Skiing? Yes, please. Tignes? Hell yeah. Mark Warner Holidays? Thought that was for wealthy families?
Mark Warner Holidays have branched out. They’re not just a holiday company for fancy families after all, they’re a little bit of luxury whatever your current status. I was invited to join them in Tignes, to find out exactly what a ski holiday with them was like.
As a usual solo traveller, the best thing about going with Mark Warner Holidays was the fact that everything was so easy. I can see why people choose to go on package holidays, when they really want a holiday, not an exercise in attempting to navigate new lands planned in lunch hours and stolen nights after a full day at work.
The pick up from the airport was there and sorted, bags were taken up to our rooms, the ski hire was all booked – just had to turn up for the fitting – and even when we got back from that there was a Champagne drinks reception to welcome us into the fold. Might as well have two to celebrate I thought, well, I am on holiday.
Skiing in Tignes
I was in Val Claret, the highest village in Tignes, for five nights, with four ski days from 10-15th January. Unfortunately the first two days were pretty brutal when it came to the weather, making it quite difficult to feel confident sliding down the mountains with a pair of potential limb breakers strapped to my feet.
Thankfully I had an incredible four hours of ski lessons with Alex from Evolution2 Ski School. We basically worked on technique, which is just what I needed, rather than speed or anything scary. Think I’d managed to pick up some bad habits from cluelessly launching myself off mountains in Japan. My main goal there was to stay upright, any style and technique had long gone out the window.
On day three in Tignes the sun came out and it was glorious. I went skiing with my blogger mates Peter from TravelUnmasked and Sabine from GirlvsGlobe. Trying to keep up, and look like I belonged, meant I had to really push myself and I followed them up to the higher, longer, more treacherous runs. By the end of the day my legs were burning and with all the fresh snow making it beautiful, but difficult, I was done.
I’d come a long way.
It all started to click together on the fourth day. I was standing up properly, instead of crouching old lady style, I was learning the bounce and starting to think of the top and bottom half of my body as two separate parts, as I’d been instructed by Sabine.
I even felt confident enough to take new learner Emily out, to give her her first experience of a chairlift.
My final run was up on the last chairlift of the day and as I weaved down the mountain in fading light and with barely anyone about I decided it might not have been the best idea to tackle alone. I made it though. More ski confidence in the bank!
Apres ski in Tignes
An essential part of any skiing trip, of course. Tignes is kind of legendary when it comes to the après. My favourite experience was at The Loop, when the Dominoes played, a locally famous band. They covered all the hits and as a recent Belieber What Do You Mean?, with the crowd going wild, was definitely my favourite.
The Dominoes had all the ski banter and after Taylor Swift’s Shake it Off got us on the dancefloor you couldn’t get us off. Nelly’s Hot in Here got everyone taking their shirts off – think those 3 for €14 Jagerbombs helped, and the 2 for €7 Vin Chauds. Can’t have been the gin and tonics (€6, seeing as I’m talking prices).
As for food on the mountain I can recommend the Blanche Restaurant in Le Lac, for its house burger, Le Coffee House in Val Claret for the salmon tartare and Rendezvous Restaurant for its epic cheesey fondue. It was served with meats, potato and bread and after a day of skiing with no lunch, it was incredible. Until I ODd and got cheese sweats.
What’s Tignes like?
Tignes is huge, and I feel like I barely skied any of it. The visibility, the weather, my fitness and skill all held me back.
On the first few days I felt like it was really busy. I’m not sure where everyone went but it definitely got better as the weather improved. On the last day we pretty much had the slopes to ourselves at one point.
On day five, when I went to leave, of course the sun was out in all its beautiful glory. I debated running back in for my ski stuff, seeing as I’d missed my bus, but decided to leave it at that. It had been an amazing four days of ski, and I should be thankful for what I had.
Our hotel was in Val Claret but we could easily get the bus to Le Lac and Le Lavachet. They were every 5 minutes or so and took less than 10 minutes to do the whole route. You could also get the bus to Val D’Isere, if you wanted.
Chalet L’Ecrin Hotel
We stayed at the L’Ecrin Hotel. It was homely and cosy, so homely I even unpacked, which I never do. The hotel was only a few minutes’ walk from the ski lifts of Val Claret, right by the bus stop to get round the resorts and there was some good après if you went up the lift into the town round the back.
The hotel had quite a few areas where you could sit and chill – there was a pool table and board games too. We played dominoes, Articulate and joined in with the pub quiz on the Sunday too. We came second.
Most importantly, the Wi-Fi here was good, although I did have to log in every time, which was slightly annoying, but #firstworldproblems. I had a room on the edge – which I didn’t realise but had a beautiful view over Le Lac that I only noticed when I lifted the blinds on the final day.
In my room I had two single beds, a desk, a big bathroom with separate toilet and a balcony. Lush.
When you’re sking all day, and burning around 2000 calories as my tracker informed me, you need a good feed, and that’s exactly what we got at the Chalet L’Ecrin hotel. Breakfast choice was croissants, the standard English fry up, cereals, fruits and eggs anyway you like. Lunch wasn’t served, seeing as everyone was skiing, but afternoon tea from 4-6 had some incredible and delicious treats.
Check out this brownie cake, obviously I only had a thin slice, because I needed space for the meringue too.
This was my favourite offering, the most incredible salted caramel chocolate brownie I’ve ever had the pleasure of sinking my teeth into. Chloe and I had decided to share one, but seeing as it was so damn delicious had to order another to get our fix.
Wine at meal times was included, which was pretty good, and definitely welcomed by our table. Anything else could be bought from the bar just outside.
My Elemis muscle relaxing massage at L’Ecrin Spa was just what I needed after a tough three days on the slopes. My calves hurt. The very lovely Scouse masseuse kneaded the knots out of my shoulders and smoothed out my calves, I’ll admit it, I fell asleep and woke up just before I dribbled.
Unfortunately I couldn’t work out how to operate all the stuff in the swimming pool – they had jets and fountains and massage beds and all sorts – and so just went and collapsed in the sauna instead. Apparently everyone else managed ok, but I couldn’t seem to find an on button. Looks nice though, hey?
Tignes with Mark Warner Holidays
Tignes was huge. I feel like I’m still getting to grips with ski holidays and so with the help of the Mark Warner staff it was made a lot easier. I really enjoyed my experience in Tignes with the staff, the hotel and the other bloggers I was with. I’d definitely recommend you look into a trip with them if you’d like a cushty ski experience with homely surroundings when you come off the slopes and a guaranteed good feed.
Obviously I was a guest of Mark Warner, everything written above is my opinion. Here are the details if you’d like to learn more…
7 nights departing on 17 April at Chalet Hotel Ecrin de Val Claret in Tignes costs from £549 per adult and £314 per child and includes flights, resort transfers, accommodation, breakfast, afternoon tea and three course dinner with wine, lift passes collection service and free evening childcare.