Ski Lodges Overview
You can picture it better with your eyes closed. Waking up to a warm and comfortable ski lodge apartment, thick blankets, wood finishes and other stylishly applied Alpine themes, with windows that open out to a stunning sunrise over a picturesque ski village; what better way to start your day in the Alps? Choosing the right accommodation for your visit to the Alps is absolutely crucial. Whatever accommodation you choose will most likely form the basis of your overall ski holiday experience and as such, it is imperative that you spare a moment or two to look into what type of accommodation would best suit you and your travelling group. Ski holidays do rank amongst some of the most fun holidays to experience, but they also rank amongst one of the most costly holidays as well. All things considered including equipment, off-slope activities, kids clubs and kids ski lessons, apres-ski and accommodation, all add up significantly, so when holidays to a ski resort are being planned, you always want to get your money’s worth. Whether you are after chalets, apartments or hotels for your ski holiday, it is important to carry out due diligence in making sure that whatever ski lodge accommodation you choose has the facilities and overall setup to cater to your needs as a group and individually.
The term or phrase ‘ski lodge’ is more commonly used in North America and Canada when describing a certain type of ski accommodation. The typical ski lodge in the US and Canada typically resembles a mix between a modern hotel and a boutique Chalet apartment. They function similarly from hotels to chalet hotels in European resorts. Not widely used to describe ski accommodation in Europe as much as it is used abroad, we can very much ascribe the phrase to Hotels and Chalet Hotels over here in the Alps. If you do a little bit of research, one will find that the phrase ‘ski lodge’ is loosely used to describe organised and serviced ski accommodation at a ski resort. It's most accurate definition is a structure located in a ski area that provides services such as accommodation, food, beverages, restrooms for skiers and snowboarders. Other definitions refer to a ski lodge as a ‘mountain hotel that provides accommodation for skiers’; thus further explaining in essence, what ski lodges tend to mean in Europe. By definition, a ski lodge can very easily be classed as a ski hotel or chalet-hotel. The ski lodge definition, however, does not entirely match up to ski chalets and ski apartments as it does to hotels and chalet-hotels. The main difference is the self-service factors of chalets and apartments. The self-catering, cleaning and other responsibilities are left to the guests do not entirely capture the ski lodge ideal or represent the ski lodges value proposal; as not only do traditional ski lodges provide accommodation, but they also provide the full services of serving meals, housekeeping and provision of facilities to keep ski equipment warmed and ready for use, amongst others. Chalets and apartments also aim to provide a home away from home atmosphere and whilst this comes with a great deal of flexibility to the guests, it is a quite different offer entirely from what guests at a ski lodge might expect or prefer. Some guests may simply just prefer the full offer of hospitality and services that come with the ski lodge.
Types of Ski Lodges
Chalet Hotels and Ski Hotels are probably the most suitable ski lodge accommodation choices that conveniently meet the general needs of skiers. Catering to all profiles, from couples to large visitor groups, they are ideal for families, corporate groups on a work retreat and even snowsports athletes. We have briefly delved into the types of ski lodges and how they may benefit you and your travelling group.
Chalet hotels are the quintessential European version of a ski lodge. They combine the commercial and professional hospitality of a luxury hotel with the relaxed, informal charm of a typical Alpine chalet. Chalet hotels are quietly gaining popularity in the Alps with the emergence of new consumer behaviour and a shift in trends amongst winter holidaymakers. They are still a bit of a niche in Europe due in small part to their opulence and high prices. Nevertheless, if you are planning on pampering yourself and enjoying a bit of self-indulging whilst on your ski holiday, a Chalet Hotel accommodation is not a bad start. It is a far more relaxed approach to a hotel but maintains a very similar level of service. They are larger than regular chalets but smaller than an average hotel. A traditional ski chalet in the Alps may sleep up to 24 people but chalet hotels may house anything from 24 to just over 100 guests. The living spaces are usually large double rooms and suites, which all come en suite. They do not have catering facilities like kitchenettes and laundry machines as the chalet hotel offers those services. The rooms are spacious and are usually designed to be cosy. Some rooms or suites may be designed to sleep travelling groups or families. Breakfast is traditionally included in the booking ( some also have afternoon tea and cakes), lunch and dinners are three or four-course meals and are usually optional. Chalet hotels usually have a bar or lounge area and in some cases, these areas are exclusive to guests only.
Ski hotels are the ideal accommodation choice for visitors to the Alps who really want to relax and not bear any responsibility towards looking after themselves as far as catering, cleaning and more. The idea of a holiday for some people is not having to worry about when to cook or when to do the washing up etc. It is all about having the time off for yourself and your family and having a few chores to handle as possible. Hotels at the ski resorts range from 2-star to luxury 5-star hotels. They also range from family-run hotels to some well-known hotel chains. Several hotels are decorated in Alpine themes of wood and stone both in the interior and exterior spaces. A massive advantage of ski hotel stays is that they are more flexible than chalet and apartment bookings as they offer shorter minimum stays. This is a very good selling point as it allows short weekend breaks to be possible and some resorts may see an increase in repeat customers visiting again. There is also a higher chance of getting access to wellness centres as the majority of the hotels in the Alps also tend to have swimming pools, saunas and steam room services as well. There aren't many better ways to recover from a full day of skiing in the cold winds and high altitudes of the European Alps.
A few tips to keep in mind before booking your ski lodge
As earlier advised, prior to renting out a ski lodge or accommodation on your holiday, do a little bit of research into the ski resort and the layout of the village and other pieces of information that could be crucial to the decision making progress.
Early birds get the biggest worm!
Unsurprisingly, a lot of ski accommodation does get completely booked out far in advance. Ski lodges such as hotels and chalet hotels have flexible booking times, making it possible to book a short visit for only a few days as opposed to the traditional 6 or 7-day minimum. Sometimes really good accommodation is already booked out months prior to the season re-opening. Visitors who may have been visiting on a short stay and may enjoy their stay very much might already have proceeded to make another booking ahead of time, within the same season, shortly after they leave the resort. Start your search early and make sure that you are prepared to lock down the ski lodge when you eventually do come across the one best suited to you and your travelling group. Searching early can also increase your chances of coming across early season deals and discounts on several services at the resorts from accommodation to equipment and even restaurant deals and vouchers.
The location of your ski lodge should very much depend on your personal preference and circumstances ( yours or persons within your travelling group). This could form a huge difference in how the ski holiday goes. If you or a person within your group has some form of physical disability, then a ski lodge within the resort or village centre would be most ideal as it makes it more convenient to access some of the local amenities quicker should there be a need to. Especially if it’s a big resort where getting to the resort centre may take a while even in an emergency. If you are on a ski holiday to just enjoy the slopes during the day and have a calm evening free of the noise of the raucous parties, you may be better off finding a lodge further away from the village centre and main streets as these get filled up with party revellers and the apres-ski crowd. On the other hand, if you were visiting on a stag or hen party, a student group holiday or a group of friends, the closer your ski lodge is to the resort centre, the better. After a full day of skiing and an eventful apres-ski evening, a ski lodge within proximity of the bars and lounges will be ideal especially for evenings under bad weather conditions. If you are visiting with young children or first timers/beginners in your travel group, try and find a ski lodge that is located close to the beginner or nursery slopes. For children, in particular, the kid’s clubs and ski schools will usually be located around these slopes and quick and easy access to them will prove very convenient. If you are visiting a pedestrian resort that operates a ski-in and ski-out system, try as much as possible to choose a ski lodge that allows direct doorstep skiing. This means that the second you step out of the door, you’re skiing straight for the lifts. This also means you can end your eventful day on a high by skiing all the way back to your ski lodge doorstep from the slopes. It also saves everyone the effort of carrying the skis all the way to the lifts and having to queue with them; especially when visiting with kids, carrying the skis and poles or snowboards could get quite exhausting.
Spa and Sauna Effect
With an increase in the development of upmarket apartments and chalets as well as the refurbishment of existing ones, it is not unusual to find ski lodges with spas and saunas. There are fewer better ways to relax after a long day in the cold and on the pistes than a nice relaxing evening of spa and sauna indulgence. When searching for a ski lodge in the Alps, it may serve you well to search for one with a spa and sauna on site. Some accommodations may not have an onsite wellness centre but may have free guest access to some spa centres on the resort.
We have a wide range of accommodation options here at Erna Low. We have been actively present in the ski holiday industry for almost 90 years! This has allowed us to build and maintain invaluable, healthy partnerships with some of the best and most reputable accommodation providers across the ski resorts in Europe. If you wish to enquire about any of the accommodation options in the ski resort you are visiting, please feel free to contact us.