We stayed here on a fully catered basis. Chalet Eridan sits on a hill overlooking the village of Samoens. The views across the valley are stunning, but the hill is quite steep, and is not without its challenges when icy - for my money it would be foolish to attempt it in ski boots. Thankfully this was not necessary as we were given a lift to the ski shop where we stored our kit each day. We did walk back on 3 days - the walk from the lifts to the chalet took about half an hour at the pace of an 8 year old. Again checking the website, a lift to "bubble lift" upto 1600 is not part of the package so I would check before you book - for us I think lifts were only possible because we were not competing with the other chalets for the lift opening - had the kids been in lessons we might have been struck. Personally I would want to have a car if I was staying here again for skiing especially if self catering.
The apartment is quite new and pretty comfortable. I would agree that the kitchen is much better than most apartments, certainly much bigger than the MGMs that seem to be sprouting like weeds everywhere. The bedrooms too are a reasonable size and the view from the master is wonderful - the back bedroom has no view though. The apartment is quite spacious for 4 people, although if you are planning to fill it up to 8 you need psychiatrist help - perhaps, maybe in summer?! The whole place was spotlessly clean.
The food was pretty good, although the couple feeding us were a bit stretched since they were also catering for the Orion chalet which is much bigger and 20y away. Despite their best efforts there was always a sense that we were an extra. This is always a risk when a chalet is only part catered, and I am sure they will get into a 2 chalet groove. This may have been exacerbated by the fact we were the first catered guests, and one of the staff in another chalet was off sick for a few days, so I think it was a case of all hands to the pumps. On the food front, being picky I wouldn't have minded a few little hors d'ouevres as a prelude to supper - they don't cost much and they are.., well "nice"!
The single biggest downer was the lack of Wifi. This is compounded by the fact no mobile phone signal is strong enough to support 3G in the chalet so you can't even make a choice to pay the rapacious roaming data charges to ensure access to the outside world. To be fair Wifi is not advertised on the site, but beware. We extrapolated from the other chalets on the site, but this was a mistake. I had some work to do so this was a big problem. I ended up sitting outside the Orion chalet as snow fell just to borrow the Wifi signal. I cannot understand why the owners haven't invested in wifi or at least offered a few hundred quid to the neighbours who do have wifi!!?? We were with the kids so the lack of TV reception was a further issue - half a dozen DVDs simply does not make up for this - every other chalet we have stayed in at this sort of price point has at least had a sky box delivering free view.... New year was not the same without being able to watch a few fireworks and some inane celebrity blablah. There are no iPod docks either - so no music... Why - this is so easy to rectify? After a couple of longish (teenager) showers we ran out of hot water - water is heated overnight.... The chalet staff turned the heating on, but the warm up was ... well... glacial.
Please don't get the idea we disliked the place. As I said the chalet is comfortable and the log fire provided me with plenty of caveman satisfaction and entertainment. The recommendations for bookings on the chalet staff night off were safe and solid, and more to the point made even before we arrived since it was New Years day(!) - my wife is still raving about the pear liqueur enhanced sorbet she had. The thing is with wifi and a TV with a few working channels, the place would be a lot more rounded. Catered 4 bed units are in short supply, so I hope in future the owners commit a bit more and hire a chalet host and a van specifically for Eridan rather than making it an extra. For me they need to decide one way or another.
Samoens too is a great place - the village is very pretty, and remains very French - neither he Brits nor the Russians have taken over as they have in say val d'Isere or Courchavel. The skiing was good too!
We've stayed in Samoens several times and this chalet was by far the best. The kitchen was a good size and well equipped. Comfortable settees in the living room. The terrace off the master bedroom had excellent views. The apartment is spacious with parking outside the front door. There was lots to do in the village as it was a festival week. The park, lake, and outdoor pool are just a walk away. The walk from the village is uphill but that is what you'd expect in the Alps. The owners were very accommodating.
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