Family Traveller’s John Lewisohn heads to La Rosière in the French Alps, to find out why CGH Residences’ impressive and affordable apartments are perfect for family ski breaks
Us Brits love a chalet for our ski holiday. A hot breakfast, welcoming fire, big dinners and lots of space to relax; not to mention cakes when we get back from a day’s skiing. But, unless you are taking over a whole chalet, it can be challenging to share with the other guests and their children. There is bound to be at least one person who is going to irritate you.
So what are the alternatives? Hotels can be very expensive and self-catering in France conjures up images of a shoe-box on the eighth floor of a stark modernist block with half of you pulling out sofa-beds every night.
CGH Residences offer something entirely different. The group offers the greatest number of four-star properties in the French Alps, including 32 properties in 22 of the most popular resorts. ‘At home like in a hotel’ is their motto which perfectly sums up my family’s recent stay in La Rosière where CGH have three different properties.
We stayed at the centrally located Lodge Hemera which, like the other CGH properties we visited, has the most stunning view of the mountains and valley and each has an attractive classic alpine reception area dominated by a large welcoming open fire and comfortable seating. Some of CGH’s properties have pool tables and foosball too. Our apartment was exceptionally spacious with modern alpine charm and well stocked catering facilities, with plenty of space for families and most importantly for kids to run around. Natural light flooded in from the large balcony, which offered a great view.
While there is no catering at these aparthotels, CGH make it easy to order in breakfast each morning and the local supermarket is only a short walk away. CGH can also arrange for groceries to arrive prior to arrival and for those coming for Christmas they can even ensure that a Christmas tree is waiting for you in your apartment.
One of the great blessings of CGH is their high quality spa (Spas Ô des Cimes) and indoor pool facilities that are located on-site in most properties. If your CGH residence does not have a pool and spa, you can book a spa treatment in another CGH residence in the resort and enjoy full spa facility access for no further charge. The swimming pool is a good size with attractive seating surrounding them as well as hot tub plus sauna and steam room. These are the sort of upscale extras that one would expect to find in five-star properties with prices to match, but they are standard in CGH Residences and a great boon for families and adults to relax in the evening or on a very snowy day.
In many residencies there is a ‘Kids’ Corner’, reserved for younger children, equipped with games, toys, colouring books and comics. A range of baby equipment is available for use including cots, highchairs, bottle warmers, changing mats, babyphones, stair gates, night lights, plug safety devices, bath mats and sterilizers. Pushchairs and baby carriers are also available to rent. For parents who want to go out to dinner, babysitters can be arranged too.
‘Famille Plus Montagne’ has been awarded to most of the French ski resorts where CGH residences are located. This is a hard-earned badge that recognises that these resorts guarantee great facilities for families of all ages. La Rosière is no exception. All CGH properties are easy walks to the ski lifts and ski schools. Skiing in La Rosière has expanded greatly in 2019 with a new sector Mont Valaisan served by two new six-person chair lifts which access five new exciting runs for intermediates.
Older children will love donning snow-shoes which have moved on from the old idea of tennis rackets on feet and climbing up the mountain by the light of the stars to an igloo before warming up with a steaming fondue. Another memorable activity by night is climbing into a converted piste basher with seats for 20 which then ascends the piste to L’Antigel Restaurant at 2000m to enjoy their Savoyard specialities particularly raclette. Children will love watching huge great blocks of cheese melting under a burner on the table and then scraping it off to mix with potatoes and traditional cold meats and salad. After consecutive nights of fondue and raclette with a lunchtime tartiflette sandwiched in between, I may not be eating cheese for some time.
Since 2004 French families have known the special secret that is CGH Residences. English families are now beginning to discover this hidden gem, which has all the ingredients to ensure a memorable family ski break at a price that won’t hurt your pockets either.
By plane to Geneva International Airport or Lyon Saint Exupéry
By train to Bourg Saint Maurice
By bus with Snow Express Coach departing from London.