Private ski chalet or luxury hotel? The pros and cons in a nutshell

On the face of it, let’s acknowledge that both options are rather good. Luxury status should afford you a high standard of accommodation, fine dining and excellent facilities at the very least. The differences start to show when it comes down to the service.

The clue is in the title. A private ski chalet offers just that – a degree of privacy and discretion that you can’t look to match in a hotel and a level of exclusivity that a private location provides. As a well recognised individual (read famous), that level of privacy is probably high on the list. However, I can acknowledge that some individuals may appreciate the degree of anonymity and impersonal set-up that a hotel offers – no effort required.

Ski accommodation

The personal touch, however, extends a lot further. A private luxury ski chalet should (I say ‘should’ as not all luxury chalets do) be able to tailor its service to you the client. At Le Chardon a menu consultation is a basic service, ensuring that the style of cuisine and ingredients are tailored to your own personal tastes. Equally, that extends to meal timings, ensuring your favourite wine is in stock, preferred newspapers on the table for breakfast and so on.

Of course you can call on room service in a hotel and choose from a long menu of options, but you’ll pay through the nose for a ‘wake-up’ cup of tea delivered to your room before breakfast.

Meanwhile a hotel will usually offer a wider range of facilities to cope with a higher volume of clientele, although the private chalet means you don’t have to share your swim spa or nudge up in the jacuzzi to accommodate another guest you have never met.

Numbers is a good point though. Most luxury ski chalets aren’t into the numbers game. As you’d expect, however, a luxury hotel will accommodate several hundred guests and that’s important if you have a large corporate group.

That brings me to neighbours. The one major downside of a hotel is the neighbours. While you might be able to control your daughter as she rocks in at 2am after an exceptionally good session of apres-ski, you’ll have trouble levelling the same control over a neighbour. At the very least you can air your views readily with family while the alternative may involve an unwelcome visit from the Gendarmerie!

Perhaps the biggest difference though is that the private ski chalet is a home from home set-up. It’s a private space for you to use as you see fit with all the flexibility that it offers. Yes you can hire an extra room in a hotel but it’s all the hidden extras that take the edge off the holiday experience.

But no that’s still not it. When it comes down to it, it has to be the people. There’s no doubt that in a luxury hotel, you will receive exceptional service. But will that be just how you like it, just when you want it, in your favourite spot? I think not.

So while you might expect me to side with the private ski chalet experience – it would be rather strange if I didn’t. Just think: when you’ve made it to the slopes and realise you’ve forgotten your ski pass again, who do you think is most likely to be on hand to pop back and get it for you?

Jamie Rennie is Director at Le Chardon Mountain Lodges, Val d’Isere.

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