About staying in Val Thorens
Trying to find ski accommodation is never an easy task and having decided on the Three Valleys you might think your work is done, think again - the Belleville valley offers three very different resorts to choose from, each with a very different feel offering accommodation for varying budgets.
If you are looking for French charm, quaint hotels and luxury chalets then St Martin de Belleville may be for you. Les Menuires offers some great ski in/ski out accommodation in a high altitude, family friendly resort without breaking the bank. Val Thorens being the highest resort in Europe offers snow sure skiing and a varied choice of accommodation from a youth hostel to ski in/ski out self-catered apartments or luxury hotels.
St Martin de Belleville (1450m)
St Martin is known as the ‘hidden gem’ of the Three Valleys being very much a French village with a ski lift rather than a purpose built ski resort. Oozing French charm there are still traces of its’ previous life as a farming village - you can still eat in local farms and there are great snow walks up to cheese making farms too. Tucked away at the top of the village is the most important part though, the St Martin 1 & 2 ski lifts which whisk you up to Les 3 Vallées, the largest ski area in the world.
As the village of St Martin has kept its village feel, it means there are few large accommodation providers with around just four quaint hotels to be found. Other accommodation tends to be either small catered chalets or self-catered apartments of which there are many offering a ski in/ski out location. Over the past few years the number of catered chalet companies in St Martin has steadily increased with most providers now tending to offer a luxury service aimed at those that love to ski but also like to be taken care of in the evening with fine dining and fine wines. With just three bars in the village, a catered chalet is also a popular option in this low key resort. Most accommodation tends to be in the centre of St Martin itself with a couple of chalet companies venturing into the nearby village of Villarabout from where you can still walk to St Martin but most provide a shuttle service.
Just further up the hill, falling in between St Martin and Les Menuires is the small unknown village of St Marcel where you will find the well-known 4* hotel ‘La Bouitte’ along with a 3* Michelin restaurant and a spa. As they are slightly out of the resort they offer a chauffeur service to take you to St Martin to start your ski day. With no other facilities in St Marcel your holiday will centre around the hotel and restaurant, but really why would you want to go anywhere else?
Les Menuires (1850m)
The resort of Les Menuires won’t be winning a beauty competition any time soon with the majority of central accommodation having been constructed in the 70’s. The upside however being that the resort offers a large amount of accommodation at ‘La Croisette’ right next to the piste. There are several 3*and 4* hotels and a large amount of self-catered apartments. Les Menuires is great for skiers on a budget wanting centrally located accommodation with direct access to the Three Valleys.
Just outside Les Menuires the areas of ‘Reberty’ and ‘Bruyeres’ are great mini-resorts which have developed over the past few years and tend to be a popular location for many catered chalet companies and also a couple of 4* hotels. These smaller areas still offer a number of bars, restaurants, ski hire shops and ski lifts just slightly away from the crowds. The planning restrictions have also been stepped up in these areas meaning they have a much quainter look about them than the main resort.
‘Reberty’ is located at an altitude of 2000m with the Sunny Express lift whisking you up to ski either towards Les Menuires or Val Thorens and the Boyes run leading you back home. ‘Les Bruyeres’ has the lift of the same name to provide easy access to the ski area and also has the additional facilities of a new spa which opened last season and is the location of ‘speed mountain’ a toboggan run on rails if you fancy a whirl before heading home.
At a slightly lower altitude still under the Les Menuires umbrella the village of ‘Le Bettaix’ is also a growing choice at 1400m. Since receiving the upgraded lift from St Martin last season replacing the previous cosy two-man lift this location provides quick access to the Three Valleys. There is also a lovely gentle blue run back to your accommodation at the end of the day which again tends to be catered chalet companies or self-catered accommodation. Facilities are more limited with no restaurants or bars but this is a good option for a quiet location with easy three valleys access without breaking the bank.
Val Thorens (2300m)
Val Thorens basically has it all - hotels catering for every budget, with some fantastic luxury options including a rooftop igloo and there are also many ski in/ski out self-catered apartments dotted throughout the resort high and low. There are 11 hotels in total with four 5* hotels, four 4* and three 3* hotels all in ski in/ski out locations. If you want to go back to basics there is also the option of a youth hostel in Val Thorens with a great location just next to the ice driving circuit and they also offer some great deals for ski guiding and co-skiing.
At 2400m Val Thorens is as snowsure as you get with the resort opening from late November and closing at the beginning of May each year. The resort is able to offer a snow guarantee with 99% of the area located between 2000m and 3230m and 40% of the ski area with snow canons when required. The thing you do need to bear in mind however is that at this altitude you do get the extremes of weather including high winds, whiteouts on snowy days and some oh so low temperatures. That’s not to say it’s a frequent occurrence just something to note and the upside is there is always a piste to ski.
The resort has also in recent years ensured that they maintain their no car policy with limited road side parking and there are several car parks available so that you can leave your car for the week with shuttle buses working their way around day/night.
Whilst other resorts in the Belleville valley have spread out into adjoining hamlets, Val Thorens accommodation is really centrally located all attaching itself to the pistes that run through the resort.