing.
The taxi to Villars was a welcome return to the warm and an opportunity for the little people to snooze. On arrival at the Hotel Eurotel Victoria Villars we ate in the Restaurant Peppino which adjoins the hotel and is open to both guests and members of the public, the children enjoyed some freshly made pizza and pasta whilst the adults were treated to scallops, exquisite roast lamb and a fabulous pudding combination that included geranium ice cream. Needless to say that after the early start we all collapsed in to bed early and slept exceptionally well.
After breakfast we headed to the nearest ski hire shop to the hotel where we were all kitted out and where we met our instructors for the day. Emily’s instructor Pascal had 3 daughters so was well equipped to deal with Alice, Emily and Amelia who all followed him without hesitation.
The adults were left in the very capable hands of Guy Chanel from the Villars tourist office who took us on a quick tour of the ski area and then brought us back to our lunch meeting spot where we met up with our kids and enjoyed a spectacular roast chicken lunch.
After lunch Emily wanted to ski with me and we were lucky enough to have Pascal accompany us and he was able to show us how to ski back down to the village and pop out just by our hotel which was something you needed to have some local knowledge to do.
After a very quick dip in the hotel’s pool, we were ready to go out for our evening meal and entertainment which was at the Chalet RoyAlp Hotel & Spa, a rather lovely 5* superior hotel. It was a happy surprise to be greeted by Nicholas Granger the Sales and Marketing Director who had once worked for Erna Low in Les Arcs. The hotel and Guy had organised for a Norlands Nanny, Laura to come and look after the children whilst we had a look round the hotel and they were having so much fun that they didn’t want to come and join us in the end so we even enjoyed an aperitif in peace.
The hotel has 3 play rooms for kids, one for the younger ones that had a house/castle and soft play type area, a second one with a play station, TV and 2 table football tables and the third one that had a pool table and chess/draughts set. When the kids had eaten their dinner they were more than happy to entertain themselves until late evening whilst the adults had another very civilised meal. Emily in particular was very happy to receive a little teddy bear from the hotel.
The glorious weather turned over night and we woke up to heavy snow and the excitement of being able to go and ski together just the 2 of us. It was a real bonding experience and so much fun, the conditions were fabulous and whilst I was relieved to have found the way back to the hotel in time for a lunch time departure, we both could have happily stayed all afternoon if we had the time.
We hopped on the train back to Geneva in time for our 17h50 flight and we were back at home in West London by 20h00 exhausted but extremely happy.
A massive thank you to everyone involved for arranging such a thoughtful programme. As a father himself it is clear that Guy knows that a happy child means a happy parent and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Villars as a great family ski destination, either for a short stay or for a week.
Erna Low will be featuring Villars for winter 2016/17, so please contact us for more information and prices.
Getting to Villars
At 120km, Villars is the closest Swiss ski resort to Geneva Airport and is easily accessible by both road or rail. The resort is approximately 1h25m drive from the airport, or you can enjoy the scenic rail journey along the north shore of Lac Léman to Aigle, where you switch to the local bus service to resort. The total journey time is just over 2 hrs and is a great option for families, where children under 16 yrs travel free with a paying adult, upon presentation of a Swiss family pass.
Erna Low can provide both rail tickets and private transfers, please contact us for more information.