We recently returned from a ski trip with VIP Ski I thought it might be helpful to share an in-depth honest review of the experience! For those searching for the perfect catered chalet in Val d’Isere, France, for the upcoming winter season, VIP certainly offers some strong contenders.
Several years ago, I worked as a chalet host in Val d’isère myself. Every day I would walk past the VIP SKI chalets on my way to work, and couldn’t help but feel envious of the warm sumptuous interiors, casting a beautiful orange glow over the dark road below. It was my goal to come back and stay for myself one day!
Here, I’ll review the whole experience in detail so you can get a feel of whether the VIP catered chalets are for you, and offer some of my favourite alternative options at the end.
Is this the Best Catered Chalet in Val d’Isere?
With a string of chalets ideally situated on the infamous Santons run – and several more scattered across town – you could say VIP SKI has nailed the art of an alpine winter holiday.
We stayed in the beautiful No 3 CLUB Bellevarde, an enormous catered chalet in Val d’Isere which sleeps 24, with its own bar, a delightful double-height seating area, and access to luxurious spa and leisure facilities.
The spa complex is located next door, shared with two smaller chalets but never over-subscribed. In fact, we had the place to ourselves every time we visited.
You’ll find a warm indoor swimming pool looking out to the soft silence of the snow beyond, along with a spacious steam room, two saunas, and several treatment rooms, should you wish to partake in a massage.
Meanwhile twin private hot tubs on the terrace beckon, ready to soothe those aching muscles with a spectacular view of the Face de Bellevarde – an Olympic black run famed for its gut-wrenching gradient.
The chalet also has a modern boot room right by the back door, so you can clip into your skis and get straight on the run. Heated boot warmers ensure your gear stays dry and toasty.
Spectacular hospitality, scenery, and amenities await at each of VIP SKI’s luxurious properties, all complete with traditional chalet catering.
In all honesty, the room we had was very small, even for chalet standards. The bed pretty much filled the space, and there was barely any room left for a single chair and a few hooks for your ski jackets.
However, it did come with a private, modern ensuite and a window looking out onto the Santons piste, so you could always watch skis whizzing past. For me, a small room is never a dealbreaker on a ski holiday, and the vast lounge and leisure facilities make up for the bijou sleeping quarters at CLUB Bellevarde.
While there are no in-room facilities (TV, tea and coffee, etc) as you would expect in a hotel, the staff happily provided room service for dinner on the day we weren’t feeling well!
Of course, the more you pay, the better the room you’ll be allocated. Some did come with balconies and more storage areas, although with it being a shared chalet, we didn’t get to see those.
The CLUB chalets offered by VIP SKI are hand-selected for their size and sold on a room-by-room basis, giving you the chance to mingle with other skiers over canapés and dinner. This means smaller groups and even those travelling solo or in a couple can enjoy the full chalet experience.
I’m deducting one point here only because the beautiful double-height space in the dining room doesn’t have the best acoustics, so it could be tricky trying to keep up with all the conversations!
The company has several other catered chalets in Val d’Isere which can be booked on a sole occupancy basis for groups – with everything from intimate lofts for families of four to timber-framed chalets sleeping up to 12 guests.
You’ll be woken each morning with coffee or tea to your bedside table if desired, followed by a hearty breakfast to set you up for a day on the slopes.
From perfectly poached eggs with a homemade hollandaise sauce, to freshly baked croissants and jam, everything is fresh and warm, served directly to your table by your ever-enthusiastic hosts.
Once you return from a day enjoying everything Val d’Isere has to offer, you’ll be greeted by a warm drink and sumptuous afternoon tea.
During our stay, Head Chef Jamie indulged us with triple chocolate cookies, zingy lemon slice, and a classic Victoria sponge, even surprising one of our fellow guests with a decadent chocolate cake on his birthday.
Due to its large size and high standards, you’ll usually find at least two chefs busy in the kitchen at No 3 CLUB Bellevarde, which certainly was the case during our stay.
Dinner is kicked off with a welcome glass of the fizzy gold stuff and a canapé or two, while guests are also treated to a choice of menu each evening.
In the morning, you can make your selection for starter, main, and dessert, which is usually followed by a cheeseboard for those who still have room. Carefully selected free-flowing wine accompanies the food (whites, reds, AND rosé) with CLUB chalets also offering beer on tap for you to help yourself to.
In my humble opinion, the food should always be your main consideration when choosing a catered chalet in Val d’Isere, and VIP certainly didn’t disappoint.
The VIP experience is about more than just food and drink. It’s in the little details, from the luxurious transfer from Geneva Airport to the bubbly staff who never fail to stop for a chat, no matter how busy they appear to be.
As enthusiastic about the mountains as you are, they’re a fountain of knowledge on upcoming weather conditions, great local lunch spots and all the best runs in the ski area. If there’s anything they can’t answer on the spot, they’ll be back to you in a flash with someone who can.
We travelled in early December – the very first week of the season – but despite this, the service was a well-oiled machine. We worried about weather conditions before we left, but as usual, the snow-sure resort delivered the goods.
It fell like handfuls of torn paper for the first few days, with staff dutifully shovelling throughout the day to ensure access and safety for guests. The second half of the week brought cornflower skies and almost spring-like sunshine.
If you’re looking for a ski-out catered chalet in Val d’Isere, VIP Ski’s CLUB Bellevarde chalets certainly tick a lot of boxes. They are located on the Santons run, close to the centre of town, so you can click into your skis every morning and be on your way in a matter of minutes.
The run from the chalet to Rond Point is a green/blue level piste, which is ideal if you have little ones who need to be at ski school on time.
Unfortunately, getting home can be a little trickier. Santons is quite a tricky run down from the top of the mountain, with a bowl-like chute followed by a very long section on the flat.
It’s impossible to gain enough speed through the chute (which is often cut up and mogully by the end of the day), so you’ll end up poling your way along a fair distance, or unclipping if you’re a snowboarder.
What’s more, Santons is regularly closed due to either a lack of snow or avalanche risk. It was closed for the entire week we were there, although it was very early in the season.
In this instance, the ski back involves some tricky off-piste, if you’re up for it. If you’re not, VIP Ski offers a driver service to collect you from Rond Point (or another location in town) and deliver you back to the chalet, available until 6pm. After this, you can catch the free ski bus (blue) up the hill instead. The bus stop is less than 20m from the chalet.
Aside from skiing, the chalet is fairly well positioned if you want to head to Cocoricos, one of the most famous après ski bars in Val d’Isere, you can get there in about 5 to 10 minutes walking.
If you want to head into the centre of town, the walk is a little longer, maybe 15 or 20 minutes. However, you can catch the blue bus followed by the red bus if you prefer.
The buses in Val d’Isere come every five minutes or so and run until late. With a beautiful three-course meal available every night, and stunning spa facilities on-site, we saw little need to head into town anyway!
Best Catered Chalet in Val d’Isere: Verdict
The chalet experience with VIP is the stuff that daydreams are made of – far more personal and intimate than a luxury hotel, without sacrificing amenities or impeccable service.
It’s all about returning to a warm, spotless chalet at the end of the day, with the scent of freshly baked cakes in the air, and feeling instantly at home. The adrenaline of the day melting away as you slip into the spa or hot tub. The way the staff remember your favourite wine, and the way you like your coffee. The plush interiors enveloping you as dusk falls in the mountains.
In terms of value for money, quality of the catering, and high standards of service, I do believe VIP offers the best catered chalet in Val d’Isere, especially for a mid to high-range budget.
The price for the No 3 CLUB Bellevarde ranges from £977pp – £3217pp for the week, which includes plush transfers from Geneva Airport, daily cooked breakfast, afternoon tea, and 6, 3-course meals accompanied by cheese and free-flowing wine. The price depends on the date you choose, with mid-season school holidays seeing the highest prices.
Best Val d’Isere Ski Chalet Holidays
Whether you want a luxury ski experience or a laid-back holiday, Val d’Isere is filled with chocolate box chalets to suit every taste and budget. You’ll often find last-minute deals on ski holidays in chalets because tour operators don’t like leaving rooms empty.
Alternatively, you can also save money by staying in ski hotels rather than chalets. These offer a less personal experience and are usually located a bit further from the slopes, but many still offer quality half-board catering to save you the hassle of cooking after a day on the slopes.
Best Ski Hotels in Val d’Isere
Hôtel Les Barmes De l’Ours: With three restautants on-site, Hôtel Les Barmes De l’Ours offers the whole package in a stunning location at the foot of the lifts. Perfect for those splashing out.
Hôtel Avancher: A charming and stylish chalet-style hotel, just 5 minutes from the lifts with a quality bar and buffet breakfast. Ideal for a mid-range budget.
Airelles Val d’Isère: With a ski-to-door location and old-school alpine charm, Arielles is a bucket-list luxury hotel with spa and wellness facilities.
Hôtel Ski Lodge – Village Montana: Offering both breakfast and half board options, this is a cosy hotel with a sauna, just a short bus ride from the slopes. Best for those on a budget.
Other Luxury Catered Chalets in Val d’Isere
Popular luxury chalet operators in Val d’Isere include:
Consensio: Offering the ultimate luxury catered chalet experience in Val d’Isere. Expect bend-over-backwards service and rockstar amenities.
Hip Hideouts: Stylish, five-star luxury chalets with swoon-worthy interiors and gourmet catering.
Purple Ski: A boutique company offering just a handful of exceptional catered chalets in Val d’Isere, each with state-of-the-art wellness facilities.
Best Self-Catered Chalets in Val d’Isere
Since Brexit, finding a reasonably priced catered chalet in Val d’Isere is harder than it once was. For this reason, many are turning to self-catered chalets to get the same privacy and facilities, just without the hands-on service. There are loads of stunning restaurants in Val d’Isere, so this is a great choice if you want to explore more of the resort or keep costs down.
You can browse a wide range of self-catered chalets and apartments for groups of all sizes on Vrbo, with ratings from previous users and filters to help you find the best one.
Val d’Isere Resort Guide
Want to know more about Val d’Isere? Check out my full Val d’Isere resort guide, including:
Best runs for beginners
Best après ski bars
Best runs for experts
Other ski resorts I recommend include Tignes, Val Thorens, Courchevel, and Zermatt.
Do you have a favourite catered chalet in Val d’Isere? Let me know in the comments!