Val Thorens, France: Live the high life with a ski break | Activity Holidays | Travel


Former Olympic skiier Graham Bell and Club Med resort in Val Thorens

I experience a moment of elation when I find myself nudging past former Olympic skiier Graham Bell on a steep red run, only to realise he’s hired a snowboard for the day, and that he’s riding it backwards.

I only catch up with him when we hop on a chairlift. Bell is clearly a fan of Club Med. He raves about the Club Med in Pragelato Vialattea, Italy (he’s also a big fan of Italian food) and tells me about previous family holidays when he spent days cruising the slopes while his children made the most of the entertainment.

He appears perfectly happy here too at Val Thorens and Club Med’s, 384-room hotel Sensations.

The hotel couldn’t be further from your typical wood-beamed affair.


The hotel’s dramatic location is part of its appeal

I wake to find ‘I love Val Thorens’ scrawled on my arm. And you know what? I think I do

Its lobby is an explosion of colour, with a bright pink carpet, purple lighting and a sculpturelike spiral staircase. Although it’s not exactly alpine chic, there are several deliberate nods to the mountain setting – namely cowhide-covered computers at check-in and, in the foyer, two furry rocking chairs designed to resemble sheep.

If you’re used to rustic chalets, wood-burning fires and antique skis pinned to the wall, it’s probably not your cup of tea, but if you’re a family or young couple it’s ideal. And if you do get a craving for a fondue or glass of mulled wine in one of Val Thorens’ bars, the resort’s centre is, like the piste, just feet away.

However with two restaurants, one lounge bar and a bar-cum-nightclub there’s little reason to leave the hotel. I’m guessing most of Sensations’ guests come for the skiing, and who can fault them?

Val Thorens is part of the Three Valleys, has one of the world’s largest ski areas and, at an altitude of 7,500ft, one of the longest ski seasons.

After a day…

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