We booked a 4-night stay at Vieux Chalet by email. We had a bit of trepidation because we were making our decision solely on the basis of TripAdvisor reviews and other online sources, never having stayed at the hotel or La Clusaz before. It turned out to be one of the best hotel experiences we ever had.
The staff of Vieux Chalet, from the owners Bruno and Marie Paule to the waiters and waitresses to Bernard the handyman, were all very helpful and friendly. They booked our ski equipment for us (including multiple equipment changes for resizing), got us our ski passes, and generally made our stay in an unfamiliar environment stress-free. The staff were also quite tolerant of our children (ages 5 and 7), and made them (and us) feel very welcome.
The hotel itself was quite nice - a combination of rustic charm with modern conveniences, and not too large (only seven rooms/suites), so the service and attention was very personal. The location, as we discovered, is great -- there is a 5-minute telecabine that literally stops outside the hotel, and takes you into the center of town where you can take other ski lifts to other runs in the area. You can also ski out from the hotel directly onto several runs. We also liked the fact that the hotel was not directly in town, as it gave a greater sense of tranquility and isolation, especially in the morning and night before many skiiers are on the slopes. The hotel will also pick you up in town or drop you off by car any time as you need.
The hotel also comes with a very good restaurant - again quite small but the food was top class, and the wait staff were always helpful with explaining the menu and suggesting great local wines to accompany the dishes. The menu, I should mention, also included a number of non-Savoyard dishes (fresh oysters, scallop salad, etc.), which helped break up what could have been a bit of monotony that we saw at other restaurants of cheese, sausage, more cheese, etc. As part of the 1/2 board, it was a pretty good deal, and we were stuffed pretty much continuously during our stay.
The hotel also has a great little bar with fireplace, and they had a nice little "gouter" (sp?) every afternoon from 4-5pm, where they offer a complimentary pastry/cake of the day with a drink. Nothing better than coming back after a day of skiing to a slice of cake and a vin chaud.
Also a word on the great little terrace. We were quite fortunate that it was sunny pretty much every day that we were there, and one day we took lunch on the terrace. Really beautiful and a memorable experience.
All in all, I wholeheartedly recommend both the hotel, and more generally the La Clusaz ski experience. My family can't wait to get back at the next opportunity.
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