A Group of 10 of us stayed here from 19th Jan 14, we only paid £169 each Self Catering through Crystal so werent expecting much at that price and after reading the bad reviews werent hopeful but how wrong we were!
Check in was a little slow but with 50 or 60 people all checking in at the same time it wasnt going to take 2 minutes, the directions to the rooms werent great but we found our room after a slight detour. We also didnt have to pay the 100 euro room deposit we had heard about only the 7 euro per person local tax which was a bonus.
We were in Block F on the 5th Floor (rooms 353, 354, 355), which is the far right of reception as you look at the hotel from outside but there is a door at the bottom of the internal lift so you dont have to walk to the main part of the hotel to get out. I can understand how some rooms could be noisy because of the long corridors and the noise does carry but I would advise to choose the above rooms numbers in block F on any floor because its the end of a corridor so you dont have lots of people walking past your door, it was only our group in our case.
The rooms were clean, modern and well maintained, the only thing I could say was missing was a kettle but you have pans and a microwave so its not the end of the world, I would maybe take a travel kettle next time.
The Gondola to Sauze and one of the 4 Man chair lifts to the Sestriere Ski area are 100 yards from the hotel and if you ski back into the Sestriere side you can virtually ski to the door you just have to take off your skis to walk across the road.
We got 2 free meal vouchers from Crystal to eat in the hotel 1st night was a pizza, salad bar, sweet/ ice cream and drink, the 2nd night was a buffet style, both we couldnt fault and was even better that it was free.
Only 1 room out of our group used the ski lockers as you only had 1 key and having 4 people in a room that didnt necesarily ski together all day meant this wasnt convenient and we heard it was cold and wet so just put your skis on the balcony or the cleaning cupboard which was far easier.
The main part town is up quite a long hill and was the only downside to the location really but reception would ring a taxi if you couldnt manage this, it didnt really cause us a major issue but if your ski school was up the hill it wouldnt be a nice walk. With regards to ski hire, dont book through Crystal they use a shop up the hill in the centre of the town not the hotel ski hire, some our our group used the hotel one and it was cheaper than Crytsal anyway and far less hassle.
The resort does not have a huge apres scene and is quieter than Sauze but theres plenty of bars and our favourite Apres spot was a place called Caffe/Bar Bistrot which was just up the steps from slopes and the other Sestriere lifts and before the hotel du col. William the owner is lovely and as the week went on the drinks got cheaper, the measures got bigger and the free food more often, its well worth a visit. Its also worth doing the Crystal pub crawl to find the good bars but dont have too many free shots or you wont remember where they were like us!
With regards to Skiing we loved the long wide reds on the Sauze side from the top of the Gondola, but to the honest the slopes were good everywhere, the Sestriere side got busy with locals on our last day which was the saturday but the top of sauze was still quiet and I only think we queued once for a couple of minutes this day for the lifts. in general the slopes and lifts are really quiet as the area is so big. Some of our group went on the Crystal bus trip to France where the Blacks are Blacks but theres a lot of green roads to get to these so they wouldnt bother going again as theres more than enough skiing in the other areas.
Our group has skied for many years visiting Italy, France and Austria and this was my favourite holiday, we plan to return to the same hotel and resort in March and will possibly visit again next year.
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