Students at French hotel schools should spend a night or two at the Hotel Ibiza in Les Deux Alpes. It’s not swanky, it’s not luxurious, it’s not even pretty (let’s call the architecture ‘functional’) but – boy! – does it know how to keep its guests happy.
This modest three-star 60-room hotel is set back from the resort centre so, while it offers spectacular views of the jagged peaks of the Ecrins National Park, it’s a 15-minute walk from the main lifts. There is, however, a minibus that zips backwards and forwards every weekday.
The first thing you notice about the hotel is the music-themed decor: almost every wall is covered with vinyl records and vintage concert posters. It’s fun, albeit a touch dated (think 1990s retro).
The second thing you notice is the staff. A mix of French, British and other nationalities — reflecting the guests, they are relentlessly helpful, cheerful and friendly, keen to anticipate your every need. At some ski hotels, you can ask where to buy a ski pass and what it costs and be met by a shuffling of papers and bemused looks. Here, they’ve already got one for you.
This is a value hotel, so don’t expect luxury. The spa area looks better in photos than in real life. The coffee machine needs an upgrade. Some carpets need replacing.
But who cares when you can stroll downstairs and Giuseppe the barman is preparing your favourite drink before you even pull up a stool, and the maitre d’ seems genuinely concerned that you should get the exact table of your choice.
There’s also a ski shop in the basement right next to the boot room, a games room where you can brush up your ping-pong skills and fast free WiFi.
We were on an all-inclusive package. Breakfast was good — lots of choice — and for lunch we were offered vouchers at the best of the piste restaurants (a cafeteria, but excellent food). Dinner was the highlight: a well-presented, freshly-stocked buffet packed with imaginative salads, tasty starters and mains, and superb patisserie.
One thing you shouldn’t miss: tucked away at the corner of the resort, two minutes’ walk from the hotel, is the Télécabine de Venosc, a steep eight-minute gondola ride down to the tiny stone-built village of Venosc, a world away from the bright lights of Les Deux Alpes. It’s free to ride with your lift pass and you can wander the steep alleyways, poking your nose into people’s houses and gardens, and shop for local products including honey from the village. The best time to visit is Tuesday afternoon when there’s a street market.
Ski France has a week’s stay at Hotel Ibiza from £367 pp including half-board basis. Private return transfers from Grenoble Airport cost £141 pp based on two sharing, reducing to £40 pp for eight sharing, with MV Transport. EasyJet flies from London to Grenoble from £53 return.
+33 (0)4 76 80 50 45
18, Rue du Cairou, 38860, Les Deux Alpes