“ Savoie region, French Alps. „
The rooms in club med tigne val claret are very 'hostel' like. I was increadibly surprised that a 4 star quality resort would offer such bad quality rooms. Very small, old ... very old and badly decorated. The single rooms are 10 sq m and the toilet is in a wooden cabin which they have improvised and built in the room. The double rooms are still small and in bad taste. So think carefully about this dodgy club. With respects to food and beer I agree its first class !
Club Med skiing at its best - Advantages: Summer Skiing, Great location, Someone to look after the kids - Disadvantages: Rooms a bit small, Nothing else really
I'm in the process of writing up an opinion on skiing in Tignes, but it's taking a while longer than I'd hoped, so in the meantime, here's a short report on the hotel we used - Club Med. Club Med are celebrating their 50th anniversary (although apparantly the celebrations have been going on for more than a year already!). They have resorts all around the world, but obviously their spritual home is France. This was my first experience of Club Med, but talking to some of the other guests, they're probably not all that different. There are some key concepts - all staff are known as "Gentil Organisteur" or "GO"s and all guests are "Gentil Memberes" or "GM"s (sorry for the appalling spelling. The atmosphere is very much about staff and guests being part of the team and mixing. GOs come from all over the world and virtually all speak 3 or more languages, although French was obviously the predominate language in Tignes. They are all extremely enthusiastic and good fun. You'll see them all over the place doing all the jobs from cleaning to singing and they'll be around in the restaurant eating meals with you. Which brings me onto one of the key features of most holidays - the food. All meals are included. Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner. All meals are buffet style and Lunch and Dinner are accompanied by unlimited good quality beer, wine and soft drinks. The breakfast includes a good variety of cereals, fruits and stuff and freshly cooked fried eggs and bacon and pancakes. Lunches include steaks, grilled fish, salads and good desserts. Dinner has a different theme each night including local specialities (Raclette and Tartiflette both features - yum!). Lunch and Dinnner always include a couple of pasta and pizza options. Overall, the food was excellent quality, huge quantities and something to please all tastes (even children!). Rooms were spacious and clean
. They have telephones and TV (including Eurosport and BBC World for english speakers). The Tignes resort has a pool and health club which I never got to use. Apparantly the health club, which offers a full range of services from massages to mud baths, got booked up very quickly. Another key concepts is the Club Med ticket system. No money is accepted in the bars or shops. Instead you have to buy a book of tickets from reception. These are in 20, 100, 200 and 300 franc books with each book containing a variety of 2, 4, and 8 franc tickets. Whenever you buy anything, you hand over the relevant number of tickets. I suppose the good news is that it means you don't carry cash around (tickets can be bought with credit cards), but the downside is is't impossible to know what you're spending! It might not be so bad if the tickets were in multiples of 5 or 10, but 4 and 8 test the mental arithmetic. Why you can't just sign for everything to be charged to your room, I don't know. Tignes Club Med is perfectly situated. You can easily ski in and it's a short ski down to a choice of 6 high speed lifts and train to get up the mountain. Tignes is not a pretty resort, so it's quite good to be in a hotel with so much going on. Alternatively, it's good that a hotel like this is in such a poor resort - you don't feel you're missing out on much in the town. More to come in my other report on Tignes. Although some Club Med clubs are adults only, most have kids clubs. Mini Club is for 4 - 7 year olds and Kids Club is for 8 - 12. In skiing resorts, the kids have their own ski lessons and are supervised for lunch break and after the lessons end at 4pm. Lessons seemed to go reasonably well, although not all the instructors used as much English as French (a common and consistent complaint about French instructors since time began). From 4 until 5.30 they're in club and then you can return them to have d
inner with the clubs at 6.30 until 9 pm or have them dine with you. Several times during the week, the kids clubs put on a show either at 5pm or at 9pm when the adults have finished dinner. If you want you can drop them off at 8.30, pick them up at 5.30, drop them off again for dinner from 6.30 - 9.00. Plenty of time for the adults to play and for the kids to enjoy themselves with their new friends. Of course, it's all optional (but included in the price), so it's up to you how much time you spend together. We took our kids out of their lessons to ski with us on a couple of days and they also had dinner with us several times - we left it to them to choose. Every evening after dinner there's some kind of entertainment either by the kids clubs or the GOs. After that, there's even a night club going on until 2am, but I never kept awake long enough to see that! Overall, Club Med is an excellent holiday resort. The staff are very friendly and work hard. There's great food and plenty going on. They look after children really well and the children get to make new friends from across europe and the US. If I'm to be picky, I'd say that there is too much going on. There never seems to be much quiet time. If you want peace, then may be the adults only locations would be the choice. I'd also say the ticket system is unnecessary. "Upmarket Butlins" may be a bit unfair, but sadly it's the closest the brits have got to the concept (and it's not really all that close). It would be interesting to see what their summer resorts are like. Anyone been?