Rebekah Commane finds her feet at Club Med’s new resort in the French Alps
As an absolute novice, I was trembling with a mix of excitement and terror at the prospect of taking on Europe’s highest-altitude slopes for my first-ever ski lesson at Club Med’s newest ski resort, Val Thorens Sensations.
In fact, I was so preoccupied that I barely noticed the lack of substantial snowfall on our three-hour drive from Geneva to the heart of the Three Valleys.
I was assured that the lack of snow was due to the timing of our visit – early in the season – but as I pulled into the resort, I could tell that although the ski conditions weren’t optimal, my stay here was going to be fun.
On first impressions, the property looks like a traditional ski lodge mixed with a futuristic building style that wouldn’t look out of place on a sci-fi movie set. If it were a meal, it would be fusion cuisine.
That theme continues in the lobby where guests check in either at a traditional reception desk or floating kiosks, and choose whether to try the climbing wall – yes, really – or have a go on the two fleece-clad rocking horses which lend the lobby a quirky vibe.
The interiors are the brainchild of designer Sophie Jacqmin, who has worked with the likes of Christian Dior. Jacqmin has introduced some original touches to the resort so it’s fun to explore these alongside more-traditional elements such as the Carita spa and menthol steam room.
The resort’s 361 club rooms, 12 deluxe rooms and 11 suites are finished to a high spec, with twin sinks, large beds and 90% of the accommodation offering views of the mountain, although I found it hard to control the temperature in my club room, which felt unseasonably warm at night.
When it comes to getting ready to hit the slopes, there is an excellent equipment room, and staff are happy to assist with sizing which, as a first-timer, I definitely needed.
I headed to the beginners’ slopes, where I was put in a small group, which made me feel confident I’d get the individual attention I needed.
Our very patient instructor Jean-Pierre guided me down a blue run in no time, reassured me when I fell over, and even carried my skis when I struggled on the way back, absolutely exhausted after less than two hours on the slopes.
All that exertion – and embarrassment – builds up quite an appetite, and by early evening, we were enjoying champagne and canapés in the Epicurious restaurant.
With a menu prepared by Michelin-starred chef Edouard Loubet, it’s just one sign of Club Med’s ongoing efforts to elevate its resorts for the luxury market.
As impressed as I was by the fine-dining restaurant, I opted for the extensive international cuisine at buffet restaurant Yurts to refuel for another fun but exhausting day on the slopes.
I might not have mastered my technique just yet, but I know my first experience of skiing certainly won’t be the last. Give meJean-Pierre again and I might even try boarding next time.
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