After visiting Sestriere and inpaticularly the "Hotel Du Col" in March 2008 all I can say is that we had a great time.
I'll start with the Hotel. Great location, you really couldn't get closer to the slopes.
The rooms were very clean and comfortable, yes a little basic, no kettle in the room but that was about all. TV only has a few channels, Sky News I think was the only English one but hey, who wants to watch telly when your on holiday!! The staff were very polite and helpful from the manager right down to the chambermaids, we thought they were all great. The Restaurant and Bar staff made the evenigs enjoyable and entertaining. They were all very kind, polite and helpful. We had a waiter called Giovanni assigned to our table and he just kept bringing us more and more of the free wine!! The food itself was fine, although the Breakfast got a bit repetitive after a while but the evening meal certainly didn't, there was a different choice of meats each night we were there as well as choices of pastas and local foods and salads too. The packed lunch let them down slightly but it was still worth collecting even just for the free bottle of water. Afternoon Tea and Coffee again maybe could of been better but after a hard days skiing I welcomed the coffee and biscuits, it was fine. I read one report before we went that said that the bar was small and could of been better, yes, perhaps it was a bit small but I didn't think it made it a bad hotel, in fact I think it created a more friendly atmosphere. The only thing I would say is wrong with this hotel is it's "Star Rating" is to high, yes it was clean and comfortable and everything I've said in this review is true but if your used to staying in 4-Star hotels in the UK you will probably feel let down, I'd give it a 3 if I were in a generous mood.
Sestriere and The Ski Resort. If your looking for great Aprez Ski then this is NOT the resort for you, we weren't and therefore we were happy. That doesn't mean we didn't enjoy it, we liked the hotel bar and the "Cavern" which both had Sky Sports so I was happy! There is a nightclub in Sestriere but we didn't go to it so I can't comment on that. The town itself is a nice little place, plenty of tourist shops, typical of a Ski Resort.
The Ski Area. As you probably know Sestriere is in the middle of the "Milky-Way" ski area. For beginners Sestriere and Borgatta are great and enough to get you started, for the more advanced skier Sestriere and Borgatta do get a bit repetitive but you can get the Gondola to either Sauze D'oulx or Sansicario we had a great day at both of these resorts but prefered Sauze D'oulx. There were a few more challanging and scenic runs, although the Olymipic at Sansicario is very nice, not too difficult, but very scenic. If you get the chance to visit Montigenevre in France it's worth it. You can get there by Gondola but I have no idea how long this took as we took the coach. This provided the best days Skiing we had. The Black runs were "Real French Blacks", if you've skied France you'll know what I mean, the Italian resorts were ok for beginners and intermediate skiiers but if your an advanced skier then perhaps Italy isn't the best place for you, I must admit I got a little bored by the end of the week and that wasn't because of a lack of things to do or runs to try, alot of them were just very similar and not very challanging.
Resort Prices. It has to be said that the cafes and bars on the slopes wern't too bad at all. No more expensive than any tourist resort in the UK. The beer in the Hotel Bar was about £3.50 a pint, not cheap but it probably wont ruin your holiday.
I've tried to cover a few different areas to give an overall fair report. My report is just my opinion so don't rest all your hopes on what I've said and likewise don't disregard Sestriere on the report I've give, after all I opend by saying that we had a great holiday. If you've booked up for Sestriere next year I'm sure you'll have a great time, If you're just thinking about it then I hope this all helps. Remember that there's nothing like seeing something for yourself! Enjoy, Dave
I liked sestriere? in fact, I loved sestriere. With a sub-2hour flight time from the UK, and a coach transfer that was only ever so slightly longer I arrived as fresh as a daisy! Having never skied before, I was more than a little apprehensive about the week ahead but I needn`t have been. We booked out holiday through Thompson`s and the price included flight, transfer, 1 week half board accommodation in the Du Sol hotel, ski and boot hire and 6 days of ski school (worth the time and effort, even if you are already a bit of a snow diva). Hotel check in was painless and the ski`s and boots were easy to get providing you arrived at the store early in the day. Ski school was fab. The instructors all spoke English (as well as many other languages) and they were always happy to help and extremely patient (just as well with me on the slopes I`ll tell you!). One thing I would say is not to expect one to one tutoring. The instructors generally take classes of 10 or so, so it is difficult for them to concentrate too much on individuals, though they will if anyone is having a issue picking up something (in other words, if he/she doesn`t spend too much time with you, it`s because you are picking it up well, nice one!). There are several runs, with a good selection of beginner, easy and medium ones, though I understand that there aren`t too many hard runs in the immediate area. Not to worry though, pop onto one of the many ski lifts and the whole of the Milky Way is at your disposal (the Milky Way being the area surrounding Sestriere and providing more ski runs than you could possibly need). As beginners we were quiet happy to stay on the easy runs, with our first trip down to Bucata (our first easy run and proper ski after the nursery/beginner slopes) being a mixture of fear, adrenaline and shear awe. And too think, we got to that stage on the third day, ski school was that good! The hotel we stayed in was situated right at the foot
of the slopes but more importantly right next to the ski lifts. As Sestriere itself is quite small, you should find that the majority of hotels are within easy walk of the slopes and lifts, even with those good awful moon boots on :o). By night Sestriere is certainly no Ibiza, in fact it would be hard pushed to be classed as a Weston Super Mare let alone anything else! Yes, if there`s one bad thing about Sestriere, it`s the après-ski. Don`t get me wrong, there are a few bars and a (very) small karaoke club all of which are run by friendly natives, but that`s about it. Still, you`ll be so tired after all that skiing that nightlife probably won`t be that high on your priority list anyway. Weather wise, wow! The first few days were beautifully clear (and very hot) with the remainder of the week providing some much needed snow (all 5ft of it, overnight!). Some transition I know, but it was good to experience skiing (read as `falling over`) in powdery snow up to your waist. If you have never been skiing before, you hate long flights and coach transfers and after hours drinking is not your bag, you couldn`t do any better than Sestriere. If Ibiza is your thing, go to Sestriere anyway but take your walkman and a crate of Evian. Drop me a line if you want to know more. `Scoob`
Sestriere is nestled within the renowed Milky Way and it has a wide range of excellent slopes for all abilities. I stayed at the Hotel Du Col, booked via Thomson, and found it to be both comfortable. The rooms are of an o.k. size and they had both a shower and bath (the bath was on the small size though). The hotel bar is extremely small for the size of the hotel. Take a look at the photo in the Thomson brochure and that is basically the size of it. This meant that it wasn't always possible to relax in the bar as there was no where to sit. The restuarant was roomy though and you were assigned a table which was yours for the duration of your stay, so you didn't have to wait to be seated. Breakfast was buffet style, with hot food including omelettes, bacon, and there was cereal and fruit etc. Dinner was a 4 course buffet with a wide choice of main course so there was always something to please everyone. Via Thomson you also get free unlimited wine, water or soft drink with your evening meal. We also got a free packed lunch, this lunch was basic ( bread roll, slice of ham & cheese, piece of fruit and bottle of water. The only problem with the meals was that they were served between 7.30 & 9.30 pm but with it being buffet style if you didn't get there at before 8.30 there simply wasn't alot left. This was especially the case with breakfast and if you wanted a lie in then this would definately mean you would miss out on any hot food and croissants. Apart from this the hotel was in such a perfect location you didn't let it get to you. It was 50m from ski school and the nearest ski lift, and weather permitting you could ski to the ski lifts. And it is perfectly placed to access the 400km of skiing available in the Milky Way. Sestriere is a snow sure resort, which means they have snow cannons situated along the runs to pump out snow when there isn't any real stuff. The only problem with this is that the snow c
annons can only work if the temperature is between 0 and -3 degree centigrade. Otherwise the water just turns to ice or doesn't turn to anything and just runs off the slopes. Luckily we didn't experience any problems with this and despite the fact there had been no decent snowfall for about a month the runs were well maintained and in pretty good condition though a little icy in the afternoons. When we did get snowfall the piste management team groomed the runs in time for the lifts to open as normal and it didn't affect our skiing at all. Sestriere itself is quite compact and the Hotel Du Col is located in the centre of Sestriere and everything is within easy working distance. There are some pleasant shops in the town centre, one particuarly nice chocolate shop, but not a great deal of places to spend your money in. There are a good splattering of restuarants and crepes places and pizzeries. The bars on offer are a mixture of lively and chill out and relax places. The Osteria Barabba wine bar is a must for its Vin Brulee. things to like about Sestriere: it is ideally placed to access a wide range of excellent slopes for all abilities and it has one of the most advanced lift systems in the whole of the Alps. Easy to ski from Sestriere to Sauze d'oulz via the Milky Way system of runs. Compact town which should suit all tastes. Only 2 hours transfer time from Turin airport. Not overly expensive - a cup of tea/coffee will only set you back approx 80p. Things which might put you off: Night life if not exactly jumping, if you are after an extremely lively night life with plently of clubs and pubs then Sestriere might not be for you. Sestriere is well worth a visit as its skiing is amazing and it comes as no surprise that it has been selected to host the 2006 Winter Olympics.
Transfer time from Turin is just under 2 hours making it short enough for a cat nap but not too long to be bored and restless. My reason for going to Sestriere was because it was part of the Milky Way circuit and I had been told it has an extensive network of runs and I was not disappointed. On the transfer to the resort I was getting a little worried as when we reached the alps there was no snow coverage what so ever. Luckily Sestriere has an huge range of snow cannons and despite the fact it had not snowed properly for about 2 months the runs had been maintained and groomed with artifical snow which meant skiing was still possible. Though understandable not all runs were open. Three days into the holiday it started to snow heavily and continued heavily for the reamining 4 days. The snowfall was much higher then expected (our chef was unable to get to our hotel one morning to cook our breakfast) but the piste management was truly excellent. They were groomed and compacted intime for the lifts to open at normal at 9am. This fresh snowfall made for truly superb skiing conditions and I could not have wanted for more. Lifts system - open 9am till 5pm everyday. Queues - not too bad once you got the hang of how to stop children and snowboarders pushing in. Ski school - instructors spoke english and groups were kept small. Sestriere town centre is small and compact and anyone looking for a "full on" night life will be disappointed. I was not disappointed and there are a few good bars to be found. Choice of restuarants outside the hotels is extremely limited. I stayed at the Hotel Du Col which in my opinion in an excellent location for both skiing and the town. Throughly enjoyed the holiday and would not hesitate to rebook.