Summary: Very good value family skiing in high location. Kids love it but parents beware that you get little time or space to yourselves. I'd never do Club Med without children!
Some detail: My wife and our teenage children (14 & 15) joined a large British contingent of guests totaling 29 over Easter 2013. Most of us had some previous Club Med experience. Ours was at La Plagne the previous year.
Club Med offers good value skiing with excellent ski-in ski-out facilities in high altitude locations. Tignes Val Claret was no exception. The hotel is an ugly, purpose built affair surrounded by similarly ugly but functional buildings situated above the tree line. It was never intended to be a pretty, scenic setting with easy access to alpine walks among the fir trees. This place is designed for family ski holidays with loads of children charging about all day and evening until the staged entertainment ends around mid-night. You get exactly what is promised.
As usual, the Club Med staff were fantastically friendly and efficient. Its hard to fault them. The only error was the driver of the bus delivering us to the wrong terminal at Geneva on our way home. Food was not quite as good as La Plagne but was still of a very high standard with something for everyone including pizzas and pastas for the kids. There is a small indoor pool and sauna / steam rooms for adults only but these are right beside the cramped changing rooms and offer no where to relax other than on loungers around the child infested pool. Our room was fine for the price but you only have the beds to relax on. Bathroom was small but everything worked. Wifi was E20 for the week but was very unreliable. I run my own business and found the poor broadband access very stressful. The ski / boot room was spacious with working boot warmers in every locker. Tip: rent your skis / boots from Intersport just down the road (online in advance) and save 50% of the Club Med cost and there's none of the queuing at Club Med on day 1 or 7. For a family of 4 we saved well over 200 Euros over one week.
My personal gripe, not shared by our children who love the Club Med experience, is that every day is identical to the next. You eat in the same place breakfast, lunch and dinner. The only relaxing area is in the huge bar plus theatre that dominates the ground floor which resembles a cheap night-club even during the day. Disco light displays and low lighting with no windows other than doors to the small terrace and smokers shed do not encourage adults to kick back and relax. The routine that all but the old and injured follow is get up at 7.30, breakfast, join your ski group, back at lunch, eat, back on the slopes, back between 4 to 5, shower, eat, line dance (seriously - the French love it!), bed by 11 and start all over. By paying in advance for all food and drink why would you pay outrageous French mountain prices for lunch in a piste-side restaurant? (Watery hot chocolate E4.50 & someone paid E16.50 for a plate of chips!) And there's very little apres ski in Val Claret so again, everyone stays in Club Med. Six identical days!
We also had a running battle with the ESF ski school that have the Club Med contract. A profoundly deaf child in our group required an actual English, English instructor to help him hear and understand. ESF could not provide this so our friends pre-booked a Brit they had used in Tignes before. Each day this instructor was physically shoved around, face slapped and twice knocked to the ground by ESF staff. Crude hand gestures were given in front of his face - all right in front of our many children. We returned home to news in the British papers of an established and popular British instructor being arrested in Megeve because of some red-tape rule changes deliberately introduced a few weeks prior (in mid-season) to cause British instructors a severe headache. We will never use ESF again - they were a disgrace.
My wife was also rudely shouted at by the operator of a ski lift when she was trying to help a small child off the chair lift. I hate to sound so jingoistic but the French authorities in Tignes are doing themselves no favours. ESF and others would do well to learn some lessons from Club Med staff in how to manage customer relations.
- Also Known As:
- Club Med Tignes Val Claret Hotel
- Club Med Tignes Val Claret Hotel Tignes
- Club Med Tignes
- Tignes Club Med
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Village of Tignes Val Claret, nestled at an altitude of 2127 meters in the heart of an immaculate paradise, looks out over the magnificent surrounding massifs : Grande Motte, Grande Casse, Mont-Blanc and Grande-Sassière. Devoted to skiing in winter and summer alike, it is one of the legendary resorts for all snow sports fanatics. The Village lets you explore its slalom, mogul runs and snow parks. After a day's intense skiing relax with a sauna, Turkish bath, stretching and Club Med Spa* ... more less