The Club Med hotel evokes mixed reactions. Some things are very good and paradoxically, others seem to have fallen by the wayside.
The hotel now consists of three interlinked buildings, with the original, the Savoy, in the centre at the core. In its heyday (and very much pre-Club Med) it was an incredibly chic Belle Epoque hotel, owned by the railway company, which also owned the mountain behind and of course, the line, and whose clientele included the Aga Khan. However, since then the old girl has been somewhat knocked about to the extent that the only clue to its roots are the art nouveau railings on the balconies facing the town. All else has been erased - inside the colour scheme is dark red woodwork, with dark blue walls and a turkey carpet. Lighting is provided by wall lights in the form of plaster chamois heads with lamps above them and large round shades hanging from the ceiling. As one guest commented, the effect is similar to a low-class bordello. A similar scheme is followed inside the bedrooms with the addition of a cornice, which seems to represent snow coming down from the ceiling - all a bit tacky and probably more suited to Disney than Club Med. Lighting on the whole is dim throughout.
So, the decor is not good, but this does not spoil a good holiday. To my mind the real area of concern was the overall cleanliness of the place and the bedrooms. Maid service seems very scant - beds are quickly pulled together and give the impression of being properly made ... they are not, the bathroom/shower area through the persistent presence of hair evidenced poor cleaning as did the toilet area, and the carpet never saw a vacuum throughout our stay. To a certain extent this is repeated in the public areas and consequently, guests are urged to ensure they have a high standard of personal hygiene to the extent that there are alcohol hand cleaners at the entrance to the dining room. Despite this, quite a number of guests ended up with stomach complaints.
Food at the resort was fairly average at the beginning of our stay with a tendency to towards drying out or going cold, however with the run up to Easter, it improved dramatically and as a result came out above-average (just!).
The bar area on the lower ground floor is dark and pokey, consisting of a number of interlinked rooms and connects to a very large decked area, which is great to sit outside during the day when the sun is up and in the evenings is used by those who want to improve their chances of getting cancer. At night, pre-dinner, there are a good selection of nice snacks and usually live music in the form of a jazz trio or the Chef de Village, who has a good voice. Point to note about the bar, is that they make cocktails properly and well - in fact probably some of the best in Club Med, to my experience!
However, what really makes this hotel is the skiing. Each room has its own locker and most importantly in those lockers are boot dryers. The ski staff and especially the instructors are highly capable, local and know the mountains intimately. Given the nature of the area, the skiing is challenging and irrespective of colour of run, distinctly harder than other resorts in say the Trois Vallees or Portes de Soleil. Previous reviews note that skiing is broken into a number of areas, some of which need to be accessed by transport - there is a good network of public transport serving the area - all free - and Club Med also lay on buses for those taking the ski lessons - highly recommended! There is an altitude restaurant, which requires booking for those not taking lessons and which serves a sit down 3 course meal with cheese ... just in case the morning skiing has sharpened the appetite. Overall, these meals were very good and filling!
The hotel also offers an outdoor pool, which is heated to 28 degrees, segregated saunas and a steam room, along with spa treatments and stretch classes, which are of a good standard.
Chamonix is a very friendly town to walk round with plenty to do outside of Club Med in terms of shopping, bars, sports: skating, swimming, sightseeing - Les Aiguilles de Midi (on the ski pass and highly recommended) etc.
Overall, despite some real issues especially with cleanliness, this hotel remains on our list because of the quality of the skiing.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- With its peak touching the clouds, Mont Blanc holds a fascination for everyone who comes near. Ever since two mountaineers first conquered the Giant of the Alps over two centuries ago, this Haute-Savoie resort, a pioneer in the practice of skiing, has managed to preserve a unique atmosphere. This Club Med Village is set in the cosy, welcoming decor of a former hotel, the Savoy, totally renovated. Along with the treatments at Cinq Mondes Spa* the Village helps you to detox and relax. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
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- Also Known As:
- Club Med Chamonix Mont-Blanc Hotel Chamonix
- Chamonix Club Med